This month, I read 4 books. I seem to mantain the pace of 1 book per week.
Mirage by Somaiya Daud
★★★☆☆ // 2.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads review: here
Mirage has a lot of heart to offer. Unfortunately, the writing heavily skews toward telling over showing.
This is too easy for me. I’m a visually-inclined person, so it’s always fun to talk about goregous cover designs and now I have the excuse to do so.
1. The Girl King – Mimi Yu
Expected release date January 2019.
Blurb from Goodreads: “Two sisters become unwitting rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor in this sweeping tale of ambition, sacrifice and betrayal…”
Girls vying to be empress after their dad screws them over for succession?! R00d. The last surviving wolf shapeshifer?! Sounds like Sirius the Jaeger! After my summer of self discovery, it turns out I have an affinity for canine-themed characters (don’t @ me with furry jokes).
I fell in love with this cover the moment I saw it. First, dat ponytail representation. YA covers have been upping their game and I’m glad more and more stories featuring POC are getting the covers they deserve – like… covers that are accurate to the book’s protags. Hopefully this is here to stay, rather than an ephemeral plea to the YA market gods. I’m fatalistically optimistic!
The Girl King’s cover is again another example where my C-drama nostalgia mode activates. Does this not reminds you of the 90’s Sun Wu Kong C-drama outfit and pose?! If the cover artist had this in mind, I instantly recognized it. If it’s a coincidence, then you still got me in your clutches.
2. Descendent of the Crane – Joan He
Expected release: April 2019.
Blurb from Goodreads: “Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.”
We’re back with more fantasy Asian princesses and their outcast allies! Just kidding, I never left this zone. I’m a permanent resident of this zone.
Joan He spoke about her book’s cover here: https://www.hypable.com/descendant-of-the-crane-cover-reveal/
I always appreciate when heavy symbolism is incorporated into a cover design. The artist, Feifei Ruan, has an amazing portfolio and is the same artist who drew the cover for the Asian fairytale retelling anthology, A Thousand Beginnings and Endings.
3. Mirage – Somaiya Daud
Blurb: “In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon. But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.”
I haven’t had the chance to read Mirage yet, as it is a recent release and I have a large backlog to get through before I can even hope to start it. The warm purple of the cover is in synergy with the gold accents. After careful consideration, I actually prefer the US (purple) cover to the UK (teal) cover this time around. Billelis has done countless illustrations for YA book covers in recent memory. You will undoubtedly have come across on of their covers before if you’ve been keeping up with the recent new YA releases.
4. The Serpent’s Secret – Sayantani Dasgupta
Blurb from cover reveal: “The Serpent’s Secret tells the story of interdimensional demon slayer Kiranmala Desi, a girl who thinks she is just a regular sixth grader from Parsippany, New Jersey. That is, until the morning of her 12th birthday, when her parents mysteriously vanish and a drooling rakkhosh demon crashes into her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. Turns out there might be some truth to her parents’ wacky stories, and that she might be a real Indian princess destined to fight demons and serpents and all the other evil in the multiverse!”
How could I not include The Serpent’s Secret on a list of bomb-ass covers? Props always to Vivienne To for illustrating this cover! Archery Moon Serpent Princesses with teal backgrounds (and a sassy bird!) is a combination that is wayyyy too specific, and it just happens to be the combination that checks every one of my boxes. This is literally perfection.
5. Bright We Burn – Kiersten White
Blurb: “Claim the throne. Demand the crown. Rule the world.”
^^^ That’s not actually what happened in this book/series but ok.
I don’t have an excuse for this. Pomegranate is one of my favorite fruits. My favorite part about the Conquerer’s Saga is actually the covers, and I have no shame in admitting that. All three of the US covers are stunning. I prefer BWB only a little over And I Darken’s cover, though all three are definitely cover-porn status.