Molly is inspired by Jim Hines
She dug around for books and when her middle grade/YA illustrations were insufficiently entertaining, grabbed MY books and tried to duplicate THOSE cover poses.
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So, for the most part these are a lot less funny than the poses done by Jim Hines. There are a number of reasons for this, but here's #1 -- none of these poses are ridiculous. Especially the first two -- Eliana is standing in ways that a human being might actually stand, doing things that the character actually does. As much as I have rolled my eyes over the cover to Freedom's Apprentice over the years (people, that scene takes place in January in Central Asia in a historical fantasy where people lack things like forced-air central heating, fiberglass insulation, and double-glazed windows. Not only is she not naked in that scene, she's dressed in bulky layers because that's what you do to keep warm in a cold climate in the winter, even indoors) there's nothing inherently absurd about what she's doing with her body.
My first two books came out in 2002 and 2003; the next three in 2004, 2005, and 2006. I am not operating with a particularly large sample of cover art here but frankly analyzing these images makes me wonder if the truly absurd human bodies DO NOT BEND THAT WAY cover art is a somewhat recent phenomenon, or if Bantam's art department in the early 2000s was unusually good in that respect?