Saturday, December 6, 2014

Shelf Candy Saturday #135: Uprooted, by Naomi Novik


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,
simply go HERE.

Here's my choice for this week!

Hardcover, 448 pages
Del Rey
June 30, 2015
Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

My Thoughts About This Cover

This is the type of thing one might encounter while visiting a medieval monastery, perhaps in England, Belgium, or Germany. The calligraphy certainly reminds me of an illuminated manuscript!

Aside from  the exquisitely done calligraphy, there are other elements that are typical of the type of art done on medieval manuscripts, such as the building housing a main figure, with smaller, secondary figures set in niches or windows of the structure, along the left and right sides.

In the Middle Ages, perspective was relatively unknown, if not totally so. Therefore, it was the custom, in paintings and manuscripts, to portray a main figure as larger than other figures in the same composition, simply because of its importance. That's the case in this cover image. The principal figure, that of a girl holding a shining rose, is therefore depicted as being larger than life. Her right hand, too, is held in exactly the same gesture as that seen in many medieval paintings and illuminated manuscripts.

The rose itself is absolutely beautiful! It gives off a surreal, inner glow, and the girl is staring at it in awe, as if it were a sacred object. I'm not sure about the symbolism, but I believe it might actually represent the beauty of a person's inner core. Five long buds extend out from the rose in several directions, which could mean spiritual growth. Again, I'm just not sure.

All the figures surrounding the main one have some symbolic meaning, of course. I'm not sure about the meaning of every single one of them, either. I know the owl represents wisdom, while the beaker and container in the niche below are known symbols of alchemy. At the top right there's what looks like a snake, and most likely represents temptation. This creature seems about to take a bite out of one of the rose's extended buds, too. A sword lies on top of the roof, but its symbolism totally escapes me. There's a girl looking out of the window at the top left-hand corner, and a boy's face smiling through the window in the lower right-hand corner. I suppose they're characters in this book, just like the girl in the center is.

Unfortunately, this is another case of not being able to get any information about the cover artist(s) and/or designer(s). The Amazon reader was of no help whatsoever here. When this book is published, I can then buy it, and will definitely find out!

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


  1. You picked another great cover Maria.

    Of course, as you mention, there are the parallels with something one might see in an monastery as well as with an illuminated manuscript.

    But, for me, the picture also has very contemporary, modern feeling.The hairstyle of the women and the way some of the designs are drawn give it a contemporary look. Obviously it is a product of our times.

    I find such a mix of old and new OFTEN leads to what I would call an aesthetic catastrophe :) Sometimes I find such things cringe worthy. That is NOT the case here. This picture seems to be balanced and tasteful. It is the right mix of old and new. I am not sure exactly if I have identified all the reasons that it seems to work. But it does.

    1. Hi, Brian!

      Thanks! Glad you like this one, too!

      You're so right in saying that this cover is a nice mix of medieval and modern elements. This image is indeed "balanced and tasteful". Very well put! I'm so glad it is, too -- because, as you say, such mixes are not always aesthetically pleasing.

      I wish I knew who the artist(s) and/or designer(s) is/are..... Amazon has not offered a sample of the book. Since it won't be released until June of next year, there's no way for me to know..... The author's website offers no clues, either.

      I will just have to wait until next June to find out who created this GREAT cover!

      Thanks for the insightful comment!! : )


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