Sunday, August 12, 2018

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 257: The Muse, by Jessie Burton

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!

*Late Edition*
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!

The Muse
Jessie Burton
Hardcover, 416  pages
July 26, 2016
Art, Historical Fiction, Mystery

My Thoughts About This Cover

This is a rather whimsical, yet visually stunning cover that instantly caught my eye when I first found it, during a Google search.

I love the symmetrical design, the dark background, the splashes of bright colors, and the way the snakes intertwine with the leafy branches. I also love the main color, which is a very bright blue-green. 

It's interesting how the two pistols at the top of the cover mimic the intertwining action of the snakes at the bottom. Or is is the other way around? 

There's all this movement, so, in spite of the design's symmetry, the viewer never gets bored while staring at this cover! That's because, even within the symmetry, there's movement that counters movement, in opposite directions. For instance, the two pistols are pointing outward, while the snakes, as well as the paint brushes above them, are pointing inward, toward the title. The leafy branches behind the paint brushes, though, point outward, like the pistols. All this creates a LOT of visual interest! 

The title uses a font inspired by the Art Deco style, although a bit more ornamental, and yes, whimsical, too. The author's name is done in a plainer, more understated font, and is gray, while the title font is white.

One small, but VERY important detail is that this cover doesn't have a lot of "cover chatter", which is additional information that is frequently placed on book covers and, more often than not, end up ruining the entire design. On this cover, this "chatter" has been kept to a minimum, and has been placed at the very top of the over, where it's clearly visible, yet does not intrude on the overall design. Kudos to the artist for that, as this is a pet peeve of mine regarding book covers!

This artist's love of typography is more than evident, not only on this cover, but on other covers she's illustrated, such as the ones for Wink Poppy Midnight, by April Genevieve Tucholke, Wicked Like a Wildfire, by Lana Popović, and The Wicked Deep, by Shea Ernshaw. 

At first sight, this looks like a fantasy cover, and that's part of what drew me in, as well. Upon looking closer, the viewer notices the two pistols and the old-fashioned typewriter. Hardly fantasy elements! But again, the whole style of the cover would lead one to believe that this is, indeed a fantasy novel. 

The artist responsible for this GORGEOUS cover is Lisa Perrin, an award-winning illustrator who wears several hats: illustrator, designer, collaborator, entrepreneur, and educator. 

She earned her MFA in Illustration Practice from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2013, and is based in Cleveland, Ohio (USA). Although she's currently working for American Greetings card company, her clients include Macy's, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Scholastic, The Saturday Evening Post,, and many others. 

Her work has been recognized by The Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, 3X3 Magazine, and Print Magazine.

Online Links

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


  1. On target analysis as always Maria.

    I love the shade of blue that predominantes. That is just about my favorite color and shade.

    While not fantasy I have heard the Jesse Burton incorporated Magical Realism in her previous book, The Miniaturist. I am not sure if there is Magical Realism in this one, but it would some aspects of the cover.

    I love term “Cover Chatter”. It is a perfect descriptor!

    1. Hi, Brian!

      Thanks for the compliment!! :) :)

      Yeah, I LOVE that shade of blue!! It's SO beautiful!!

      I need to check out Burton's previous book. You might be right, and it turns out that she does incorporate Magical Realism in it. If so, that's right up my alley! :)

      As for the term "cover chatter", I think I've seen it on another blog. I'm not sure. Maybe I first saw this term on S.H. Higbee's blog, Brainfluff (she's an SF author who often comments here). These words suddenly came to me as I was writing this post. It IS a perfect descriptor! Glad you like it! You know, I wonder WHY some publishers put SO much extra stuff on book covers. It just ruins the total look of the cover! Oh, well....

      Thanks for the nice comment!! <3 :)

  2. This cover is so beautiful! I especially love the green colors on it. My favorite! ♥

    1. Hi, Steph!

      Yeah, when I first saw it, I was like, WOW. GORGEOUS!! :) :)

      That color -- I see it as a combination of blue and green -- is what makes this cover as BEAUTIFUL as it is! I LOVE it, too!! <3 <3

      Thanks for commenting!! HUGS!!! ,3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  3. I looked up this book out of curiosity since you don’t mention what it’s about and it did seem interesting. There also seems to be a cover with a yellow background. The cover, however, seems to have little in common with the story!

    I like the snakes’ tails typing on the typewriter. And pistols shooting plants instead of bullets.

    1. Hi, Sue!

      Since these posts are all about the covers, I don't mention book synopses at all. If there are elements of the plot on the cover, I might mention those. But it's really not necessary to know a book's plot in order to appreciate its cover aesthetically. However, I do include an "Add to Goodreads" button in each of these cover posts. That way, those who want to check out a book's plot can just click on this button, and be taken to the Goodreads page (another tab will open, so you can still remain on the SCS post page).

      I've checked out the yellow cover. This is the one for the paperback and digital editions. The design is identical; the only difference between the two is the background color. I MUCH prefer the dark background, so, when I buy this book, I will definitely get the hardcover!

      As for the elements of the story on the cover, Picador designer Ami Smithson explains how this cover was developed, in the article titled "Designing Jessie Burton's 'The Muse'". You can find this article in the list of links above. Here's a quote: "We wanted to create our own garden of Eden: sinister elements offset with new life and growth." So I guess this is more of a symbolic cover. Interesting, right?

      Oh, I love the snakes' tails typing on the typewriter, too! I really should have mentioned that, as well as the pistols shooting out those plants. Yeah, that's preferable to bullets! Maybe this is meant as some sort of peace protest.

      Thanks for the thought-provoking comment!! <3 :)

  4. What a treat, Maria:)). I love the way the tails of the snakes are tapping out the keys - so much life and movement with a wealth of delightful details and I love the colours, too. Thank you for you wonderful description, too! This is a gem.x

    1. Hi, Sarah!

      Yeah, isn't it? Glad you love this cover, too!!

      Oh, I think that's SO funny, the snakes tapping out the keys! I really should have mentioned this in the post! Lol.

      There's definitely a LOT of life and movement in this cover, and the details are indeed delightful! The colors just seem to jump right off the surface of the book, too, and I know that's because of the dark background. All in all, this is a GORGEOUS cover!

      You're very welcome for my description! Thanks for the compliment, and for the lovely comment!! HUGS!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)


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