#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books Covers

Happy Sunday and welcome to the last Six for Sunday before returning to the scheduled prompts by Steph from A Little but a Lot! This week I decided to head back to the bookish prompts and picked an older prompt that I hadn’t done before, this one is Book Covers! Although I do agree with the age old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” I’m insanely guilty of doing just this. A cover is often the first thing we see and even if not on purpose we tend to form an opinion at that moment even if it isn’t always a deciding factor. For me personally, a cover will usually draw me in, I’ll then check out the synopsis and if I’m still interested I tend to read the first page where possible or if online I check out spoiler-free reviews. Although no the be all and end all sign of a good book I do love a good cover and now you can check out six of my all time favourites.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
This cover is one of the most gorgeous things I’ve ever seen, Laurens books have such beautiful covers and for me, this is the book that started it all.

Vicious (Special collectors edition) by V.E Schwab
I held up from starting this series because I wanted this version so badly. It’s beautiful, features a built-in fabric bookmark, foiling under the dust jacket and is that perfect smaller hardback size that I adore. Not to mention that the art on the cover itself is a reference to Victor and his habit of defacing books, I love that if you look at it one way its just lines made with marker pens but at the right angle they are bones.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I don’t think I know anyone out there who doesn’t love this cover or the sought after blue sprayed edges. The gold foiling and detail on the moth are astounding but for me, it’s the gorgeous galaxy like blue with what looks like stars and constellations running through them, it looks truly magical.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Screenplay by J.K Rowling
I adore a lot of Mina Lima’s graphic design work for the Harry Potter films and the artwork for the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Screenplay is no exception. There are so many little hidden details and flourishes over this cover it really draws you in while also capturing the style of the era well at the same time.

Lady Midnight (Waterstones special edition) by Cassandra Clare
Another harder to find one and although Waterstones have done special edition covers like this one for the rest of the Dark Artifices series and now the Red scrolls of Magic series too this first one will always be my favourite. The colour is a lovely shade of blue and the gold foil angelic runes are perfection.

Caraval by Stephanie Meyer
I love so many different aspects of Caraval. The shiny gold foiling (this seems to be a running theme with my favourites I’ve noticed) of the starburst kind of effect around the book title is eye-catching all on its own but pair it with the spine spilt into half black and half white and then the different hidden cover editions we got in the UK where under the dust jacket you would find one of a few different gold illustrations was just the icing on the top of the cake.

Do you have any particular book covers you like? Do you have anything that endears a cover to you like my (apparent) obsession with gold foiling? Tell me all about it!

 

book reviews, spoiler free

Firefly: The Magnificent Nine

38486256Firefly: The Magnificent Nine

Rating: XXXX

Published: March 19th by Titan Books

“This was without a doubt the dumbest, insanest, reckless-est plan he had come up with, in a life marked by no lack of such plans.”

An old flame of Jayne Cobb’s, Temperance McCloud, sends a message to Serenity, begging him for help. She lives on the arid, far-flung world of Tethys, and bandits are trying to overrun her town to gain control of their water supply: the only thing standing between its people and dustbowl ruin. Jayne tries to persuade the Serenity crew to join the fight, but it is only when he offers Vera, his favourite gun, as collateral that Mal realises he’s serious.

When the Serenity crew land at a hardscrabble desert outpost called Coogan’s Bluff, they discover two things: an outlaw gang with an almost fanatical devotion to their leader who will stop at nothing to get what they want, and that Temperance is singlehandedly raising a teenage daughter, born less than a year after Temperance and Jayne broke up. A daughter by the name of Jane McCloud…

I was gifted an early finished copy from the lovely team at Titan books in exchange for an honest review, as a big Firefly fan, I absolutely jumped at the chance. This is the second tie in novel to the Firefly franchise but acts easily as a stand-alone.

For those who haven’t heard of Firefly before, (and it’s scary how many people that probably includes nowadays as it was originally broadcast back in 2002, seventeen years ago which feels crazy.) It was a TV show set in 2517 after humans have branched out into a new star system and follows a group of renegades, some of whom fought for the losing side in a system-wide civil war, turned crewmates aboard a Firefly class ship called Serenity. It was originally pitched as “nine people looking into the blackness of space and seeing nine different things.” In Whedon’s vision, “nothing will change in the future: technology will advance, but we will still have the same political, moral, and ethical problems as today.” Although the creator Joss Wheadon had planned for it to run for seven years, it barely lasted one season due to poor ratings but still lived on in the hearts and minds of it’s fans (or Browncoats as they are often referred to) for years to come, going so far as to petition for a continuation of the series which sadly failed. DVD sales of the singular season, however, were strong and the show even won a Primetime Emmy award. Thanks to its late success Wheadon and Universal pictures produced a feature-length film “Serenity” in 2005 to continue the series and it has since continued on via various comic series. The events that occur in this book, “The Magnificent Nine” take place between the end of the TV show and the film.

Whoever works on designing the looks of the books at Titan is amazing, this is another gorgeous book. The fantastic artwork on the front of the dust jacket is textured with the series title “Firefly” and the silhouette of the ship itself in a smooth foiling. The back of the dust jacket is simple but perfect with some Chinese kanji and a beautiful description of the ship Serenity, including the quote “She was the very picture of Serenity. From the outside at least.” The actual book itself is a perfectly matched Brown (a great nod to the Browncoats perhaps?) and an addition that is fast becoming my favourite thing to be included in hardbacks, a built-in ribbon bookmark.

The first thing that really pulled me into The Magnificent nine was the use of language. The original show has such a distinctive language style in many ways that are all brought over brilliantly into the written word with this book, from the phrasing in general, words that are unique to the Firefly ‘verse and the inclusion of the sprinkled Chinese phrases just like in the show. This made it easy to fall back into the already established fictional universe of the Firefly franchise and gave a sense of returning home as soon as I read the first few pages.

I really felt that James has also captured the individual rhythms and voices of the characters in a way that not only pays homage to the way they’re portrayed by the actors on the show but also gives us a unique insight into the inner workings of each character. Jayne, in particular, shone in this book, as a character who can often be misconstrued as selfish, unintelligent and trigger happy we really got a good look inside his head and although he can be a little of all three of those things it was refreshing to see another side of him swallowing his pride, protecting others and acknowledging that at times he can rush into things but when things are important he takes the time to think his actions through, even if they are often still part of a terrible idea, that’s just Jayne and we love him for it.

 

The plot moves at a good pace with a few little lulls here and there but it reads like a two-part episode. The fast-paced action scenes are easy to follow and visualise without being too repetitive, James seems to have a gift for making each altercation feel fresh. There are some great twists and turns throughout and although by the time most of them happened I had them figured out so they weren’t a huge surprise, they were interesting and well thought out with some great foreshadowing, again this is in line with a lot of the episodic storylines from the show. Even with some of the reveals feeling obvious however there are some surprising moments and there are plenty of tension-filled scenes where you’re not quite sure what could happen next. I loved the introduction of new supporting characters and especially River’s interactions with Jane. I’ve always found River to be a remarkably interesting character and this book is no exception, seeing her interact with a girl reasonably close to her age was heartwarming and fun. Not to mention Jane is a firecracker of a character and brilliant in her own right.

James Lovegrove has done an amazing job bringing the Firefly universe to the page with “The Magnificent Nine,” the characters leap off the page and the story pulls you in like a Jen mei nai-shing duh fwo-tzoo (extraordinarily impatient buddha). Keep your eyes peeled for a Q&A with the man himself coming soon!

A third tie in novel by the name of Generations is due in October this year and will be penned by Tim Lebbon.