Title quote from the first Matrix film; Morpheus.
So, noticed that the German version of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is now available, when it showed up on Goodreads under “other editions” recently. That was my first time seeing it. For those of you who aren’t Goodreads members (why aren’t you?), here’s what it looks like:
According to Google’s translation tool, the title is something like “The Heiress of the World”.
Submitted without comment for now. (Am talking with my agent about it.) Feel free to discuss. Oh, and there’s a description of Yeine in chapter 1, if you’re wondering what the book’s protagonist looks like. Granted, the cover image might not be the protagonist.
ETA Jan 30th: Putting this as an append to the original post rather than a separate post, since I can see by my blog stats that lots of people are still hitting this.
OK, have spoken with the German editor, via the foreign rights agent, via my agent. (Complicated foreign rights sales are complicated.) G-editor confirms that the image is not meant to depict Yeine or anyone in the story. It’s just a random woman. I have been advised by other pro authors that this sort of thing — art that’s got nothing to do with the book — is common among foreign publishers, who go in more for “symbolic” rather than “representative”/”realistic” like us USians prefer. Usually the symbols chosen are worse: science fiction books get a spaceship, even if there isn’t one in the story. Fantasy books get a guy with Mighty Thews ™ taking an axe to a dragon. Guess I should count my blessings.
Personally, I kind of like the image; it’s certainly striking and dramatic. I even like the new title, which is sort of poetic and mysterious. But in the context of the wider debate on whitewashing… it’s impossible not to wonder about this. If this is indeed a symbol, not meant to directly represent the protagonist, then it’s not whitewashing. Technically.
I have more thoughts, but I think I’ve said all I can safely say.
Anyway, I have decided, for my own emotional comfort, that this image represents Yeine’s mother — who doesn’t show up in the novel, but who does in fact cast a long shadow over its events. She’s described as something like this image, although her hair should be curly. But it’s close enough for government work, as a Canadian friend always says.