Under the Covers

We’re excited to reveal another new feature on the blog! Under the Covers is a spotlight on our favourite cover(s) of the week.

old magic

This week, I’ve decided to delve into my young adulthood to pick on a book cover that started me on reading in the first place.

The book is Old Magic, by Marianne Curley, and it was originally published by Bloomsbury in 2001.

This cover is from the UK and Australia 2nd edition and is probably my most adored childhood book.

*I really struggled to find out who designed this book cover, and I don’t have the book with me as I’m writing this post (silly). I’ll update this post with the designer when I find out who he/she is.

The first thing that struck me about this cover, and something that I still find wonderful and unique today, is the use of colour, both in the image and the text. The dark rusted blue of the stormy sky contrasts beautifully with the burnt orange of the title, subtly illuminating it without the need to bump up the typesize so it takes up half of the cover. I also like the use of all lower case in the title – it is unassuming and altogether prettier to look at.

I’m always overwhelmed by a sense of foreboding when I look at this cover – just by looking at it you know that something treacherous is afoot. The book doesn’t draw you in with a catchy title, it floors you with an expectation of wickedness, leading you gently to the supernatural with the word magic, but not forcing it upon you. The sky takes over the page, and the glimmers of light suggest a storm that is about to break. Stunning to look at, but at the same time oppressive and enticing.

There’s also something quite refreshing about a young adult book cover that doesn’t have a teenage beauty on the front with white skin and bright eyes. The trends in young adult book covers are too repetitive for words, and to be honest, it’s probably one of the main reasons I moved so swiftly onto adult fiction as a young reader.

old magic coversThere has been a variety of different covers for this book, each focusing on a different aspect, be it the charged atmosphere of enchantment and doom, or the central protagonist and her inherent mysticism. I think the 2nd edition cover works best, and that it achieves something the other two do not – emotion. The 2nd edition cover engages me in a way that the other two neglect to. This perhaps ties back to what Robbie says about how a good book should make you feel something differently – I believe a good book cover should do the same. It is the way that you feel that will make you pick up a book, keep turning the pages, and then return to it again and again. The best books make us laugh, cry, gasp and sometimes throw them away in anger or disgust. People like to preach ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, but when you look at the hundreds of books on the shelves, something has to make you pick it up. I fear I’ve gone on a bit of a ramble now, but this is my favourite cover of my early reading life. What’s yours?


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