what were YA thinkin? — bloodlines

It’s a thin line between love and hate.

Oh who am I (and The Persuaders) kidding, there is no thin line, especially in the sad, sad case of terrible YA covers. In such cases, it’s a thin line between “Oh my goodness, I hate this cover” and “Oh my goodness, I hate this one even more.”

And in this particular case, my lovely guest Shanna has stopped by TCG to beg this feature’s question:

Alright. It’s no secret that YA covers are more often ugly than they are pretty. Occasionally, you’ll get some wonderful gems, like the covers for the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness (OMG I love you Todd and Viola and Manchee). Those covers? Awesome.

But unfortunately, this is not the norm. Instead, we get saddled with highly embarrassing, cringe-worthy disasters, such as every single book in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. Six books, six horrible covers. I mean, it was almost like each book was trying to out-ugly the last one.

They’re just so…bad, what with the Angelina Jolie look-alike and the awkward sexy poses. So when I found out that Richelle Mead was doing a spin-off series of VA called Bloodlines, I was immediately curious about how the first cover would turn out. Surely it couldn’t be any worse than any of the VA covers, right?


Look at this mess. JUST LOOK AT IT. I don’t even know where to begin. First of all, the font used for the title paired with the thorned rose motif just makes me think of a really bad tattoo parlor. It’s practically begging you to throw on your leather chaps and Harley Davidson T-shirt and take to the open road on your hog (preferably with a sidecar, because 1) who doesn’t want to ride in a sidecar, and 2) Darkwing Duck had one). It reminds me of this one time when I was a sophomore in high school and a senior girl came back from her senior trip with a tramp stamp rose tattoo. It was incredibly tacky and embarrassing, and I’m almost positive she regretted it about a week later. I wonder if publishers feel the same remorse after they decide on a cover….

As for the golden lily photoshopped onto Sydney’s face…ew. I’m almost positive that Capillya has already made a post discussing the unfortunate trend of photoshopping a random accessory or tattoo onto a person on a book cover. This thing on her face is an excellent example of how bad it looks. Ya know what they could have done to prevent this problem? THEY COULD HAVE NOT PUT REAL PEOPLE ON THE COVER. It totally robs the reader of the right to imagine the characters however they please. Or to cast their own actors and actresses in the roles, which is what I tend to do (and I blame this fun little habit on Forever Young Adult). I’m sorry, but those two on the cover do NOT look like Emma Watson and Ian Somerhalder to me, because that’s who should be cast as Sydney and Adrian, obvs. Instead of leaving me to my own devices and letting me blissfully envision Emma and Ian fight evil vampires and inevitably fall in deep, dirty love, this cover has spoiled my glorious imagination. *sigh*

I think I’ve hit all the high points (er…low points?) of this fug-tastic cover. This book was a chance at sweet redemption from the Vampire Academy covers, and it totally failed. Maybe one day…ONE DAY…Richelle Mead will be lucky enough to have a decent book cover. But today, unfortunately, just ain’t that day.

Five hundred high-fives to Shanna for guest posting! If you need more Shanna in your life (and you’re not as lucky as I am to live a measly 10 miles away from her and be a part of our fantastic book club), I suggest you get thee to following her on Twitter or check out her Tumblr.

25 thoughts on “what were YA thinkin? — bloodlines

  1. I totally agree with Shanna about the VA covers!! I HATE them. And what makes them even more awkward is they don’t portray the story, at all. I spent way too much time trying to figure out who the hell was on the cover of each book because either their hair color didn’t match up, or they looked about 30 years old!! (when they’re meant to be 16?) Ugh. Not a fan of these covers, at all.

    The god awful tattoo font thingy on Bloodlines is just as bad. Seriously?!

  2. Is it me or does the guy on the cover of Shadowkiss look like a 30 year old creeper?

    When I first saw these covers, I didn’t immediately think “ugly” I thought “Wow, awkward.” All the weird body twisting and facial expressions is so unnatural.

    And speaking of unnatural, you know why photoshopped tattoos never look right? It’s because they don’t bend. Like, with the contours of the face (or arm, or whatever is stamped.) The only one I’ve ever liked was on the cover of The Iron Witch.

    • Sometimes I wish that tattoos could be done prior to post work. You know, like on the photo shoot? And while I understand that might not be a cost-efficient option, it’d definitely be a good way to make them look right on a cover.

  3. HA, hilarious post!

    The VA covers never bothered me too much, but then again, I don’t read that particular series. I would love to see more books with abstract covers. My favorites are the simple white covers with one object that has to do with the book as the focal point. And for GOD’S SAKE, don’t get all cheap with the font! I don’t get the obsession with needed real people on the covers anymore. It works with some books (e.g. Wicked Lovely, et al.) but with others, I don’t see the point.

    I try not to judge books by their covers, but sometimes, that’s what’ll be the thing to draw me to the books or turn me away from them.

  4. I have nothing to add to that. I hate it that almost every YA cover features some model who is supposed to look like the protagonist. It looks stupid and it makes me look stupid for reading the book in public.

  5. She is so right. About all of it. OUT-UGLYING APLENTY.
    But dammit hell, those books are good.

    • Oh, they’re so good. I made 4 girls at work read them, and they all loved them, too. I mean, it doesn’t get much better than Dimitri.

  6. I LOVE the VA books, but I didn’t spend any time looking at the covers. Like G said, I couldn’t figure out who was who and it ruiuned my imagination of what *I* thought the characters looked like. I found that if I pretended the books were coverless I had a much more enjoyable read, because, well, I have a very active imagination. I can picture smokin’ hot, drool-worthy guys all by myself. The covers hinder my abilities which is why I have only glanced at the Bloodlines cover. Ingorance is bliss, and I will happily ignore the cover now and forever.

    PS I can’t wait to read the book though! I love her books and her stories! And this one will have more Adrian *dies*. Okay, I’m finished.

  7. I like the UK covers for the Chaos Walking Trilogy more than the US covers, I’m not even sure why. But I have to agree with everything that you said about the VA covers – I have no idea what’s going on in those. I prefer not to have real people in covers as well because I can imagine what the characters look like on my own.

  8. I also thought bad tattoo for for the Bloodlines cover! And I also don’t like the Vamp Academy covers either! Great post!

  9. Firstly, isn’t Chaos Walking fabulous? I love the US covers but also adore the UK covers – they are more graphic than pictorial but still awesome. Secondly, yes the VA covers are an embarrassment. I wouldn’t read them in public and the cover for Bloodlines is actually even worse. Here in the UK they’ve reprinted (or started to reprint) the VA series with lovely red covers – no creepy models and random pieces of ironwork. They are really nice – sadly, I don’t have the means to replace my copies with new ones and will have to resign myself to only ever reading VA where no-one can actually see me.

    • Chaos Walking is incredible. Dare I say…even better than The Hunger Games? I know them’s fightin’ words, but Chaos Walking really, really stuck with me. I’m pretty sure my heart was beating extra fast the entire time I was reading. SO MUCH happens. Also, The Knife of Never Letting Go literally had me sobbing in my living room for 15 minutes straight. I COULDN’T STOP CRYING. And the way the series is written, with Todd’s terrible spelling and grammar…oh, I loved it.

      I agree with you about not wanting to read these books in public. The Bloodlines cover alone might be enough to make me buy a Kindle.

  10. I haven’t read the VA books but I probably wouldn’t pick them up based on the covers. Or Bloodlines for that matter. I’m with you – I much prefer book covers that don’t have real people on them.

  11. I totally agree about the VA series, although the last three were a smidge better than the first three. And yeah, I am not a fan of tramp-stampy rose tattoos on faces – blegh!

    PS – Thank you for incorporating Darkwing Duck into this -LOVE!

  12. Whew! When the Bloodlines cover was revealed all I saw was blogger love and all I wanted to do was gag. The temporary cover with just the title was better than this…thing. It completely turns me off from the book.

  13. YES CHAOS WALKING TODDVIOLAMANCHEE (I wish there was a way to make these words a lot bigger)
    And yes, the VA are terrible, and the Bloodlines is worse! Too bad, because I really like the series!


    THANK YOU. More people need to say this. They need to say it all the time.

    Also it’s great to see some Patrick Ness recommending on here! It doesn’t happen nearly often enough, in my opinion.

  15. Oh dear god, why? They’re not as bad as the covers for Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries, but still…

    I think some of the worst covers I’ve seen lately are the new re-designed covers for the Harry Potter series.

  16. YES YES YES YES YES. The Bloodlines cover came out right after I finished a Photoshop unit in my computer class and I hated it from first sight. The contrast between the background and the models is so ugly it kills me, and that background only washes out the poor model. I like covers that look natural and this one is just so… ugh. I very rarely cover critique because it’s a new thing for me, but I went off on this one.

    My love for VA is a strange one. I recognize what’s wrong with it and hate the last two books expecially, but I love the series as a whole. I guess it’s because the series did so much for me that I can’t hate it. Despite that, I’m not going for the spin-off unless my mother (a much bigger VA fan than I am right now) really, really wants it.

    (And I know, late comment–I got here through an interview on Steph Su Reads and I decided to look through the archives.)

  17. Question: Have you even READ the books? Because if you read the books, fell in love with the story and the characters, bottom line if you love the book and the story, what does the cover even matter? It’s just the casing for the story, it’s the shell for the turtle. So I ask you- what does the cover matter? Sure, it grabs the reader’s attention first but the BOOK is more than just a cover afterall.

  18. hey do u noe who is adrian’s mode on the bloodlines cove and plz dont say NIC..thanx xoxoxo

  19. hey do u noe who is adrian’s model on the bloodlines cover and plz dont say its NIC..thanx xoxoxo

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