When I originally heard that Daniel Abraham was writing Urban Fantasy under the pen name M.L.N. Hanover, I was intrigued. I like Urban Fantasy. I like Daniel Abraham. After a quick google search, I found the publisher’s blurb to be interesting enough to add the book to the Amazon wishlists I use to track release dates.
Then I saw the cover.
I’ve hated the stereotypical Urban Fantasy covers since I started noticing the trend. Attractive girl with a lower back tattoo facing away from the reader while holding a weapon, et cetera, et cetera. While not ever thing fits the exact description, 90% of the Urban Fantasy books featuring female protagonists have covers with at least a few if not all of the trademark clichés. Covers I would be embarrassed to be seen reading. Covers I was determined not to purchase.
So I had a decision to make, either I could succumb to my desire to read the book. Or I could hold out and stick to my principles. I chose my principles.
So I wrote this post, and said I wasn’t going to pay to read Unclean Spirits in protest over the lazy covers, while offering my apologies.
Somehow, Daniel Abraham actually ended up reading the post on my fledgling blog and he very professionally and politely responded:
“Your objection to the cover is well-taken. It is very much an urban fantasy cover, and it ain't breaking any new ground. And if it turned you off the series, I certainly respect that. I've seen the cover for the second book, and lemme tell you, it's totally going to fail for you too.I thought this was exceedingly cool and we kicked a few e-mails back and forth and talked a little about the book, about urban fantasy in general, and about the covers. In the end, Mr. Abraham ended up sending me a review copy of the book, allowing me to read it without “putting my money into that kind of a cover art.”
As far as your promise to never put your money into that kind of cover art . . . well, should you ever choose to shoplift a book, please keep me in mind.”
YetiNote: It’s also important to note that this isn’t something that he normally does. Please don’t swear off his work in some attempt to get free books from him. It would negatively affect his sales, which would negatively affect his ability to sell more books, which would negatively affect my enjoyment derived from reading them.
So I read it. And I enjoyed it.
I would like to offer my apologies again to Daniel Abraham for judging his book on its cover. He should be proud of the way he was willing to stand behind his work and challenge my opinions in a professional and productive manner. And he should be proud of Unclean Spirits. It's a great read. He’s got one more person who is going to pick up the next installment in his Black Sun's Daughter series.
Regardless of how bad the cover art is.
Look for a review of Unclean Spirits and a discussion with Daniel Abraham regarding the Black Sun’s Daughter and the state of Urban Fantasy in the coming days.