Book #6: Darren Shan – Lord Loss (Retraction)

not about werewolves, but “about” werewolves
So I was more than a little savage about Darren Shan’s Lord Loss.

My main issue was with how the prominent wolf imagery on the cover didn’t match up to the lack of wolf or werewolf activity in the book itself. Yes, there are a few very brief flashes of lycanthropy, but running with the wolf is presented more as a threat, mystery or inevitability, not as something that would necessitate all the blood and teeth bursting across the book’s front cover.

For this reason I accused the cover of being “intentionally misleading” and got my knives out.

However… this fear of the wolf inside is a central point of Lord Loss. There’s the sense that our hero or those around him are going to burst into lycanthrope without a moment’s notice. While there is very little in the way of actual wolves, the idea of wolves is a constant heavy presence.

Plastering a snarling wolf on the cover of the book only increases this background of fear. If the reader is lead into thinking this is a book about wolves, the reader is going to be constantly expecting wolves, living and enhancing the threat of lycanthrope that the characters themselves are going through. It is misleading, but with the intention of driving the reader response, not selling copies.

It could be coincidence. It could be nothing. It could be me reading too much into something on a mid-week morning, but Lord Loss has the unique position now of being a Crap Looking Book that actually uses its diverting cover to add effect to the story within, rather than neglecting it entirely.

So it doesn’t matter how lousy it looks, it still does a bang up job.