Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Heir of Night

This book  by New Zealand fantasy author Helen Lowe recently won the Gemmell Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Newcomer. I thought I'd include it, in the interest of supporting NZ fantasy.

The black and red combination makes for a striking cover despite the fact that this colour combination is relatively common at the moment. I think it stands out because the current trend is for red/black presented in a romantic way, whereas this cover isn't romantic - it's bold. It also stands out amongst fantasy titles because it doesn't necessarily look like a fantasy novel - it could equally be a horror. The all-caps sans serif typeface is also not typical of the fantasy genre - it's a convention more usually found amongst contemporary fiction.

The black to red gradient on the typeface is a clever way to get around the change in background colour.

I particularly like that the cover figure instantly tells you that there is a strong female main character (and she isn't in a sexy or submissive pose - sadly something of a rarity for a female cover model). This same cover figure is used on the other version of the cover I've seen around.

The other version of the cover I've seen around is more evocative of the fantasy genre than the first one. The typeface chosen for the title is interesting, with unevenly-sized 'T's and 'H's. It gives it almost a hand-lettered feel. The letters are again placed quite cleverly, with light type against dark smoke. The hint of colour on the bottom of 'night' makes it seem like the words are 'in' the picture and are being affected by the flames.

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