Why, lookee here:

Ooh, pretty. And look how thick it is! That’s one hundred and eight thousand words of killer unicorns, Astrid’s inner struggle, romance, and both unbearably ugly and heart-stoppingly pretty frocks, people.

(Yes, I figured it was about time that I wrote a book with a pretty frock in it. I love pretty frocks myself, and somehow I got through four secret society girl books having barely dressed Amy in anything but jeans and swimsuits and hooded robes. So, sorry for the spoiler, but there’s one heck of a frock in this book. I mean, not like Luxe-book-cover frock, but right up there.)

So, a few caveats. I know this is the cover that has been floating around the internet. However, this is not the cover of the novel. This is the ARC cover. You can tell it’s not the real cover, because of the incredibly lo-res, massively pixelated, not-even-neatly-cut-out-from-the-original-image sword they smacked on there as a placeholder. Observe:

I’m honestly surprised that none of the people who have been (sometimes repeatedly) posting this image around the internet and calling it my cover has noticed this. And that only two people have actually emailed me and said, “I heard this was your cover, but I assume there’s a reason you yourself have never posted it/I’m sure Harper would never give you such a bad photoshopping job/what’s up with that, can you confirm?” (Thank you, people. You know who you are.)

Sometimes, cover designers make what they call a “comp” (for composite) which means they put together a bunch of images in a rough collage to show the editorial and marketing teams what they would like the cover to look like. That’s what this is: a comp. If they don’t have the final cover done in time for the ARC printings, the comp is what goes in the catalog (a sales tool for booksellers) and on the ARC (yet another sales tool).

The comp of the original Rampant cover was what went on the ARC of Rampant. It differed significantly in layout and font from the final (original) Rampant cover, and then the concept was scrapped entirely for what appeared on the hardcover when it finally came out. As you can see, this concept is in keeping with the Rampant hardcover, and I assume that the final Ascendant cover will look pretty close to this. (Crosses fingers the upcoming photo shoot goes well.) Which makes me happy, because I think it very much captures Astrid’s inner life in this book.

(It does not so much capture Astrid’s outer weapons usage. She barely picks up a sword in this book, except once when she is [SPOILER REDACTED] and then again, when she wields it against [HUGE FREAKING SPOILER REDACTED]. She’s all over the bows and knives though, and she even kills a unicorn with a [OMG SPOILER REDACTED SO MUCH]. However, I think it works really nicely with the series “look” and there’s more room to insert a unicorn than there would be on a bow. Also… well, I made up the alicorn knife. Kind of hard for someone to get a real picture of it.)

But enough about the non-cover! I’m sure what you all are really interested in is the inside! Here’s the back cover copy:

Now a fully trained unicorn hunter, Astrid Llewelyn is learning that she can’t solve all her problems with a bow and arrow. Her boyfriend has left Rome, the Cloisters is in dire financial straits, her best friend’s powers are mysteriously disintegrating, and her hope of becoming a scientist seems to be nothing but an impossible dream.

So when she’s given the opportunity to leave the Cloisters and use her skills as part of a scientific quest to discover the Remedy, Astrid leaps at the chance. Finally, she can have exactly what she wants—or can she? At Gordian headquarters deep in France, Astrid begins to question everything she had believed: her love for Giovanni, her loyalty to the Cloisters, and—most of all—her duty as a hunter. Should Astrid be saving the world from killer unicorns or saving unicorns from the world?

And here are a few randomly-generated, hopefully spoiler-free phrases from within the pages of this, my sixth published novel:

“The real Clothilde Llewelyn had been scarred and dirty, with blood-soaked hands and arms that looked like ragged ropes of muscle.”

“Ooh, would you? We’d make prime time!”

“A unicorn-hunting decoy.”

“Where’s my wannabe doctor cousin?”

“You told me you hardly ever see him.”

“Did einhorns hibernate like bears?”

“The green shaft of Melissende’s arrow still jutted from its side.”

“The first touch of their magic was like a cool breeze in the midst of a heat wave.”

“Six seconds. Six seconds too many.”

“All the women in my family are strong.”

Enough of that. I’m sure what you really want to know is how to get your hands on one of these beauties. Well, I know I’ve already promised some to a few of you (there was a contest a few months back…). And then I also know I”ll be signing copies at some upcoming bookish events, like BEA and ALA. And I’m still trying to plan out what I’ll do here, but it will be something, eventually.

So stay tuned!

Posted in unicorns

25 Responses to ARCs of ASCENDANT

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  2. Saundra says:


  3. Denise says:

    Pretty! I cannot wait to read this book.

  4. Jo Treggiari says:

    even for an ARC it is pretty damn cool. You can tell it’s going to look really strong and stand out on the shelves. Congrats!
    My anti-spam word was crossbow. I’ve always wanted one.

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  6. Day says:

    LOVED, LOVED, LOVED “Rampant”!!!

    I cannot wait to read the next installment in Astrid’s adventures! Astrid may quite possibly be my favorite heroine!

  7. Lena says:

    I love it and I love the spoiler-free quotes. Can’t wait to read it!

    Now I’m wondering what the real cover will look like. I hope the photoshoot goes well too. I really like that picture of Astrid. You’re right. You can see her inner struggle.

  8. Allison says:

    Oh man, I want one of those SOOO BADLY! Can’t wait to see how we can get one. I told you this on twitter once, but Rampant is responsible for turning me to Team Unicorn. That’s kind of a big deal.

  9. PurpleRanger says:

    Not another limerick contest, I hope. I got lucky that last time.

  10. Alexa says:

    Oooh it’s gorgeous, I long for one! I did see it on Goodreads but it had big red lines all over it, so the impact was somewhat lost 🙂

    The quotes are great. I’m really hoping “You told me you hardly ever see him.” applies to who I want it to apply too in the right context 🙂

  11. YAY! So excited for you! I cannot wait to read Ascendant. I have missed Astrid verily.

  12. Rhiannon says:

    At a distance, it looks like the sword is almost a part of Astrid there – like it’s woven into her hair. In a good way.

  13. Annie says:

    How exciting! I’m so happy for you, Diana! Can’t wait for release day!!

  14. Kelsey says:

    OMG! how exciting, I can’t wait to see the FINAL cover. And yay, maybe I can get one at BEA 🙂

  15. Christine says:

    Stop taunting me! I’ve been dying for Ascendant ever since I read Rampant. The cover looks amazing!

  16. Diana says:

    thanks, guys! I really appreciate it!

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  18. Tiff says:

    I want. I would totally go to BEA and elbow my way through crowds to get an ARC if it wasn’t for, you know, my job.

    Guess I’ll have to settle for doing my very best on whatever contest you decide on…can’t wait!

    P.S. I’m really enjoying Persuasion, but so far, P&P is still my favorite Austen *ducks the onslaught of books, or perhaps arrows flying at her head*

  19. Lenore says:

    YAY! They are finally here!

  20. emilia says:

    Ohmigosh it looks so awesome. Whether or not the photoshoping is terrible or not. I’m kinda feeling like your dangling a giant lambshank over the heads of a hundred ravenous wolves right now, it’s so delicious. I so want one!

  21. alaska. says:

    oh. oh, be still my beating heart. and saving the unicorns! oh, inner struggle! oh, astrid! oh, phil! bucephalous! i need to go re-read rampant again right now . . . ::happysqueal::

  22. Rebecca says:

    Ahhhh! I want so bad! This is number one on the “books I’m waiting for” list. It even tops Mockingjay, believe it or not. Unfortunately it’s the farthest away, all the way in September ):

  23. Susan Adrian says:

    Oooh YAY. I am so freaking ready to read this book. 🙂

  24. OMG I cannot wait until BEA for your signing! TEAM UNICORN all the way.