Friday, October 8, 2010

Nightshade City Cover Lover

I just started reading Nightshade City last night. I'm only through the prologue and the first chapter (I was busy) but I can already tell I am going to enjoy this story. I know I am an adult and this is a MG novel, but there are several things to be excited about. I haven't really read enough to talk about the writing yet, but I will say that I can already tell that this charming story is going to win me over with its subtle prose. I'm loathe to compare it too quickly to The Rats of NIMH or Watership Down, as I'm sure those comparisons are many, but I will say that I can already tell that Hilary Wagner has Richard Adam's skill for taking something simple and making it grand.

What I would rather concentrate on for now is the production quality of the first hardcover edition. The cover is beautiful. As a sort of online friend of Hilary's I have talked about this book more than once and I know most of the photos I've shared don't really do it justice. I've shared the best one I could find here but just in case I would like to describe the scene.

A rat who I can only assume is Juniper graces the front cover, filling a cobbled earthen tunnel choked with roots and shiny brown worms. He bears a torch and dons a leather pouch and a dark blue cape or cloak around his neck. His most prominent feature, his eyes, appear as plain black globes at first, but at a closer glance there is cunning and intelligence behind those milky orbs. Behind the featured rat and curling earthworm is a room that probably is not clearly visible on most online representations of this cover. The revelry occurring in the background says more to me about this story than anything else.

There is a golden room, likely lit by open flame, full of rats in several different states of celebration. Some hold spears. Other hold flagons of ale. But all appear jubilant and hint of a society that is beyond your everyday expectation of rodent culture.

If I had to voice a complaint it might be that the rear cover is simply a close up and reverse of the front, but I'm guessing that there is a poetic reason for this choice within the story. Needless to say I expect the mass market paper back may feature a different cover.

The fonts, both the beautiful gold letters of the title that graces the front cover, and the typeface within, are both lovely. Unfortunately the copyright page doesn't tell us which font was used to set the type for the text. Perhaps I can get Hilary to stop by and tell us what it is.

Finally we come to the blurb on the back cover. This may be the most exciting thing about this edition. The blurb is written by Rick Riordan. You might have heard of him. One of his books was turned into a little movie recently. Here is what he has to say about Nightshade City:

"Fans of Redwall and the Warriors series will love
this heroic tale of good versus evil in a subterranean
society of rats. The world of the Catacombs is
so compelling readers will wonder if it really
might exist under our city streets. Expect
great adventures in Nightshade City."

Can you imagine having someone like Rick Riordan write that about your novel? Awesome.

Well done Hilary. I'm really looking forward to getting into this story and enjoying the entire ride!

37 comments:

Creepy Query Girl said...

This is the second time today I've heard about this novel! Looks like one for my 'to be ordered' list. Thanks matt!

Shannon said...

That cover is gorgeous! And it does remind me of NIMH. Hrm...looks like I have *another* book to add to the list. Thanks, Matt!

Emily White said...

This sounds like a great book. I'll have to check it out!

Lisa and Laura said...

You're right. The cover art is absolutely beautiful--it has classic written all over it. And Rick Riordan. Um, yeah.

And Hilary is so incredibly genuine and nice--she deserves tons of success!

Christine Fonseca said...

Its a fab book! I LOVED IT

DEZMOND said...

it's highly interesting, educational and refreshing seeing rats as main characters. It's very suggestive and sends a very nice and moral question - how moral beauty can hide everywhere, and how beauty comes from within.

Laura Pauling said...

I never noticed the rats partying in the other room until you pointed it out. I do love this cover. Great illustrations of setting and mood.

Kelly said...

Congrats to Hilary! I can't even imagine having Rick Riordan quoted on my book!!!

Kelly Bryson said...

Hi- nice to meet you.

I've read the first few pages and hope to get some uninterrupted time with it soon! Hilary is one of the nicest people I've met out here.

And Rick Riordan...I've heard that name somewhere before:)

Matthew Rush said...

Nice to meet you too Kelly! I would have emailed you but your email is not connected to your blogger account.

salarsenッ said...

I know. This sounds fab, and Hil is such an awesome person. So happy for her. I love this cover. All I could think of was the Secret of Nimh.

Jared Larson said...

Can't wait to read this. I couldn't imagine Rick Riordan promoting a book I'd written. Nothing cooler. Congrats Hilary and thanks Matt.

aspiring_x said...

that cover is exceedingly beautiful- one of the best i've seen in a long time!

AND it has Rick Riordan's seal of approval??? my oldest son is OBSESSED with rr. looks like santa might need to order nightshade city. :)

Bish Denham said...

I'm SOOOOOO excited for her! And I so want to read it!

Hilary Wagner ~ Debut Author said...

Matt, thanks so much for the love!It's so kind of you! I'm waiting to hear back from Holiday House on the font they went with for the text. When I got my first hardcover, I nearly died when I saw it. It was perfect for the story!

If you look at the back cover, the close up of Juniper, you'll see he's got some scaring on his face, that you can't see on the front cover. It's very significant...just saying! ;)

xoxo -- Hilary

A Pen In Neverland: Angela Peña Dahle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Pen In Neverland: Angela Peña Dahle said...

I have to agree on that cover. It is gorgeous! Again, congrats to Hilary. This is still on my "to buy list". I can't wait to get to the bookstore for it (as soon as this horrible cough blows over). I have to say that when I saw that Rick had said something so wonderful about Hilary's book I was amazed and spellbound (did I mention googly eyes). Way cool!

Matthew Rush said...

Aha! See I knew there was a reason. I was focusing on the ear tear and the eyes, which look the same, but now that you mention it I do see the scar/cut! Thanks Hilary!

Melissa Gill said...

This is a great book. I'm reading it as fast as I can between my other reading committments and my new WIP, but I love it. Who says adults can't love MG?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That would be awesome to have someone like him supply a blurb for the book!
Cover art is really nice, too.

Lydia Kang said...

I love that cover. THe illustrator did such a fantastic job. Hooray for Hilary!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've heard it's a good book. I'm not into rats or MG (with a few exceptions), so it's not going on my bookshelf. One of my kids might enjoy it, though.

Falen (Sarah Ahiers) said...

i want this book BAD.
i love rats, and used to have pet ratties as well.

LTM said...

He's Alive!

and not only that, he's teasing w/faux book reviews... mbrrr... Okay, just kidding. This does sound like a good book depsite the comparisons I won't repeat b/c you already made 'em~ ;p

Hilary Wagner ~ Debut Author said...

Okay! I got the font info! From the Director of Art and Design at Holiday House, Claire Counihan, the display face is Auldroon and the text typeface is Gryphius Regular. I've been wanting to know this myself, so I'm so glad you asked, Matt!

xoxo -- Hilary

Robyn Campbell said...

Excellent cover. The book sounds terrific. Guess I'll be ordering another one. Thanks, I didn't know about it. :)

Angela Ackerman said...

If RR says something like this, I'm all over it. Love that man!

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Colene Murphy said...

Looks great, love the cover!


I dream of a day when a famous author will write something amazing for the cover of my novel. I might have to do a squealy happy dance.

Lenny Lee! said...

hi mr matthew! yep that cover rocks for sure. its soooo cool. i want this book really really bad. i got it on my birthday list and im hoping one of my brothers is gonna get it for me. im crossing all my fingers and toes. :) hooooray for rats!!! rats rule!!! ha ha.
...smiles from lenny
ps i hope your feeling lots better

Melissa said...

I really want to read this story! Thank you for reminding me. I'm doing an amazon order today and now I can actually remember this time to put this one on it.

RaShelle said...

Sounds like a story to buy. Thanks for sharing your comments. And, what a great back comment blurb!!! ;)

Hannah Kincade said...

This one is def on my list. I love that cover and though I hates the rodents in RL, I love fictional and cartoon ones. :D

Nicole Zoltack said...

Sounds like a great book. Love the cover.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

This has to be an incredible novel if you're claiming the picture you've posted doesn't do it justice. Sounds like my kind of book.

Amie Kaufman said...

Sounds like a fantastic book, and I love the cover. Woudl really like to hear what you think of it as you progress!

Jude said...

I love MG mouse/rat stories! Must read...

Christina Lee said...

Yes! It is in my possession and will be read NEXT!