I was browsing through my local Barnes & Nobel yesterday when I got a hankering to read the books I loved so much in childhood; Tamora Pierce’s Tortall works. Like most older books the covers have been updated again, for a new generation of young readers, but I can’t help but find the makeover disturbing. Gone is the image of just Alanna, the main focus of the novel, mounted on a horse in a image of power, confidence, and grace. Sword raised, conveying exactly what kind of novel you’re going to be reading; one filled with a very badass female knight who is challenging gender stereotypes in her realm. No, in the new covers it seems to convey the idea of a love triangle with this very lovely, pixie-like girl on the cover. All elements that she is the main focus, not her love life, are gone. This cover doesn’t portray an accurate picture of what this book, and series, is about. Empowerment for the teenaged female reader. There is nothing wrong with novels that focus on the relationships between males and females, nor is there anything wrong with teenage girls, or even guys, enjoying those novels. It is wrong to have to resort to a dramatized relationship to be the only hook for young adult readers in the current generation. I can’t help but blame the post-Twilight era of paranormal romance novels that often have no real substance.
But I digress, if it gets girls to read these novels that actually contain substance and carry a message that anyone can challenge traditional societal roles, and these young girls gain a heroin to identify with emotionally, beyond the physical, then maybe its for the best. I just can’t help feel sad that an image of a powerful, confident heroin is not enough to sell a book any longer.