Mar 28, 2022

Let's Discuss: Fantasy Covers Without People on Them


So it was as I was writing a CWW post, a new discussion idea came to me! I started writing out a lengthy comment and I thought, I better stop and turn this into a discussion post instead! Lol! It's possible I talked about this one before, but I thought why not do a fresh retake.

Fantasy Covers Without People on Them

So apparently my opinion on this matter has changed! Lol! I found one post where I discussed some changes or whatnot where I liked the cover with a person on it better than I did without a person on it, but now I find myself liking covers without people on them! Lol.

Covers are always constantly changing. We all know this as readers. For years I gravitated towards covers with the character on it because I felt like it gave you a better idea of what story you were getting into! 

For this discussion, I'm going to stick with mainly Fantasy covers as I feel like that's where my beef has been lately. Too many covers have gone the route of having your stereotypical princess on the cover. And I've read many fantasy books with these covers and loved them! But when I look at the fantasy books these days...they all have princesses on them and I just feel meh.

Where are the covers that depict just a great fantasy read? Like one where you feel like you're being swept off into a newly told fairy tale? 

For example, Bloodleaf...when I first saw this book I was blown away! I received an ARC of it and I loved it! The cover was so, so gorgeous! You knew you were getting an epic fantasy when you saw this cover! The symbolism was all over the place and I was just excited to get my hands on it early! The fairy tale element was strong with this one and I was all for it! Then when I saw the cover for the sequel I was even more excited...until a few months later when a drastic cover change was made into this:

Gone was the fairy tale element. Yes, the story was only loosely based on a lesser known fairy tale, but now when I saw this all I thought was it just another fantasy book with a girl meant to save the kingdom. Or something like that. It looked just like every other YA Fantasy book on the market and I just felt underwhelmed when I saw it. Where was the mystery, where was the magic, where was the "fantasy?"

Let me also note, I still LOOOOVE the book/story inside! Though the cover isn't a favorite I don't find it hideous or anything, it's just kind of meh for me. It's possible I would've passed this up on the shelf if I first discovered it in its paperback stage.

There's something to be said about a cover with no cover model--be they real or animated/drawn...whatever you want to call the concept. For one, it allows the reader to imagine the character they want to see, like when a princess with snow white skin and blonde curly hair is described. How "snow white" are we talking? What level of curls is curly? You can see her as having full on bushy curls that bounce with every step or something that is more like waves. You get to decide. Then you get covers like this that decide for you. And you think, well that skin's not really like "snow" at all, and you call that hair curly? Or that shade of blonde? Everything is determined for you.

Now I know not every reader imagines the same character looking the exact same way. We all have different ideas of "snow white" or "blonde" or "curly." I know we may still ignore a cover model entirely! Especially if they do not live up to out expectations. They do tend to be a precursor though.

I'm just getting a little tired of the trend where YA Fantasy books have to have a "person" on the cover. It's just getting old and boring. I like the covers where you don't have a person on it at all, but maybe elements of the story or a weapon or something like that! It just gives a better impact I feel like.

For some reason, I'm only tiring of this with YA reads. I guess I don't read as many Adult Fantasy books. And those tend to go either way, like one series I read is being redesigned to remove the "person" on the cover to just have "objects." I also just finished reading Jennifer Estep's Tear Down the Throne and I have to say I love the image of Gemma on the cover. You can't see her fully, so you can still imagine facial appearances and hair and all that jazz on your own, which is a good way to go I feel like.

I don't know. As I've noted, my opinion has changed over time. Before I loved people on the covers, but now I'm starting to tire of it. What about you? Do you find yourself drawn to covers with people or "objects" on the cover?

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