Monday, December 13, 2010

Cover Review (5): Delirium

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: Delirium, by Lauren Oliver

More of my Cover Crazy posts.  
My Delirium book review

First things first, I need to apologize for the crappy photo. I never remember to take pictures during the day when I have natural lighting on my side. My photo really doesn’t do this cover justice. Trust me, it is beautiful in person.

Unfortunately, this is not the cover that will appear on Delirium (I’ll get to that cover later). This is the cover that appeared on an early ARC and I wish they had gone with this one. This cover captures the essence of the book in so many ways.

To start, this girl totally looks like a Lena to me (the name of the main character). I think there’s some Alexis Bledel/Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie influencing my feelings on the name (that character’s name was Lena, right?). I think Alexis Bledel and this cover model both share similar qualities. She looks so sweet and innocent. I couldn’t imagine this girl hurting anyone, but I can completely see her discovering the idea of love for the first time. There is a tenderness and emotional vulnerability to her, but she also looks like she has a quiet strength.

Her posture makes her look open and almost surrendering. The wind catches her hair and her arms are spread ever so slightly, as if she is ready to lift off like the birds flying in the background. Her face is tilted upward toward new possibilities. Her entire stance screams to me “Transition,” like she is on the cusp of some great change. Her shoulders and arms are free, but her body is weighed down by the heavy black fabric of her dress. Looking at this cover, I wonder where this girl is headed and if she will be able to break free from the weights holding her back.

The cover has an almost ominous feel with the dark colors and heavy clouds in the background. The dreary feel and almost smothering clouds hint at the dystopian nature of the story. The model’s bright, youthful face and open, almost hopeful posture are a stark contrast to this background. There are no chains in this cover, but I can almost see her pulling her arms free of a set of shackles as she reaches toward something better.

The title is the final touch on this cover and one I find particularly beautiful. The key in breaking the dystopian oppression in this story is not knowledge or some sort of violent protest. The core of this story is love, and the swooping, airy font evokes an almost swooning feeling of romance. The word “delirium” speaks to unrestrained emotions, with the emotion of love conjured by the delicate font.

These features underscore the emotionality of the model’s face and posture while also heavily contrasting with her stiff and restrained dress. The idea of such an airy font and chaotic word cast the clouds in a new light. Not only oppressive, they also almost seem to be a stormy portent, hinting at the inner storm the main character may be experiencing.

The cover ultimately chosen does very little for me in comparison. I probably wouldn't be very interested in reading this book based on the official cover. The focus here is on the font, which is hard and jagged with curlicues that don’t quite match the boldness of the font. The focus is also on the author's name instead of the title, which removes the importance of the word "Delirium." Written all in capital letters, this font makes a strong statement and suggests a far more violent and determined stand than the slow and romantic awakening that actually occurs in the story. The successes of the model in the first cover, so integral to the cover and connected to the story, are completely lost in this new cover. Her face is barely visible, but she is looking downward, completely removing all feelings of awakening and hope that were so beautifully captured in the first cover. I am disappointed with this choice.

What do you think about these covers? Do you like them? Dislike them? Do they make you want to read the book? Do you prefer the ARC cover or the official cover?

Interested in covers? Be sure to check out another Cover Crazy post by Gina from My Precious. 

Interested in my thoughts on the book? Check out my Delirium book review.  


  1. I actually really like the official cover. Its really eyecatching. The ARC cover is good too! But it seems a little too somber to me. And yes, Lena is the name of Alexis Bledels character in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants! :)

  2. What a great comparison and contrast. I HATE the 2nd cover. Its just plain old boring! I think the first cover is great. After hearing your analytical description, I like it even better.

  3. Julia, I think you're probably in the majority, especially considering that is the cover they went with. They must have figured it would sell better. Thanks for the name :)

    Gina, Whew, at least I'm not alone! I was wondering if anyone would agree with me. I'm curious as to why the publisher went with the second cover.

  4. Hey, just wanted to let you know I got my Cover Crazy up this week AND I linked to your post :-)

  5. I really like them both. I'm interested to see the new copy in person to get a proper idea of what it is like.

  6. l haven't read this book so l can't say which books most suits the book. I have to say l prefer the earlier cover too but maybe with something else added .. it seems a little bit plain. Any way good choice =)

  7. Mizz Yasmin, Yay!

    Gina, Thanks! I'll check it out and link back :)

    Alice, True, I am curious to see the new one in person. I especially want to see what the girl looks like when you turn back the teal part of the cover.

    Books for Company, It does look very washed out in my photo. The colors are a lot more vibrant and striking in person.

  8. LOVE your cover analysis and I have to say I completely agree with you. I'm actually not a big fan of the final cover at all, I think it's difficult to read with the image placed inside the letters, and the bright Tiffany blue just doesn't seem to fit with the severity of the world whereas the first cover has that melancholy feel.

  9. I'd never seen the ARC cover copy as all digital. I'm torn because I've grown so attached to the blue cover, but your analysis is spot-on. The ARC cover conveys much more of the real story!

  10. The ARC cover is gorgeous !!! But I like the official too ... =)

  11. ARC is pretty - the girl sort of reminds me of Kiera Knightly,though, something around her jaw... lol - but yeah, pretty.

    The second one sort of leaves you a bit clueless on what the book is about.

  12. I like them both! Oh and I just wanted to say thanks for stopping by and reading my review! You asked if Deadly Little Secret ended with a cliffhanger. No it doesn't really but it definatly leaves you wanting more! :) Thanks again!


  13. I definitely like the first cover better. It's dark and stunning.

  14. Jenny, you're right, it is difficult to read the official copy. I love that you call it Tiffany blue. I think of that every time I see the color. What's up with that? She isn't getting jewelry. She's getting a lobotomy!

    Anna, that's a good point. Part of my cover attachment probably does stem from the fact that the ARC cover was the first one I saw and the one I read, so I feel sort of attached to it. The ARC one definitely does give a reader a better idea of what to expect.

    Lulu, oh thank you! That's exactly what I was hoping to hear.

    Thanks everyone for stopping by and sharing your preferences. :)

  15. I liked the original ARC cover and was really surprised they changed it to something so plain. I'm not necessarily opposed to it, but like you, thought the original fit more. It's a great book, though, regardless of the cover. Just hope people buying at bookstores will be intrigued...

  16. I'm surprised too, especially now seeing how many people prefer to ARC cover. I wonder why they did change it. Thanks for stopping by!

  17. I love the ARC seems like she is hopeful even when it is gloomy. That in its self draws me in. Really, I was hoping that the cover could relate better to the book...but it seems hard to place how they would manage that with the new cover. I guess I will have to read it and see.

  18. Wow, I just saw the ARC cover now, and it does look great. But I still think that the final cover is better. When I look at it I have this ominous and frantic feeling that I can't understand (possibly the font that covers the model's face), and yes it does have the more violent and stronger statement than what is actually in the story, but with the accompanying blurb, which also gives an air of panic for what is going to happen, and possibly a strong, violent struggle for things to come, it is more appropriate. I have no idea about what happens in the story, I am just basing my observations from the published synopsis. Maybe I am the only one who feels panic when I see that cover with the fonts almost covering the model's face.

    Aesthetically, I also like the final cover better because if I were to go to the bookstore now and see the ARC cover, I'd immediately dismiss it as paranormal fiction and would probably never give it as much respect and attention than it deserves (not saying that I have no respect for paranormal fiction, it's just my interest and preference go in a different direction). I mean, yes she looks very hopeful and open, but in the final cover, almost devoid of an illustration, only the title and the author's name and part of the model's face visible, it exudes mystery and I feel it demanding me to pick it up and at least read the blurb to see if I would want to read it.

    It all depends on individual reader's tastes, I guess, so what may be good for me may not be good for you, and that's what makes it more interesting, the varied preferences.

    I love that you created this post, which makes for a lively discussion. And thank you for giving me a heads-up about this on my blog. Oh and about that dinosaur, yeah the facial expression was very simple yet funny and cute.

    Brush Up On Your Reading

  19. Jessica, Yay, another one for the ARC cover! I like that she looks hopeful too. Hope is definitely a feeling I want when reading a dystopian. They often tend to be sooo depressing.

    Nina! I love your comment! I love that you prefer the final cover and explained why. Hm, I do get a more frantic vibe from the official cover, now that you mention it. Part of me didn't like that cover as much because it looked sort of disorganized with the words over the picture. But now that you mention it, that jumbled, as you say, frantic, feeling can be a reflection of Lena's own consuming confusion.

    I won't confirm or deny your suspicions about panic and violent struggle :)

    It's interesting that you mention you'd dismiss the ARC cover if you saw it in a bookstore. I totally see what you're saying about it looking more paranormal. Stepping back, if I didn't know the book was a dystopian, you're right, I probably would assume it was a paranormal book. Maybe a girl getting turned into a vampire? In that way I definitely agree with you that the cover is somewhat misleading.

    I see what you're saying about the mystery aspect of the official cover. To me, it seems too vague and so I don't have much direction for thought. I'd probably assume it was contemporary fiction, and maybe more serious contemporary fiction at that. I don't tend to read that genre as much, so exploring my own reactions, that's probably why I also tend to dislike the new cover.

    I loved hearing your thoughts! You're so right, it is so much fun hearing differing opinions. I've been wondering this whole time what the people who decided on the official cover were thinking, and now you've given me some possible answers. Thanks!

  20. Those are great points, Nina. It is almost like the new cover is reflecting almost a clouded thought process, like you are struggling to see through it all. In that aspect I do believe it is fitting for the story, just from the synopsis. But I still would prefer the ARC cover simply because I feel like I could connect better with that person, rather than the hidden face. I guess we really do judge a book by its cover, huh?

  21. I agree with you - I much prefer the ARC cover on this one. We have a different ARC cover over here, but pretty much the same final cover. It's not really doing all that much for me! I haven't read the book yet, though!

  22. I'm curious what your ARC cover looks like now (are you in the UK?). I googled UK ARC Delirium and came up with a cover similar to the official cover, but with bird silhouettes on the blue part of the cover and a tagline.

  23. I dont really like the first one but the second one is just confusing. Theres too much going on. Especially with the black font and then having the face behind it. I dont know what to concentrate on, the title, the authors name or the face.
    I think a cover should be easy to read and identify, this is not.
    I only just realised the face, as i thought it was only in the french version.
    So if i had to pick out of those two i would pick the first one, but the newest one (green one) is absolutely beautiful! as soon as i saw it i wanted it! I could say alot more about it but i wont :)


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