I will judge a book by its cover and I will not be made ashamed thank you very much. As much as we all love a good rant, here I will talk about book covers that I think are particularly good and why they’re good. As with almost everything on this blog, there will be a good deal of spoilers in these posts as good covers will always tell us something about the book they’re advertising. In the end, covers are advertising and if you don’t have a good cover it’ll be harder, but not impossible, to sell people on your book. Alright, let’s get to it.

I was gonna do something different and then leave this message as a disclaimer:

But then I started writing this post and I was like… Oh there’s enough here for it’s own post lol. I am Wicked King trash. Anyhooooo… I love this cover because of the action in the photo. I love how it reflects the book, that there’s always something going on and moving, whether we’re reading Jude do something, or if it’s behind the scenes and something she finds out later. The other two aspects are pretty obvious, the crown and the water. The Wicked King spoilers ahead so beware!

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The water could represent a few things. It could most obviously represent the time that Jude spent in the Sea Court, but I like to think it’s a little deeper than that. I think it can represent a couple things. First, it represents Cardan as he is “drowning” under Jude’s command—literally (with his tie to the land being stunted) and figuratively (as he is very clearly able to rule without Jude’s help—and that you could arguably say that his decision making is compromised because of his feelings). Second it represents Jude as at the very end of the book, she has the crown, and yet she’s unable to rule because of her banishment. It renders her powerless and I like to think the water is a metaphor for the power politics. It really matters who is sinking and who isn’t.

Which brings me to the crown. I think it’s important the crown is on the cover firstly because it’s a uniting factor between the covers (other than the font). Secondly, because at the heart of this story, everything revolves around the crown. Who has the crown, who doesn’t have the crown, and the power it both grants and denies people while having it. As is typical with a monarchy, most subjects of that monarchy can tell how much power they have relative to how close they are to the king.

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But I also think crowns are inherently a universal symbol of power and using that power—so naturally, it’s a good fit because the major theme in this entire series is (political) power. Jude has no power and wants it. Madoc has power and wants more. Taryn doesn’t want power yet for some reason seeks it (maybe because of Locke), Cardan has power and wavers between wanting it and now, and I think it’s fascinating how well Black has expressed this in all the different characters without it feeling redundant or boring. You could almost change that stereotype of “the fae are cruel and cunning” to “the fae are power hungry”. I feel like cruelty was more of a factor in this book than the last one, and the true theme of power came to light in this book.

The only thing I can’t really figure out on this cover (and the Cruel Prince’s) is why the insects are there. Let me know in the comments if you have an idea, I’ve been quite curious why for a long time!