Saturday, January 16, 2016

Shelf Candy Saturday #160: And I Darken, by Kiersten White

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!

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

I may from time to time also feature
covers I don't entirely like,
and discuss why I don't. 

My choice for this week is
an example of one such cover.

And I Darken
(The Conquerors Saga, Book 1)
Kiersten White 
Hardcover, 496 pages
Delacorte Press
June 28, 2016
Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Retellings,
Young Adult Fiction

My Thoughts About This Cover

This is obviously a stunning cover, and yet, a deeply disturbing one. While I can admire the technical aspects of it, such as the meticulous attention to detail, the stark, bold composition, and the skillful placement of the title, with letters that echo the metallic glint of the spear, I still cannot say that I love this cover. Why did I feature it, then? Well, I want to call negative attention to a cover that seems to symbolize an unfortunate aspect of human existence: the brutality of men toward women. Thankfully, not all men behave brutally when dealing with women. However, the fact that this cover was actually designed and chosen for a book which was then published, speaks volumes about what our culture still perceives as an inevitable part of humanity. 

The spear is obviously masculine, and the flower, feminine. That is not disturbing in itself. What is indeed disturbing, though, is the fact that the spear appears to have thrust through the flower, destroying it in the process. Thus,  I see this cover as a symbolic representation of rape. In spite of its dynamic, well-executed design, I have to say that I would never purchase this book, unless the cover were to be changed in the future.  

This book is aimed at the young adult book market, too, which I find unbelievable, as it's mostly young women who read this genre.

An alternate interpretation of this cover might be possible, but it's probably a stretch. It could be seen as the symbolic suppression of female energy by a woman who must allow her male energy to emerge in order to deal with a terrible situation. 

Another possibility is that a woman artist actually might have created this cover, for the very purpose of protesting the situation of women and male violence throughout the centuries.

In spite of the two alternate explanations I have given above, I still think that my first interpretation is the correct one, as it's the one that struck me first. Gut impressions are usually the right ones.

Perhaps many women would not be put off by this cover, and would still buy and read this book. It's a highly-anticipated release, after all. I am definitely not including myself in this group. 

In view of my feelings, I am not going to include any information about the artist who created this illustration. 


What do you think of this 
week's cover?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!


  1. A very timely cover Maria.

    Men being violent towards women is one of the terrible constants in history and we see it everywhere in the world today. As we know there is a dedicated movement to deny this fact which is beyond ludicrous.

    As I believe that, some of the time, art must reflect the ugly side of life, I think art like this cover is art that needs to be produced.

    Though it is often difficult to see, I believe that there is definitive and undeniable evidence that the world is getting better. I often refer to Steven Pinker's "The Better Angels of Our Nature" as the best summery of these trends and why they are happening.

    Be well.

  2. Hey, Brian!

    Sorry for the delayed reply.....I've been a bit busy, as you probably know.

    I'm glad you agree that this is a very timely cover, in view of recent events. It is indeed ludicrous, as well as totally ridiculous, that there should be a movement dedicated to denying the fact that some men do rape women.

    You do have a point that art needs to reflect the unpleasant realities of life at times. I can't help but dislike such art, though. That's precisely my problem with most of 20th-century art. It reflectes the absurdities and chaos of that century, and I prefer not to look at such things. My favorite 20th-century artists are Henri Matisse and Georgia O'Keeffe, for that reason. However, I do like Kandisky, as well. His more organic-looking abstracts are just awesome!

    I don't know whether I would agree that the world is getting better..... There are so many things that shouldn't be happening, and nevertheless are. I think I need to read this book by Pinker.

    BTW, I am not going to tweet this post on Twitter. You know why.

    Thanks so much for the great comment!! : )


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