Hello friends! Back with a creative lull and lots of covers that require discussion! 

Feel free to check out my other creative-slump-inspired lovely posts about unfortunate covers. And hey, one of these days, maybe I will actually post a real discussion or something. Stay tuned for that miracle-in-the-making! 

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld


Top Row L-R: Chinese, Estonian, UK

Bottom Row L-R: Bulgarian, Hungarian, Japanese, Polish.

True story: I was going to do Pretties and Specials, but there were so many terrible covers for Pretties that I ran out of room. Honestly these covers are tragic as a whole. Even the new covers for Impostor are kind of meh. Look, I get that back in the day cover design wasn’t as big of a deal, because technology, but this series is pretty famous, let’s get it together everyone. Anyway, the covers!

So there is another edition that uses the doll concept, but the Chinese cover gods had to go ahead and use a doll with eyes that will steal your soul, so they win. I don’t even know what the Estonians are doing- is that kid dead? Why is his head coming out of paper? Look, your guess is as good as mine, but I don’t recall any “death by paper” in book 2, so. I guess the UK version is trying to be clever, but the concept of the book is being attractive, not sticking eyeballs on your chest, so that’s a swing and miss.

The Bulgarian cover is just… I don’t know why there’s a large headed woman with all the bangles. And I assume those kids are supposed to be on hoverboards but they look like they’re surfing on large guitars, so. I suppose the Hungarian folks were trying to take a stab at the Shatter Me series covers, but a creepy eye with clearly Photoshopped sparkles is a mediocre attempt at best. At first glance, the Japanese cover seems kind of well-designed. Until I took a second look and realized that it looks like that much older bald dude assaulted that young woman? Or wants to? Idk but either way I am creeped out. Ah, the Polish “designers”, saving the most ridiculous for last. Is she… is she holding her own brain? I am at a loss, friends.

Which is most unfortunate?

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Half Bad series by Sally Green


L-R: Half Bad Armenian 1, Half Bad Armenian 2, Half Wild Swedish, Half Wild Chinese

Wow, slow claps for Armenia. Twice in one book, impressive! And talk about different takes! I suppose the First Armenian should be called Half Collarbone, for reasons that apparently make sense to those guys. And the second Armenian… I honestly don’t even understand what it is supposed to be? Can anyone explain the inexplicable? The Swedish cover peeps are going to get calls from PETA because it looks like that wolf is bleeding from the mouth. Unconvincingly, since the wolf is real and the blood is clearly Photopshopped but alas. And I feel the Chinese one, because I too leave my dead girl and my wolf under waterfalls sometimes. Oopsie.

Which is most unfortunate?

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Unravel Me Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi


Unravel Me L-R: Australian, Swedish, English ebook, Czech

Ignite Me L-R: French, Australian, Chinese, Turkish

I don’t need to explain why the Australian Unravel Me sucks, right? Honest to god, I have no idea which body parts are on the Swedish cover, but I worry I shouldn’t be looking at it? We can obviously see the vibe they’re after in the English ebook (unknown publisher). I swear I read this book and it isn’t erotica, but ::shrugs:: I basically need a few minutes to process the Czech cover. Like- it maybe wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t look like a hologram was about to die? Though the font isn’t helping either.

The French people clearly did not bother to read Ignite Me, as it isn’t set in a 1919 silent film. The Australians are really hitting it out of the park here- they somehow managed to out-crappy themselves. While the Chinese attempt probably isn’t the worst, it is a blatant ripoff of The Hunger Games with the added bonus of a random nude lady. And the Turkish were deceived by the English ebook cover and thought this was some kind of steamy sexy time book. Homework, people.

Which is most unfortunate?

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Through the Ever Night  by Veronica Rossi

Top L-R: Hebrew, Greek, French, Dutch

I will never, ever get over this giant chicken in the Hebrew Edition. Of course, the plot of this book is obviously “lady deity looking upon her empty forest”, nailed it Greek guys. For the love of all things holy, can we please get the French designers to read a book every now and then? Repeat after me, dystopian, not Harlequin mass market romance.  And why the Germans insist on putting this young lad’s head inside a purple flower of sorts… well your guess is as good as mine.

Which is most unfortunate?

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Scarlet Cress by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet L-R: Thai, Bulgarian, Georgian

Cress L-R: Swedish, Chinese, Bulgarian 

Honestly I am just salty that the Thai cover chose to highlight her midriff and boobs instead of anything having to do with the actual story. The Bulgarian Scarlet isn’t aesthetically displeasing, it’s that the fucking doll is going to haunt the shit out of me. Speaking of haunting the shit out of me, thanks Georgian people for that nightmare. Like okay, empty woods where a human being should be, cool, cool.

I don’t know when the last time is I was so disturbed by a doll, Swedish cover gods, and that is saying a lot because have you seen this post? Make everything about this cover go away, please and thank you. The Chinese cover does a bang up job of flying a tiny spaceship into a large head, if that’s what they were going for they nailed it. And look. The Bulgarian Cress isn’t terrible, it’s just that if the god forsaken doll turns around, you know she’s going to look like the Scarlet bitch too.

Which is most unfortunate?

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And some lovely gems, because let’s be positive woooo! (And also as an eye cleanser.)

Also these aren’t all sequels because it was actually really hard to find sequels but they’re all in series at least!

L-R: Vicious, Thai | Crooked Kingdom, Ukranian | Caraval , Russian | Half WildIndonesian 

Hope that one or two of these cleansed the ol’ palate after some of the loveliness above ? Good news- I have even more good (and bad, let’s be real) covers waiting!

Which makes your eyes happiest?

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Let us discuss! Which of these is most offensive to your eyes and/or sensibilities? Any that you think aren’t bad? Like any of my picks for nice covers?

Posted September 17, 2018 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Funsies , , / 28 Comments


28 responses to “Unfortunate Covers of Your Favorite Books: Part 6 (Sequel Edition)

  1. It’s kind of ironic that the covers for Pretties are so ugly…s. Even the original US cover is not good. The whole series is just bleh, and those are the ones I have. Also, clearly no one bothered to think how the spines would look on a shelf. One of them just has an ear on it. I feel like the Bulgarian one at least tried. It relates to the book. It’s just not very well executed. But the Japanese one does get more concerning the more I look at it lol.

    Idk what Half Bad is about, but there appears to be some sort of abstract leg and foot in that second one?

    I see your issue with the Thai Scarlet cover, I feel like there was prob no reason to show midriff? But I still think it’s a pretty cover. And I feel like the Swedish Cress cover is pretty in a way that would be good if it were kind of a creepy book.

    Oooooh your pretty ones are gorgeous, and I especially love the one for Vicious!

  2. Ok the Polish cover of Pretties IS hideous but I voted UK because of that eye thing. It’s just awful. I mean that might be one of the uglier YA covers I’ve SEEN. As for Half Bad- yeah that’s Armenian #2 all the way. I take back what I said- THIS might be one of the worst covers I’ve seen. Who would buy it??

    Ooh the good stuff now- Mafi! I had to go Swedish on Unravel Me, because I don’t even know what the %^^&* that is. For scarlet and cress I had to vote for the Bulgarian creepfest, because… yeah.

    As for the good ones, well I went w/ Caraval- I like the pop of purple. And TBH the rest don’t do a lot for me? Although Crooked Kingdom isn’t too bad.

    I think this might be one of your best ones yet. You picked out some great terrible covers!

  3. Wowwwwww. I love this. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cover (HALF BAD Armenian) where I can’t identify what I am looking at on the cover. Like WHAT IS THAT THING??? I’m perplexed. Also, that Bulgarian Cinder Doll thing will probably haunt my nightmares for a while, so thanks for that!!

  4. Haha, I love these posts. I think the Pretties covers are the worst. There’s some sort of weird cartoon melodrama happening in the Japanese one. I don’t know what’s up with that. I REALLY don’t know what’s up with the Polish one. It kind of looks like the girl fell down a manhole and terrible things happened, but she doesn’t care.

  5. I live for these posts, because I love all the eyesores you are able to dig up. The Lunar Chronicles covers actually weren’t too bad, but what was China thinking?

  6. Oh gosh, the Scarlet cover with the doll! The Cress one isn’t AS bad, but yeah, we know it’s a doll so still creepy. And I like the Georgian Scarlet, but more if the book was like…a horror novel. LOL

    I’m loving the Thai cover for Vicious. NEED IT!


  7. Kel

    Oh wow! You outdid yourself once more! But seriously, where are all these creepy dolls coming from? I guess other people don’t find them creepy…? I’m okay with some of the fully illustrated covers, but so much can (and does) go wrong with those photoshop jobs.

  8. My eyes hurt from looking at these haha, it makes me so sad to see some covers here . I love the Uglies series so, so much, but damn, these covers are terrible, especially the Chinese one with that doll, wow haha.
    Thank you for sharing these hidden gems, that makes me feel much, much better haha, I love the Vicious one SO much! 😀 <3

  9. I think I’m just so used to seeing that ugly dutch cover of Through the Ever Night it doesn’t shock me anymore with its badness. I am so glad they redid them with one of the English covers haha (though those aren’t exactly stellar either).

  10. Wow, there’s some weird covers here! 🙂
    Isn’t that second Armenian Half Bad one a rip-off of the painting The Kiss by Gustav Klimt? I mean, it’s a pretty weird picture anyway, and they seem to have made it even stranger, and I have no idea what relevance that has to the book!

  11. HONESTLY THESE COVERS ARE SO BAD. It hurts my heart and soul and eyes all at once. But also kind of want someone to now use the term Death by Paper as a book blog cos that sounds fun and fully accurate, you know? I’ve literally been over here for like a half hour trying to figure out the Half Bad Armenian covers?? THE ART ONE, ESPECIALLY. I agree with the other girl who commented saying it’s like a rip-off of a Klimt painting and I am actually cringing because WHY WOULD THEY EVEN?

    Wow, so many of these are such eye sores I had a hard time deciding which batch from which novel was the worst.

  12. The Swedish Half Wild is soooo offensive to any graphic designer, professional or not. LOOK AT THAT BLOOD. AND THE TEARS!? WHAT IS GOING ON. D: And I’ve got to say, I actually like the Lunar Chronicles covers you picked out, except for the weird-ass Chinese one that looks like an elementary student’s project. ?

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