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Book Cover Smackdown! Zoe’s Tale vs. Killswitch vs. Leviathan

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Tell us which cover you like best and why. Go!

Books shown here:

NOTE: Click on the book images or title links to access bigger & better versions of the cover art…

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

10 Comments on Book Cover Smackdown! Zoe’s Tale vs. Killswitch vs. Leviathan

  1. Zoe’s Tale gets a thumbs down. US cover is much better. I don’t much care for the the font and the cover art is just ok.

    Kill Switch and Leviathan are both great covers which give off different messages. Kill Switch gives off feelings of energy, chaos, action, robots, and has very futuristic feel to it.

    Leviathan is simple but gets the Steampunk theme across loud and clear. It also reminds me of the old 2D RPGs such as Suikoden, ChronoTrigger, or some of the Final Fantasys.

    I’ll give it to Leviathan but it might because I’ve seen the Killswitch cover before. Both covers make me want to know more about the books, which means they are successful. I already own Killswitch and I just may need to own Leviathan now.

  2. I’m going to agree with the post above that the Scalzi cover does nothing for me.  It seems like such an old 80s font, very tired.  And the imagery looks like something lifted from a cheap final fantasy knock-off.  The whole thing seems a little cheap.  Though maybe that’s what sells in France.

    Leviathan is pretty cool. The riveted steel around the image is very nice, gives a nice industrial feel, lends a certain badass gravitas.  And the font matches nicely.   The mecha is great too.  Just big and chunky and imposing.  But the pose is very static and the same can be said of the figure in front.  There’s nothing dynamic here.  It does imposing well but it doesn’t do much else.  That said, it does make me think steampunk and I do like steampunk, so I’d probably flip to the back cover and see what its about.

    Killswitch has continuously attracted my eye in bookstores despite the fact that it sounds completely unlike something I’d enjoy.  There’s such a great mad energy to it, the high contrast of the purple and white, the design of the hulking armor in the bottom half.  It’s very eyecatching, and I know it’s made me turn to the back cover.  The winner for me.

  3. Jonathan Strahan // May 7, 2009 at 4:51 pm //

    A favorite? Darn.  Often with these things it’s easy, but I am torn.  I think the cover for ZOE’S TALE is a near perfect YA cover for the book.  Unlike the US cover, which seemed more aimed at readers of Scalzi’s series, this one firmly gives the book a YA protagonist, takes it out of space and puts it on a planet where the story actually happens, and it *screams* science fiction. I actually thought, this might be the cover of a book that a teenage girl might pick up.  It’s v. cool. Martiniere’s cover for KILLSWITCH is good, only losing slightly because we’re now very familiar with this sort of thing from him.  I also LOVED the LEVIATHAN covers. It seems very ‘manga’ to mean, but it’s big roboty things in a steampunk adventure. How cool is that?  I think ZOE’S may be the best cover art, but I love LEVIATHAN the most.

  4. Zoe’s Tale is a beautiful cover but I’ve had it Up To Here with rustic elements in my s-f. * yawn * So, on a purely personal note, I’d give it a miss. Then again, as I’m not French, no problems there, right? πŸ™‚

    Killswitch has all those dynamic diagonals and the spots of red really set off the coolness of the rest of the art, but I think I’m reaching capacity on all those “dynamic diagonals with humans doing something daring” snapshots. Still, it appeals.

    Leviathan gives a treatment that we haven’t seen in a while. The way the picture is framed in rivets, the meld of the cool blues with earthy tones. On a robot, no less! Woof! This one does it for me.

  5. weyland yutani // May 7, 2009 at 10:33 pm //

    I’d say that the Leviathan cover is my favorite because I love the art and the rivet framing device, but I know that I picked up Killswitch yesterday when I saw the cool blues of the cover.  In addition to the Martiniere art, I was attracted to the unique shape of the book — a little more narrow than the norm.   After reading the back, I was sold and, having never heard of the author or the book, I have to say job well done.  

    The Scalzi covers are, in my mind, married to John Harris’ art.  The bright orange and green of Zoe’s Tale really pops off the shelf.  It makes for a harsh comparison to this cover.

  6. Killswitch by Martiniere.

  7. Zoe’s Tale is obviously better, the other two are just bad.

  8. Zoe’s Tale gets my vote.  Probably because I am a fan of the series & seeing art of what an Obin looks like is just cool!  The strange looking alien would have gotten my attention & at least made me pick up the book.

    The other 2 are blah.  Nothing new, nothing that would draw me to read the books other than being a fan of the writers. 

  9. I am a huge fan of Scalzi, and hate the cover of Zoe’s Tale – go figure. I just think it looks anemic and the Obin look terrible, not at all what I imagined. It also looks to me that no effort or thought went into the typeface beyond hitting center, right center justify.

    I like the artwork for Levithan, but think it actually looks like the box cover for a minature rather than a novel. The bordering around the outisde of the picture just doesn’t fit for me. That said I do really like the artwork and seeing this on a display would have me curious enough to peruse the back cover to find out more, assuming I had time to browse.

    My favourite book cover of the 3 is Killswitch, the cover is a little to crammed for my tastes but it gives the instant impression of lots of interesting scifi action. This cover is interesting enough to make me want to pick it up and find out more.

  10. I love the painting for Zoe’s Tale but think the fonts chosen are horridly bad. It cheapens the whole look. 

    Westerfeld’s steampunk cover is pretty cool. And it is very attractive to look at. I know it may sound stupid, but that the boy on the cover just looks like he is posing for a photo is a bit distracting to me. So much so that I would have to pass on that being my favorite.

    Killswitch is nice as well. It looks like something I would expect to see on a graphic novel. I picked up a copy of that book at the bookstore yesterday and almost bought it (well, the first in the series, whichever one that was) despite the fact I had already told myself I wasn’t buying anything. I was just passing time while my wife cut her hair. I ended up putting it back but will probably give it a closer look when I have more time.

    So I go with Killswitch. I like it best.

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