Monday, January 17, 2011

Cover Review (9): The Truth-Teller's Tale

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 really don't love and think does a disservice to a really great book: The Truth-Teller's Tale by Sharon Shinn

Previous Cover Crazy posts:
The Adoration of Jenna Fox
More of my Cover Crazy posts. 

Does anyone like this cover?


If you do, I'm sorry because I can't stand this cover.

How do I say this in a way that doesn't make me sound completely superficial? You know what, nevermind. This is a cover review, the whole point is being superficial. Here goes: I don't like covers with unattractive people.

There. I'm sorry to the girl who modeled for this cover, but I just don't think those are very flattering pictures. It's not completely her fault, either. Someone took what I'm sure was a lovely photograph and spewed their inadequate photo-manipulation "skills" all over the place. Is it just me, or does the girl's head look not quite right on her body? Ditto her unclasped hands.

Now, if it's one thing I love on a cover (besides glitter), it's a pretty dress. These dresses? So not pretty. They look like Walmart's semi-medieval line designed especially for under-budgeted school plays. The sleeves aren't even symmetrical. One of them comes to the wrist (unclasped hands) and the other sleeve comes to about three inches above the wrists (clasped hands). That, or the girl has some freakishly uneven arms.

And would it kill her to look just a little bit happy? With a title like The Truth-Teller's Tale you know you're getting the life story of one of those girls, but judging on how they look, I'm not sure if I want to know that tale. It looks like it will end with murdered parents and creepy singing children, which is so not what this story is about.
Surprisingly, this cover actually does tell a lot about the book (once you get past how ugly it is). See those miss-matched branches stuck seemingly randomly across the top? They're two different trees, each one connecting to one of the sisters, and each playing a significant part in the story. The bond of sisterhood is a very important part, too, so it is fitting that both sisters appear on the cover. The fact that they are twins and it is almost impossible for people to tell them apart also matters. 
What is perhaps most misleading about this cover is that as ugly as this cover is, the story is in equal amounts beautiful. This is one of those books that really touches on core emotions of love, loss, family, growth, and sisterhood. I laughed, I cried, I fell in love, and I weighed moral dilemmas with these two sisters who were so well drawn I feel like they are real people and we have been friends forever. 
But that cover! Argh. It makes this book look so amateurish, like it was published by some no-name publisher (which is so far from the truth it isn't funny. Puffin/Penguin should be downright ashamed). 
Because this is a cover review, I'll refrain from gushing about or explaining the story, but do yourself a favor and check out the description at least (or buy it! Amazon is selling a hardcover edition as a bargain book for only $5.24, which is why I first bought it). This is a Special Shelf book for me.

What do you think about this cover? Do you like it? Dislike it? Does it make you want to read the book?

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


  1. Agree! The cover is very unappealing. If I saw this in a bookstore I would walk right past it.

  2. Ummm.. I can hardly look at that cover. It is creepy. That is a great price for a hardback, but I can't seem to get myself interested in having that book on my shelves. LOL

    Gawd, I know I shouldn't be so harsh. sowwwy.

  3. Great post!
    I don't think I could say I hate this cover... but I don't love it, either.

    You crack me up, with, "It looks like it will end with murdered parents and creepy singing children, which is so not what this story is about."
    I think you're right... the cover with these mirror image twins suggests to me that it's some kind of fantasy, about a girl with supernatural powers who is leading two lives, one awake, one asleep.

    Good catch on the asymmetrical sleeves. I think their sleeves are meant to be pushed up on one side, but it looks very funny. And they look so horse-faced!

    When I first saw the title of your post, I misread it as "Crazy Cover" for some reason -- and this cover is pretty crazy!

  4. I wonder if it's the color that makes it so unattractive. Nothing really stands out and the weird blue is the reason. I love Sharon Shinn, so I will definitely check this books out!

  5. Nic, me too! It not only doesn't grab my interest, but it even repels me.

    Missie, Ew, no, I'm totally harsh. This cover makes me want to puke on it to make it look better. But the book is so good! I promise!

    Madigan, I like your storyline! Someone should write that book, but it would still need a prettier cover :P This really is a crazy cover. Maybe I should switch the title around when I talk about ugly covers. Hmmm....

    Book Geek, You're right. That washed out blue and all the other muted colors does make this one pretty bleh looking. I hope you enjoy this book! It's the only Sharon Shinn I've read so far, but I immediately put the rest on my TBR.

  6. For the genre, I like the cover, but I have to say that a lot of Shinn's covers are a bit...well...flat. I have Troubled Waters on my shelf, and I love the cover because it has more depth and vivid colours...this seems a bit washed out, yeah?

    Great feature, yet again! :)

  7. l think this cover makes it look 'old fashioned' too much!!
    I agree with everything you said

  8. It DOES look hideous. I think it would have been better if they did not try to blur the picture and use it as is - although that still looks a bit uninteresting too, like just a typical book that's not very exciting. That's the problem with most great books, they could have extended their awesomeness to the cover design so they could get the right amount of attention from readers.

    Hey, thanks for dropping by my blog :D When I think back to what I did when I was a kid, I could only shake my head. Putting a pea under my bed and some blankets was cute, but I was so disappointed that I was not a real princess. My dad even promised to get me a tiara so I could become a princess and I remembered I told him he doesn't need to do that anymore because I would only be a fake princess. The things kids do!

    Brush Up On Your Reading

  9. Melissa, Yes, very washed out. It's a shame she gets such meh covers. I was really impressed with her writing.

    Books for Company, Yeah, it does look old fashioned. It doesn't really go with the other YA book covers. It was only published in 2005, but this cover makes it look much older than that.

  10. Nina, Aw, you were adorable! I agree, it is very unfair when good books get bad covers and then lose attention they deserve.

  11. I am definitely NOT a fan of this cover...yuck... the premise sounds enticing, but there's no way I'd pick it up and there's no way I'd be able to pitch it to my students

  12. I don't know what's worse: a good book you overlook because of a bad cover, or a bad book you got suckered into reading because of a beautiful cover. In this case, I wouldn't give the book a second glance. Or really any glance at all. This cover makes the book invisible!

  13. Hm. Those girls do scare me a bit with their blank expressions and inexplicable hairstyles. They look like their contemplating how they could murder me in my sleep. It's too bad such an ugly cover hides a beautiful story, as I would definitely pass this one by in the store if I saw it!

  14. I almost did not read this post because of the cover of that book. But then I noticed the title of the post and wanted to see if you actually liked it.

  15. I think you hit the nail on the head: the cover makes the book look amateurish.

    It's true! Even I have better photo-editing skills, and all I know how to use is photo-flexer!

    The thing that bothers me the most though, is that it doesn't look like a photo, but it doesn't look like a drawing either, it looks like a bad computer generated graphic for a low budget Prisoner of Zelda-rip off.


    But I shall go check out what the actual book is about, since you have intrigued me.

  16. Yeah, it definitely looks manipulated. Sometimes (especially if you're using actual models), less is more. This cover (and all of its elements) could have worked if it had been a drawing or painting. As a photomanipulation, though, it doesn't work.

  17. I agree. I'm not feeling this cover either. If I walked past thing book I would definitely not pick it up. I know that makes me kind of shallow but the cover really freaks me out.

  18. LOL, I don't mind this cover terribly, but I have to say the dresses could have been way nicer. And it is true, the expressions on their faces look pretty creepy (though I do like the whole one-twin-smiling-the-other-serious thing because of how it ties in with the story). Also, I own this book and have read it several times (fabulous story, all thoughts on the cover aside!) and I never noticed the significance of the branches above their heads. Wow. Can't believe I am that unobservant, LOL.

    As for books you might like since you like Crown Duel (*you* may have awakened a sleeping monster with that request!), here goes.

    Books that tend to be more lighthearted/humorous:

    - Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede (this is book 1 of a series, I especially like the first two)
    - Sorcery & Cecelia by Patricia Wrede & Caroline Stevermer (I cannot recommend this one enough, it's got magic and romance and Victorian England, it's written entirely in letters and is one of my all-time comfort reads)
    - The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander (these are quite a bit different from Crown Duel, but they are full of humor and adventure and really entertaining, distinctive characters) or if you'd like a stand-alone then his novel The Arkadians.

    Books that are more serious/darker:

    - Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn (since you liked The Truth-Teller's Tale you might like this one, it's a stand-alone)
    - Poison Study by Maria Snyder
    - The Seer and the Sword by Victoria Hanley
    - The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (not sure if you love fairytales too, but this is a fabulous retelling)
    - Winter of Fire by Sherryl Jordan (the world is very different from that of Crown Duel, but it is creative and well-drawn, and the main character is a strong female protagonist)

    And of course there is always Tamora Pierce - I would recommend starting with either the Song of the Lioness series or the Immortals series.

    Hope that list may give you one or two to add to your tbr list! :D

  19. I have to say I would never have picked that book up in a store because it is so ugly. I probably would have laughed at it and then felt bad for the author for getting stuck with such bad cover art.

    I didn't just come here to rip on the book cover! You have won an award on my blog. Here is the link for more details-

  20. The cover is pretty in a creepy way. I would actually pick the book up just to read the synopsis in the back. :D

    Thanks for your comments at my blog. Happy Reading!

  21. Oh gosh, that is a book I wouldn't pick up :/

    But you see, because of your gushing now I'll check it out, and it does sound good! All books covers can't be gorgeous I suppose :P
    And it goes to show how not to judge a book by it's cover lol

  22. Just judging by the cover I would have thought it was a creepy horror story... I'm just getting that vibe off of it. So, yeah, like you I don't like this cover. I'll just have to take your word for it that it is actually good!

  23. Miss Remmers, The premise really is good. Trust me! I could just imagine the faces your students would give you based on this cover :P

    Logan, Good question. I think maybe a bad cover on a good book is worse because then you may never experience the good story.

    Jenny, Ha, good to see someone else thinks those girls look scary! It’s a great story, though, so now you know not to pass it by!

    Rebecca Naomi, Haha, I do that too! Good think you decided to read it :)

    Anime Girl, Ah good, I’m glad you see “amateurish” too. Your description is spot on. Please do check out the book. It really is very good.

    La Coccinelle, I agree, if they had either left it alone or made it a drawing it would have been better.

    Lisa, I’m shallow like that too :)

    Danya, Yay for having read the book! It’s so much better than its cover, right? Thanks for all the book recommendations! I’ve read a few (the Patricia Wredes and Poison Study) and love those, so I’ll definitely be checking out the others.

    Aimee, We’re all in such agreement about this cover. I don’t know what the publishers were thinking?! I feel so bad for the author too. Thank you for the award!

    Self Centered, Oh good I’m glad you’d pick it up! The book is worth it :)

    Laura, Yay! Please do check it out :)

    Aylee, Haha, yup, I get that vibe too. Those girls look so murderously creepy.

  24. Kind of humorous... I saw this book at the library just yesterday and thought it looked beautiful from afar, but I never got to look at it up close. Now that I see it on the computer, I don't know what to make of it. I like the art, actually, but there's something weird about the cover in general. I don't think the girl on the cover is ugly, the same time, she's not beautiful. (I like the average, every day girl, though.) I don't know. But I do know that when I looked it up and read about it, I was intrigued and I plan on reading it very soon. Thanks for the insight and the recommendation! I'll probably end up buying it at that sweet deal price... :)

  25. Yearning to Read, I can see what you're saying. I think from afar this cover would look much better. It's when I look at it close that I see the strange photo-manipulation and the details of the dress and her body parts. I think the girl was probably a lot prettier before the picture was edited. Maybe not gorgeous, but better looking than she looks on this cover.

    I'm so glad you're going to read it though! I really loved it so much. I hope you enjoy it.

  26. Oh my gosh, I was laughing hysterically! That was a fabulous description of that cover. Is it horrible to say that I'm not a fan of books with not so pretty people on them either. Probably, but oh well. It's the truth. And funny enough, I've noticed that Puffin doesn't really have the best covers. Some I'm sure do, but I read this one book published by them and the cover wasn't very good either. But, I'm glad to hear the story is good. I wonder if Amazon has a cheaper version for the Kindle. I'm going to check.

    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

  27. Jen, Well, if it's horrible then I'm horrible with you. :) Thank you for following! I hope you enjoy it here :)

  28. I think you're analysis is spot on. This cover is truly hideous and kind of creepy.

    Reading Lark's Cover Crazy

  29. thought this meme was for cover you like?!..:P
    But i agree with you, the models are quite unattractive, but it looks a lot more like a painting or a sketch rather than a photograph. Despite its appearance i often pick up the book and read the back flap and decide whether its worth the read or not. I pick up whatever catches my eye ugly or beautiful!:D
    Interesting post this week!

    here is my Cover for this week..

  30. Andrea, I can't get over how creepy this cover is. The book isn't creepy at all! So strange that they went with this cover.

    Kiwi, Haha, yeah, I'm a big meme modifier :P It does look a lot like a painting. I think it might be a mix.

  31. I don't think it looks bad. They got the parted hair wrong, they're supposed to be the other way around. Can you tell I have OCD?

  32. I don't think it looks bad. They got the parted hair wrong, they're supposed to be the other way around. Can you tell I have OCD?

    1. Good catch! I'm pretty picky about that sort of thing myself, so you're in good company here :)


It's all about friendly conversation here at Small Review :) I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Be sure to check back again because I do make every effort to reply to your comments here.

Because I am absolutely terrible about following through with blog awards, I can't in good conscience accept any more. Thank you very much for thinking of me though!

Spam WILL be deleted. Attacks on myself or other comments WILL be deleted.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...