dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
dmp ([personal profile] dmp) wrote2010-01-17 11:15
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Judging a Book By Its Cover Part 2: Bloomsbury Strikes Again -- More YA Cover Racefail

When I first commented on Bloomsbury's Racefail with Liar, I was going to provide additional commentary about the theme of whitewashing covers in the publishing industry. My blogging ball had dropped at the time, but now I find it both sad, infuriating, and a bit ironic that there is NOW a part 2 to this Racefail. More whitewashing by the same publisher.

I first read about this controversy on the Reading in Color blog. Jaclyn Dolamore's debut novel, Magic Under Glass, has a protagonist of color who had been whitewashed on the cover.

Of course in light of all this discussion, I want to read the book to see how much the character's racial and ethnic identity plays a role in the storyline and, looking at its description on Amazon, it looks like a book right up my alley:

 
Nimira is a foreign music-hall girl forced to dance for mere pennies. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to sing with a piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new and better life. In Parry's world, however, buried secrets are beginning to stir. Unsettling below-stairs rumors swirl about ghosts, a madwoman roaming the halls, and Parry's involvement with a league of sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. Then Nimira discovers the spirit of a fairy gentleman named Erris is trapped inside the clockwork automaton, waiting for someone to break his curse. The two fall into a love that seems hopeless, and breaking the curse becomes a race against time, as not just their love, but the fate of the entire magical world may be in peril.

According to the author's personal illustrations of Nimira that I found on her website, she is definitely a dark-skinned character of color with a non-Eurocentric ethnic identity.
 
So, we have a book with a character of color as a protagonist set in a steampunk-influenced fantasy world? Major co-sign from me. I'd gladly review the book (with a library copy; I refuse to buy the book, but respect the author's work) and write a feature on it for Beyond Victoriana. If only the publishers supported the author's vision when marketing this book....

ETA: On a happier note, the YA blogosphere has certainly taken note (and talks about what we can do about this situation), and at the beginning of this year, Collen Mondor wrote this wonderful piece about how YA readers can help by demanding more diversity in publishing.



[identity profile] ribbon-scythe.livejournal.com 2010-01-17 23:15 (UTC)(link)
I was furious about the Liar situation, and this makes me even more upset because if ever a genre needed more characters of color, it's the fantasy genre (adding steampunk makes it doubly awesome). I will buy this book as soon as it changes its cover, just like with Liar.

It makes me sad because, I like writing WoC as main characters and I want to be published, but this leaves me strangely unenthusiastic about the prospects. To be fair, the UK cover looks like you can flub the race a bit, maybe I'll import that instead.

*goes off to read the articles*