Saturday, July 26, 2014

Shelf Candy Saturday #121: King, by R.J. Larson


Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!!

This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful book covers!
It also provides information,
if available, on their very talented creators!

For more information
about Shelf Candy Saturday,
just click HERE.

Here's my choice for this week!

(Books of the Infinite, #3)
Trade Paperback, 352 pages
Bethany House Publishers
July 1, 2013
Christian Fiction, Fantasy, 
Young Adult Fiction

Why do I love this cover?

This cover is just exquisitely beautiful!! The entire image is vividly realistic, yet also dreamlike. The attention to detail is nothing short of wonderful! It's most evident in the meticulous attention paid to the young man's clothing. I love the decorative band running down the front of his tunic, as well as the heraldic design on his shin guard. His gloves are lined with many metal studs  that catch the light, almost glistening like jewels.

The young man himself is very handsome. He also has a very determined, yet very innocent, expression on his face; it's obvious that he has no experience yet in ruling a country. I love the way his unruly hair catches the light, as well. I feel he looks more like an artist or poet than a warrior or potential  king. He's just very appealing, and not merely because of his physical beauty. He is obviously a very idealistic person, which is why the idea of his being an artist or poet came to me. He is a seeker of truth, of the highest ideals.

I also get the feeling, from the young man's pose, that he doesn't think he's worthy to be king. This is mentioned in the book's synopsis, and the artist has captured that very well here. The young man's head is slightly bowed; he's accepting the burden of leadership, albeit reluctantly. His grasp on the magical sword is firm, indicating his decision to carry out his duty, in spite of his misgivings.

The sword, of course, reminds me of Excalibur, and is magnificent! The young man therefore reminds me of King Arthur; it's as if he could be kneeling before Merlin, who has just informed him of the impending coronation.

The detail in the background is also astoundingly meticulous and gorgeous! That craggy mountain, the dawn sky, with colors melting into each other, the restless sea, with mist softly rising over the whole scene.....everything here is a feast for the eyes!

As if all of these visual delights weren't enough, the letters of the word "King" are golden, gleaming at the level of the young man's chest, and next to the sword's equally gleaming blade. Also, and even more striking, the blade of the sword is actually the letter "i" in the word "King"!  Not only is this a visually stunning detail, but also a symbolic one; the sword is the vertical line of a cross formed by the intersection of the sword with the word "King". Of course, the sword itself also resembles a cross. I think these details are subtle references to Jesus, since He is The King of Kings. I'm totally in awe.... These details are brilliant!

Thanks to the Amazon reader, I have discovered that the above image is actually a photograph! Amazing. It looks more like a painting. I'm sure that there was some digital manipulation involved; if so, it was masterfully done! The highly talented photographer/illustrator is Steve Gardner, who founded his own company, PixelWorks Studios, Inc., where he wears three hats -- Photographer, Photo-Illustrator, and Senior Art Director.  Located in Sisters, Oregon, the company specializes in beautiful covers for the book publishing industry. 

The cover design was done by Wes Youssi, founder and Creative Director of M.80 Design, in Portland, Oregon. He has collaborated magnificently with Gardner!

Online Links for Steve Gardner

Online Links for Wes Youssi

What do you think of my choice 
this week?
Please leave me a comment 
and let me know!


  1. Hi Maria - You really hit it on the head that much of the appeal here lies in the young man's expression. He seems very worried and unsure of himself indeed.

    Perhaps he is an artist or poet, or perhaps even a young philosopher. If you read the book you will find out!

    As you mention, the mist is also very effective. I tend to really like misty scenes.

    1. Hey, Brian!

      Yes, I think that the young man's expression is extremely important to the overall appeal of the cover. Gardner got just the right one from his model, and it conveys so much! Well, as they say, "A picture is worth a thousand words."

      I like what you point out -- that he might even be a young philosopher. Great thought! And of course I want to read this book!! It's the third one in a series, though, so I'll have to start with the first one.

      You know, it's interesting that mists are always associated with fantasy. I guess it's a very effective way to convey a magical, otherworldly reality. I love misty scenes, too!

      Thanks for such a lovely comment!! : )

  2. Love the colors the cover artist used here, and I agree about the young man's expression. Definite eye candy material! Thanks so much for sharing! xo

    1. Hi, Michele!

      Yes, aren't they lovely? Glad you like this cover! You're very welcome for the share, and thanks for coming by and commenting!! : )


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