Cover redesigns can be quite the touchy subject.
I’ve witnessed many books get shiny new covers a lot over the years and the general consensus is readers either absolutely love the change or they absolutely hate it. There rarely ever is an in between opinion in most cases. Sometimes people are upset because the originals were already great so the need for a redesign felt like it was unnecessary. Sometimes people love the change because they fit the story better than the original one did. But honestly, in my opinion, it all comes down to everyone’s own unique tastes, their personal reasons for being drawn to something, and it’s really hard to please everyone. You can try, but I can bet you won’t succeed.
I know we’re not supposed to judge books by their cover and all, but I can’t help it. I do it all the time. However, for these covers I’m about to talk about, I have the ability to judge them because I’ve already read these books! Does that mean I beat the system? Perhaps.
So, to make things fair, I decided that for every cover redesign I did like I’ll also include one that I did not like and again, these reasons all come down to my personal tastes because while I like a new cover, or dislike one, there could be someone out there who thinks the opposite of me. And that’s perfectly ok! I know that I have my own reasons, and others have their own.
A Redesign I Loved — The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
This is the latest cover redesign that I know of, and I am personally obsessed with it. I do want to say that the original covers for The Lunar Chronicles will always be my favourites, the thing I love about these new ones is the amazing art and how each girl is depicted beautifully. The artist for these new covers captured the Lunar girls perfectly and it’s a style that’s incredibly unique, much like this series. If I was independently wealthy, I’d buy this series all over again just to have these gorgeous new covers.
A Redesign I Did Not Love — An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
I’m sure there are a bunch of people going “are you insane?” right now seeing this on my list, but I’m sorry, I really don’t like the new covers given to this series. The reason I don’t like it is mainly because it’s a redesign that happened literally in the middle of publication so my first two books will go together, but the next one looks completely out of place. And when An Ember in the Ashes was first published, I thought that the cover was so unique and unlike anything I’d seen before, looking like it could be a truly epic fantasy novel, but the new ones look like a bunch of other YA fantasy covers I’ve seen. I respect why the covers were redesigned, but I thought they already had a unique element to them before.
A Redesign I Loved — The Dark Elements by Jennifer L. Armentrout
We can all say this together: the original covers for this series were absolutely tragic. I will give it a pass because they came out over 6 years ago so most of the book covers from that era had a lot of issues, but when I saw the announcement for the redesign for this series, I was completely elated. Actually, I was mad at first because I’d just purchased the series like, a month before the new ones came out, so that felt very unfair to me. But the new ones just look really cool and again, embody the story a lot better than the originals did.
A Redesign I Did Not Love — The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski
Yeah, this one still boils my blood to this day. My issue with this redesign is that it gives off the vibe that this story is about your typical YA fantasy warrior princess and that’s not at all what Kestrel’s character is. She is insanely smart and strategic and battles more in psychological warfare than she does in actual warfare, but these new covers make it seem like she does. And to me, it’s just wrong for the story. What I loved about the original covers, other than how pretty the model looks with the different dresses they put her in, was that it alludes to how Kestrel is perceived as just another pretty girl but underneath the billowing dresses she’s dangerous. It just feels like they completely missed the mark with these and sends the message that they did the redesign to market to the wrong audience.
A Redesign I Loved — Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
I first want to say that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the original covers. I love both the old and new equally. But the thing that caught my eye about the new covers is how the image on the front is essentially the main focus of the respective book, but you won’t get it until you’ve read it. And I love covers like that. Unlike with The Lunar Chronicles, I probably wouldn’t be able to choose between these two sets of covers. They’re both so great in their own right and probably one of the best redesigns I’ve seen in a while.
A Redesign I Did Not Love — Flame In The Mist by Renee Ahdieh
Again, this was another redesign that happened in the middle of the duology’s publication and now my books don’t match. And it bothers me. But I’m also really bothered by the fact that the original cover was beyond gorgeous and it instantly made you want to take a closer look, and the newer ones look, dare I say, a bit lazy? Maybe I have something against faces on covers nowadays, but the new covers for this series always bothered me and I couldn’t wait to see how the second book would match the first one, but I never saw that happen. I just wish that publishers would stick to one design at a time and not change everything in the middle of the series. I know that you just want me to spend more money but I’m not going to.
I think there’s a moral to this story here: sometimes, marketing knows exactly what it’s doing with a cover redesign, but other times, it missed the shot it shouldn’t have taken. I hope we can all learn something from this.