So here’s what I think happened. A suit, somewhere high up at Hodder saw the Nursery Crime covers and said ‘I love it, baby! Let’s go with it!’ which is suit-speak for ‘Let’s retro-fit the Thursday Next books (which previously looked like this):
and make them match the faux-retro Nursery Crime series.’ Hence, the following
Notice how there isn’t a Thursday Next: First Among Sequels that matches the original coverwork? The version of Something Rotten that matches is officially labeled as a Collector’s Edition and I haven’t been able to find a picture of the most recent book that matches. I may be wrong, it may be out there…
Again, I see where they were going with it. I do like that everything is uniform (the placement of his name vs. the title, the split slant within the title, etc.). What I’m not clear on is why they decided to make them look exactly like the Nursery Crime series. Sure, they are in a similar universe (or rather a subgenre of universe, I suppose), but there aren’t crossover characters (at least not that I can think of), so I’m not sure why they wanted Thursday Next’s books to look like Jack Spratt’s. I suppose, they’re all really Jasper Fforde’s, but the two series are different and I would have thought they would take the cover art in maybe related, but different, directions to be sure to keep them separated.
Now I have to admit that, while I don’t like the cover art, I do like the ragged, well-read effect they’ve got going around the edges. I doubt you can see it very well in such small pictures of them, but you know that look that very worn paperbacks get, where the edges start to sort of separate and curl up and the color fades or cracks on the cover? That’s what they’ve done here, which I like. If only they hadn’t gone and changed around the cover art…
Here’s what the US versions look like – Claire, you’ll have to let me know if you think they’re any better – I definitely like them better than the new UK ones, but I can’t decide between these and the original versions (which were very cute…):
So there’s my thesis on the book covers of Jasper Fforde. What do you think? What are your favourite (or most unfavourite) book covers?