Welcome to Redesign Reactions, where we talk about books, covers, and what happens when new cover designs take over a series!
On this edition of Redesign Reactions, let’s talk about
The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski
Hoo boy did things blow up with the reveal of the new cover for THE WINNER’S KISS, the final book in Marie Rutkoski’s Winner’s Crime trilogy. I don’t personally know the ins and outs of why the cover was changed after the initial reveal but obviously there was serious potential for the new covers and expanding to another market or larger audience.
Personally? It does irk me when covers are changed mid-series… But I really think some people did not handle it well. Keep in mind that a cover change is really almost always out of an author’s control and they’re probably stressed out about the book already much less when a new cover is revealed. I have to say, I wasn’t a fan of the way some people handled their frustration and it was a bit upsetting to see BUT I also understand being upset about a big, fan-favorite series getting a cover redesign on the last book.
I actually really like the new covers! I do think it’s a bit more “YA-looking” with the girl on the cover (although there was a girl on a cover in a dress before so that was even more “YA-looking”, I guess?) but I love how badass Kestrel looks and it really gets me excited to think about what’s in between those covers.
The good thing for readers is that Fierce Reads announced just yesterday that after everything they heard from fans of the series, they are now in fact keeping the original cover for THE WINNER’S KISS so apparently this is now a battle between the hardcovers and the paperbacks! Breathe easy, matchy-matchy friends. Your hardcovers are safe from change!
OLD COVERS: The original covers were clean and simple — just an image of Kestrel, obviously her dagger, and some lovely typography. I actually liked the dresses on this cover since it wasn’t just “girl in a dress” syndrome — Kestrel actually does wear nice dresses and I think they’re gorgeous to look at. Although let’s just say… I really, really did not like THE WINNER’S KISS original cover. That pose? HER FACE? It just all looks terribly uncomfortable and awkward. I can’t stand her facial expression there.
NEW COVERS: I really enjoy the general badass feel of these covers… But I don’t know that they give off the right impression to readers before they pick up the book. Yes, Kestrel is badass but she really is more of a strategist than actually heading into battle. The lines do blur there but I actually thought “girl in a dress” felt more accurate than badass fighter (as much as I love it). Also, I don’t know why but THE WINNER’S CRIME cover just looks off to me for some reason.
Which do I like better? I do think I like the original cover better for THE WINNER’S CURSE and THE WINNER’S CRIME and I frankly, I think I like the redesign more of THE WINNER’S KISS. In a perfect world, the covers would have matched with the dress theme and Kestrel would have just been in a different pose on THE WINNER’S KISS cover, but I’ll take the redesign here. I’m so torn on the change/change back with the covers that just happened because I really did like the new cover for THE WINNER’S KISS, even though it wasn’t 100% matching (the spine would have matched). I know it was hard for readers to swallow a change mid-series but I do understand a publishing house/marketing team has serious reasons to do so! A redesign also spends a lot of time, money, and resources to put together so I trust their reasons for pulling the switch. At least now everyone can keep their original matching hardcover and the paperbacks will still feature the redesigned covers so all of that effort isn’t totally wasted.
If I hadn’t seen the originals and this redesign was the first set of covers that I knew, I think I would still be excited and stunned, but knowing the first set of designs… I do lean more towards the originals. Especially for books one and two.
So tell me! Which design do you like better? Take the poll below and let me know in the comments which you prefer and why! I’d love to hear your reactions!