James Fahy is the author of the Changeling Series and the Phoebe Harkness Series. I discovered his writing through Instagram about a year ago and loved it since I read Hell’s Teeth.
Hell’s Teeth is an urban gothic novel. It follows Pheobe Harkness, a doctor in New Oxford. The wars came, and they created a monster. The Pale, a subhuman, vampire-like drone. Then they lost control. In the thirty years that followed, humankind sought to rebuild itself within the walls of New Oxford.
But society had become fractured – humans now lived among Genetic Others, themselves a group of many subspecies. The most dangerous of them all: the vampires.
Somehow, these groups have managed a peaceful co-existence under the controlling government influence of the Cabal. But that is all about to change…
Phoebe Harkness receives a phone call in the middle of the night. Her supervisor at Blue Lab One, a high-security research facility, has gone missing. And all that is left behind: her teeth.”
After reading it, I published a review on my Youtube Channel. And I still stand by the compliments I gave to this novel in that video; the characters are wonderful and three-dimensional, the plot is a thrilling twist on the vampire novel and the witty humour breaks the dark ominous feeling of the book with intelligence.
However, I had been quite unimpressed by the cover of this novel. I had been quite critical of the colours for instance. I also felt as though the cover gave so little tribute to the content of the novel, and mostly fitted into the genre of the novel and melted in with all the others. The unique book didn’t stand out as much as I felt it should.
But, having been so critical of the design, I felt it gave me an interesting challenge. I decided to design five different covers for this book, each highlighting an aspect of the story I enjoyed most. However, I decided to try and keep as many of the design elements I had frowned upon on the original cover; the colour palette, the main character facing away from the reader, the overcrowded elements. Because at the end of the day, a cover is only a question of taste. Learning to design with elements that are beyond my comfort zone was a genuine challenge that I decided to take upon myself.
With the first cover redesign, I wanted to highlight the urban, modern aspect of the novel. One of the elements I found fascinatingly brilliant in this novel is the presence of the UV light used as a protection against vampires and the Pale Ones. I liked the idea of the cover being revealed by a lamp of blue light, glaring out highly saturated and unnatural colours.
The second cover was an attempt to work with the ever-present setting New Oxford. The book always describes the dystopian city that Oxford has become with eloquence. I also wanted to attempt to reappropriate the main elements of the original design. And after working with them, I may be changing my opinion…
The third cover I designed was to highlight the very ominous, mystery aspect of the novel. The book felt a lot like watching a series on Netflix, with the same ominous tempo as Stranger Things or Sens8. Please read this as a compliment. The book has a rhythm that makes you constantly want to read the next page and read until four-in-the-morning (I was very guilty of that…).
For the fourth cover, I needed a bit of minimalism in my brain. But I realized it wasn’t the greatest choice for this novel. I found it too elegant to dismiss, so I left it in the selection.
For the last cover, I took more liberties. I tried to summarise the four previous covers. This cover shows off the duality of the between the ominous feeling of the book, the flashing colour of the blue light, and the presence of the main character on the cover. It might not be the most subtle way of showing off a vampire novel, but I felt the pointed Cheshire grin overlaying Phoebe Harkness’ visage had an interesting sarcasm to it.
If you wish to by the book, you can find it here on Amazon. Don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon if you like the book. That helps authors far more than you can ever imagine.
Here’s the video review I made a year or so ago!