Don’t Change The Cover: An Examination of the Power of Readers

Where were you when the cover of Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Kiss was revealed? If you were like me, you were angrily venting at Fierce Reads, the social media arm of Macmillan.

Old Cover
Proposed New Cover

Why do publishers do this? Why do they change book covers of a series when the cover is something all the fans love? I’ve gone over this before from a professional stance so I won’t go over here.

What I will talk about is the backlash that happened. Yes, I angrily vented. I did not however, threaten to not buy the book or slam the author. The author has NO control over the cover unless it is in their contract, and it rarely is. And if (hypothetically) a seller tells the house to change the cover or they won’t take, the publishing house changes the cover.

I have had so many series that changed the look of a series mid way through. And it SUCKS when you were a fan from day one and the publisher does this. It can feel like the publisher is devaluing you, the first readers who helped spread the word, in order to make money on those that haven’t picked up the series.

But the fans had a win with their outrage. Fierce Reads announced that the hardcover would be the old covers, in order to match the rest of the trilogy and the paperbacks would be repackaged with the new cover.

So YAY for the YA community for the win, but BOO on those that made Marie feel so bad about this whole thing.


Worth noting: if publishers had tons of money, I would have suggested printing the original cover on the back of the new redesign and then the reader could pick which cover you wanted to showcase. But publishers don’t have that kind of money.


The Winner’s Curse Review

The Winners Curse

Warning***Minor Spilers***

Title: The Winner’s Curse

Author: Marie Rutkoski

Publisher:  Farrar Straus Giroux (BYFR) (Macmillan)

Flap copy:

“Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

They were never meant to be together. As a general’s daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and privileged life. Arin has nothing but the clothes on his back. Then Kestrel makes an impulsive decision that binds Arin to her. Though they try to fight it, they can’t help but fall in love. In order to be together, they must betray their people . . . but to be loyal to their country, they must betray each other.

Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of rebellion, duels, ballroom dances, wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.”

Sometimes, there are books that reach and grab you, and you know these books will be big. I knew instantly with The Princess Diaries, Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and I know it again with The Winner’s Curse. I originally read this book last year, but with the second book coming out March 3rd, I figured I would do a re-read.

First off, the flap copy totally does not do justice to this book. For the most part, it is right, but on the whole, it really doesn’t do the story justice.

In their world, Kestrel’s people are the conquerors. Arin’s are the conquered slaves. That is the world you are walking into. The thing that makes you love Kestrel is that she is extremely intelligent. She doesn’t have any fighting skills, and she is beautiful (it’s YA, it is rare not to find an attractive female protagonist) but her defining feature is her brilliant mind.  In a culture of military might, Kestrel is a brilliant strategic genius who will win at all costs, and this makes for a formidable will.

On the opposing side, there is Arin. I am not going to delve too much into his character since it is major factor in the plot, and everyone should read this book without spoilers. Just know that Arin is more than a match for our formidable heroine.

Side note: I love the climax of books; the heartbreak, the feelings, I love it all. This book is one big heartbreak. One impossible situation after another, and I loved every second of it.

It is refreshing to step away from a dystopian world, and enter a fantasy. I am tiring of dystopian.

If there is one YA book to read this year (pssh, would can read only 1?), let it be this one.

Final Question: Would I have acquired this book? I would have done anything in my power to get this book. I would have paid as much as I could. I LOVE this book.