I’ll have to be frank. This was kind of a no-brainer for me.
When I first saw Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush at my book store last year, it did make me stop to take a second glance. Probably in a guilty way. (Read: COVERLUST) It was one of those fronted sets of books, and I remember picking it up and examining it like I couldn’t quite believe that this was a real cover. This was the kind of cover that was a cross between half-naked-boy eye candy, surreal beauty and sort of moody mysteriousness that made me want to read the back of its jacket.
There are a few things to note when I look at this cover. First, I know exactly what it’s about. Fallen angel, dropped from heaven, with his own set of bloody feathers. (That was a really nice touch) Second, this book is probably pretty dark. Its color scheme: devoid of any color saturation except for splashes of red sets a dark and creepy mood perfectly.
But aside from the fact that it’s a stunning photo and a well-constructed and alluring representation of the art of angel-falling, I can’t help but be absolutely mesmerized by how light is manipulated in this cover.
First, you have the light that’s coming from the break in the sky, where our friend Patch apparently got kicked out of heaven. So there’s that layer. Then you have the light source that the photographer used when shooting the model.* Another layer. Then you have the light source for the feathers. With all these layers seamlessly combined, I step away from this cover believing that this very angel actually fell from this very sky.
To me, there has to be a level of believability with paranormal and fantasy covers, especially if an artist is working with an ensemble of elements to create a fantastical atmosphere. It’s true with all covers that a bad Photoshop job is a bad Photoshop job, but with this specific genre it’s too easy for cover art to fall into the silly/cheesy/clichéd camp.
And this is precisely where Hush, Hush’s cover doesn’t fall flat on its face.
*For an interview with Becca Fitzpatrick, the photographer, and the model, I suggest you check out Fallen Archangel’s site where they have some great behind-the-scenes information on the cover shoot.