Apr 30

Cover Drinking Game No.1: Take a drink every time you see a cover with a women looking backwards showing off her bum. Guaranteed death!Click for full image

Rachel J Comments: No, my tagline is not stolen, and yes, my hair does have a life of its own. Now excuse me while I attack forty lens flares, a doorway, a glowing mist and a block of high-rise flats with my trusty katana.
Published 2011

Actually, that cover IS a classical work of art!I would touch it without protective gloves.I've seen worse. Far, far, worse.Interesting, but I would still read it in public.Middlng: Neither awful nor awfully goodWould not like to be seen reading that!Awful... just awful...That belongs in a gold-lame picture frame!Gah... my eyes are burning! Feels so good!Good Show Sir! (Average: 5.49 out of 10)

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33 Responses to “The Shadow Reader”

  1. Pat Says:

    There must be a better way to cut your own hair.

  2. Phil Says:

    The poor woman can’t win. If we see her from this side, she gets a TING! tag. If we see her from the other side she’d be landed with a DEVIL’S DUMPLINGS tag. What IS a girl to do?

  3. Heidi Says:

    Art direction: “Show me an attractive woman from behind. Make sure her butt is the focal point near the center. She’s not Japanese, but frame her in a torii and give her a katana to make it exotic. She’s facing a pink mist over some buildings or something, but that’s not important. Did I mention her butt?”

  4. suzita Says:

    its possibly the least of her problems – but isn’t her right hand the wrong way round?!

  5. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Note the lack of shadows to be read on the cover. I fear Kamiko accidentally ended up on this cover by mistake:

  6. Jaouad Says:

    Another back-breakingly improbable pose. Being a woman, of course she has to show her butt and her breasts AT THE SAME TIME, while simultaneously contorting herself to draw a sword from the sheath on her back, AND giving us a smouldering glance looking over her shoulder.

  7. Rachel J Says:

    @suzita. I’m not sure what’s up with her hand– I can’t even tell what side her fingers are meant to be on, actually. I’d say there’s a reason the artist put all those streaks and lens flares over it.

    And if anyone’s curious, apparently the fair contortionist is an assassin or something to the “Fae Court”. “Shadow reading” comes into it somehow, but the blurb was rather vague on that point.

  8. THX 1138 Says:

    What you don’t see is what happened next: she fell over trying to get the sword out of the scabbard from that awkward angle.

  9. Alessandra Kelley Says:

    Aahhhh, Urban Fantasy, the genre of anime-proportioned chicks waving magic swords in picturesquely grungy cities-as-viewed-by-suburbanites.

    I can sort of accept the cartoony proportions. It’s not like book covers of the past had realistic women either. But those jeans — if they’re skin-tight, they shouldn’t have all those wrinkles, and if they’re not skin-tight, she’s well past dangerously thin. Her bottom is very prominent, and just the sight of that deep, clingy, intrusive denim gives me the creepy-crawlies.

    She’s got her arms in an action pose, but there’s no sense of movement or muscle tension. With her left arm like that, her left shoulder blade and trapezius muscle should be really prominent.

    Her katana isn’t even strapped on. She’s just holding it back there, in one of the very worst combat positions ever.

    I would be curious to know whether this is based on a photograph of a model (in which case it has been photoshopped past all recognition), or if it is digital art based on photographs or original digital art or (the least likely these days) actual painted illustration.

  10. Rachel J Says:

    @Alessandra Kelley– I’d say it’s a doctored photograph, or maybe more than one. Apart from everything already mentioned, you can see where the left leg has been cut-and-pasted. Or, if it is an original, it’s one that’s been hastily photoshopped to change the figure’s pose. (“What do you mean, you didn’t show her holding a katana?! Call yourself an urban fantasy illustrator? Fix it immediately!”)

  11. SI Says:

    From watching movies most swords make a TINNGGG! sound when they are unsheathed. This one looks like it starts playing music by some sort of x-factor boy band.

  12. Phil Says:

    SI, I humbly suggest you are confusing the sound of an unsheathing sword (shhhhhhhhhhTing!) with the Colgate-inspired visual effect of a shiny sword catching the light (TING!)

  13. fred Says:

    It’s raining TINGS hallelujah.

  14. Tom Noir Says:

    Has anyone made a Random Urban Fantasy Cover Generator yet?

    -Random blonde or brunette in tank-top and jeans
    -in a spine-twisting pose,
    -holding a gun or a sword or both,
    -in front of a darkened city-scape,
    -with possibly some sort of animal looming out of the darkness.

    Airbrush and add lens flare and PRESTO! Generic Urban Fantasy Cover.

  15. Jerk of all Trades Says:

    Make that showing off her breasts AND her butt. They really like to fudge on how much boob would realistically be showing in the various “looking over shoulder while making sure both cheeks are properly displayed” position.

  16. Jerk of all Trades Says:

    Seriously, based on what I can read form the terrible shading, her breasts would need to project sideways, like, in parallel to her torso, from a point originating somewhere in the vicinity of her armpits, to show like that.

  17. Rachel J Says:

    @Tom Noir, “Has anyone made a Random Urban Fantasy Cover Generator yet?”

    You mean, anyone apart from the publishers?

  18. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Well, it ain’t a “true” Generic Urban Fantasy cover without a generic “tribal” tattoo pasted on…

  19. A.R.Yngve Says:

    “There can only be one MILLION Urban Fantasy titles. It’s her time to choose, without being able to tell one from the other.”

  20. A.R.Yngve Says:

    I triedf to holdf my right arm thayt way — anf now I have to type with only my left hand. I’ll sue that *%&¤# publisher11

  21. Alessandra Kelley Says:

    @A.R. Yngve: Jim C. Hines, who writes urban fantasy, has to be the most game author ever. He actually tried to replicate the poses of girls on urban fantasy covers!! — and found out in the meantime how painful they are.

    Hilarious results can be seen here:

  22. anon Says:

    I’m kinda hoping this is a picture book..

  23. J. Says:

    Gene Mollica is the cover artist. I’m pretty sure he just lights and shoots the model the way he wants (props and all) in HDR then does some minor painting over the image taken.

    Seems to be the trend in quite a bit of cover art lately, especially in the YA genre. It reminds me of the cheese ball romance novels from the 70/80s, homogenous and booooooring. I can’t stand it personally but hey, the artists have to make a living and that’s what authors and publishers want. Turn around working that way is quick.

  24. Rachel J Says:

    Update: I saw this again in my local library and this time was unable to restrain my curiosity. So, the answers to all those burning questions that have been keeping everyone awake at night:

    – A Shadow Reader is someone who can *read shadows*. This is a very, very special, rare and important talent. Darned if I can work out what it’s *for*, though.

    –Since you’re wondering, in a completely unprecedented turn of events the plot *does* largely concern the heroine’s having to choose between two equally hot supernatural males. Decisions, decisions!

    –Unless I missed something, she doesn’t actually wield a katana. It’s almost like the cover’s, oh, I don’t know, a totally generic pre-existing one, or something…

    –Yes! There *is* an audio version– with a completely different cover! And by “completely different” I mean, “with a different girl posing with a different sword in front of a different glow-y urban background:

    Really, I don’t know how the world can hold such creativity…

  25. David Cowie Says:

    At least they kept the Ting! on the new cover.

  26. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Goodness! If the first one didn’t merit a Sir Mix-a-Lot tag, the second one does! And, I cannot lie!

  27. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Has anyone else seen the MST3K version of Space Mutiny?

    Lea: ‘Hi there.’
    Crow: ‘Did you see my butt?’

  28. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Those aren’t buildings! Those are punch cards at back.

    Cyberpunk that moves at thousands of calculations per minute!

  29. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Of course it’s a trilogy. It seems ‘shadow reading’ allows one to open a TING! to ANOTHER DIMENSION!(tm)

  30. Anna T. Says:

    The thing that gets me is her broken neck. And, of course, the fact that she’s not drawing the sword properly at all. It’s not even in the right position for it to be drawn properly when worn on the back, given that it’s a katana and therefore curved.

  31. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    @TagWizard: Why does this cover lack in Sir Mix-a-Lot tag?

  32. anon Says:

    This turned out surprisingly thematic:

    “Don’t hide miss’s splendid butt.” — Urea N. Grain
    “It’s Mia’s sexy and fun tush.” — Cum See Narnia G.
    Note her enticing caboose there. Monetise all, holy Ace!
    Wilmin Lady Ass (My Ain Wild Lass)


  33. B. Chiclitz Says:

    Note that only people with the letter sequence “GUIR” in their names are allowed to write blurbs for this book. That is because *guir* approximates the sound an adolescent male involuntarily makes when gazing at that tush and oddly angled side breast.

    guirrrrrrrrrr . . . .

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