I don’t think I can start an analysis of the Avalon series without taking a look at the covers. I remember being more than a little embarrassed when I purchased the original editions at the local Borders – and no, it wasn’t because I was in the children’s literature section of the store. Something about the cover design bothered me.
Covers and more after the cut.
Credit where it’s due: Original cover (left) was taken from the official Avalon site, and the redesigned cover (right) was from Amazon.
The original covers are a mixed bunch: half of them are competent illustrations, and the rest are poor photomontages. There’s only two or three of them that I like. The cover to Circles in the Stream is not one of them. It’s better than most; at least it doesn’t have people with blank eyes, a problem that plagues the majority of the series’ cover art. It does, however, feature three items I loathe about the original edition covers:
- Unnaturally red hair for one of the characters.
- Open-mouthed stares.
- A busy, distracting border.
OK, you may not agree with me on those points, but they’ve always bothered me when I looked at the covers.
The reaction on the girls’ faces never sat right with me, either. Seriously, this is the conversation I imagine them having:
Redhead: “I found a rock.”
Others: “Ooh, shiny.”
Now, the revised edition cover looks awesome. Three girls stuck in a forbidding, yet enchanting forest, all of them with very character-appropriate expressions. The brunette appears wary of her companions; the redhead is mesmerized by her surroundings; and the blonde wants to get the hell out. Oh, and there’s a very lost ferret in the mix. (The ferret’s never seen in the old edition covers, and that’s always saddened me.) I find that the new edition covers better capture the atmosphere of the series: lighthearted with dark undertones. They’re definitely an improvement over the originals, which fail to convey the sense of danger that surrounds the characters on the same level.
Next time: the first chapter of Circles in the Stream, in which we meet a redheaded girl and a leopard.