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When I sit down to write my Cover Love posts, I normally have one cover in mind, ready to fawn all over it criticize it respectfully. It’s rare that I dish out cover love to two pieces of cover art that remind me…of each other.


I’ve had my eye on Stracher’s The Water Wars for some time now. I’ve picked it up in my bookstore, flipped through its pages, and even with my slightly waning hate for faces on covers, this one has always drawn me in. 

There’s something about photography-based covers that always make me look a little closer and stare a little longer. On the one hand, photography presumably gives us a snapshot of real life, or our perception of real life. It’s easy to question the physics of the composition within cover art. But 2011′s photography makes us second guess and assume that everything’s been retouched and smoothed over. It’s easy to assume that an artist who isn’t blatantly creating a heavily edited comp is a liar.

Then you’ve got covers like The Water Wars and The Pearl Wars that flaunt the fact that they’re not out to tell any kind of realistic truth. When I see The Water Wars’ cover, I don’t believe that it’s a story about people crying buckets of angry tears all over each other. But I’m intrigued because of her expression and the title and the how did they do that awesome water thing. Same goes for The Pearl Wars. Sure, I’m led to believe that the contraption that Jesse (or is it Cassius?) is wearing on his face is real — even though I know it’s not. The fact of the matter is, both of these covers illustrate a different version reality — and make them seamlessly believable. Similar in tone, they both give you a helpful serving of impending doom with a side of dread. 

Kudos to the team behind The Water Wars (RD Studios along with photographer Kassandra’s intriguing photo) and The Pearl Wars cover (designer Kevin R. Brown and illustrator Derek Lea). For books that revolve around wars, I can honestly say the battle for my cover art lovin’ heart has been won by you both.

Bryan Williams