This week's winner belong to a special category of romance novel book covers: the Second-Page Surprise.
Usually, these covers are abbreviated, letting you know there's something on the next page. The front cover will show the couple standing on a windy moor, the man's arms wrapped protectively around his lady love. BUT THEN you turn the page and bodices start ripping, skirts fly all over the place, and the romance of the moors generally gives way to a stolen moment of passion or other some such nonsense.
That's a long explanation that describes most Second-Page Surprises. The other kind of S-PS usually involves a fantastical element: he seems so chiseled and normal on the front BUT THEN you turn the page and find out he's a vampire or a werewolf or a wood nymph. And that is where this week's winner fits:
First Glance: All right. It hits the right notes: strong jawline, chiseled cheekbones, furrowed brow. The overlay of the leopard suggests an element of danger, perhaps, and I love the "we're on a crazy safari"-style font. I'm never crazy about the author's name being larger/more prominent than the book title, but whatevs. It's a decent cover that made me think there might be something more . . .
And I was so very right. He seemed so well-cut and normal, like any guy you might find while on safari in Africa BUT THEN you find out he's part leopard. Score: 4.5 out of 5
Title: Burning Wild - it could refer to a plot to destroy wildlife OR it could refer to an all-consuming, uncontrollable passion. Clever. Score: 3.5 out of 5
Tag Line: "What they desired was more dangerous than animal instinct . . ." I'm guessing she forgoes the wildlife conservation possibility and goes straight for the all-consuming, uncontrollable passion. Nice use of the animal theme, though. Score: 3.5 out of 5
Back-of-the-Book: "The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Dark Carpathian novels now returns to the exotic, sensual and dangerous world of her bestseller Wild Rain. This time, what goes on between male and female is wilder than animal instinct - and twice as hot."
- - - - > This one is losing points fast, not only because I'm totally unimpressed by the NYT bestseller shill line. Mainly, I'm mad at the back of the book for contradicting the tag line - is what they desire "wilder than animal instinct" or "more dangerous than animal instinct"? You're sending me mixed messages, BotB, and now I don't know if I should expect a tale of passion or a tale of danger. Score: 2 out of 5 - I am very disappointed.
Final Score: 13.5 out of 20 - Christine Feehan's Burning Wild gets the Bronze Feather. While they truly succeeded in the image portion, the lackluster and contradictory back cover really hurt them in the long run. Plus, HOW COULD THEY NOT USE SOME FORM OF "CAN THIS LEOPARD REALLY CHANGE HIS SPOTS?"????? Honestly, people. It was sitting right there.