Friday, April 8, 2011

What sort of witchery is this?

One of my jobs here at the 'brary is unpacking new books, which is pretty cool because I get to see all the new stuff before it goes out on the shelves. Now, it's said that one shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but let's get real: the cover is often the first thing about a book that anyone notices. The covers I've been noticing lately are those that belong to books in the urban fantasy genre, and the reason I've been noticing them is that, well, they're all pretty much the same. Let's see if I've got this right: scantily-clad women in tight leather pants holding guns, talismans, or daggers. Here's a sampling: Under WrapsMercy Blade, Magic at the Gate, Unclean Spirits, and Web of Lies. I've seen so many of these lately that I've begun to wonder: are hot, young twenty-somethings the only people who can save the world from demons, vampires, and other assorted nasties? I mean, aren't there any average-looking heroines just itching to kick some undead butt? None? Really? Or is sex-appeal the only weapon that counts in the war against devils and diminishing book sales? Sadly, I gather the latter's probably closer to the truth than anything; that, and the implied message that only bad girls can get the job done. I know, it's a losing argument, as I'm sure the trend of me-too book covers will continue for as long as sex sells (i.e., forever). But just once I would love for a publisher of novels of this genre to commission an artist to create artwork that isn't a goth-flavored knock-off of the cover of some racy men's magazine. Think about it: in a deluge of similar books, something truly unique just might stand out.

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