Book Talks | Judging A Book By Its Cover


We all know the good old adage, “Never judge a book by its cover.” But do we really listen? Now let me be straight, I am not the type of reader who needs all of their book covers to match, who will go out and buy a new copy of every book in the series when one book has a cover change. But as an artist, and one whose work centers around books, yeah covers are important to me.

Because I am an artist I see all of the work that went into a beautiful cover and see it not just for the beauty it gives, but for the messages the art is trying to convey, which can be major things such as important themes, messages, motifs, symbols, characters, settings, the list goes on and on and on. A good cover portrays these things. A bad cover..well, not so much.

So this week social media blew up over the cover changes happening to The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski. Now cover changes, while I may not like some of them, I can accept to some degree. Maybe a certain artist could no longer work on that job, right? But the reason social media blew up ties into what I was talking about above. The covers of The Winner’s Trilogy were being changed to make Kestrel (the main character and presumably the woman on all of the covers) look more “badass.”

The Problem: Kestrel already looked “badass,” she just looked “badass” in her way, which happens to involve more ballgowns and betrayals, politics and strategy than it does assassinations and violence and brute strength. And the original covers portrayed that, while these new covers (which have been shown to be pretty similar to the Throne of Glass series) try to portray her as a sword-wielding warrior woman. And that’s not how fans see her.

I can appreciate a new marketing strategy, but I feel in this debate, I have to side with fans. If the cover doesn’t portray something true to the story and it’s characters, then what’s the point?

Anyway, these are just my thoughts on covers, cover changes, and how we see books based on their covers. Please comment and leave your thoughts on covers, cover changes, judging a book by its cover, and the whole Winner’s Trilogy situation.

‘Til Next Time!


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Lila is a 27-year-old college student studying physics and a lover of literature. When she's not busy reading or saving the world through science, Lila can be found singing jazz and blues and obsessing over hedgehogs (a.k.a. the cutest animals in the multiverse!)

2 thoughts on “Book Talks | Judging A Book By Its Cover

  1. I haven’t read this series yet, but I totally agree with you, Lila. #1, I love the original covers. #2, The new covers are totally derivative of Throne of Glass covers, which diminishes the Winner’s Curse brand. #3, the covers really should be true to the story and characters. I understand exaggerating a cover to push more books, but to give a false impression (in this case, that the main character is leather-garbed assassin) is so annoying!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I get it that Kestrel probably isn’t going to have a lot of time to where ball gowns in the 3rd book. That makes sense, so that change I understand. But I do not like that they make her look like a kick-butt action type which is not what her character is.

    Liked by 1 person

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