Sunday, August 14, 2016

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 186: The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, by Daniel Kraus

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!

This week, I have decided to post 
on Sunday, as
I've been much too busy! 
I hope to be back to posting 
as usual next Saturday.

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

Here's my choice for this week!

At the Edge of Empire 
(The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Book 1) 
Daniel Kraus
 Hardcover, 656 pages
 Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
October 27, 2015
  Fantasy, Historical Fiction,Horror,
Paranormal Fiction,Young Adult Fiction

My Thoughts About This Cover

This is a great example of a book that I might never read, but whose cover I love! First of all, the sheer size of it -- 656 pages -- is truly daunting. Second, the fact that it has elements of horror in the plot is a HUGE turnoff for me, as I totally loathe this genre. However, that cover is simply breathtaking!

What caught my eye right away was the very obvious, and dominant, Art Nouveau influence. The cover design could have been created by Alphonse Mucha himself! It has all of his signature stylized plant forms and fan-like decorations, as well as the sweeping curves. Furthermore, there's a circle right in the middle of the design, and it frames the central figure. Absolutely stunning! This is also very appropriate for this novel, as the plot begins in 1896, during the heyday of the Art Nouveau movement.

Within the circle is what looks like the mechanism of a watch, with more circular shapes that echo the larger circle. This is very compelling, visually speaking.

The one thing that I initially founnd puzzling, was the dark, towering shape looming behind the figure of the central character, Zebulon Finch. I thought at first that it was supposed to represent The Grim Reaper. On closer inspection, however, I discovered that it's a young man -- probably Zebulon himself -- seen from the side, wearing some sort of gas mask and what appears to be a protective suit. This image adds to the sense of uncanny weirdness in this great cover! 

There are also Art Deco dssign elements in this cover, especially in the series title, at the top of the cover, and the Volume One title, located at the bottom, within the rectangular shape that encloses Zebulon. The Art Deco influence is also seen in the decorations to the left and right of Zebulon's figure. These also make me think of skyscrapers. This is very effective, as part of the story takes place in New York City. 

This stunning cover was created by two HIGHLY talented people: Ken Taylor, who did the illustration, and Lizzy Bromley, who did the cover design.  

Taylor is an incredibly talented artist! His illustrations are very bold, although frequently disturbing. However, his mastery of line and form is undeniable, as will be evident from a visit to his website.

Taylor is a Melbourne-based illustrator and designer, best known for his stunning rock music posters and albums. Although he has created artwork for many Australian bands, he's also done the same for bands such as Metallica, Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, and The Rolling Stones.

Bromley got her BFA in Illustration from Art Center College of Design in California. From there, she moved to New York City and, after some searching, landed a job at HarperCollins. For the past seven years, she has been working at Simon & Schuster. She loves collaborating with photographers, and uses dynamic letter fonts in her designs.

Online Links

Ken Taylor

Lizzy Bromley
Interview: WovenMyst Blog

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


  1. This is such an amazing cover -- I haven't looked it up yet, but on first glance, I'd think it was some sort of steampunk story and IA 656 pages i definitely daunting. From that alone, I'd wonder if this was more adult that YA

    1. Hi, Verushka!

      Oh, it DEFINITELY is!! Yeah, it does look like a Steampunk cover, at first glance. That's because of the figure in the gas mask. But I think this probably refers to Zebulon's experiences in WW I.

      You have a point about this novel not sounding like it's YA fiction. I can't believe how LONG it is! I don't think I've ever come across a YA novel THAT long! But, like I stated in the post, I will probably never read this book, as I can't tolerate horror. However, I just HAD to feature this magnificent cover!

      Thanks for the nice comment!! Sweet dreams right now, as it's 3:22 AM Monday morning in Australia! (I just checked on Google, lol.)

  2. I agree that this is great cover.

    I like art deco also.

    I have not read anything about the plot of this book.

    My initial impression in regards to the gas mask and protective suit is to think about some of the 1930s writers like HG Wells who wrote about a horrible future where poison gas would be used on a massive scale to kill tens of millions of people.

    1. Hey, Brian!

      I'm glad you like this cover! It is indeed a great one!

      Art Deco and Art Nouveau are two movements I love, in regards to decorative and graphic art. I think Taylor has used those influences perfectly in this cover!

      You make a very interesting point about the gas mask and protective suit. They are indeed reminiscent of HG Wells, although I must admit I've never read his work. However, I am somewhat familiar with it. That is indeed a HORRIBLE future Wells wrote about! I hope such a thing NEVER comes to pass!

      Thanks for the great comment!! Hope you're having a WONDERFUL Sunday!! :)

  3. Wow I'm really impressed by that cover! I'm usually not a fan of orange in any of its forms but the use of the different shades of orange with brown-ish and gold really works!

    And 656 pages....that sounds intimidating. I have enough trouble holding 450 page books in my hands but imagine holding one that's over 600 pages! I guess that's just another pro of ebooks ;)

    Wren @

    1. Hi, Wren!

      Yeah....isn't it GORGEOUS? You know, that's exactly the way I feel about the color orange. too. I don't usually like it, but somehow, on this cover, it works just beautifully! And you're so right about the brown and gold accents!

      I guess a table, or some sort of stand, would be necessary in order to put this book on it, so as to read it comfortably. And it would take quite some time to read, too.

      Although I do read ebooks, I still prefer printed books! But yeah, ebooks are more portable.

      Thanks for the visit and the comment!! :)


THIS IS NOW AN AWARD-FREE, AND TAG-FREE BLOG. Thanks for the compliment, though! : )

Thanks for your thoughts on my posts! I always reply here, as well as comment back on your blog. Have a WONDERFUL day!! :)