Why, lookee here:
Ooh, pretty. And look how thick it is! That’s one hundred and eight thousand words of killer unicorns, Astrid’s inner struggle, romance, and both unbearably ugly and heart-stoppingly pretty frocks, people.
(Yes, I figured it was about time that I wrote a book with a pretty frock in it. I love pretty frocks myself, and somehow I got through four secret society girl books having barely dressed Amy in anything but jeans and swimsuits and hooded robes. So, sorry for the spoiler, but there’s one heck of a frock in this book. I mean, not like Luxe-book-cover frock, but right up there.)
So, a few caveats. I know this is the cover that has been floating around the internet. However, this is not the cover of the novel. This is the ARC cover. You can tell it’s not the real cover, because of the incredibly lo-res, massively pixelated, not-even-neatly-cut-out-from-the-original-image sword they smacked on there as a placeholder. Observe:
I’m honestly surprised that none of the people who have been (sometimes repeatedly) posting this image around the internet and calling it my cover has noticed this. And that only two people have actually emailed me and said, “I heard this was your cover, but I assume there’s a reason you yourself have never posted it/I’m sure Harper would never give you such a bad photoshopping job/what’s up with that, can you confirm?” (Thank you, people. You know who you are.)
Sometimes, cover designers make what they call a “comp” (for composite) which means they put together a bunch of images in a rough collage to show the editorial and marketing teams what they would like the cover to look like. That’s what this is: a comp. If they don’t have the final cover done in time for the ARC printings, the comp is what goes in the catalog (a sales tool for booksellers) and on the ARC (yet another sales tool).
The comp of the original Rampant cover was what went on the ARC of Rampant. It differed significantly in layout and font from the final (original) Rampant cover, and then the concept was scrapped entirely for what appeared on the hardcover when it finally came out. As you can see, this concept is in keeping with the Rampant hardcover, and I assume that the final Ascendant cover will look pretty close to this. (Crosses fingers the upcoming photo shoot goes well.) Which makes me happy, because I think it very much captures Astrid’s inner life in this book.
(It does not so much capture Astrid’s outer weapons usage. She barely picks up a sword in this book, except once when she is [SPOILER REDACTED] and then again, when she wields it against [HUGE FREAKING SPOILER REDACTED]. She’s all over the bows and knives though, and she even kills a unicorn with a [OMG SPOILER REDACTED SO MUCH]. However, I think it works really nicely with the series “look” and there’s more room to insert a unicorn than there would be on a bow. Also… well, I made up the alicorn knife. Kind of hard for someone to get a real picture of it.)
But enough about the non-cover! I’m sure what you all are really interested in is the inside! Here’s the back cover copy:
Now a fully trained unicorn hunter, Astrid Llewelyn is learning that she can’t solve all her problems with a bow and arrow. Her boyfriend has left Rome, the Cloisters is in dire financial straits, her best friend’s powers are mysteriously disintegrating, and her hope of becoming a scientist seems to be nothing but an impossible dream.
So when she’s given the opportunity to leave the Cloisters and use her skills as part of a scientific quest to discover the Remedy, Astrid leaps at the chance. Finally, she can have exactly what she wants—or can she? At Gordian headquarters deep in France, Astrid begins to question everything she had believed: her love for Giovanni, her loyalty to the Cloisters, and—most of all—her duty as a hunter. Should Astrid be saving the world from killer unicorns or saving unicorns from the world?
And here are a few randomly-generated, hopefully spoiler-free phrases from within the pages of this, my sixth published novel:
“The real Clothilde Llewelyn had been scarred and dirty, with blood-soaked hands and arms that looked like ragged ropes of muscle.”
“Ooh, would you? We’d make prime time!”
“A unicorn-hunting decoy.”
“Where’s my wannabe doctor cousin?”
“You told me you hardly ever see him.”
“Did einhorns hibernate like bears?”
“The green shaft of Melissende’s arrow still jutted from its side.”
“The first touch of their magic was like a cool breeze in the midst of a heat wave.”
“Six seconds. Six seconds too many.”
“All the women in my family are strong.”
Enough of that. I’m sure what you really want to know is how to get your hands on one of these beauties. Well, I know I’ve already promised some to a few of you (there was a contest a few months back…). And then I also know I”ll be signing copies at some upcoming bookish events, like BEA and ALA. And I’m still trying to plan out what I’ll do here, but it will be something, eventually.
So stay tuned!