I am a sucker for a great cover. Not that I haven’t been burned by a great cover too. I have. But I’ve always been interested in how a cover, and often a title too, can set the tone for the targeted audience, both in terms of the age of the audience, as well as gender.
Gender bias in cover art in particular has been a hot topic of late, so I thought I’d take a look at the four different covers for the US, UK and Australian versions of one of my favorite YA Fantasy novels, Eon by Alison Goodman – a story that more than lived up to the high expectations set by the amazing cover – to see if if I would have still picked up the book if the cover had been different.
This is the cover of the book I bought in the US. I love the beautiful visual we get in the this version. To me, this one evokes girl power like no other, while still conveying a thrilling sense of adventure and mysticism.
Then we have two covers in the UK, one clearly aimed at the Young Adult audience. I would argue this one might even tip toward a Middle Grade crowd, and is certainly downplaying the ‘girl power’ theme of the story. Even the subtitle “Rise of the Dragoneye” feels Middle Grade.
The second UK cover is clearly geared more toward a more mature, cross-over audience. The alternate title alone fairly screams ADULT! WOMEN ONLY!
The last cover is the one released in Goodman’s home base of Australia. This feels gender neutral, evokes a feeling of tension and mystery, yet still contains that hint of dragon with the reptilian eyeball and claw clutching the medallion. This is my favorite of the four.
I definitely would have picked up this book based upon the cover art of the US and the Australian versions. I likely would have picked up the UK Adult copy as well, although perhaps with a completely different expectation of the story. If I picked up the UK Young Adult version, it would have been with an eye toward seeing if it was appropriate for my ten year old daughter, who loves dragons and adventure.
Do you have a favorite book whose cover art drew you in? Or changed, for better or worse, over the years?