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Wow, it’s been a really long time since I spread some serious cover love here. This is about to be remedied.

Because not only do I have some cover love for you, but I’m happy to announce that the aforementioned cover love revolves around some brotherly love, too!

And that’s a lot of love.


Ahh. I remember like it was yesterday. (Actually, more like a few days ago because that’s when it actually happened.) I was trying to catch up on two months of blog-reading, and I happened upon Lenore Appelhans’ Cover Story for T. Michael Martin’s The End Games. My first thought about its artwork was: “Whoa.” And then: “Hmmm…reminds me a little of Big Fish, sprinkled in with some illustration from A Monster Calls, and maybe with a healthy serving of that scary nervousness that the Chaos Walking series evokes.” And then my third thought, selfishly: “Oh please be a YA cover so I can rave about it on my own blog, too.”

I have several other thoughts about it as well.

You see, it’s covers like these that just make me want to high five everyone who was involved in its process — from the author’s story behind that image to the editor’s input to the publisher for believing it doesn’t have to fit within a certain mold, and certainly to its designer (Jon Smith). Yes, I’d like to high five this team that brought it to life and proclaimed that its artwork deserved to tell its own unique story, the one that welcomes a reader to discover the words underneath its jacket and at its heart.

I’ve missed waxing poetic about great YA cover art.

I’ll throw more words out there about how I love the balance between each distinct level of space that’s on display — from Martin’s name at the top, to the spindly title that stretches across, front and center. I love the fact that the artwork utilizes every bit of space to amplify the scope of our young protagonists’ environment, their shadows stretching before the daunting red hell that awaits them.

Here’s the jacket copy, pulled from Mike Martin’s blog:

It happened on Halloween. 

The world ended. 

And a dangerous Game brought it back to life.

Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same.

I’m not sure about you, but I’m a big fan of “brothers” stories. In fact, last Friday night I watched over two hours of one of the best brothers stories I’ve ever seen in my life, Warrior. I’d include a GIF of a scene from the movie but everything seemed pretty spoilery, so I guess the next best thing is to show you Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton shirtless the poster:


If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know what I mean when I say this is a brothers story. It’s about the mess of life you go through to survive, the circumstances you can and cannot control, and I felt like every single relationship in this movie was genuinely real and raw. It even made me cry ugly tears (twice), which doesn’t happen very often.

After reading Martin’s inspiration for writing his novel, I have a feeling it’s going to be the same with The End Games. Hurry up, May 2013. And bring on the ugly tears.

Bryan Williams