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Descent by Ken MacLeod

DESCENT Ken MacLeod

Author of 2013 Arthur C. Clarke Award-nominated Intrusion tells a science fiction story for the twenty-first century – what happens when conspiracy theorists meet Big Brother?
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THE LASCAR’S DAGGERGlenda Larke

The start of a brand new epic fantasy trilogy from the author of the Stormlord series – full of scheming, spying, action and adventure.
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Cover Launch: HEARTLESS by Gail Carriger!

Well, as you can tell from the infrequency of the postings from the Art Dept since the holidays, it’s been craaaaaazy busy here. Our Fall/Winter 2012 covers are due in 3 weeks, and we’re killing ourselves bringing you the coolest artists and designs we can. We also have a couple new features in the pipeline which we’ll be talking more about after the evil 2/18 deadline, so hang with us. Meanwhile, we are going to finish posting the rest of the Spring/Summer 2011 Covers for your viewing pleasure, starting with one of my fave series…

Here you go folks, Heartless, the fourth Alexia Tarabotti/Soulless book by Gair Carriger. I love this series, and I am really digging the covers too – who wouldn’t, when I get to work with such fun material as the photos Steampunk icon Donna Ricci keeps sending me? The photographer this round was Pixie Vision Productions.

I tried to find a good British castle as a stand-in for the pack headquarters, and I think the cool heavy stonework here does the job – I can totally picture Alexia going up and down those steps to visit with the werewolves camped out on the back lawn…and whipping some military discipline into them!

After the jump is a teaser, and I’ve tried to take out as many spoilers as I could, but still, if you haven’t read the previous books (Soulless, Changeless, and Blameless) then BE WARNED, SPOILER ALERT.Ok, I’m putting the text in white so if you want to see the full-size cover below you won’t stumble on anything. Highlight the text in your browser and you’ll be able to read it:

Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband’s past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux’s latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.
Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf’s clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama’s second best closet?

And here’s the full-size covers, in series:


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  1. Karin

    February 1, 2011
    at 1:28 pm

    Reply

    i have to say i don’t like it as much as the others. It seems a little less dark and a lot less mysterious… maybe it is the fact the model is looking right at the camera… or just too light in the composition… i don’t like any of them as much as the first. It has a great sense of intruige and mystery to it, not seeing the models face lets you create your own heroine

    • Jess (The Cozy Reader)

      February 1, 2011
      at 7:42 pm

      Reply

      I agree 100% with you! I hate that the model is looking right at us! Ick!

      • Donna Ricci

        February 2, 2011
        at 11:43 am

        Reply

        It’s the only way I can steal your soul

  2. Nika

    February 1, 2011
    at 1:36 pm

    Reply

    My favourite cover is the one for Changeless. I’m not a fan of the new color scheme, nor of the model’s styling and while the castle looks lovely, the integration of the model isn’t harmonious enough for my tastes. I love the new parasol, though, and can’t wait to read the book.

  3. Donna Ricci

    February 1, 2011
    at 2:52 pm

    Reply

    I’d be beaten senseless if I didn’t correct the above the photographer names.

    Soulless and Changeless by Derek Caballero
    Blameless by Tiny Dragon Productions
    Heartless by Pixie Vision Productions

  4. Lauren Panepinto

    Lauren Panepinto

    February 1, 2011
    at 3:50 pm

    Reply

    Whoops! Sorry about that, fixed in the post. thanks for the catch, Donna!

  5. Jess (The Cozy Reader)

    February 1, 2011
    at 7:46 pm

    Reply

    I posted the cover on my blog just now and explained in my post that I’m not a fan of this new cover. I agree with the other commenter’s that the model looking directly at the camera is a huge turn off, not that’s she’s not pretty but it’s just awkward. And the background image, while impressive, is not as seamless as the other images on the other covers.

    To date I think Blameless is my favorite. It’s virtually seamless, beautiful sharp colors, and super fitting to the book.

    Overall, while the cover isn’t my favorite, it will not stop me in the least to pick this up as soon as I can to read this amazingly awesome series by the brilliant Gail Carriger!

  6. Erika (Jawas Read, Too)

    February 1, 2011
    at 7:57 pm

    Reply

    I didn’t like this new one as much as the previous three, but it’s growing on me. A little less glam (if glam is measurable by the amount of satiny sheen in one’s clothing), but still lovely. :)

  7. Abigail [All Things Urban Fantasy]

    February 1, 2011
    at 10:34 pm

    Reply

    It’s a different look from the previous covers. I’m curious as to why it’s purple again?

  8. Jena

    February 1, 2011
    at 11:35 pm

    Reply

    Unfortunately, I don’t think this latest cover conveys the tone of the series or the personality of the main character very well. I’ve enjoyed the previous book covers, particularly the cover of Soulless, but this upcoming one is not doing anything for me. The model doesn’t seem like a good fit for Alexia (light eyes, lighter brown hair styled with a lot of fussiness) and the dress looks more like a cheap costume rather than a modern take on a period piece. I don’t think the ruffles and lilac color scheme of the dress or the model’s Shirley Temple-like curls are helping matters.

    • Donna Ricci

      February 2, 2011
      at 11:25 am

      Reply

      Jena, the model hasn’t changed, just the photographer and (finally) the outfit.

  9. S.

    February 2, 2011
    at 7:46 am

    Reply

    Lovely.
    I love the covers of this warmly recommended serie.

  10. Rachel L.

    February 2, 2011
    at 2:26 pm

    Reply

    Echoing others here, I just don’t like this cover nearly as much as the rest. You’ve lost the steampunk vibe, and the different layers don’t match as well as the last few. There’s just a really jarring difference between the model and the background that wasn’t an issue in the other covers (all of which I love). :(

  11. mssarahb

    February 2, 2011
    at 9:50 pm

    Reply

    Sorry to jump in with criticism, but the bar was set so high with the other covers! The hat is ridiculous. Not quirky, but rather like it was stolen from a clown. And not a funny clown. The look doesn’t convey the wonderful intelligence of the character. I like the castle, though miss the foggy London atmosphere of the first two.

  12. Eliza

    February 3, 2011
    at 3:25 pm

    Reply

    I have to weigh in with a thumbs up. While it may not be my favorite (Soulless!) the positioning of the model, and her high-waisted skirt, does an excellent job of highlighting AND hiding that Alexia is very pregnant in this book.

  13. Natalie

    February 3, 2011
    at 9:16 pm

    Reply

    I really have to say that the book cover is horrible!! Especially when you compare it to the first two covers. The model doesn’t look right, the lighting/shading is sooo off. It looks unprofessional! It really is a pity considering that these books are fantastic. I love them so much. THIS IS NOT ALEXIA!!!!!

  14. Bonlove

    February 4, 2011
    at 7:15 pm

    Reply

    I don’t like cover either. But I have never thought (once having read that Alexia is statuesque) that the model mathches the character description. Will still read the book.

    Statuesque ladies unite!

  15. Jesso

    February 5, 2011
    at 3:16 pm

    Reply

    The cover is different, yes, but I like it. The only thing I find odd about it is that the model’s face looks like it was airbrushed too much or something. It gives almost an uncanny valley kind of feeling. In the others, you can see the contours of her (lovely!) face, and the shape of her nose, but here her face looks flat. That would be my only critique.

    Otherwise, I have no problem with her wearing a different kind of dress (she must keep up with fashion, after all!) or posing differently (cheeky Alexia!) or whatever. And really, the cover isn’t the be-all-end-all of the book. As many after-school specials have taught us, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

  16. janicu

    February 5, 2011
    at 5:54 pm

    Reply

    Another “I don’t like this cover as much as the earlier ones” vote here. I have been wondering why I dislike it and I think there’s something childish in the combination of the purple, the little hat with the feather, and the model’s ringlets in this one which is putting me off. With the hat tilt, my eyes are also drawn to the model’s forehead and it’s confusing me where her hairline begins.

  17. Dena

    February 8, 2011
    at 10:38 pm

    Reply

    I like the new cover. It seems fine to me. I don’t mind the fact that she is facing us, it works for a character who has evolved from trying very hard to never be noticed for who she is to embracing her individuality and using it to her advantage.

  18. Rael

    February 25, 2011
    at 9:59 am

    Reply

    I have to say, that I´m not much fond of the new cover, which is somehow less darker and creepier, than the previouse three. I miss the foggy-ish feeling, which is more mysterious anf gave you that creepy feeling on the back of your neck.
    But I love the position of the model – yes, she does not resemble the main protagonist as much as the previouse one, but she has something in her. Her face is lovely, very lovely. And the pose seems to work, while in the book she is supposed to be highly pregnant, so she has to hide it .)
    And somehow I miss her hair on the other side of her face, and also under the little hat.
    But still, can´t wait for the book :)

  19. Stan

    July 26, 2011
    at 1:10 pm

    Reply

    That has to be Ivy Hisselpenny because it sure is not Alexa.

  20. Lauren Panepinto

    Lauren Panepinto

    July 26, 2011
    at 2:32 pm

    Reply

    actually it IS alexa, same model and everything…maybe pregnancy has softened her scowl a bit?

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