The Woman Who Rides Like A Man (Tamora Pierce)
This was my favorite cover of the original set I grew up with - the desert palette contrasting with the deep blue of Alanna’s pants and cloak. (Finally, some pants!) Even the font works with this background, and the rearing horse gives it a bit of a Calamity Jane feel, which I always felt worked well with the character.
the other hand, the fact that she’s holding what I think is supposed to be a flame backfires and looks like a lotus. I AM LADY KNIGHT, CHAMPION OF FLOWERS. Also, the horse is still frilly.
Minimalist-formerly-11-year-old-butch disliked this one the least of the original four because of the super-coiffed-ness of both horse and rider (we grew up with the same set).
The first-edition artwork continues to ascend with this awesome daylight desert cover. The detailing again is what makes it shine - the horse’s saddle gear, the skirt. Love the determined expression, the movement in the fabric and tail, the little plume of dust behind them.
Complaints: you could make a horse so expressive and realistic, but the cat looks like the love child of a badger and a beaver?
I’m starting to think of this series as the ‘fairytale collection’ given the colors and drawing style, and in this case, it works. Points for not making the glowy thing look like a lotus, for the unruly mane and the fact that Alanna’s hair looks like a red version of mine (snarly curls ftw). Also points for book accuracy: glowy sword, cat riding in saddle cup, etc.
Complaints: Minimalist is not amused by the lioness faces - in fact, is rather unnerved by them. Also, the horse is doing some kind of a limp-wristed HEY GIRL HEY with a chin tilt and some side-eye.
Congratulations to Gollum, who is growing into her face and pulls herself up from the trenches! The lightning around the sword is an excellent touch/nod to the book, the horse is in some armor, as she should be, and I’m digging the chain mail sparkles.
Complaints: it’s still Gollum, guys. Even the horse looks alarmed.
The French continue to be the best of the foreign publishers, again showing a nice sense of movement (dust, mane, etc). It’s a clear image, with a nuanced, slightly different color palette.
Complaints: Probably the weakest showing from this set so far. I’ve given up on the French understanding that Alanna =/= Mulan. Also, wtf is with the cat perched on the horse’s ass? He’s going to fall. And he’s not going to like it.
Inoffensive, but boring. I like the tent-flap as a reveal, becuase it feels a little like a stage curtain, and this may be the first cover to really get the cat right - that’s a perfect prowl.
Complaints: the font makes it look like a book report, and Minimalist points out that the whole thing looks like a middle-school photoshop job. Also, for some reason, Alanna looks like a Musketeer, though I can’t tell if this is a good thing or not .
Thailand, when you get it wrong, you at least get it spectacularly wrong and full of badassery.
Complaints: A Power Rangers villian is riding a dragon towards Agrahbah. The sun looks like a giant nipple. Take your pick.
Watch your back, Thailand. Japan is coming for you! This one gets points for being the Lisa Frank Entry of the batch, and decent-if-not-spectacular cat and horse depictions.
Complaints: The jewlery, the borders, the sword that looks like it couldn’t cut anything, the Dunescape - and generally the absence of anything as badass as the Thai version.
Points for..um…having a nice color spectrum from the sky to the land. And for the nifty shin guards on the horse.
Complaints: super-magic-swirly-sparkly-meteor shower! Looking At That Tank Top Makes My Breasts Hurt! White Leggings! And Good Lord Would You Read That Tagline Because This Book Is Totally Not About A Woman Coming Into Her Own As a Knight At All!
OMG, they finally got the Gift color correct. Hallelujah.
Complaints: NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. Seriously, what conversation led to this f'kakta version of events? Can you imagine it?
“So, what we’re thinking this whole Team George/Team Jonathan approach is really going to appeal to the kids, yknow? I mean, the book is essentially about how she runs away to the desert to escape having to make the choice between them, right? Won’t the readers appreciate having something to root for? 'Cause, I mean, let’s face it - what else are they going to root for? Her?"