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The Habitation of the Blessed Cover
prester john
catvalente
It's not Ghost Rider, I swear!

I'm SUPER curious about y'all's reaction to this--do you like it, does it make you want to buy it, is it evocative? Opinion me, O Livejournal!


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No.

Blemmeyes. On fire. Riding motorcycles. NOW

Really though it is very lovely.

(Deleted comment)
His jacket is pretty awesome, and he has hands the size of steam shovels. I wouldn't call him boring, personally.

While not Ghost Rider, it does looks like a graphic novel cover to me--which is not a pejorative, except in the sense that this book is not a graphic novel. But something about the composition, the logo-like quality of the title text and the way it overlays the image, and the not-quite-realist art style seems to hint that the same art style will be contained within, Fables or somesuch. Also feels vaguely YA, safe-for-all-ages...a young person on the cover with a book, for young readers who like books...a monkish Harry Potter and his spellbook. Although something about the head does make me want to Photoshop in an earring and call him China....

It's not an art style that I personally like, but I suppose in terms of trying to sell to audiences who don't know your work already, going in a different direction than your past works makes some sense. (And I imagine the publisher is thinking that it's closest in style to the Orphan's Tales jackets, which I imagine were your most commercially successful books.)

That was my exact reaction as well - that it looks like the cover of a graphic novel. Perhaps that effect will be lessened on the physical object, being (I assume) smaller and thicker than the standard graphic novel.

It doesn't set my world on fire, I must confess. Between the title font and the background art, there's a busyness to the cover that makes my eye shy away from it, rather than drawing my eye to it. Your name is something else that automatically draws my eye, and while I don't know how the spine will look, your name just sort of disappears on the cover.

Kind of . . .Mage source book looking? V. different than your usual cover, I don't know that I would think this book was by you . . .

See, now I'm guessing more that it's Kaluta who did that cover.

the dude looks odd.

I think it is his mutant eyebrows.

SOME OF US CAN'T HELP IT!

I think with the font they chose, an even more illuminated manuscript or stained glass style of art is what I'd have gone with. I don't think the cover would sell me if it weren't already an author I know I like.

Nah, the more I stare at it, the less I like it. At least with Ghost Riser you can, well, kind of guess that it's about a guy with a skull on fire who rides around on a motorcycle. If I had to guess for this? I'd say it's a book about a European guy who, idk, hangs around Europe summoning pretty "exotic" ladies from books? Or something? Which, yeah, no.

Your name is really lost up there, the Blessed is WAY out of proportion (I feel like I'm supposed to scan the title as Blessed The Habitation of the). I don't get why it's a Blackletter font, other than maybe a misguided attempt to throw a bit of a manuscript feel on there at the last minute? Hm...

Oh, and it took me a minute to figure out that white thing is something Random Lady is wearing, not some weird hair style that only coems from the back of his head.

Cover aside, I'll still get it, but, yeah.

Edited at 2010-08-18 07:01 pm (UTC)

That's so exciting! And yeah, Prester John does look like China Mieville.

Upon second inspection? This cover is terrible. Really, really terrible. D:

Since I am on the list of people who would buy the book if it had a chick in a glitter-covered chainmail bikini* on the cover, I don't think that cover will make a difference for me one way or the other. However, I admit my immediate reaction is, "Far too many typefaces and styles of art in one small cover."

*I do not approve of chainmail bikinis. Isn't chainmail supposed to protect important body parts?

Edit: Also what lindensphinx said about the people being too European for a Prester John book.

Edited at 2010-08-18 07:04 pm (UTC)

I know. Believe me, I fought. That girl was originally blonde. I wanted a blemmy on the cover. Believe it or not they are both far less white than they were. John is Greek in the book so at least he's sort of plausibly Greekish looking...

It's pretty, but it doesn't grab me. Fortunately I'd buy the book because you wrote it, not because of the cover art. (Which is what I'm guessing the publishers are hoping. That or they've got some ironclad contract with the artist which doesn't allow for revisions, or they have to pay extra for them. Bugger.)

My favorite book covers are simple. One object on a solid background, or some abstract pattern that relates to theme or plot. So this type of cover, regardless of genre, just doesn't do it for me. That's all personal preference, though.

I'd purchase the book regardless of the cover because I trust your skill as a storyteller. Unfortunately, if I were unfamiliar with you as an author, I'd skip over it based on the cover alone. I'm sorry! I wish authors had more influence over the cover art.

Dude really does look like China Mieville, though. His arms should be crossed.

Dude really does look like China Mieville, though. His arms should be crossed.

Win! :D

The artwork is indeed lovely.

However.....when I first look upon it I get the strong impression of "ZOMG look how hard I'm trying to impress you about the AWESOMENESS of this book! *insert kermit flail here*"

The title is distracting and disjointed with the different fonts and layout placement. The artwork, as I mentioned, is stunning but overkill. It looks like the artist was trying too hard. And if the cover artist gives off the vibe of trying too hard, then new readers will assume the author might be too.

My two pennies for what it's worth.


Being 100% honest (and don't hate me for it!) I hate it. It's busy and in general it looks like generic/cheesy "high" fantasy novels from the late 1980s/early 1990s. If I didn't trust you to tell me a great story I doubt I'd pick this one up browsing a shelf. If I bought it with this cover I'd put a brown cover on it if I was going to read it at work or on the bus.

The man's scowl and brows are odd, and his head seems too small for his body. The perspective of the hands is odd. The title font is hard to read and awfully large and crowds the image. In all, it's just not a style of cover to which I would gravitate. (I much prefer stylized images to cartoonish ones.)

That all said, I DO like the big book and I DO like the gold and blue background design. The character portraits are what is really messing this up for me.

Maybe I'm just spoiled from the gorgeous cover of Palimpsest?

Edited at 2010-08-18 07:25 pm (UTC)

in general it looks like generic/cheesy "high" fantasy novels from the late 1980s/early 1990s

That's it. That's the thing I couldn't put my finger on that was bothering me about the cover. I guess it seems rather obvious now. If the publisher is reading this thread, I hope they take that into consideration.

I had kind of a mixed reaction to it. My instant (less than a second glance) reaction was to pass it by. My guess is that it had something to do with the font and font color combination in the title.

Then when I did my double take, looking at it a little more closely, I realized that the art is stunning. Really beautiful, and as a whole it grows on me the more I look at it. I like the mix of shadow and light going on, combined with the brilliant and cool color tones. I would definitely pick it up to read the blurb on the back (or sleeve).

I like the woman in the background; not a fan of the bald guy. I agree with what everyone else said about the font sizes and wishing it where more of a Byzantine/illuminated MS style. However, it's definitely not the end of the world...

Sorry, sweetie ... looks like a low-budget operation threw the cover art together - a local, struggling small press or something and the title font is overwhelming. Very little on the cover peaks my interest.

I hate the font/arrangement of the text. It distracts me so much it took two pages of comments before I cottoned onto the hands being slightly odd. Given that I own a lot of sci-fi from the 70s and 80s with completely absurd, nonsensical covers, the art really doesn't matter so much to me. But that text doesn't scan logically at all. Is there any way you can get them to redo that layout?

I WANT ONE.


p.s. I love the narrator for Palimpsest. She has a great voice.

First off, I do really like the luminosity and I like the (djinn?angel?)'s wings with the night sky woven in. It does have some very nice detail.

I would also dig a more Byzantine font and your name more prominently, but I sure as hell don't violently hate it-I think although there are some really nice details, the artist does need some work on perspective, it's a lovely cover and certainly not at all a shameful one to have on your book--but your name bigger!:)(0)


(0) Including the shifting around of other texts as necessary, et al.

I like the color scheme and general compositon. Now on to the picky arse detailes.

1) Too many fonts. I count four when it should be two, maybe three if required. I am specifically not fond of the fact that the B was not properly scaled - they just blew it up and didn't clean it up. The same pen or brush type would have made them all, thus the horizontal lines are too thick on the B. Sloppy work.

2) While the use of bright white and negative space is nice to see, it doesn't flow well. The "angel" flows right and down, reinforced by the lines of negative space on the right margin. The book creates a V that bisects this motion. The neagtive space on the bottom is just confusing.

I like the compsitional elements... I liketh not the whole.

I like the illustration, but I agree with everyone else who's mentioned how overwhelming the title is. I didn't even see your name when I first looked at it. Far too busy in the top portion. If I'd been designing this cover, I think I would have added more space above the figures' heads.

The first thing I thought when I saw the picture on my friendlist, before reading who posted it, was "RPG sourcebook"

First thing: I feel like the artist used Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as his model. If that guy's supposed to be Greek... um. I personally am not really seeing it. I mean, I like Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, but.

Second thing: the text for "Habitation" and "Blessed" seems really blurry. I'd prefer a sharper look. Personally I'd also drop the "Volume One".

The fact that your name is outside the inner border and Windling's quote is inside throws me a bit. Could they make it two lines and shift the quote outside the border? Or something, IDK. Your name just seems crowded out and like they had to throw it up there to even fit it in the space.

On looking at it, he does have rather large hands, doesn't he.

I like the illumination, and I like winged-chick, but it is way too crowded.

My assumption from the cover would be that he summoned her from the book, in which case I'd probably have preferred a cover where he is reading it and she is emerging from it, but with one of them basically shadowy (either one would be fine). If that's not actually the case...

As for whether I'd buy it... just from the cover, no. If I saw you'd written it, maybe. But there are other books of yours I've yet to read, and I'd probably look for them first, to be honest.

The art is fine (though now that everybody else has mentioned it, the hands are weird), but the title-presentation needs some love, IMHO. It's all "mumblemumbleBLESSEDmumblemumble" The first thing I see on the cover is faux gold-leaf 72-point Ye-Olde-Catholic-Serif font hitting me upside the head with a very heavily charged word. If I didn't know your work already and I just glanced at it on a bookstore shelf, I would think, "Oh brother, some kind of Jesus/rapture thing." (I'm not a marketer, just trying to instrument my own reaction here)

If it was mine to do, I'd flip it around and balance it out. Like:

A Dirge for Prester John, Volume 1:
The Habitation
of the Blessed

(and give "habitation" the same weight as "blessed")

This too, regarding smacked-upside-the-noggin-with-religion.

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