Monday, November 15, 2010

Cover Crazy (1): Ascendant

Cover Crazy is a weekly meme hosted by Tawni at The Book Worms where a beautiful cover is featured each week for all of us to admire. I am going to use my Cover Crazy posts as an opportunity to review a book cover I love or review any cover (even the ones I don't love) from a book I've read. This week's Cover Crazy is for a cover I both love and have read the book: Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund.

My favorite kinds of covers are the ones that are both beautiful in their own right, but also compliment the story they are representing. The cover for Ascendant hits both marks. The girl is pretty and her sword is equally beautiful. Her pale blond hair sweeps across her face making her look innocent and calling to mind the silky mane of a unicorn. The lavender title evokes images of sweet, girly unicorns, but the font is strong and not frilly.

The contrast here between a sweetness and innocence (the girl, coloring) and battle strength (the sword, font, black background) suits the story very well. In Rampant and Ascendant, Diana Peterfreund takes the classic idea of a unicorn as a creature of purity and goodness and completely turns that idea on its head by making unicorns evil, deadly monsters. Likewise, the girls unicorns of myth were attracted to were symbols of harmless innocence, but Peterfreund's girls are warriors endowed with super slayer strength. This cover plays on the contrast between the mythological unicorn and girl and Peterfreund's unicorn and warrior. 

Going a step further, the contrasts in the cover also speak to the conflicts Astrid faces in Ascendant. If I had to sum up Ascendant in one word, the word I would use is "contrast." Astrid is a unicorn hunter where she deals out death, but she wants to be a doctor where her focus would be in preserving life. She is torn between her duties to kill unicorns, and the passion she shares with her cousin to preserve the unicorns as an endangered species. She despises unicorns, but she also loves unicorns like Bonegrinder and the new species introduced in Ascendant. She hates Gordian Pharmaceuticals, but she also wants to work with them. The contradictions in the cover art are a perfect representation of the conflicts Astrid faces. 

Plus this girl (unlike the girl on Rampant) looks a lot like how I picture Astrid. Always a sign of a good cover, I think.

Ascendant is the second book in the Killer Unicorns series.


  1. Nice! I like this meme. I may give it a try if the gal running it keeps it up. I LOVE cover art.

  2. Thanks! I love cover art too! I also hope she keeps doing it, and that more people participate.


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