The Cover Wars

In Warrior Genius, author Michael Dante DiMartino delivers rich settings, memorable characters, and edge-of-your-seat action, just as he did in his hit animated show Avatar: The Last Airbender. Fans will be thrilled with this new adventure!

It has been years since Geniuses—creatures that channel their owners’ creative energy—were banished from Zizzola. But a new generation of artists and their bird-Geniuses has been training in secret. Led by Giacomo, a young orphan with promising talent, they set out to track down the Sacred Tools that could hold the power to overthrow the ruthless emperor, Nerezza.

With paintbrushes flying and artistic force weaponized, the group secured the Compass, but they’ll need all three Tools to take down Nerezza. Traveling to distant Rachana in search of the Straightedge, the young artists are alarmed to find all the warriors’ horse-Geniuses afflicted with a mysterious illness.

The source of the plague is an ancient, dark force that no human can conquer, but Giacomo has learned a surprising truth: he isn’t human. He is a Tulpa, a manmade being created with sacred geometry. Using newfound abilities and the help of great friends, Giacomo will have to fight the battle of his life if he wants to save the Geniuses—and the empire.

Jane: Oooh, this looks exciting! I think the cover will grab kids’ attention with that action. The concept is interesting – creativity being used as a weapon. But that back summary is so long and so complicated, it kind of lost my interest with all that detail. Sometimes less is more!

Yash: I still haven’t read the first book. *cries* I was so excited about it that Raincoast folks just handed Rebel Genius to me at a blogger meet. They could see the star eyes I had for Avatar: The Legend of Aang. I just … somehow … it ended up at the bottom of my TBR list. I am, however, glad that Michael Dante DiMartino is still creating interesting, complex fantasy worlds for new readers to dive into. Someday I’ll get to this series. <3

Janet: Like Jane, my interest flagged with the sheer amount of information in the back. However, I love Avatar: The Last Airbender, so I’ll have to hunt up the first book. Anyone know if this is a trilogy, a series, or ?

Nafiza: I really like the movement in the cover. There are so many things happening at the same time. I feel like the artists may have captured a scene in the book which leads me to be even more interested in what’s happening in the book. I will someday read this series. Someday.

Cram ten hormonal teens into a spaceship and blast off: that’s the premise for the ill-conceived reality show Waste of Space. The kids who are cast know everything about drama—and nothing about the fact that the production is fake. Hidden in a desert warehouse, their spaceship replica is equipped with state-of-the-art special effects dreamed up by the scientists partnering with the shady cable network airing the show. And it’s a hit! Millions of viewers are transfixed. But then, suddenly, all communication is severed. Trapped and paranoid, the kids must figure out what to do when this reality show loses its grip on reality.

Jane: Meh. Not really drawn to this one, which sounds like Lord of the Flies in space with a sort of “oh no, how will those hormonal teens survive without their technology?” storyline. It kind of feels like it’s been done before, just in different settings.

Yash: This looks kind of like a self-published cover. No shame, but if this is a cover made by an established publisher … well, maybe a little shame is in order. And honestly, I would have read this book had it not been for the space element. Wait, I think I did read this. Um, only it had vampires. (Coldest Girl in Coldtown, huzzah!) Weirdly, I can’t help but think that I’d be super into a podcast with this premise. Maybe I will check it out. Even if the cover is kinda clip art-y.

Janet: The cover is, enh, okay. The first few words of the back cover, however, come across as condescending (“hormonal teenagers… know everything about drama – and nothing about [actual facts]”), at least to my ears, which is just weird because teens are the target audience, correct?

Nafiza: The cover doesn’t call to me but I know that Gina Damico writes humour really well. I might try it one day.

Set in a lush, high-fantasy world inspired by ancient Mediterranean cultures, Waters of Salt and Sin is perfect for Game of Thrones and Sabaa Tahir fans.

When seventeen-year-old salt witch Kinneret learns of a lost island of silver, she sets out to find it, raise her status, and finally have a chance to wed Calev, the high-caste friend she secretly loves.

But when a madman enslaves her sister, Kinneret must make a deal with the local ruler: Find the island to secure the ruler’s place in history. In return, the woman’s fighting sailors will rescue Kinneret’s sister.

Using Salt Magic to navigate cursed waters, Kinneret and Calev struggle to hide their taboo, caste-breaking feelings, knowing if the ruler witnesses the attraction, she will cancel the agreement. But when Calev makes a terrible mistake, Kinneret must choose between the life of her only remaining family member and saving the boy she loves from a traitor’s death.

Jane: The setting sounds interesting, but the storyline just doesn’t grab me – boy and girl from different sides of the tracks must overcome society’s disapproval and fight for their love! I also feel like the summary is a bit too spoilery for my liking. Don’t tell me that Calev makes a terrible mistake, I’ll be waiting the whole time for it to happen!

Yash: I’m with Jane–I honestly think we need to do a feature on synopses, instead of covers. Because I quite like the cover. It’s vibrant. The girl’s pose is a little strange, but overall, not a bad cover. The synopsis is not so enticing. Which is not to say the story wouldn’t be great, but we are talking about first impressions here. *shrug*

Janet: Jane and Yash have expressed my initial reactions, too. I’m also put off by the sin part of the title. First, because why are we glamourizing sin? and second because sin in the context of YA usually means lust, and I’m just not interested in reading about that.

Nafiza: I…don’t like the cover. I don’t like the girl’s pose. It looks unnatural and uncomfortable. The back copy is way too spoilery as well. I want summaries to whet my appetite not to give me a slice of the action.

Sydney thinks her mother Amy is the best mom in the world–even if she is a bit . . . different from other kids’ parents. As Amy explains it, when she was a girl she got to 48 inches tall and then stopped growing right there.

It’s the perfect height, in Sydney’s opinion: big enough to reach the ice cream at the supermarket, but small enough to be special. Anyway, Sydney’s big sister Jade is always there to help out with the stuff on the highest shelves. And though Sydney’s dad died when she was only five, she’s never felt alone or that there isn’t enough love to go around.

But when they are forced to move to another neighborhood, things get more difficult for their little family. Sydney and Jade have to get used to different routines, make a whole new set of friends, and deal with the bullies at their new school.

And then there’s the whole business of growing up. But Sydney doesn’t want to grow up–not if it means getting taller than her mom.

Jane: This sounds really interesting – what’s it like when your parents are, for whatever reason, different? How do you navigate life when your family doesn’t look life everyone else’s? I’d be interested to know if this story is based on the author’s own life experience. The cover is really cute.

Yash: NGL, I don’t care for the cover. The style does remind me of Isabelle Arsenault’s style (is it, though??) but I’m kind of Isabelle Arenault-ed out. The synopsis, though. I’m ready for this story. I need this story. I have a feeling I will cry and I’ve accepted that fate. Gimme it.

Janet: What a gripping, pleasing title! The cover is kinda sweet and kinda bold, and the back copy gives exactly enough. I want to read this.

Nafiza: I adore the cover. I like how whimsical it seems. The back copy is so wonderfully written. Yes, I’d like to read this please.

In a forest filled with treacherous beasts, the thing to be most afraid of is closer than you think in this middle grade horror fantasy.

Kestrel, a young huntress, lives in a seemingly endless forest crawling with dangerous beasts. But the most dangerous beasts of all are the Grabbers—beings that are born when you are and stalk you throughout your life, waiting for the perfect moment to snatch and eat you. No one has ever defeated their Grabber once attacked, and those that die from accidents or other creatures are considered “lucky.” Kestrel has been tasked by her mother, a powerful and controlling spell-caster, to hunt down the Grabbers in an effort to protect their village in the forest. Accompanied by Pippit, a hilariously bloodthirsty weasel, she hones her skills as she searches for a way out of the forest–and away from the judgmental villagers who despise her. But her own Grabber is creeping ever closer, and nothing in this forest is what it seems… including her mother’s true motivations.

Jane: Oooooh, I like that tagline! And a bloodthirsty weasel! And middle grade horror fantasy – wow, that’s something we don’t get nearly enough of! Kids are ALWAYS looking for “scary” books, so I can see this definitely being popular.

Yash: Again, I don’t care for the cover, but like, that tagline? AND THE FACT THAT SHE HAS A  BLOODTHIRSTY WEASEL?? Sign me the hell up.

Janet: The tagline makes me laugh in view of that cover. Just because the Grabber (I presume) looks more cuddly than scary. The back copy says more than it needs to – or maybe that’s an optical illusion caused by the lack of paragraph breaks. I’m interested, but I’ll wait for Yash’s review.

Nafiza: The cover is cute! *side eyes Yash* And the back copy is a tad bit too spoilery but the bloodthirsty weasel who I presume will be talking? Yes, let’s do this.