Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover – Issue Seventeen: Steampunk

“Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover” is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I pay tribute to some of the best and brightest the publishing world has to offer in the way of book cover design. This feature is inspired by Katie’s Cover Love on her blog One Page At A Time, and the idea is being used with her gracious permission.

I think we’re all familiar with the age-old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. And you know what I have to say about that? Rubbish! Covers are an invaluable part of a book’s package. A truly great cover can tell you a lot about the novel contained within its pages. Book covers can also catch your attention and attract you to a novel you might otherwise ignore. So go ahead, judge a book by its cover – We all do it!

For the seventeenth issue of Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover, I decided to venture into previously unexplored territory – The Steampunk genre! Now, I must be perfectly honest with you: I know little, if anything, about this category of fiction and have even less personal experience with it. Compiling this week’s covers felt a bit like being thrown into the deep end of the pool and was initially a struggle, but I must admit I was quickly surprised and impressed by what I discovered. While the designs were a little more harsh and the colours a little more drab than I typically like, I did discover some stand-out favourites. Some of these include Angelmaker, Ghosts By Gaslight, The Dark Unwinding and Etiquette and Espionage. I apologize in advance if you feel that any of these books have been mis-catagorized as ‘Steampunk’ when they are not. As in the case of the Fantasy entry, I was at the mercy of Goodreads’ designations in order to guide me.

Now it’s your turn! What are some of your favourite steampunk covers? Did I list one of your favourites here or is there one I forgot that just has to be included? Let me know in the comments!

15 Responses

  1. I have to say that I never really cared for Steampunk novels. Then I saw the cover of Etiquette & Espionage and bought it on a whim.
    While it’s not my favorite genre I really enjoyed the book and bought the sequel as soon as it came out.
    And I’m looking forward to the next two books in the series.

    1. As of right now I have very little experience with the genre, so I’m not sure where I stand at this point. The only book I’ve read on this list is The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron, and I really enjoyed it, which gives me hope for the future. That said, I actually purchased a copy of Etiquette & Espionage last week and I’m really looking forward to reading it! It was recommended to me by a friend and I’m looking forward to stepping outside of my literary comfort zone a little 🙂 Fingers crossed I enjoy it as much as you did!
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  2. To be honest, I don’t really understand what does ‘steampunk’ means and looking from the covers you put above, I never read any books from this category. The only one that I’ve been hearing (and got a lot of praises) is A Darkness Strange and Lovely. Maybe I should try reading a book or two from this genre to broaden my variety of books 🙂
    Tirta @ I Prefer Reading recently posted…Fog on my mindMy Profile

    1. From what I understand it’s a hybridization of more than one genre, most often historical fiction and/or science fiction, with stories that feature steam-powered or industrial machinery. The only novel I’ve read that could be classified in this genre was The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron and I really loved it! I’m holding out hope that my next experience with the genre will be as positive 🙂
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  3. The idea of steampunk books interests me a lot, but I have only read one and I couldn’t get into it at all. Since then I’ve been a bit more hesitant to start one, though. Most of the steampunk book covers aren’t exactly my personal taste, but I see a few here that I really like. For example, The Unnaturalists, The Friday Society and The Dark Unwinding. My favorite though is Ghosts by Gaslight for the colors and the typography.
    Kim @ The Nomadic Book Hoarder recently posted…Review: These Broken StarsMy Profile

  4. This is a genre that I have not read much of, if any actually. Probably Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series are the only books I have read that would be classified as such. I’m particular about books I read, and this genre just hasn’t grabbed my attention that much. But I do agree that the covers are quite lovely!
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    1. I’m in the same boat. I’ve only ever read one book that could be classified as ‘steampunk’ (The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron) and although I greatly enjoyed it, the genre doesn’t generally interest me as a whole. That said, I do own a couple of the books on my list this week (Etiquette & Espionage and The Friday Society, to be precise) and perhaps I’ll be proven wrong and find it is the right genre for me after all. I’m really trying to challenge myself to step outside of my literary comfort zone in 2014 🙂
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  5. I think cover images of Steampunk genre, particularly when it comes to the ones with people on it, they need to contain more. I personally wouldn’t put a woman in a pouffy dress and a pair of aviator goggles as being Steampunk. I get the whole Sherlock Holmes sense of it, but other than that, Steampunk is more than just a pant suit and aviator goggles.
    Krys recently posted…Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini TaylorMy Profile

    1. I’ve never been a biggest fan of the ‘girl in large dresses’ trope either, something which seems to particularly plague the historical fiction genre, so I can certainly understand what you’re saying 🙂 I noticed this was a trend in the steampunk cover designs as well, and did make a concerted effort to include a variety of different aesthetics, although I’m not sure how successful I was given my limited experience with the genre.
      Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader recently posted…Top Ten Things On My Reading WishlistMy Profile

  6. I’m always fascinated by steampunk covers, but I haven’t had much success with the genre. I typically love the historical fiction elements and find the science fiction ones annoying. I like that I just love straight historical fiction too much to get past the fact that the science fiction elements feel so out of place for me. But I still love the covers you’ve collected – they’re all SO pretty!
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Hi! I’m Jen! I’m a thirty-something introvert who loves nothing more than the cozy comfort of home and snuggling my two rescue cats, Pepper and Pancakes. I also enjoy running, jigsaw puzzles, baking and everything Disney. Few things bring me more joy than helping a reader find the right book for them!