Saturday, March 31, 2012

Shelf Candy Saturday #13: The Swan Kingdom, by Zoe Marriott

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 am again featuring
two different editions
of the same book.

Trade Paperback, 288 pages
March 5, 2007
Genre: YA Fantasy

This edition of the book was published in the UK.  Of course, I'm totally enchanted with this cover!!  Those gorgeous shades of blue in the lower half are magically enchanting!  The upper half of the cover, though, is just as magical.  The sky is full of lovely shades of pink (hot pink among them, which I love!), lilac, and some blue peeking out here and there.  Dawn seems to be breaking, or is it a glowing sunset? 

That mysterious island smack in the middle, between sky and sea, with those strange, Stonehenge-like pillars, makes me want to go there to discover the magical adventures that are surely hidden among those eerie stone sentinels. 

Tying the cover together is that glorious silver stream of what to me seems like fairy dust, circling down towards the sapphire-blue ocean, birthing flowers as it goes, amid little explosions of light... The circular, swirling movement is simply bursting with energy, and culminates in a lilac-colored blossom.

The gracefully-flowing script font used for the title perfectly matches the cover's beauty, as well.  Furthermore, it doesn't overpower the cover at all.  The capital "s" in the word "swan" is shaped like a swan, which is, I think, a nice little detail.

This is absolutely one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen!  I could contemplate it for hours!  I would love to have it as a poster for my bedroom.  I'd hang it on a wall facing the bed, so I could stare at it for as long as I wanted.  I know I'd easily get lost in this image, and feel that I was inside it, floating in the breeze, right above that magically blue ocean, drifting along in the silver stream, headed for that island, perhaps right into the arms of the very handsome Swan King...

This masterpiece of book design is the work of
the very talented book illustrator,

I have fallen completely in love with
this man's work, especially
since he obviously loves the color blue
as much as I do!
Just take a look at this lovely illustration
of an angel (or fairy) with butterfly wings!!

(from the artist's section at

Steve Rawlings has been working as an illustrator since the early '90's, evolving a style which merges traditional and digital photographic techniques with an expressionistic and painterly collage style first explored during his arts degree at the Kent Institure of Art.  Incorporating found and self-generated textures, elements and images, Steve layers these often 'flawed' elements to create striking, beautiful, and evocative work allowing the detail of defect to juxtapose with that of refined manipulation and so creating images with an inherent depth and tension.

Clients to date include: Honda, BP, Volkswagen, The Royal Opera House, Lucasfilms, Scholastic, Disney, Random House, Penguin, Harper Collins, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and many more.

Zoe Marriott
Hardcover, 272 pages
March 25, 2008
Genre: YA Fantasy

This is the U.S. edition of the novel.  The mood here is markedly different from the one of the cover above; it's brooding and oppressive.  Lightning forks down from a stormy, ominous-looking sky covered with black clouds illuminated wtih magical red light.  There are also patches of lilac, as well as some pink.  Three swans are flying, probably heading toward the island. 

In contrast to the previous cover, night rules here.  The sky and island in the background have a sinister, menacing look about them, and it's obvious that some dark power is at work on that island...  

Instead of the sea, there's a wide stretch of land carpeted by small plants, which also rather dark and menacing.  The strange, cloaked figure seems to be floating above the land, surrounded by a ghostly aura.  White, stylized flowers, entwined with leaves, bloom beneath this figure.  Looking more closely, I realized it was a young girl.  She seems rather lonely, lost in her own inner world.  Yet, power radiates from her.  The ethereal-looking flowers and leaves seem to be evidence of that power. 

This, too, is a magical cover, and I also love it!  It's full of a dark beauty.  Whereas the cover above gives me feelings of wonder and delight, this cover makes me feel as if I were being pulled into a world of dangerous mysteries and powerful, evil wizards.   It's a beautiful world, nevertheless. 

I love the simple, yet elegant, font used for the title.  Something about it reminds me of a font used for a paperback edition of The Lord of the Rings.

These are two very powerful covers!  Again, I love them both, although I must admit to a marked preference for the first one.  I do own both books, because I simply had to have both covers!!   

This cover is an amazing combination of
the work of several artists,
all blending harmoniously to create
this beautiful image!

The island with the stone pillars is the work of
Steve Rawlings, which is quite obvious.
The photograph of the young woman is by
and is archived at iStockphoto.
The photograph of the sky is by
and is archived at Taxi/Getty Images,
while the landscape is by
and is archived at Stone +/Getty Images.
The photographer for the swans is not
credited, but the image is from Plainpicture/Veer.
The flower pattern is also uncredited,
and is archived at iStockphoto.


So, what do you think?
Do you love both covers,
or do you prefer one
over the other?
What gorgeous covers
have you picked this Saturday?


  1. Replies
    1. You're very welcome!! Glad you like these covers! Thanks for commenting!! : )

  2. Beautiful colors and I LOVE the butterfly piece!

    1. Yes, they ARE beautiful, aren't they? And that butterfly piece is quite simply....AMAZING!!!! I LOVE this guys's work!! Be sute to check out the link, if you haven't already done so!!

      Thanks for the comment!! : )

  3. I think I prefer the first cover even though it doesn't really show you what the book is about. I just like the colors more lol. The second one is kind of creepy. Nice pick though. My Shelf Candy

    1. Oh, I definitely prefer the first one, too! However, I like the other one, as well, even though, as you say, it's "kind of creepy". I find the composition in the second one totally amazing, too!

      Thanks for commenting!! : )

  4. Dude i totally get why you chose the first one! It's so beautifully chaotic! There's so much jam packed in it that you can look anywhere and be instantly mesmerized! Great pick!
    My Shelf Candy

    Shae @ Understanding Shae's Story

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Oh, I LOVE the way you put it -- "beautifully chaotic"!! That's exactly right! And it IS totally mesmerizing -- I could stare at it for hours....

      Thanks for the nice comment!! : )

  5. I really love both covers, although the first cover grabs my attention more. great choice.

    my scs

  6. Steve Rawlings is amazing! This is my first look at the cover for The Swan Kingdom. I can't believe that I had never seen it. I love the mix of elements. Light, water, air... and the movement. Incredible.

  7. What a gorgeous cover, love the color and the lovely elements. I am off to google this gentlemen and stalk his work. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Love these covers! The colors are outstanding! The water elements in particular are great. Thanks for sharing!

    Steph @ Steph's Stacks My Shelf Candy

  9. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    I like the first cover. There's so much to draw your eye in...and keep it there. I also like the lettering, especially the 's' in swan. It's too bad some of Kingdom is hard to see.


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