Ever wondered why John Steinbeck’s classic American novel East of Eden has proved so popular over the decades since it’s release? Maybe it’s the cover art.
Recently, Publishers Weekly awarded East of Eden with the coveted prize of “Best Book Covers Ever.” PW looked back at the many editions of Steinbeck’s novel and declared it as the king of the hill where consistently great cover art is concerned. They also made some interesting observations about the effect cover art has a reader’s experience with a novel:
A book cover has to both draw you into the book when you first pick it up as well as stand as an aesthetic representation of the story’s heart. For many of us, book covers are a big reason why we’re still holding onto physical books, and there’s something about the best of them that conveys the transportive ability we find in our favorite books.
The first thing you’ll notice, of course, is that the title Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s latest novel is El Prisionero del Cielo (or The Prisoner of Heaven, for those not versed in Spanish, like myself), which points to the novel and its author’s Spanish heritage. I’ll certainly post the English cover when it is finally announced (as I’m sure it will be, given the enormous success of its predecessor, The Shadow of the Wind).
Luckily, thanks to Mihai at Dark Wolf Fantasy Reviews, we also have a translated synopsis for the novel:
Barcelona, 1957. Daniel Sempere and his friend Fermín, the heroes of “The Shadow of the Wind” are back on a new adventure to face the greatest challenge of their lives. Just when everything begins to smile on them, a disturbing character visits the Sempere’s bookshop and threatens to reveal a terrible secret which lay buried for two decades in the dark memory of the city.
Zafon has been upfront about his plans to write four novels based around The Cemetery of Lost Books, first discovered by reader in the author’s first adult novel, The Shadow of the Wind (REVIEW), each of which stands alone while adding to an overall narrative arc. Zafon followed The Shadow of the Wind with a prequel, The Angel’s Game (REVIEW), which followed an almost entirely new cast of characters and was set several decades earlier. I expected that trend to continue with the third and fourth volumes in the tetralogy, but instead of a new set of characters, we’re returning to Daniel Sempere, the immensely likeable protagonist on The Shadow of the Wind. The Angel’s Game was a fine novel, but suffered from many issues that its predecessor did not; hopefully the return of familiar faces and storylines will help Zafon return to the form I expect of him.
Not much is known about the novel, beyond the title. On The Wertzone, Adam Whitehead suggest that Railsea might be Mieville’s second YA novel (after Un Lun Dun), which seems like an appropriate guess based on this cover. It’s all reminiscent of Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker, his highly regarded YA novel. I’ll be sure to let you know when I find out more about the novel.
Via The Mad Hatter:
After catching my eye with the beautiful cover for his first novel, The Last Page, I can’t help but be disappointed by Huso’s sophmore novel, Black Bottle. What happened to the grab-you-by-the-balls awesome, ethereal cover of the first novel. And what’s with the penis building?
Tabloids sold in the Duchy of Stonehold claim that the High King, Caliph Howl, has been raised from the dead. His consort, Sena Iilool, both blamed and celebrated for this act, finds that a macabre cult has sprung up around her.
As the news spreads, Stonehold—long considered unimportant—comes to the attention of the emperors in the southern countries. They have learned that the seed of Sena’s immense power lies in an occult book, and they are eager to claim it for their own.
Desperate to protect his people from the southern threat, Caliph is drawn into a summit of the world’s leaders despite the knowledge that it is a trap. As Sena’s bizarre actions threaten to unravel the summit, Caliph watches her slip through his fingers into madness.
But is it really madness? Sena is playing a dangerous game of strategy and deceit as she attempts to outwit a force that has spent millennia preparing for this day. Caliph is the only connection left to her former life, but it’s his blood that Sena needs to see her plans through to their explosive finish.
Dark and rich, epic in scope, Anthony Huso has crafted a fantasy like no other, teeming with unthinkable horrors and stylish wonders.
Regardless, The Last Page was terrific, and I’ve got high hopes for Black Bottle. It hits store shelves in August, 2012.
Subterranean Press is known for publishing gorgeous editions of popular novels, novellas and short fiction. They’re really outdoing themselves, though, with this new edition of George R.R. Martin’s mega-successful A Dance with Dragons, the fifth volume of his A Song of Ice and Fire series. Best of all, though, is the beautiful artwork created exclusively for Subterranean Press and included in this collectors edition.
Thankfully, for those of us who are unable to afford these edition, many of the sketches/illustrations can be viewed on artist Marc Fishman’s Facebook page (no Facebook account is required). I’m not a huge fan of his coloured works, but the black and white sketches are absolutely tremendous.
The two-volume limited edition of A Dance with Dragons, which will contain 70 sketches/illustrations, can be purchased through Subterranean Press.