Some algorithm of Amazon prompted the “recommendation” of The Queen’s Vow: A Novel of Isabella of Castile for me. And in theory, it’s a book I’d be interested in reading, as far as I can tell by the blurb, as long as I suspend disbelief and ignore any place where the fiction diverges from the legitimate histories of the period that I’ve read over the years.
The cover art is lovely, as long as you don’t mind yet another headless cover model. But at least she’s dressed in a gorgeous, sumptuous gown…from the wrong century. The fifteenth century queen is wearing a gown from the 19th century (I think)? It’s definitely not the style of the 15th century though. Did anyone in the art department even think about the setting of the novel? As a recommendation, it may do its job and sell me the book in the end, but not until a paperback is released, because I’m not paying hardback price for an author I don’t know or $12.99 for the Kindle version.
Also on the subject of cover art, a blog in my feed reader included an excerpt of Townie and the Twink, which I’m not interested in as a book, but the cover art made me do a double take: it looks like a photoshopped version of Novak Djokovic is the cover model!
For comparison, the cover and a photo of Nole in close proximity.
Am I imagining it?
This week my local CityPaper has a full page ad for “save your local bookstore day” (6/16), blurbing five local independent bookstores. The ad and its subtext are problematic for me – of the five, not a single one appears to stock genre or popular fiction, all are niche stores catering to extremely specific interests, none of which are mine. Should I support the bookstores just because they are independent? I fail to understand how/why as a consumer I should support a local business just because it is local, if it doesn’t provide a good or service that is useful to me. I buy at the local farmer’s market and Cross Street market and other small businesses in my neighborhood, but not the bookstore…because as a business the bookstore is not interested in my custom while the other venues are. Independents may need saving, but I’m not sure from whom — Amazon and B&N, or from the business model that stems from the publishing industry and often their own lofty opinions of what is appropriate to read and/or sell.
Two sort of related random thoughts:
Hex Appeal, an urban fantasy UF anthology with contributions by several popular authors, has been released. If I’m only interested in one story (Ilona Andrews’ story), $9.99 is too much. So I’ll be waiting to see if it is released separately as a short for Kindle at some point; stories from other, similar anthologies have been sold individually eventually.
Tangent on the Kate Daniels series: we’ve been told Roland is evil by Kate, who was raised by a warped guy. He’s the natural enemy of the Pack and the Order is wary of him, but what exactly has he done that’s So Evil? Mostly readers have been told that he’s managed to stay alive a long time, amass wealth and power, and conquer/control lots of people/territory/magic. That’s not inherently evil, at least no more so than any other empire in human history. Yes, yes, he’s The Big Bad, okay, and he killed Kate’s mother (after she stabbed him in the eye), but that just makes him a murderer, not an epic opponent in a heroic struggle for survival and battle between right and wrong. But at some point, is he going to do something to merit the Scourge of the World label he’s got?