New paperbacks, grading the covers:
The Stranger’s Child: A
I was worried that, for The Stranger’s Child (Hollinghurst’s first foray into the fantasy genre), the book’s designers would make the common mistake of depicting the novel’s fantasy world on the cover, thereby depriving readers of the opportunity to imagine it for themselves.
But wisely, they avoided that strategy, and instead gave us an image of the novel’s characters on their way to the magical land’s gateway. Enticing, yet understated. Well done.
The Marriage Plot: C-
Yes, that font is perfect, and those watercolor drawings are lovely.
The only problem? As we all know The Marriage Plot is (to quote the jacket copy) “the action-packed thriller about hotheaded C.I.A. agent Mitchell Grammaticus and his attempt to kill international warlord Leonard Bankhead. His plan: hire the beautiful yet deadly assassin Madeleine Hanna to pose as a wealthy oil heiress, make Leonard fall in love with her, and then assassinate him on their wedding night. Will Madeleine be successful? Or will her own unexpected feelings keep her from carrying out The Marriage Plot?”
Exciting stuff, but you’d never know it by looking at this cover! It makes it look the book’s about a bunch of liberal arts kids and their post-college-graduation problems, or something like that.
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