cover love she said/she said: across the universe paperback redesign

Yep, you read the post’s title right. A joint post! Nearly two weeks ago, my friend Shanna tweeted to me about the redesign for AtU’s US paperback. As someone who generally liked the original US hardcover artwork, I was pleased at the facelift. Not pleased in a “let me sip my tea daintily and wink at the preciousness of this lovely new design” way but more like a “why yes I’ll take every one of those paperback covers and plaster them all over my new office wall, of course” way. And yes, I know it’s unfortunate that the redesign comes with the last book in the trilogy. This probably works the nerves of those who’ve purchased the previous two hardcovers as well as frustrates those who have to order mismatched sets for their collection. But like always, this blog post tag is about cover-lovin, and we certainly have come to love on these covers.

Without further adieu, the lovely Shanna:

Y’all. I know my role as occasional-guest-poster is usually relegated to snarking on horrible, embarrassing book covers, but alas, this is not one of those posts. Instead, I have stumbled across three book covers that practically had me swooning at my desk, that’s how much I loved them. Now, there are many book covers that I love. The “Graceling” trilogy by Kristin Cashore, for example, and the “Chaos Walking” trilogy by Patrick Ness. But honestly, I think these new covers might be my FAVORITE COVERS OF ALL TIME. AND I HAVE NOT EVEN READ THE BOOKS.

Of which books am I speaking? Oh, just a little trilogy called “Across the Universe” by Beth Revis. The first book, Across the Universe, has been on my to-read list for at least a year, maybe longer. Now I love young adult. And I love science fiction. So of course I’d probably be totally into that shiz, but for one reason or another, I just haven’t gotten around to reading it. However, once I saw the new covers for the paperback release, this series immediately shot up on my priority list. And that, my friends, is why it pays to have a great cover. After all, whether you admit it or not, every single one of us judges a book by its cover, at least initially.

So let me break down these covers for you and talk about what makes them so excellent. Keep in mind, I have never read these books, so the only thing I know is that basically they’re on a spaceship? And the future of the human race probably threatened somehow? That is literally all I know.

So, let’s get to it.

Book 1: Across the Universe

Shanna: Man. This cover is pretty, sexy, stylish, sleek, and…cold. Just looking at it makes me want to go grab my Snuggie. Right away, you know that the silver riveted metal is a spaceship, obviously in deep space somewhere, what with the metal being almost completely iced over. So I immediately have a basic feel for the setting of the book: They’re on a spaceship in deep space. But the cover also implies a sense of uncertainty, which I can only imagine is one of the themes of the book.

TCG: Why hello there, print ad for winterchill gum. Like Shanna, I really dig the rivets and the fact that we’re looking at the outside of a spaceship. With this artwork leading the pack, I appreciate the sci-fi appeal, and I’m already comparing it to Star Trek in my brain. The A and U in the title blend nicely together, and the bevel is slick, not 1995 Word Art silly. The only thing that nags at me is the italicized “verse.”

Book 2: A Million Suns

Shanna: I know absolutely zero things about this book because 1) I haven’t read the first book, and 2) I absolutely do not read book synopses if I haven’t read the previous books. But while the first book made me want to curl up in front of the fire, this one makes me want to jump in a swimming pool. The shades of orange, red, and yellow bring to mind fire and starlight and sun. Not only that, but you can see that the ice from the previous book cover has melted, and has left water tracks and droplets on the ship’s hull. So, putting two and two together, I’m guessing they were in a spaceship, unsure of where they were going or what was going to happen, but now they have discovered a solar system of some kind that has…A MILLION SUNS?! I don’t know. 

TCG: This is hands-down my favorite of the three. It’s all about the color, the weathered look, and that title. Can’t wait to see what this one looks like in final print.

Book 3: Shades of Earth

Shanna: Again, I know absolutely nothing about the plot of this book. But you know what I bet happens? I bet they landed on a viable a planet of some sort. You know how I know? BECAUSE PLANTS. The cover is teeming with leaves, vines, and mossy stuff. I can just imagine a spaceship crash landing in rainforest, rich with organisms and life. Is that what happens? Don’t tell me. Like the first two covers, this one provides a basic sense of what might be going on.

TCG: Green is one of those tricky colors that’s never really been popular enough to dominate a cover, but this overgrown lushy thing obviously didn’t get that memo. The blue, red and green color palette does feel a little Wolves of Mercy Falls-ish, but then again, that’s a fantastic series of covers, too.

When you put all three of these amazing covers together, they pretty much tell a story all by themselves. I mean, I’ve pretty much got this whole thing figured out: So, a group of people embarks upon a mission to save the human race by traveling to distant galaxies, right? But wait! A problem occurs, and the very future of humankind is at risk! Will they make it to a suitable planet? YES! They do! Finally! Surely there will be no more problems, then? Oh, that’s just what you think, but you would be wrong. Now that they’ve found a new place to live, a whole crop of new problems confront the weary space travelers! Now they must recall the true meaning of their quest and work together in order to guarantee the survival of the human race. The end.

Problems! Quests! Plants! Risky human kind! More problems! Yes, I can see all of those things.

Alright, so I don’t know if that’s what actually happens, but that’s the story I have created in my head based solely on the covers. Have you ever been able to look at a series of covers and piece together a probable plotline just by the designs? Me neither. That’s why I am so impressed with these. I am a devout Kindle lover, and I rarely buy physical copies of books anymore, but I might have to make an exception for this trilogy. I mean, they’d look pretty gorgeous on my bookshelf, am I right? 

January’s gonna be a great month for picking up all three of these, that’s for sure. I’m still a physical book buyer (but iPad-lover) and I’m definitely going to be giving this series a try, redesigned covers or not. What about you, dear reader? How do you feel about the redesigned covers? Were you a fan of the originals or do you prefer the paperback artwork? Sound off in the comments, but no spoilers please!

11 thoughts on “cover love she said/she said: across the universe paperback redesign

  1. To be honest, I don’t like these very much…I much prefer the originals. I loved the cover of Across the Universe (which I’ve read and enjoyed) and liked the cover of A Million Suns (which I own but haven’t got around to reading yet!). I loved the starry backgrounds on the original hardcovers. The previous designs would have made me pick up the book…actually, I’m not a sci-fi person so the cover of AtU was a big factor in making me read it. But honestly I would probably overlook these covers on a bookshelf!

    And I am a bit obsessive so it does bother me that my set will be mismatched when I order the last book. =) Oh, well. I guess I’m learning to get over that. {Recently I broke down and bought the rest of Shannon Hale’s Books of Bayern series after months of resisting because I wanted the original pretty illustrated covers instead of the ugly redone ones, but was unwilling to pay twice as much for them.} Still, I wish they would at least make a matching cover for the final book available, even if it cost a bit more.


    • Thanks for your comment, Kristin. It’d be interesting to find out why the change happened after the first two books. Was the pub looking to market to a different audience? Who knows (I certainly don’t).

      Btw, I’m with you on the Books of Bayern series. The illustrated covers are much, much better!

  2. I’m glad I’m not the only one who likes these covers, especially since you guys are the ones who like them. :) I find these much more attractive than the glossy first edition ones, though those weren’t bad. It reminds me of old-school sci fi, and I like that. Plus they aren’t marred by models.

  3. I still dont know why they have changed the covers! The first ones were some of my favorites ever, and then they ruined it… I really don’t like these new ones :(

  4. this is amazing what your doing here and i have to say im a huge fan. i was so thrilled when i got the forsaken at the book store but couldnt share how excited i was about the cover with anyone.then when i was looking up who did it on google and it lead me here? well lets just say i spent like the next two hours. its so exciting when others like the covers like i do. i got the books awaken, struts and frets and the forsaken. there was a couple of others that i thought that you might want to look at and see what you think. if you dont like them thats okay but mabey there worth a second look.
    tigers curse by colleen houck
    all of the beautiful creatures series by garcial/stohl
    fell by clement davis
    (and im sure youve already seen these but mabey there worth a second look) the imortal instruments and the clockwork angel series by classandra clare

    others that arnt as good but still okay are
    beka cooper by tamora pierce
    scorpio races by maggie stiefwater
    and if you want a book that uses a dr. sues like vocab with stunning realistctaly. the edge chronicles. they have a very good pen and ink drawer and every five pages or so there is a small drawing adding something to the book that you dont see many other places

    • The Edge Chronicles? I hadn’t heard of that one, but I definitely agree with a lot of the cover art you mentioned here. Great picks, Shelby!

    • Okay, just looked ‘em up. Those are fantastic, I need to look for them next time when I’m out to the library or bookstore, for sure.

  5. Hmmmm. I’m not totally convinced. I think these might be the breed of book covers that you really have to see in the flesh. A Million Suns is definitely my favorite cover of the bunch – the color is so warm and I love the drips and drops and having the opportunity to say drips and drops.

  6. I actually do not like these as well as the original covers, BUT I will say that I think these have more guy appeal than the original covers, so maybe that’s what they’re trying to do? I guess one thing I don’t like about the new covers is the font… somehow it makes me think of old-school (like 1980s) sci-fi and they just seem kind of generic to me.

  7. I know so many people don’t like the new covers but when you guys put it like this, the new covers a. make sense and b. work together so well c. are clever!

    I have book 1 (old cover) to read and I can’t wait :)

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