Saturday, March 24, 2012

Shelf Candy #12: The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

This wonderful book meme/blog hop
is hosted by

Stephanie @

The purpose of this feature is to display
a beautiful book cover,
with information, if available,
about the cover illustrator,
photographer, and/or designer.

For all the participation rules,
just click

This week, I'm contrasting
two different covers --
one for the hardcover edition,
the other for the
paperback edition:

Erin Morgenstern
Hardcover, 387 pges
September 13, 2011
Genres: Paranormal Romance,
Urban Fantasy

This cover is unquestionably unusual, and brilliantly designed, as well.  In fact, I find it absolutely stunning, not to mention dramatic!  I adore cover illustrations that stop me in my tracks, and this one is a prime example.  That stylized, gloved hand, holding out a miniature circus, immediately captures the eye.  The circus itself, with its bold, geometric design, is totally mesmerizing.  The color scheme is stark, and one immediately starts wondering about the strange clock sitting on top of the tallest tent. 

Interestingly, it's only on closer inspection that one can see that the object in the gloved hand is actually a miniature circus.  From a certain distance, it really looks like a doll.  This illusion is succesful because the circular orange-red shapes framing the central tent look like legs when viewed from a distnce.  The clock looks like a face, and the orange-red circle behind it looks like a bonnet.  So the whole image resembles a doll sitting in the hand, with her legs splayed out beneath her voluminous skirts.  I believe this was intentionally done by the artist, and is part of the effectiveness of this great cover.

The combination doll/circus image refers directly to the main character, Celia, who is a talented illusionist.  The cover illustration also creates an illusion through its central image.

The font used for the title is absolutely perfect!  I especially love the delicate scrollwork framing it, which is echoed by the curling designs on the white glove.  I also love the twinkling stars sprinkled all over the background.

The artist carried the design over onto the spine of the dust jacket, as you can see in my photograph below. 

The black-and-white striped design is also present on the end papers of the book, as well as on the title page.  Going even further, the book itself bears the scrollwork from the dust jacket on its front cover.

The beautiful dust jacket illustration
was created by 
She has not only done book illustrations,
but has also created fine art pieces.

From the Artist's Website

By the use of bold colour, strong graphic line and familiar images I create highly individual and visually appealing pieces of art that make an instant impact. My work has a distinctive hand crafted quality that pays respect to all forms of mid century design, folk and ethnic art, as well as current and future trends.

The jacket design was done by
John Fontana.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find
any information about him.
I'm not sure whether he designed
the cover of the book itself,
pictured above.

Erin Morgenstern
Trade Paperback, 387 pages
Random House Export
September 15, 2011
Genres: Paranormal Romance,
Urban Fantasy

This is indeed a very nice cover.  The silhouttes are beautifully done, and very graceful.  I like the fact that the circus tent is right in the middle, between the two figures.  A ribbon from the circus ties the mn and the woman together.  Their connection to the circus is thus very clear.  I also like the circles at the bottom of the dust jacket, as well as the font with the stars dotting two of the letters in the title.  The bird on the woman's dress, echoed by the one flying next to the man, must refer to some plot element.  They, too, are a nice touch, especially since they're opposites -- one is black, the other, white. 

Although I do like this second cover, for me it doesn't have the strong aesthetic impact of the one for the hardcover edition, which completely blows me away!  This one is very charming, even cute.  However, I prefer book covers to be so stunning they'll make me want to comtemplate them.  This one pales, I think, in comparison to the one shown above. 

Since I don't own this edition, I was unable to get any information on the artist/book designer.

What do you all think?
Do you prefer one over the other,
or do you like them both?
What wonderful covers
are you featuring this week?


  1. I love both covers. I have had this in my tbr pile since it was published and it just seems to get shuffled

    1. Actually, the second cover is growing on me, so I might end up buying the paperback edition, too! However, I don't think I'll ever like this one as much as the first!

      Thanks for the comment!! ; )

  2. Awesome pick! I loved being able to see more of the hardcover edition. Strangely the paperback edition is the cover we have for the hardback in the UK. Sadly the extras won't have carried through - like the designs on the hardcover. I actually featured the UK hardback for my first shelf candy here.

    My shelf candy is here if you'd like a look :)

    1. Oh, it's too bad that the UK hardback doesn't have Musselwhite's artwork on it...or the designs on the book itself. But you can always order the US edition, if you're as book-obsessed as I am... Lol. I've done that with a couple of my books. Sometimes I prefer the UK cover, so I'll order the book even if I already have the US edition!

      Thanks for commenting!! I'll go check out both of your Shelf Candy posts! : )

  3. I actually like them both. The hardcover design ALWAYS catches my eye at the bookstore. There is a sense of whimsy about it that I like. And I love the silhouette figures on the paperback. I have a Kindle and do most of my reading on it but really, nothing beats a beautiful cover.

    Here is my pick:

    Happy Reading!

    1. I agree -- the hardcover design does have a whimsical quality about it. That's another reason I love it!! Yes, the silhouette figures are indeed beautiful! As I told Kimba, this cover is actually growing on me...Lol.

      As for the Kindle, I don't own one, nor do I want to. I totally dislike ebooks. I sure hope that printed books never disappear, because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them!!!! To me there's nothing like holding a real, PHYSICAL book in my hands!!

      I'll go check out your pick!

      Thanks for the comment, and Happy Reading to you, too!! : )

  4. Love it! I've wanted to feature The Night Circus covers forever. I think they are both great. I like the figures in the paperback, but I love the circus in the hardcover. Decisions, decisions...I might need both :)

    Steph @ Steph's Stacks

    1. Well, I do prefer the art on the hardcover edition, but I might end up getting the paperback one, too... I do like those silhouette figures.

      I'm going over to check out your pick! Thanks for commenting!! : )

  5. I know what you are saying about thinking that it is a doll until you take a closer look. I thought that it was some sort of clown when I first saw it and then I realized that there is more. This is one of those covers that is even better in person.
    Thanks for including the shot of the jacket spine and the hard cover beneath. The second cover is fabulous and would blow me away by itself, but when up against the first, it hardly stands up for comparison.
    Thanks for sharing your great post.
    Note: I love that shade of pink too. I found the button that you were referring to.

    1. You're absolutely right -- this cover IS even better when you're seeing it in person! You're very welcome for my inclusion of the jacket spine and the actual book. I thought those were very, very nice touches!

      As for the second cover, it's growing on me, ironically enough! Lol. But I don't think I'll ever like it as much as the first one!

      Yes, that shade of pink is a lovely one! It's the only shade of this color that I like. I can't stand the pale ones!

      You're very welcome for the post, and thanks for the compliment and the great comment!!

      Happy Shelf Candy Saturday!! : )

  6. I really like this cover. It's simple but beautiful.
    I have recently added this to my TBR list. sounds really good.

    my SCS

    1. Glad you like the cover! I assume you're referring to the Musselwhite cover, right?

      The plot sounds great, I know! I hope to be able to get to this one this year!

      I'm off to check out your Shelf Candy post. Thanks for commenting!! : )

  7. i think both covers are really beautiful. i already have the hc or i would totally consider the pb. actually, i still am! :)

    1. You know, I'm considering buying the other edition myself, even though I already have the one I featured! Lol. Actually, though, I wouldn't buy the paperback, now that I've found out the UK hardback edition has that very same cover. I would want the UK hardback edition now.

      Thanks for commenting!! : )

  8. I prefer the HC illustration. Sadly, I own the paperback and I'm not the biggest fan of this cover even thought it's obviously pretty.I just can't stop thinking about the perfection which is the hardcover.

    I want the hardcover! If only I wasn't broke.


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