We’re chugging along and about to finish the seventh month of my book cover of the year competition.
The winner of the third week of October is …
Dragon Bond by Ursula Visser had perfect composition! Every single element was placed exactly where it needed to be while avoiding any overlap, which can cause tension in the eyes. That means it joins Gutter Mage and You Give Magic A Bad Name in the overall October competition. This week’s winner will round out the poll, and you can vote for Week 4’s cover right here.
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Spoiler free summary: In Clara’s Diary by Angelique S. Anderson, Detective Desmond is a man haunted by the death of his daughter. When a new case lands on his desk that is disturbingly similar to his daughter’s death, Desmond is plunged (OK, I’m going to take this pun for all it’s worth), into a mystery that ties to the strange octopus people who live in this steampunk world. On such person, Sadie, helps Desmond, and her past is the key to all of Desmond’s questions.
Character: In terms of the standard measurements of character (sympathy, competence, proactivity), these characters are ok. I think the reason they suffer is they have odd bouts of incompetence in situations their characters should be the most confident. At every point there should be tension, there’s a brief conversation, and the conflict is resolved in an unfortunately boring way. What could have been a very compelling factor in this relationship ark felt cast aside because the author had a clear idea where they were supposed to end. The problem is, the end is supposed to be a conclusion of a journey, not an objective that denies any twists and turns because the end is more important, and that’s what I think happened here. Desmond is supposed to be this “Sherlock-like” detective (and that is a challenge as well), and the first thing he does is completely wreck a crime scene he probably shouldn’t have been in to begin with. Those little inconsistencies undercut what was actually a pretty charming story.
Exposition: This was actually pretty good. Sure, we have the inevitable dialogue world history, but how else is the reader going to learn about these octopus-human hybrids? So while there were parts that were a bit dumpy is some places, it wasn’t an amount that I didn’t expect. Could it have been better? Yes. Was it so bad it ruined the story? No.
Worldbuilding: This is probably the strength of the story. It has a bit of the same feel as Carnival Row (without the constant sex, which I appreciated). We have this species of sentient beings that are in this world and that world has origins (which are actually pretty important to the plot). The presence of the wordlbuilding was great. The execution is probably what held this story back for me. If you can fast-forward or skip the spicy scenes and focus on the world building of Carnival Row, you see what that show did well that this book didn’t do so well. However, I still feel this book is better because the content is much more appropriate. Still, that doesn’t mean I can’t analyze the storytelling aspects of the two. Diary gives us the history and scope of this world through exposition hidden in dialogue. This story would have been better served if we saw this world expand. Yes, it would have expanded the size of the novel, but I don’t mind that much.
Dialogue: So the portions of dialogue that were clearly there to provide exposition through the character’s point of view do drag the story down, but the dialogue is actually pretty charming. Sadie shines in this regard. It’s clever, and the characters have unique voices. The conversations between Desmond and Sadie were a big part of what kept me reading. (I always finish a book, even if I hate it, but reading this book wasn’t nearly as difficult as some others.)
Description: I wonder if any steampunk fans have read this story. You see, I expected much more description here than I got. Steampunk is all about the gadgets and romanticism of a period that wasn’t actually so romantic. Yet this story was pretty sparse. Sure, it had description, and I didn’t personally feel like I was missing out. But a part of me was mentally prepared for these huge blocks of description that just weren’t in this story. I don’t know if that’s common or not. This is probably the second or third steampunk book I’ve read. I think it was better than one, and a little less fun than the other (coming in a future review). So while I didn’t have a problem with the lack of description, I only call it a lack because of what I expected. My question for steampunk fans is: How much description do you expect in a steampunk story?
Overall: The story is charming in its presentation, but it really falls short as a mystery because it was either super predictable or super convoluted. The author didn’t do herself any favors because we always got a giant block of dialogue-hidden exposition right before the “reveal.” That really spoiled it. Instead of sprinkling clues along the way for the reader to gobble up, the author smashed us over the head with a giant sign that (metaphorically) read “You need to know this before you read the next part!” This is a story that I still liked because the characters were actually adorable, but if you love mystery, you’ll feel differently.
We’re officially halfway through the 2021 M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Year! That means we get to start the September poll and start collecting covers for October.
Let’s start by announcing the final winning cover for the month of October which is …
Falling by T.J. Newman had such a clever combination of color and pattern. Even against fantasy covers, this book stood out. Falling joins The Desert Prince, The Maleficent Seven, and War Priest to round out the 2021 M.L.S. Weech September Book Cover of the Month. You can choose the winner by heading here and voting.
Meanwhile, the October competitions have begun, and you can vote for Week One’s winner right here.
I’d appreciate it if you stopped by my YouTube channel and gave it a like and subscribe. I’m hoping to drum up intrest in the book cover competition, and you can help by spreading the word.
The 2021 M.L.S. Weech September Book Cover of the Month is rolling as always.
The 2021 M.L.S. Weech September Book Cover of the Month for Week 3 is …
The Maleficent Seven by Cameron Johnston really did just look awesome. I loved the energy and color of the image, and I’m a sucker for silhouettes. So big congrats to that cover, which joins War Priest and The Desert Prince in the overall September poll. But before we can do that, we have to pick a winner for Week 4. Please vote for that cover right here.
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We’re almost halfway through the roster for the 2021 M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Year. September’s cover will actually be the halfway winner. So let’s look at the winner for Week 2. And that winner is …
Before we talk about September, please know that the voting for the 2021 M.L.S. Weech August Book Cover of the Month is still live. As I type this, we have a tie, so your vote really matters. Please take a moment to vote.
With that said, we’re already working our way through September. We have a new winning cover to announce and seven new covers to choose from.
The winner for September Week 1 is …
The Desert Prince by Peter V. Brett was not actually my favorite in the last seven, but Brett is a wonderful author, so I’m glad this got the victory. The framing is solid, and the art style is unique, so those are points in the column, too. Prince is the first book to make it to the September poll.
You can vote for Week 2’s cover right here.
I’d appreciate it if you took a moment to visit my YouTube channel and give it a like and a follow. It’s a way to support me and watch me talk about these covers for a few minutes.
I hope you’ll take a few moments to vote using the link above for the August winner, but I also want you all to know that September is off and running. We have seven new covers for you to look at and vote for using this link right here.
As always, I’d appreciate it if you all took a moment to pop on over to my YouTube channel where I actually look at all seven book covers and talk about why I like them and how they might be even better. This is just another (free) way to support me and my work, so please consider watching.