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Never Judge a Book by its Cover?

Sometimes that’s just difficult to avoid. Today YA book covers have become quite important. They open room for speculations or general discussions and a lot of covers are an art in themselves.

One important cover reveal was Cassandra Clare’s CLOCKWORK PRINCESS in July. Cassie’s fans helped to reveal the final THE INFERNAL DEVICES cover in just 2 hours by tweeting #ClockworkPrincess and they also secured a worldwide trending topic (see TMI Source’s article here).

Covers are powerful.

Sometimes that’s just difficult to avoid. Today YA book covers have become quite important. They open room for speculations or general discussions and a lot of covers are an art in themselves.

One important cover reveal was Cassandra Clare’s CLOCKWORK PRINCESS in July. Cassie’s fans helped to reveal the final THE INFERNAL DEVICES cover in just 2 hours by tweeting #ClockworkPrincess and they also secured a worldwide trending topic (see TMI Source’s article here).

Covers are powerful.

So let’s have a look at Cassie’s previous covers (the US and some international ones), speculate about the last cover of THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series and find out a bit more about the man behind the US covers for TMI and TID.

CITY OF BONES was first released in March 2007 – quite a long time ago!

The US cover shows Jace covered in runes, the New York City Marble Cemetery and skyscrapers. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see Jace’s face although other parts make up for that, right?

The dominant colors are gold and green which fit Jace – especially the gold because of his hair and eye color.

The UK/Australian cover looks the same nowadays but it used to be different.

On this cover you can see a city’s skyline and a girl whose face is only half-shown. A rune covers her cheek and if you look closely, you can see freckles. No doubt that this girl is our Clary Fray! The only color used here is blue which makes it very different from the US cover and in my opinion more mysterious.

I’ll give you two more CITY OF BONES covers.

Here you can see the German one.

Its subtitle is ‘Chroniken der Unterwelt’ (Chronicles of the Downworld). The illustrator used green and gold, so its color scheme is similar to the US cover. This cover doesn’t show one of the book’s characters. Instead, you can see pillars, gargoyles and a golden ring. Inside this ring there is a skyline which resembles the one on the US cover and birds (possibly ravens or crows?). The ring is actually a recurring theme for the German covers – just like the cut off faces on the ‘English’ covers.

The last CoB cover I want to show you is the Italian one.

It’s definitely the darkest of all the CITY OF BONES covers I have seen. I like that it only uses black, gray and a splash of red. Once again you cannot see the whole face but the guy cannot be anyone else than our Jace Wayland! I also like the title under CITTÀ DI OSSA which basically means that New York and its demons never sleep.

My favorite cover is the US one because of the colors and I also don’t mind looking at a half-naked guy.

Now moving on to CITY OF ASHES which was released in March 2008.

This time Clary is shown on the US cover. I love her red hair against the silver background; it looks really fierce. Clary’s skin is green and three runes cover her arms. We can also see Brooklyn Bridge in the middle of the cover and – once again – the NY skyline. The silver, blue and green work very nicely with Clary’s red hair and the overall color scheme makes me think of water which is only fitting because CITY OF ASHES is partly set on Valentine’s ship.

The early UK/Australian cover:

The skyline is the same as on the first UK/Australian cover but this time we look at a mysterious guy. As before the face isn’t fully shown and there is a rune – a different one – on the cheek. Is anyone else thinking that the guy is possibly Jace?

Once again the German cover – yes, I am biased but this will be the last German cover in this article. I will put links to other covers at the end.

The structure of CITY OF ASHES is similar to the first cover. We have one dominant color and a bit of gold in the ring. There is another New York City skyline, Brooklyn Bridge and birds (ravens or crows).

The last CoA cover is from Bulgaria.

This one is actually pretty similar to the US one. We see our heroine Clary in a very familiar pose. Clary is wearing a low-cut red top and her hair is wilder. One rune covers her right upper arm and her face is turned to the side. An important New York City sight together with the skyline is shown on this cover: the Empire State Building.

All in all I like that the last three covers are red because it makes them very eye-catching and it’s great that they have included New York City landmarks.

I’m ending this first part of my article with CITY OF GLASS and a few gems!

The US version was released in March 2009.

The cover shows Sebastian with his dyed hair, his sword and wings. Like his sister and his adopted brother he is covered in runes. The illustrator – I’ll write more about him in my last article – used more colors this time: copper, silver, a light blue and a dark color for Sebastian’s T-Shirt. Clary would be more qualified for defining all these colors so please bear with me! The city underneath Sebastian could be New York but it could also be Alicante, the Glass City. Or maybe it’s a mix. The top part could be NYC with its skyscrapers and the buildings behind the title look more European and old-fashioned – you have to look very closely!

Right here you are looking at the Polish cover of CITY OF GLASS.

Isabelle looks very fierce, doesn’t she? I like her tattoos although runes would have been better but that’s artistic freedom. The colors – green, black and white – are very low-key and I like the attention that is drawn to Isabelle’s (winged?) heart tattoo.

Ready for the next covers?

They are actually both from the same country but they are so completely different that I’ll show you both. Shadowhunters, I present: the Japanese covers of CITY OF GLASS!

Let’s just take a moment and simply look at them.

These covers are definitely for Sizzy and Clace shippers (sorry, no Malec)! I have to say that I am in love with this (rune-less) Simon and Isabelle cover. This could be the moment where Simon comforts Izzy after Max’s murder. Isabelle looks so sad and vulnerable and poor Simon, he seems completely helpless.

The Clace cover: The colors look gorgeous! Clary’s red hair with the green coat is fantastic. Jace looks very somber with his black clothing but he’s a nice contrast to Clary. Just like the Sizzy cover this one is also gloomy, possibly because Clary and Jace still think that they are siblings.

These covers now close the first cycle of THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series.

Come back for the covers of CITY OF FALLEN ANGELS, CITY OF LOST SOULS and my CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE speculations.

More CITY OF BONES covers (scroll down)

CITY OF ASHES: Italian cover

CITY OF GLASS:  Italian coverUK cover, Bulgarian cover

If you want to go cover hunting on your own, a list of Cassie’s international publishers and a few covers can be found here.

And now sound off in the comments! Do you like the international covers and which cover is your favorite?

About Cathrin (861 Articles)
Admin and writer for TMI Source and 'The Shadowhunter Chronicles' lover extraordinaire. Fangirls over books, history, German football, movies and fictional characters.

8 Comments on Never Judge a Book by its Cover?

  1. Just wondering when the movie comes out if the book covers will change to feature the actors or remain the same. The original covers are beautiful, especially with TID.

  2. I’m from the UK and I remember seeing CIty of Bones in my library and I purposely ignored it because I didn’t like the look of it. I’m terrible for judging the covers of books, I think everyone is guilty of it sometimes. But the librarian kept telling me to read it, in the end she actually checked it out in my name and practically forced me to sit and read it. After the first chapter I was hooked and I’ve never regretted giving into pressure.

    OH and I think the US book covers are the best, they match the books a lot better than international covers

    • I actually flinched when I saw the original CITY OF GLASS UK cover. Sebastian looks so evil!
      I also prefer the UK covers but stay tuned for Part 2 (and also 3), there are some cool covers for CoFA and TID.

  3. KikiLOVESJAce // September 5, 2012 at 7:01 PM // Reply

    Cool! I totally love the japense covers of Simon and Izzy, (Simon looked so cute!) Jace and Clary looked cute too! I love all the chapters! I’m totally excited to see the city of bones the mortal instruments offical movie poster! 😀 Just thinking about it makes me waht to fan girl scream! 😀

  4. Reblogged this on Writing Haven .

  5. I speak Italian, and Cittá Di Ossa means City of Bones, not ” New York and its demons never sleep”.
    … I kind of wonder why she thought it meant anything other than City of Bones.

    BUT YEAH. Cool covers.

    • Lucy, this is ‘she’, the author of this article. I wrote that the title UNDER Città Di Ossa means that NY and its demons ever sleep. Città Di Ossa obviously means City of Bones.
      @KikiLOVESJAce: Imagine seeing one of the movie posters as a cover, that’d be cool!

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

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