The e release is the first time this book has had the cover art I preferred for the title. The Ace original was horribly dull and gray. The UK was too demonic - not at all appropriate. The Bantam reprint was art directed to DEATH, and made the heroine seem a shrinking violet - and Ielond??? clean shaven? Ugh....the e release shows how I pictured the characters originally - what do you think?
I loved my old one with the dark dungeon cover.
Hate the demonic cover I currently have, and the chess one escaped somehow, but at least I could look at that and get some idea of the direction of the story. And the game board idea was mentioned in the book. One day I will dust and rearrange all my books and see if I can discover that game board cover edition hiding some where.
New cover is great though, nice to see a bit more of the characters, the ice bridge was never what caught my attention anyway. And the effects on the new cover are eye catching. But I think I prefer Ielond without a beard.
Well, Annette - sounds like you and the art director at Bantam might have got along famously.
It is interesting seeing your take (where mine is colored by background history, surely)
The gargoyles in that dungeon - SIMPLIFIED tremendously from my original design; one on the spine was eliminated altogether. I had to FIGHT TOOTH AND NAIL to keep the pattern on Ielond's cloak in the painting; the only reason it stayed was a direct reference in the text that was a crucial plot point.....the idea of his appearance being clean shaven, short haired, in effect 'neat' was so NOT how I pictured him, and Elienne reclined, the silly hand raised made her seem SO shrinking violet (clothes color too!) when in fact she was on her feet, spitting fire - just not my concept. I'm glad to hear how wrong I am - that some readers loved it - because the ENTIRE SCENE was not of my design. Effectively I became the 'hands' for the art dept's concept....and swore NEVER EVER to do that again. If they wanted a puppet artist, easier to say - let them hire one, not ME.
For the chess cover - the original art director at Ace wanted the ice bridge scene (entire as seen on the website) but was overturned by editorial. (New writer, own cover art, was just too steep a curve, and they had ideas/hopes of a mainstream sort of crossover, but there was NO marketing to back that) The tussle went on behind scenes so LONG, I was strung out by the end of it - I don't mind the chessboard image in CONCEPT - but the decision to hand this off to another artist was done so LATE, the assigned illustrator hardly had time to do much with it....and the unremitting poor design shows haste in the execution, no unity of the concepts shown: undynamic presentation, and UGLY FLAT GRAY as the pervasive color had no sparkle on the shelf. Red type on black translated poorly in black and white, for the genre publications at the time - Worse, the edit on the inside cut certain phrases that made Elienne read as a shrew! So again I'd not recommend the original printing to a reader unless they were a complteist collector.
Wondering what other readers think, and truly - I always saw this as a sort of primary colors sort of book - not a lot of subtlety about it, the plot is pretty fast and straightforwardly idealistic. An escape read more than a thought provoking one.
I have NEVER thought this story had the chance to reach its intended audience - largely due to cover design - so we'll see!
I picked up the dungeon cover version, because of its cover, it was not your typical sorcerer on the cover and he just grabbed my attention with that gorgeous cloak. And looking a bit like Lorne Green never hurt, I loved him on sight! The lady in front of him on the ground was overlooked. She seemed nothing special, and I am not a fan of those romance type heroines. I brought it to see who the sorcerer was!
Unfortunately it was not one of those books I just could not part with, when I moved to another state and had to sell off nearly all my books, I never kept it. I am regretting that now.
The board game one got in my collection as a garage sale find in a box of other books I was interested in, I am not sure I ever read that version. The cover did nothing to inspire interest at least for me because I was not really into intrigue, although I like a good murder mystery. I mistook it for one of those spy type books, hence why I remember my reaction to the cover so well, I was a bit disappointed. I remember my books by their covers, not their names, and at least in this case never looked at it long enough to read the title. The red colour of the writing might have contributed to that. But it had been ages since I had read Sorcerer's Legacy and I never remembered the name, just the cover and the story. I was sure the board game one would still be around here some where, it just maybe never got into the sci-fi/fantasy section because I mistook it for something else. I never went to garage sales before moving here, so it had to have been brought while I was in this house.
I recognized the cover when I was actually trying to buy a copy of Sorcerer's Legacy after I had read the WoLaS books and was looking to buy my own books. Went looking all over the house for it then and could not find it. The copy I ended up with was not the one I wanted. I wanted my first one back. I am re-reading Sorcerer's Legacy at the moment, I will forgive it for having such a horrid, misleading cover.
So yes, me and the art director at Bantam would have got along great, that was the only copy I brought new. Neither of the others appealed to me.
I have the chessboard cover, and a rather stubborn habit of associating with the first version of a book that I read (regardless of whether that version is the actual first version). Have to agree that I didn't picture Ielond like the dungeon cover, either, and aside from the aforementioned stubborn association, the image of the chess board (to me!) fits the politics, scheming and cat/mouse games that give the book its character.
Since I have not read 'Sorcerer's Legacy' yet, my opinion on the different book covers has nothing to do with how fitting they may or not may be for the story. Hence, how much each of them appeals to me is based entirely on my personal taste.
So, if the book were written by an author unknown to me (i.e. in a neutral situation), the book that would be picked up instantly by me is the one with the dungeon cover. Even though it really does not look that exciting the chessboard cover would also be successful in persuading me to give it a closer look, the ice bridge cover, however, not so much (maybe it would stand a higher chance if one could actually see the ice bridge). The book it would completely ignore is the one with the demon cover - can't stand it at all.
Now moving on from the result to the explanation in reversed order:
The demon cover just looks too generic to me, even if it were about a demon and an innocent girl. It does not tell me anything about the story and overall is rather passive. In addition, it suffers from an awful use of symbolism in terms of gender. You know, the small pale girl, who has her eyes closed and her arms put closely to her sides (probably in an attempt to depict her as defiant in a feminine, i.e. passive way) and who is given the impression of being somewhat 'holy' or 'angelic' due to the sword's white light. Add to that the fact that the demon or whatever it is supposed to be keeps her confined by holding the sword in this particular position. The demon does not fare much better; a tall, heavily muscled and bald male who is painted all in red and holds a sword, keeping the little miss in place. Seriously, the whole thing is so overloaded with cheap symbolism it is just silly. Rant over.
My trouble, so to speak, with the ice bridge cover is mostly due to the bright colours and relative emptiness of the background. I am aware that a landscape consisting mostly of snow and ice is more challenging than, say, a wood. That being said, the landscape simply seems too 'nice' to me for an ice desert. With regards to the bright colours: while I see Janny's point I am still not that keen on them for reasons of personal taste. Probably because I find it more difficult to connect to a painting if I do not feel its atmosphere. Somehow the bright colours keep me outside of the painting.
The chessboard cover is, indeed, rather dull in itself. However, it reminds me of older editions of the detective novels written by Hansen, Chandler and Christie. This nostalgic and old fashioned feeling I get from both the painting and the lettering would pick my interest for sure. So, it is more about what I associate with the painting than the painting itself.
The reasons why I favour the dungeon cover the most are manifold. For one thing it tells a story (the ice bridge painting does the same but if you do not know it it could be simply a wizard doing random magic just as well) and I would want to know what is going on in that scene. Yes, the woman is cowering and apparently afraid, and while I do not like 'damsels in distress' I would give it a pass in this case. Furthermore, the scene is very atmospheric and the whole place feels real while the darkness forces the spectator to look closer as not all details are instantly visible, and thus it keeps the eyes fixed on the cover.
So, here are the primary feelings/impressions I get from each cover:
demon cover - yawn
ice bridge cover - action, but no danger
chessboard cover - nostalgic
dungeon cover - mystery
Quite interesting responses.....the question becomes then - how many people who were not drawn to the dungeon scene or the chess board (good concept not effectively done) and therefore did not pick up the book with those images - may 'discover' the book with the new art?
The suggested idea does occur, that this segment of the (posited) audience may not be here (yet) to weigh in....
Not a fan of the demonic cover or the chess cover even though I bought the chess cover book probably because at that point I was in 'buy anything Janny' mode. I get that way with authors I like.
The dungeon cover is very attractive and I like the font used. I'm not a fan of the font and ice halo on the new ebook cover but I like the characters much better than the dungeon one. I love the wizard's robe stitching in both covers.
My idea of the best cover would be to keep the dungeon background and font style, then replace the dungeon characters with the ice bridge characters and have the wizard opening a portal to whisk them both away.