Feedback is a novel by Robison Wells, published by Harper Teen. The Cover art is by Mark Tucker/ MergeLeft Reps, Inc. and the cover design is by Alison Klapthor. 
The cover features a blurred photograph of two teens behind a fence.  The bottom of the fence has more of a motion-blurred element than the rest of the photograph, setting a mood to the cover. A horizontal bar in the gate cuts the cover into two, which disrupts the movement of the viewers’ eye a bit, making them take in the bottom and top half separately, though it does allow the viewer to rest on the author’s name at the bottom, which could easily have been lost in the elements of the top half of the cover. 
The gate at the top half leads the eye to take in the two retreating figures, then the title of the novel, and then the tag, which is strategically placed where the trees in the photograph dip away to show the sky. The trees act in the composition to draw the viewers’ eye back downwards. 
The tag line of the novel is set on a blue strip, which contrasts against the red background, and links itself to the blue jeans in the figure in the foreground. Although not pictured, the blue strip wraps onto the spine of the book, creating unity with the spine. However, the blue strip does not continue onto the back cover and ends abruptly on the edge of the spine. The blue is connected in the back cover through the colour of text, which is a nice choice. 
The type of “Feedback” and “Sequel to Variant” on this image are not the same on my physical copy unfortunately. “Feedback” does not stretch across the entire width of the cover, instead the text is aligned so that it is flush right, to match with the text that says “Sequel to Variant” which is also flush right (thought closer to the edge of the physical copy than what is in this image). However, the point size for the title text is so large that the flush right alignment does not work properly— instead, making the title text reach across the entire width of the cover, like it does in this image, would be a much better composition choice, and would still work when the text that says “sequel to Variant” is flush right all the way to the edge.  A justified placement of the title text would also work with how the tag line for the novel and the author’s name are both centered on the cover. The “sequel to variant” text creates enough of an asymmetrical composition within the text to keep the cover from being static.

Feedback is a novel by Robison Wells, published by Harper Teen. The Cover art is by Mark Tucker/ MergeLeft Reps, Inc. and the cover design is by Alison Klapthor.

The cover features a blurred photograph of two teens behind a fence.  The bottom of the fence has more of a motion-blurred element than the rest of the photograph, setting a mood to the cover. A horizontal bar in the gate cuts the cover into two, which disrupts the movement of the viewers’ eye a bit, making them take in the bottom and top half separately, though it does allow the viewer to rest on the author’s name at the bottom, which could easily have been lost in the elements of the top half of the cover.

The gate at the top half leads the eye to take in the two retreating figures, then the title of the novel, and then the tag, which is strategically placed where the trees in the photograph dip away to show the sky. The trees act in the composition to draw the viewers’ eye back downwards.

The tag line of the novel is set on a blue strip, which contrasts against the red background, and links itself to the blue jeans in the figure in the foreground. Although not pictured, the blue strip wraps onto the spine of the book, creating unity with the spine. However, the blue strip does not continue onto the back cover and ends abruptly on the edge of the spine. The blue is connected in the back cover through the colour of text, which is a nice choice.

The type of “Feedback” and “Sequel to Variant” on this image are not the same on my physical copy unfortunately. “Feedback” does not stretch across the entire width of the cover, instead the text is aligned so that it is flush right, to match with the text that says “Sequel to Variant” which is also flush right (thought closer to the edge of the physical copy than what is in this image). However, the point size for the title text is so large that the flush right alignment does not work properly— instead, making the title text reach across the entire width of the cover, like it does in this image, would be a much better composition choice, and would still work when the text that says “sequel to Variant” is flush right all the way to the edge.  A justified placement of the title text would also work with how the tag line for the novel and the author’s name are both centered on the cover. The “sequel to variant” text creates enough of an asymmetrical composition within the text to keep the cover from being static.


Choker is a novel by Elizabeth Woods, published by Simon and Schuster and with a cover designed by Andrea C. Uva. The cover seems rather innocent at first glance. Coloured pink and white with only a bit of black, it seems to recall decorative vintage silhouette illustrations. The cursive typeface and the silhouette rose add to this effect. However, as one looks closer, they see that the background silhouettes are of trees, whose branches reach up (or towards the centre point of the composition) and grasp. The fact that they are white brings to mind inverted images and give the trees and almost sinister feel. The viewer can almost imagine that they are in those woods all alone, looking up to the sky and seeing only the tangled, grasping hands of the trees. It works wonderfully with the theme of the novel, which has to deal with missing peoples and mental illnesses.
The grasping trees also act to draw the viewer’s eye into the centre of the composition, where the title and the author’s name are positioned. Because both are black, they have the highest contrast in the composition and naturally draw the eye as well.
Overall, the cover of Chokerby Elizabeth Woods is a compelling one that will grasp the reader’s attention and leave them wondering what exactly sinister things they can find between the pages.

Choker is a novel by Elizabeth Woods, published by Simon and Schuster and with a cover designed by Andrea C. Uva. The cover seems rather innocent at first glance. Coloured pink and white with only a bit of black, it seems to recall decorative vintage silhouette illustrations. The cursive typeface and the silhouette rose add to this effect. However, as one looks closer, they see that the background silhouettes are of trees, whose branches reach up (or towards the centre point of the composition) and grasp. The fact that they are white brings to mind inverted images and give the trees and almost sinister feel. The viewer can almost imagine that they are in those woods all alone, looking up to the sky and seeing only the tangled, grasping hands of the trees. It works wonderfully with the theme of the novel, which has to deal with missing peoples and mental illnesses.

The grasping trees also act to draw the viewer’s eye into the centre of the composition, where the title and the author’s name are positioned. Because both are black, they have the highest contrast in the composition and naturally draw the eye as well.

Overall, the cover of Chokerby Elizabeth Woods is a compelling one that will grasp the reader’s attention and leave them wondering what exactly sinister things they can find between the pages.




The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
448 pages (hardcover)
Simon & Schuster

This was a truly horrific, macabre novel that made my blood run cold and kept me captivated every step of the way that Will Henry took while following his Master.
I didn’t really enjoy how the book began. The reader is introduced to the main character William James Henry as a delusional man who has lived extraordinarily long, but had just died, and what would make up The Monstrumologist are actually three of his journals, which are so fantastical that they could only be fiction, even though they feature his own life. I found this… disheartening and bleak. I couldn’t imagine that there would be any possibilities for Will Henry. The whole time that I read about him, I kept on thinking, ‘He’s going to die,’ and even though he would live a long life, he had an end. You usually don’t come across that too much in literature with the main characters. So that made it hard to really feel emotionally connected to Will Henry initially.
The pacing is really quick for this book. It starts off with a stranger at Will Henry’s Master’s (Doctor Pellinor Warthrop) doorstep, bringing with him an even stranger and horrific load on a foggy night. There is a lot of description that may slow down the book however, but perhaps the excellent descriptions are what make this book so haunting and horrific. The encounters are told with such vivid and macabre clarity that they feel real in the mind’s eye. It disturbed me sure, but it kept true to the nature of the rest of the book, withholding nothing to tell the truth. And I loved it for that. A few simple days felt like a week with the descriptions, but this is very believable, considering Will Henry hardly slept during those two days.
As the book went on I started actually feeling for and connecting with Will Henry, forgetting the prologue and letting myself get attached. I love his interactions with the Doctor, how their relationship grew, and I think that he really loved him, even though he thoroughly denied that fact. And, if not, then the Doctor loved him, no matter how the Doctor had treated him before. The Doctor was quite hilarious, and I grew fond of his character too. I could understand how he treated Will Henry. Yancey gives reason for it, even though the reason doesn’t excuse his behaviour. All of the characters I found were likeable, or at least enjoyable to read about. Kearns gave me the willies with his morbid enthusiasm, but I still loved him for his eccentric behaviour. I also loved what was revealed about Kearns in the very end of the book- it fit perfectly into his character, and was very believable.
This probably isn’t the book to read if you’re faint at heart or looking for a girl-power book. I could probably count the female characters that actually make a living appearance on one hand. And, considering that the novel takes place in New England just after the Civil war, the female characters aren’t treated too well.
I also loved the way it ended. It wasn’t how I thought it would end, having twisted the whole way with Yancey’s clever planting of foreshadowed events, but it ended on a good note. It gave a possibility for more for Will Henry, when, at the beginning, all I could think of was the end. Will Henry’s death, along with Pellinor’s death, which was riddled with blame in my mind, was the only end I could see at the very beginning. But I was pleased, along with the fact that the ending gave Will Henry a possible future, that the Doctor was also not as guilty as I first thought he was in Will Henry’s death.
The Monstrumologist is truly a horror novel, fantastical yet at the same time realistic, exploring life and, of course, death, and the nature of morality.

Also, did anyone catch a possible Dracula allusion? Now, I found that the novel reminded me of Dracula in a small way, probably with character interactions and whatnot, but at the end of The Monstrumologist they mentioned a Doctor Abram Von Helrung and in Dracula there is the Doctor Abraham Van Helsing. Coincidence? We’ll have to wait and see. I’m very excited for the next instalment, The Curse of the Wendigo.

(Now this review was written right after I first finished the book, shortly after it was originally published in 2009. Nonetheless, this book is still one of my favourites.)

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

448 pages (hardcover)

Simon & Schuster

This was a truly horrific, macabre novel that made my blood run cold and kept me captivated every step of the way that Will Henry took while following his Master.

I didn’t really enjoy how the book began. The reader is introduced to the main character William James Henry as a delusional man who has lived extraordinarily long, but had just died, and what would make up The Monstrumologist are actually three of his journals, which are so fantastical that they could only be fiction, even though they feature his own life. I found this… disheartening and bleak. I couldn’t imagine that there would be any possibilities for Will Henry. The whole time that I read about him, I kept on thinking, ‘He’s going to die,’ and even though he would live a long life, he had an end. You usually don’t come across that too much in literature with the main characters. So that made it hard to really feel emotionally connected to Will Henry initially.

The pacing is really quick for this book. It starts off with a stranger at Will Henry’s Master’s (Doctor Pellinor Warthrop) doorstep, bringing with him an even stranger and horrific load on a foggy night. There is a lot of description that may slow down the book however, but perhaps the excellent descriptions are what make this book so haunting and horrific. The encounters are told with such vivid and macabre clarity that they feel real in the mind’s eye. It disturbed me sure, but it kept true to the nature of the rest of the book, withholding nothing to tell the truth. And I loved it for that. A few simple days felt like a week with the descriptions, but this is very believable, considering Will Henry hardly slept during those two days.

As the book went on I started actually feeling for and connecting with Will Henry, forgetting the prologue and letting myself get attached. I love his interactions with the Doctor, how their relationship grew, and I think that he really loved him, even though he thoroughly denied that fact. And, if not, then the Doctor loved him, no matter how the Doctor had treated him before. The Doctor was quite hilarious, and I grew fond of his character too. I could understand how he treated Will Henry. Yancey gives reason for it, even though the reason doesn’t excuse his behaviour. All of the characters I found were likeable, or at least enjoyable to read about. Kearns gave me the willies with his morbid enthusiasm, but I still loved him for his eccentric behaviour. I also loved what was revealed about Kearns in the very end of the book- it fit perfectly into his character, and was very believable.

This probably isn’t the book to read if you’re faint at heart or looking for a girl-power book. I could probably count the female characters that actually make a living appearance on one hand. And, considering that the novel takes place in New England just after the Civil war, the female characters aren’t treated too well.

I also loved the way it ended. It wasn’t how I thought it would end, having twisted the whole way with Yancey’s clever planting of foreshadowed events, but it ended on a good note. It gave a possibility for more for Will Henry, when, at the beginning, all I could think of was the end. Will Henry’s death, along with Pellinor’s death, which was riddled with blame in my mind, was the only end I could see at the very beginning. But I was pleased, along with the fact that the ending gave Will Henry a possible future, that the Doctor was also not as guilty as I first thought he was in Will Henry’s death.

The Monstrumologist is truly a horror novel, fantastical yet at the same time realistic, exploring life and, of course, death, and the nature of morality.

Also, did anyone catch a possible Dracula allusion? Now, I found that the novel reminded me of Dracula in a small way, probably with character interactions and whatnot, but at the end of The Monstrumologist they mentioned a Doctor Abram Von Helrung and in Dracula there is the Doctor Abraham Van Helsing. Coincidence? We’ll have to wait and see. I’m very excited for the next instalment, The Curse of the Wendigo.

(Now this review was written right after I first finished the book, shortly after it was originally published in 2009. Nonetheless, this book is still one of my favourites.)


The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus book 1) by Rick Riordan
576 pages
Hyperion / Disney
Review: This start to a new series definitely did not disappoint. Following Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, it was a strong beginning that rivals the original series. The new characters that were introduced were totally believable, and the three different narratives flowed naturally and smoothly. All three of them held different tones to distinguish between them. Leo’s narrative in particular was very fun because of all of the character’s personality that was relayed simply through the narrative and choice of wording (and come one, let’s face it— I totally fell in love with Leo when he said “Let’s boogie.” I absolutely love it when author’s are able to create quirky dialogue and sayings that seem to come naturally to the characters, like in the Uglies and the Leviathan trilogies by Scott Westerfeld for example [‘totally bubbly’ and ‘you’re a bumrag’ ‘barking spiders’ ect ect] )
 Some parts of the plot were a tad bit predictable, but that doesn’t mean that the book was dull. The plot was definitely exciting and fast paced, and although there were some predictable plot points, there was also a large number of parts where I was trying to figure out what would happen. And I still can’t stop thinking about the book, so that’s a good sign.
Overall, I really loved this book. It totally sucked me in to a whole new adventure involving the demigods new and old. Rick’s entire demigod series totally revived Greek Mythology in my mind and made it more than a ‘dead’ religion that I had learned about in grade five, and that’s amazing.

I can’t wait to read about Percy again in the next installment, The Son of Neptune, which I must get my hands on soon.

The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus book 1) by Rick Riordan

576 pages

Hyperion / Disney

Review: This start to a new series definitely did not disappoint. Following Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, it was a strong beginning that rivals the original series. The new characters that were introduced were totally believable, and the three different narratives flowed naturally and smoothly. All three of them held different tones to distinguish between them. Leo’s narrative in particular was very fun because of all of the character’s personality that was relayed simply through the narrative and choice of wording (and come one, let’s face it— I totally fell in love with Leo when he said “Let’s boogie.” I absolutely love it when author’s are able to create quirky dialogue and sayings that seem to come naturally to the characters, like in the Uglies and the Leviathan trilogies by Scott Westerfeld for example [‘totally bubbly’ and ‘you’re a bumrag’ ‘barking spiders’ ect ect] )

 Some parts of the plot were a tad bit predictable, but that doesn’t mean that the book was dull. The plot was definitely exciting and fast paced, and although there were some predictable plot points, there was also a large number of parts where I was trying to figure out what would happen. And I still can’t stop thinking about the book, so that’s a good sign.

Overall, I really loved this book. It totally sucked me in to a whole new adventure involving the demigods new and old. Rick’s entire demigod series totally revived Greek Mythology in my mind and made it more than a ‘dead’ religion that I had learned about in grade five, and that’s amazing.

I can’t wait to read about Percy again in the next installment, The Son of Neptune, which I must get my hands on soon.


DON’T YOU DARE DELETE THIS BLOG I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN

Oh god don’t worry, I wasn’t thinking of deleting it XD I like the url too much. Just, you know, changing it’s purpose or allowing it to stagnate.


So now that my semester is done, I no longer need to do design critiques.

Ergo, this blog now no longer has a purpose, unless I decide to do design critiques for my own pleasure.

But, I was thinking of doing something similar, like book reviews, from now on.

I am almost done reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

What say you?


Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Source: http://www.tor.com/
Critique: The cover for Deathless (By Catherynne M. Valente and published by Tor Books) was designed by Peter Lutjen with artwork by Beth White. The cover itself is meant to look like a print, and reference a russian propaganda poster with the use of flat plane and black white and red. The illustration on the front also references the fairy tale theme of the book— how it is a retelling of a folk story— while the lines help to lead the eye around the illustration. The main figure is slightly off center, making her placement pleasing to the eye. Red is used sparingly, but helps balance the composition by only being used on The title of the book and the author’s last name— both very important elements to the book.

Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Source: http://www.tor.com/

Critique: The cover for Deathless (By Catherynne M. Valente and published by Tor Books) was designed by Peter Lutjen with artwork by Beth White. The cover itself is meant to look like a print, and reference a russian propaganda poster with the use of flat plane and black white and red. The illustration on the front also references the fairy tale theme of the book— how it is a retelling of a folk story— while the lines help to lead the eye around the illustration. The main figure is slightly off center, making her placement pleasing to the eye. Red is used sparingly, but helps balance the composition by only being used on The title of the book and the author’s last name— both very important elements to the book.


Date: Monday, November 28, 2011
Source: http://www.alexandermcqueen.com/
Critique: This gorgeous dress by Alexander McQueen is set up on a simple background, on a featureless mannequin. The plain grey background helps the red colours pop and stand out, while the lighting expertly showcases all of the highlights of the dress. The reds seem to glow and all of the folds are defined in detail. The lighting also sets a mood that gives the overall photograph a dark, fairy tale feeling, tying in with the theme of the dress and putting it in its best ‘light’.

Date: Monday, November 28, 2011

Source: http://www.alexandermcqueen.com/

Critique: This gorgeous dress by Alexander McQueen is set up on a simple background, on a featureless mannequin. The plain grey background helps the red colours pop and stand out, while the lighting expertly showcases all of the highlights of the dress. The reds seem to glow and all of the folds are defined in detail. The lighting also sets a mood that gives the overall photograph a dark, fairy tale feeling, tying in with the theme of the dress and putting it in its best ‘light’.


Date: Friday, November 24, 2011
Source: http://www.harpercollins.com/
Critique: The cover for The Good Muslim (written by Tahmima Anam and published by HarperCollins) uses elements of design in order to create attention in a classy way. The title of the book, which is most important, has a soft, non jarring contrast with the background colour that draws attention to it. As well, the line created from behind the pattern shapes of birds leads the eye through the entire composition, drawing on the gestalt theory when the lines leave the confines of the cover. The use of pattern is also interesting and pleasing to the eye, yet not overwhelming and obnoxious, creating a very pleasing book cover that would draw the potential reader to the book by the cover alone.

Date: Friday, November 24, 2011

Source: http://www.harpercollins.com/

Critique: The cover for The Good Muslim (written by Tahmima Anam and published by HarperCollins) uses elements of design in order to create attention in a classy way. The title of the book, which is most important, has a soft, non jarring contrast with the background colour that draws attention to it. As well, the line created from behind the pattern shapes of birds leads the eye through the entire composition, drawing on the gestalt theory when the lines leave the confines of the cover. The use of pattern is also interesting and pleasing to the eye, yet not overwhelming and obnoxious, creating a very pleasing book cover that would draw the potential reader to the book by the cover alone.