Cover Collection 6: ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS, by Maggie Stiefvater; cover by Eoin Ryan and Christopher
Well! The blog has been quiet for a while. I needed a long hiatus for various reasons to do with life, and writing, and... Life. (Have I mentioned that I don't get paid to write these posts? Because…*clears throat*...time is money, friends. And these posts take time.) I also spent the last 6 weeks planning a kick-ass party for the ENTIRE CANADIAN CHILDREN'S LITERATURE COMMUNITY, which I'll talk more about next time, but first: it's time to bring Cover Collection back. So! Welcome back to Cover Collection, my mostly weekly (I swear, for real this time) blog post in which I talk about book covers that I love and what makes them work for me.
Today we're talking about the cover of Maggie Stiefvater's novel, All the Crooked Saints. It came out last October on the day that, in my opinion, all of publishing's lead titles should come out every year (10/10!), and I have been loving this cover for a whole year and wanting to talk about it with you all FOR A WHOLE YEAR. So gaze upon the wonderment that is this gorgeous, gorgeous cover!
First, let's talk about the composition of this cover: we have Maggie's name at the top in a font that is very clear and easy to read and the letters really stand out, which, I mean, DUH. She's a number one New York Times bestselling author, so her name recognition is going to be the biggest selling point for this book and it makes sense that it would be clear and unobstructed and right at the top. And then we have the title of the book down at the bottom, but in large font. (We're going to talk more about this typeface in the next paragraph because I love love LOVE what they did with it, but for now just notice that the title is big and in all caps and at the bottom.) And then in between Maggie Stiefvater's name and the name of the book we have a line that if you were to divide the cover into thirds, this would be the line between the top third and the middle third. This is where we put the most important elements, and it is where, in a portrait, we put the eyes. Its a SUPER IMPORTANT SPOT. And along that line, we have two elements that are really important to both the plot of the book and the emotional through line of the book: a white owl and a black rose. And we see them against what looks to me like a big orange ball reminiscent of a setting sun, which hints at the novel's setting. It says to me that this is a novel that takes place in the Southwest. I don't know if that's what they intended but that's the effect that it has for me. Side note: I was recently given a black rose, which was super super cool, as a thank you present for organizing the gala that I mentioned before, and being given that black rose immediately brought this book to the front of my mind. A black rose is such a distinctive object that putting it on the cover was a fantastic idea. And the way they put it on the cover, with the stem looping through the text and curving its way up the front of the book... It just ties all of the different elements together in a really striking way.
Okay, so let's talk about the typeface, because WOW. The book designer, Christopher Stengel, took the jacket art by Eoin Ryan and took this novel which is set in the American southwest and he went: let's make the letters look like they're carved or cut out of really weathered, sun-bleached wood, and the result is just gorgeous. It is such a wonderful way to immediately invoke the setting of this novel and the tone of this novel and I think it was a brilliant decision.
Finally, I want to talk about the colors on this cover. I've talked before about red and how the color red draws the eye of the reader and this large sun shape in the upper two-thirds of the cover isn't quite red, but it's a very deep reddish-orange and it really does draw the reader's eyes to it. The name of the author and the title of the book are both in very light colors--Maggie's name is in a light cream color and the title of the book is more of a butter cream color--and so those do attract the eye first because they're bright, but after that the eye really is drawn into the heart of this orangey-red setting sun and it pulls me right in. It also balances out nicely with the sort of pale slate blue that comprises the main background color, and having that background behind these cream and orange colors really makes the foreground pop. The color palette also does some tone-setting work, because that muted, darkened take on blue lets us know that this is a novel that deals with darkness, but having that brighter orange sun there doesn't let us sink so far into the darkness that we feel pulled down.
As I'm sure you can tell, I am completely in love with this cover. It's very clear that the cover designer put a lot of thought into how he could make each element on the cover do more than just one job at a time, and with very few elements he managed to give us just the right amount of story in order to make us want to dive into this book.
Those are my thoughts, but I'm sure I've left something out and I'm sure there are other things we can discuss, so what are your thoughts? Drop them in the comments, and let's continue the conversation!