21 November 2011

My Opinion: The Cover for Such Wicked Intent

I don't normally write opinion pieces because I'm scared of what others will think of my opinion and I may love fire, but I hate being flamed. ;P

That being said, I am writing this to mark my disappointment with the newly released cover of Such Wicked Intent which is the second book in the Dark Endeavor series. I love the original cover of This Dark Endeavor:
The cover is different, creative, dark, and draws the eye if it's faced out on a shelf. I want to know what kind of story it tells.

Here is the cover of its sequel, Such Wicked Intent:
To me, this book tells a completely different story than the first. In fact, it looks like I can tell just what it's going to be from the cover. It tells me it's going to be a historical romance story between a boy and a girl. And you know what? Maybe that's what the second book is all about, but being familiar with Kenneth Oppel and the series, it is probably not (and I hope not, but that's for a separate post/review for when the book actually comes out). Will this cover still stand out on a shelf like its predecessor? Absolutely.

So now we get to my real problem with the cover. I can't sell this book to boys. I know I'm being sexist right now, but I really believe this. When This Dark Endeavor came out I was so excited. I could finally recommend a smart young adult novel that had nothing to do with sports, spies, gore, or big explosions and other special effects to my male readers. This book also has a male protagonist. I think any reader or blogger of the YA genre will know why I put those words in bold: because there aren't many main male characters in YA. I realize that the girls ultimately out number the guys in authors, readers, and as characters, but why can't we advertise to boys too? Teen boys read, but unfortunately, I think they care more about the appearance of the books they read than females do. I'm not saying that this is okay, but can it ever be fixed? Maybe e-Readers will change this, but I'm getting off topic...it's hard for me to talk about this and not also go into why boys might not be reading certain books.

Why couldn't the cover stay ambiguous like The Hunger Games? If The Hunger Games book cover(s) had been released with Katniss on the front standing between two male models of Gale and Peeta, Twilight style, I highly doubt boys would have flocked to the series as much as they did and still do. On another note, look, boys will read books with female narrators! *gasp* Surprise! /sarcasm

Why the change from an ambiguous cover to a "girly" cover? Who made this decision and why? Oh, and of course they had to match the future paperback release of This Dark Endeavor with their new cover for the sequel:
Why does a book cover have to advertise to either a boy or a girl? Why can't some books like This Dark Endeavor and others advertise to both? And book covers can have pictures of both a boy and a girl and still get male readers to pick it up. I think it's when the boy and girl look rather close and romantic is when the average teen boy won't look at it. Please don't think I'm putting all male teens into one box. I'm not. As a bookseller at a book store for children, I am around them all the time. I talk to them. I recommend them things. I see patterns. Not all teen males fit the patterns. I know a regular young male customer who probably wouldn't mind reading a book with a cover like Such Wicked Intent. Yet, I know more boys who wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. I love this series and want to continue to be able to recommend it to my male customers without any pushing or convincing.

Finally, I want to point out that I, myself, do not hate these covers! As a reader I love them and think they are striking. As a bookseller, I think they just make my job harder.

/sexist rant


  1. I agree with you. I absolutely love the original This Dark Endeavour cover and I really wished they had done something similar with the Such Wicked Intent cover. It doesn't even really appeal to me and I'm a 19-year-old female. I loathe books with real people on the cover and though it's not a horrible cover, it's just not my thing.

    I think the publisher (Simon&Schuster for USA/HarperCollins for CAN) is just trying to go with the flow of all the other covers that are being released lately. They think they're helping the book get more readers when they're actually kind of hurting the book by making it like the others.

    Just for the sake of it, I'm hoping they make a new cover that is similar to This Dark Endeavour because I want Such Wicked Intent to match on my shelf.

  2. @ Megan Conway: Thank you for your comment. You're right. There has been a new theme of covers lately and it's frustrating that publishers seem to be doing it to all of the books. It was just last year when showing a face wasn't "the thing." And now we get the whole body and face on covers. I don't mind real people, but not all books need to have it.

  3. Interesting post. I just got this dark endeavor from the library and was thinking what an awesome cover it has. It's a shame that the paperback is getting a new cover. I personally enjoy more ambiguous covers. The new one is pretty (love the font) but I can see it being a hard sell to boys.

  4. @fishgirl182: I hope you like the book! It was a great year for excellent releases and I think it was one of them. And yes, I found no need to change the cover. Now my books won't match...


Thank-you for commenting! I always appreciate and read each one! I also try to reply to each one, but I'm really bad at this, so I apologize in advance for one (or any) I may miss. Please note, I love all of my commenters. In fact, it may be more like "in love." Comment at your own risk.