Redesign Reactions [4]: The Winner’s Trilogy


Welcome to Redesign Reactions, where we talk about books, covers, and what happens when new cover designs take over a series!

On this edition of Redesign Reactions, let’s talk about
The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

Hoo boy did things blow up with the reveal of the new cover for THE WINNER’S KISS, the final book in Marie Rutkoski’s Winner’s Crime trilogy. I don’t personally know the ins and outs of why the cover was changed after the initial reveal but obviously there was serious potential for the new covers and expanding to another market or larger audience.

Personally? It does irk me when covers are changed mid-series… But I really think some people did not handle it well. Keep in mind that a cover change is really almost always out of an author’s control and they’re probably stressed out about the book already much less when a new cover is revealed. I have to say, I wasn’t a fan of the way some people handled their frustration and it was a bit upsetting to see BUT I also understand being upset about a big, fan-favorite series getting a cover redesign on the last book.

I actually really like the new covers! I do think it’s a bit more “YA-looking” with the girl on the cover (although there was a girl on a cover in a dress before so that was even more “YA-looking”, I guess?) but I love how badass Kestrel looks and it really gets me excited to think about what’s in between those covers.

The good thing for readers is that Fierce Reads announced just yesterday that after everything they heard from fans of the series, they are now in fact keeping the original cover for THE WINNER’S KISS so apparently this is now a battle between the hardcovers and the paperbacks! Breathe easy, matchy-matchy friends. Your hardcovers are safe from change!

the winners trilogy covers

OLD COVERS: The original covers were clean and simple — just an image of Kestrel, obviously her dagger, and some lovely typography. I actually liked the dresses on this cover since it wasn’t just “girl in a dress” syndrome — Kestrel actually does wear nice dresses and I think they’re gorgeous to look at. Although let’s just say… I really, really did not like THE WINNER’S KISS original cover. That pose? HER FACE? It just all looks terribly uncomfortable and awkward. I can’t stand her facial expression there.

NEW COVERS: I really enjoy the general badass feel of these covers… But I don’t know that they give off the right impression to readers before they pick up the book. Yes, Kestrel is badass but she really is more of a strategist than actually heading into battle. The lines do blur there but I actually thought “girl in a dress” felt more accurate than badass fighter (as much as I love it). Also, I don’t know why but THE WINNER’S CRIME cover just looks off to me for some reason.

Which do I like better? I do think I like the original cover better for THE WINNER’S CURSE and THE WINNER’S CRIME and I frankly, I think I like the redesign more of THE WINNER’S KISS. In a perfect world, the covers would have matched with the dress theme and Kestrel would have just been in a different pose on THE WINNER’S KISS cover, but I’ll take the redesign here. I’m so torn on the change/change back with the covers that just happened because I really did like the new cover for THE WINNER’S KISS, even though it wasn’t 100% matching (the spine would have matched). I know it was hard for readers to swallow a change mid-series but I do understand a publishing house/marketing team has serious reasons to do so! A redesign also spends a lot of time, money, and resources to put together so I trust their reasons for pulling the switch. At least now everyone can keep their original matching hardcover and the paperbacks will still feature the redesigned covers so all of that effort isn’t totally wasted.
If I hadn’t seen the originals and this redesign was the first set of covers that I knew, I think I would still be excited and stunned, but knowing the first set of designs… I do lean more towards the originals. Especially for books one and two.

So tell me! Which design do you like better? Take the poll below and let me know in the comments which you prefer and why! I’d love to hear your reactions!

[bctt tweet=”Which cover for #TheWinnersTrilogy do you like better: Original or redesign? Take the poll at @bookaddictguide!” via=”no”]


Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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14 thoughts on “Redesign Reactions [4]: The Winner’s Trilogy

  1. Olivia Roach

    I don’t usually buy hardcovers but I guess I will be now because these original covers are just too beautiful! I read the first book and only found it to be okay, but the cover was what initially pulled me into wanting to picking it up. The first book will forever be my favourite one though :3 I don’t think the new covers are accurate representations because she isn’t so much a weapons fighter.

  2. Kay @ It's a Book Life

    I didn’t know they were changing the covers! I love this series. If I am being perfectly honest…. I am not a huge fan of either set of covers. I think the original ones are all a little awkward. I do agree with you that Kestrel is more of a strategic person and that doesn’t really come off in the new covers. I do know for sure that I can’t wait to read The Winner’s Kiss!

  3. Emma

    To me, Kestrel is a girl in a dress, not a Celaena lookalike. The redesigns looked way too much like the Throne of Glass books for my tastes. I expressed my distaste for the redesigns on Twitter (although I never tagged Marie in any of it, because that’s tactless), and I’m so glad Fierce Reads heard us and made this decision. I wasn’t going to completely cancel my preorder when we thought the cover was going to be changed, but I definitely switched to preordering the UK edition because I need my covers to match.

  4. acps927

    I agree with you on all counts. The original covers do better reflect the story, but if they wanted to change it, maybe they could have done a hybrid that would have echoed the first design a little better. And I also agree that the redesign of The Winner’s Crime does look off! I’m happy they listened to the fans on this one, even if some of the fans may have taken their outcry a little too far.

  5. Jen

    I agree the redesign winners crime looks weird to me too.I like the new winners kiss better. The pose is for old winners kiss is strange strange and she looks scared. I don’t know the covers don’t change the content and that’s what matters to me at the end of the day.

  6. Denise

    I haven’t read the series yet, I attempted the first book but I just wasn’t in the mood for it so I put it aside. But I definitely prefer the redesigns better than the originals. And I agree with how some people handled it. I had to leave twitter because I was going to be doing a lot of eye rolling and subtweeting. A lot of people handled it with thoughtful comments and explained why they didn’t like it rationally but some people legit just threw temper tantrums and I was like … yeah no stop. lol. We all hate when covers change mid-series but I don’t think we need to act like children over it.

  7. Beth W

    Huh. The original cover for the first book actually had a different look- it took me a moment, when I first saw it, to see the knife (because I was so impressed with the fact that her hand was intertwined with the font so it looked 3D):
    In that, the pose looks less like a false “fainting” and more like she’s exhausted, holding onto the R and catching her breath. I thought it was clever and liked it. Plus, girl in a pretty dress with a slim dagger screams cloak-and-dagger assassin to me, which I like.
    Girl in Bad Renaissance Faire garb with way-too-billowy cloak and a ‘tagline’ screams “cheesy summer movie” to me. If I were seeing the second covers only? I would not buy this book to read it. I LIKE dichotomy and contradictions. Give me more juxtapositions of fragility and death side by side (like pretty girl in pretty dress with a stiletto dagger in her hand, not posed for battle but posed just-after-battle).

  8. Amber Elise @ Du Livre

    I am so happy that the covers are back to the original, and I have so much respect for Macmillan for listening to the fans! No doubt the new covers will reach a larger audience (even though I feel like it’s misleading..), I like that the reboot is only affecting the PB.

    Like Marie said, “Everyone win!”

  9. Kristin

    I was really upset about the cover news. I thought the original really suited Kestrel a lot more than the redesign which reminded me too much of Throne of Glass. I found out this morning that they would be keeping the original cover for the hardcover and I truly think it’s a Christmas miracle. I don’t think it was right of people to attack the author for the change and no matter what, I knew I would love the story inside but I do think it’s important to express your opinion in a public forum, otherwise the publisher may have never decided to keep the original for the hardcover! It’s just the way that you go about it that makes all the difference.

  10. Veronika

    At first I was kind of alright with the cover change because I do think it might make different kind of people pick up the books – and that is AWESOME because this series deserves to get more recognition. Then I realized that they’re such a rip offs of the Throne of Glass series and I don’t like that, AT ALL. Similarity is alright, but these covers are roughly the SAME as that series’.

  11. CassieopiaB

    This is one of my favorite series, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was upset over the re-design. I’m one of those odd people that collects ALL the versions of their favorite book/books, so of course I have the PBs, HCs, UK versions, and ARCs of the Winner’s trilogy.

    Even though I was upset about the new hardcover redesign, I kept the disappointment and frustration to myself, because I love Marie Rutkoski’s writing and the world she has built in the Winner’s trilogy; I knew the final story was going to be epic, so I didn’t let the redesign outweigh my excitement for the final book.

    I was, however, so saddened by all the hate that Fierce Reads and Marie Rutkoski were receiving from social media responses, their fans, and long-time readers. You don’t threaten people (because we are all people with feelings!!!), especially innocent people, like Marie, who had nothing to do with the redesign. I’m not a confrontational person, but I loved and supported all the readers and bloggers that rallied on Marie and Fierce Reads side whenever they were attacked. RIGHT ON, BOOK COMMUNITY!!!

    I do like the re-design for the paperback copies, and I’m glad that the publishers have decided to stick to the original cover for the The Winner’s Kiss hardback. And on March 29, 2016, we finally get to read the conclusion to Kestrel and Arin’s story *FLAILS*.

  12. Pili @ In Love With Handmade

    I must confess to getting quite upset upon the redesign news… it tends to bother me a whole lot when my books don’t match, even more when it’s a series hardcover… I’m one of those matchy matchy people, and even more with series I love. It bothered me so much that I decided to buy the UK paperback that was keeping its original cover and NOT buy the US hardcover.

    Now that I know my hardcovers will match, I’m a happy matchy matchy bookwyrm, so much that I’ve already preordered both the UK paperback and the US hardcover!

    Looking at the new covers I still feel they remind me a bit too much of the Throne of Glass ones for my taste (and I ADORE ToG) and really DON’T like the new cover for Winner’s Crime, although I like the covers for Winner’s Curse and Winner’s Kiss…


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