I began my journey with The Wheel of Time series several years ago. I remember having to go to the bookstore every few days to buy the next book. The covers for the books were each uniquely different, depicting beautifully illustrated scenes with a classic fantasy art style. I was purchasing the mass market paperback versions of the books, which still used the same cover art as the original hardcover versions as depicted here.
After the first few books, I knew I was invested and was going to finish the series, so I began purchasing the three-book sets. The last three-book set I purchased contained Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams, and The Gathering Storm (Books 10, 11, and 12). However, due to other things going on in life, I stopped reading Knife of Dreams about halfway through, and for some reason I did not pick the series back up for several years. Just a few days ago, I finally finished Knife of Dreams, and then I read The Gathering Storm in a couple days, reading voraciously as I did when I first began the series. I am quite upset with myself for letting so much time lapse before reading the series again.
After finishing The Gathering Storm, I decided to purchase the last two books and finish the series. However, when I went to the nearest Barnes & Noble to purchase the final two books, I found only this completely new printing of the series available.
Horrible! Where are the beautiful illustrations depicting the epic fantasy? Why would the publisher decide on these bland, generic covers? Even if you do not like the original covers, these new ones are so boring and bland. They offer nothing interesting or eye catching. Needless to say, I was quite disappointed. Luckily after searching some other bookstores and online sellers, I was able to find the versions with the original cover designs, but I was still left asking my questions as to why these new covers were made.
A possible explanation saddens me some, and that would be the publisher determined the new covers would actually sell better than the old covers. I certainly have my own opinions about the original covers, which is they are awesome, but it is conceivable that the mass market does not like classic fantasy art. The original covers might pigeonhole an audience of fantasy geeks. Even if true, the new covers offer no beauty or originality at all, and I do not see how the new covers could catch the eye of the casual reader.
One other possible explanation for the new covers I can think of has something to do with the new Amazon Prime series based on the books set to come out soon. Perhaps the showrunners thought the original covers were not a good representation for their vision for the show, or maybe they wanted neutral covers since the depiction of some characters on the show vary drastically from the descriptions in the books and the illustrations on the original covers. Whatever the reason, it is a shame that new readers to the series will have these horrible covers. I really hope the publisher reprints the series with the original covers at some point.
Currently, I am reading the last two books in the series, and I am eager to see how everything ends. I plan to write some future articles about the series as a whole, so stayed tuned.