Monday, February 8, 2010

Cover Judging - To Tame a Highland Warrior

All right, friends. I've taken a month off from Cover Judging to remind myself that the GRE board does not define "enervate" as 'a spell in Harry Potter that is used to restore a person to consciousness."
Side note: Other Harry Potter spells that find their home on the GRE Vocab "Hit List":
evanesc(ent)o, impervious, obliviate, and stupefy.

This is all to say that I've not abandoned judging books by the covers. Why, here's one now . . .

First Glance: There's not a whole lot there, visually, with this one: the author's name and the title reserve about three-quarters of the cover. And we get a bicep (though he's cheating by crossing his arms) and a shadowed glimpse of waxed chest in a sort of blue-toned black-and-white. In this case, however, the visual isn't the point . . . Score: 3 out of 5

Title:
. . . It's the title. To Tame a Highland Warrior. There's a reason the publisher put the title in two-inch caps: because the purpose of this book is instructional. This book has finally answered the question of our hearts: Is it even possible? Can a highland warrior be tamed? If so, how might I accomplish faire feat? Will it require abandoning the privileged life I once knew, or being kidnapped and coming to love my kidnapper, or is it a simple matter of bickering with the handsome rogue until I realize that I would rather bicker with him than get along with anyone else? This book holds the answer. Score: 4.5 out of 5

Tagline:
"Only her love could gentle his savage soul . . . "

I know. But lucky for everyone, I've been studying parts of speech like a mad lexicographer. And gentle, normally used as an adjective, can also be used as a verb. Definition: to tame; render tractable. Essentially, our tagline is "Only her love could tame his savage soul . . . "

I think I can see our cover designer's problem: due to the placement of the tagline, this cover runs the risk of putting "tame" in tiny letters directly above the huge "TAME" in the title. But our canny cover designer saw a way around this: thesaurus! And I'm so glad s/he did, because this tagline is probably one of my favorites. It hits all the right notes: he's untamed, wild, a wanderer and only she has the ability to make him settle down. And it tops that off with a great, antiquated usage of the word gentle. Two thumbs up. Score: 5 out of 5

Back-of-the-Book:
This time, it's complicated.
"He was born to a clan of warriors of supernatural strength, but Gavrael McIllioch abandoned his name and his Highland castle, determined to escape the dark fate of his ancestors. Hiding his identity from the relentless rival clan that hunted him, he called himself Grimm . . ."
Here's a question: Mssr. McIllioch is in hiding, dashing from place to place, a lone exile from his clan, right? I'm guessing he's not writing many letters, penning any novels, or spray-painting his name on the sides of buildings. So why, when he rechristens himself Grimm, does he have to include an extra 'm'? Is he a closet romantic who feels the extra 'm' gives his pseudonym added danger? Does he want people to linger on the "mm" when they speak his name? Or is it a subtle hint from the author that our Grimmm is a tasty treat?
". . . to protect the people he cared for, vowing never to acknowledge his love for ravishing Jillian St. Clair. Yet even from afar he watched over her, and when her father sent an urgent summons, "Come for Jillian," he raced to her side--into a competition to win her hand in marriage."
Hm. A summons. So maybe Grimmm has correspondents after all.
"Why had he run from her so many years before? And why return now to see her offered as a prize in her father's manipulative game? Furious, Jillian vowed never to wed."
Is Jilly furious at her father for orchestrating a game that ends in her marriage or at Grimmm for leaving her "so many years before"? Is her vow never to wed a protest against her weirdo dad or is it her way of telling Grimmm that if she can't have him, she doesn't want nobody, baby?
"But Grimm was the man she loved, the one who urged her to marry another. He tried to pretend indifference as she tempted him, but he could not deny the fierce desires that compelled him to abduct her from the altar."
Kidnap subplot, check!
"She was the only woman who could tame the beast that raged within him--even as deadly enemies plotted to destroy them both...."
Well, I really hope it works out for these kids. Score: 4 out of 5

Final Score: 16.5 out of 20
- To Tame a Highland Warrior receives the Silver Deveraux, with a lifetime achievement award in Titles and Tags.

1 comments:

Lord Admiral said...

If my name were Gavrael McIllioch, I'd want to abandon my name, too. Zing!