Sharp-eyed reader Sandia alerted us to the fabulously odd differences between the US and UK editions of the Jh.Rh. Whard Bhlahck Dhaggher Bhrotherhood series. Somehow, the US readership totally lucked out in the covers for these books. The UK…? We’re really sorry.
Sarah: The US Dark Lover cover: brilliant in its simplicity. Maybe she’s taking a bite out of his crime, or maybe she’s nuzzling his carotid, but the female position of power, coupled with the sword and the bleak red tones make this a cover done marvelously well.
And then the UK cover: we’re wet and very sleepy. Nothing is scarier or sexier than sodden, soporific swimmers. RUN, or they’re going to yawn at you. Eh. Maybe.
Candy: I do admit that I like the US version quite a bit. The tattoo, the power inversion (the woman is usually in the position of vulnerability on romance novel covers), the red monochrome, the fact that there’s no vampire titty in evidence—très sexy. (Would that there were such a power inversion within the story, but the heroine’s kind of a doormat of a Mary Sue. A doormat who experiences fabulous orgasms, of course.)
The UK version isn’t half bad. It’s somewhat cheesier, mostly because I don’t like the font for Ward’s name, but I like the female model’s sad, contemplative look. I’m not sure why she looks so mopey, though. Perhaps she’s mourning the mangling of “revenge,” “torment,” “sadist” and “fury”? Or grieving for the wanton slaughter of Hs?
Sarah: The US Cover: blue, ethereal, sexy, and somehow manages to make the Adam’s apple rather sultry.
The UK cover: What the crap is this? It could be a vampire novel. It could be a commercial for Cialis. It could be he just saved a bunch of money on his car insurance by switching to Geico. It could be she has no discernible body fat and a complete lack of underarm wattle. But whatever it is, the image composition is limp and ineffective, two words the Brotherhood would be mighty peeved to have applied to them.
Candy: The US Cover: same schtick as Dark Lover, and I still like it, for all the same reasons I like the cover for Dark Lover.
The UK cover: Generic and rather forgettable, but lookit, these are romance novel covers, and my standards are shockingly low. This cover isn’t making my eyeballs burn, and for that, it gets a pass.
Sarah: The US Cover: I confess I like the solid color with the soft focus necking couples better than the greyscale black and white photography, but it’s still pretty darn sultry.
But the UK cover? Not only have I seen that piece of stock photography before, but in terms of the scale of hawt, it’s like tea left on the windowsill all day. Still, it’s marginally better than the rest of the UK set.
Candy: The US Cover: Except for the fact that I want to say “OM NOM NOM NOM” every time I look at it, it’s OK. It’s starting to verge into generic romance cover with the sharper focus and the male in the biting position and a yuppie haircut.
The UK cover: The models look like they need a bit more food and a bit less working out, but this is true for most commercial models. Again, generic and unoffensive, but not especially memorable.
Sarah: The US Cover: Suntan lotion commercial!
Which goes perfectly with the UK cover, which features a Lands’ End swimsuit models preparing to go wild. Nice bathing suit.
Candy: The US cover transitions nicely into Romance Novel cheese. O-Face? Check. Dude nuzzlin’ on neck? Check. Wind-tossed hair? Check. Sunless bronzer all over this piece, son? Check. They like the sunless bronzer so much, they done poured it alllllll over the cover.
The UK cover, on the other hand, transitions nicely into JC Penney Sunday Coupon Page. Nothing says sexy like a wrinkly strap on a bra only your grandma could love.
Also: poor Ana Gasteyer. Her post-Saturday Night Live tenure has not treated her well.
Sarah: The US Cover: Nicholas Brendon necking a check. Nice.
The UK Cover: Emergency memo to art department! “Boner” is not the same as “boney.” “Vampire” does not mean he has puncture marks in his own cheeks. “Cystic Acne” does not say romance hero. And we won’t even mention the mullet.
But for the love of Escalade, the hero should not be thinner than the heroine. I’m well aware of the overpopulation of beefcake on the romance cover, but come on now. Too far in the other direction is just as bad. Especially when the Bhrotherhood is each and every one of them as big as a damn house.
Candy: The US cover: I like them so much better when I can’t clearly see the facial features. This guy is cute, but the patchy facial hair? Makes him look like he’s 18 or so, and about as threatening as a cooked noodle. And I’m all about the sweet heroes, really I am, but that’s just not the look that’s representative of the hypertrophied masculinity of the BDB.
The UK cover: Holy shit! That dude looks terrifying. He makes me think of leeches. Also, the spots on his face look like PLAAAAAGUE. Never have I felt the herpes emanating so strongly from a cover before. Look, when I say I want the male models to look a bit threatening, I didn’t mean “scare me with the possibility of contagious social diseases.”
Sarah: The US Cover is still rocking that sexy ethereal look that I think totally scores.
…while the UK Cover is continuing with the “Lands’ End Swimsuit models go wild” theme, this time featuring Heather Locklear in a nice halter top, possibly faille. Nothing says vampires like swimsuits, apparently. That must make them easy to spot in the UK. Man in a Speedo walking down Edgeware Road? He’s a vampire, looking for the werewolves in London.
Candy: US cover: Something about the lifeless, mannequin-like look on both models is freaking me out a bit, actually. Again, by romance novel cover standards, this cover ain’t too shabby, but these two in particular fall squarely in the uncanny valley for me.
UK cover: Um, I envy her sports bra? Otherwise, the two of them look about as vigorous as the models in the US cover, though this time it’s because they took too much Xanax before deciding to make out, not because they’re android experiments gone wrong.