Jun 16, 2009

YetiPreview: Powers

Since finishing The City and The City I decided to finish up Ursula K. LeGuin's Annals of the Western Shore trilogy with Powers (Annals of the Western Shore). Powers was also this year's Nebula award winner. This was extremely unexpected as I had never heard of the book before seeing the award shortlist.

Powers is Young Adult, but I try make a point to read the award winners (and most of the shortlist if I can) just so I can see if I agree with the awards process. I've read the first two books in the trilogy (although they aren't a dependent trilogy) and I have a sneaking suspicion that if these books had been written by anyone but Le Guin they wouldn't have won. But being fair, I've only read the first two (Gifts and Voices) so it still could be worthy of the praise.

I was going to pull a synopsis from Amazon and insert it here but I think I just managed to spoil myself as a significant plot event appears to have been included in the general description. I'm amazed at ability of reviews to ruin good plot twists or entire stories, just because they can't write anything besides a freaking plot summary.

Plot summary =/= Review.

End Rant. Anyway, on to the cover art. For the most part, I don't like seeing characters on my covers especially photorealistic ones. There are some exceptions but for the most part I would avoid it if it was my decision. I like the blues and greens of the rest of the cover though and the 1 word titles work well. I did notice that it's not readily apparent which book is which in the series, something that can be annoying if you aren't ordering online.

I also like the balance between the author and the title. Some famous authors just overshadow the rest of the cover and it's a sign that the publishing company thinks the book will sell on name alone. More often than not, an author who has that much recognition might be phoning it in. Read the latest Grisham legal thriller or Clancy military doorstop and tell me I'm wrong. Ursula K. Le Guin, who has more than earned the name recognition (although maybe not with the YAs at which this is targeted) is prominent but not overwhelming, especially given the white flash which draws the eye toward the title. Overall, I would give the coverart a C, mostly due to my distaste of photorealistic people.

Powers is 512 pages long. I invite anyone to read along.

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