The cover for the first volume in the series, The Magicians, is, in my opinion, one of the most iconic and alluring covers from the past several years. It’s simple, the tree reflected in water is memorable, a wonderful colour palette and strong typography.
The cover for The Magician King, also featuring art from Didier Massard (which, like the first volume, is a photography of a miniature model, giving it a very distinct look), hits on some of those same notes (strong typography, nice colour palette), but the lack of a central point of focus hurts the cover’s initial impact and puts it a few notches below its predecessor. Still, it’s lovely, mystical and calming and will look nice alongside The Magicians as a set on a bookshelf.
Via Pat’s Fantasy Hostlist:
Though George R.R. Martin first started exploring the Free Cities in A Game of Thrones, nearly fifteen years ago, there has never been an official map of the city states or the continent of Essos. Doubly odd given the lovingly detailed maps of Westeros that have been available for years. Now, thanks to the HBO television adaptation, we have one.
I suppose the most striking feature of the maps is how empty it all is. Pentos, Myr, Tyrosh, Lys and Braavos are all there, but otherwise, it’s completely empty land, devoid of cities like Qohor or Volantis. Perhaps they appear off the map, but then why cut it off mid-way through the continent? The map was created for the purposes of the television series, so it stands to reason that they would only include the cities that are featured prominently in the novel, but it would have been nice to see Martin, Bantam Spectra and HBO take this as an opportunity to produce a map as detailed as those of Westeros that appear in each volume of the series (The North and The South). Perhaps we will get one when A Dance with Dragons releases later this year.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the cover art for the Tor Books edition of Brandon Sanderson’s The Alloy of Law leaked onto the web. It’s pretty, if McGrathy, and ties in well with his other Mistborn novels. As much as I had issues with the final two volumes of the trilogy (they should have been one tight novel), The Alloy of Law remains one of my most anticipated novels for 2011.
This UK cover only gets me more hot-and-bothered. Again, like the US cover, it ties in very nicely with the previously released covers for the original trilogy. I appreciate that they’re not beating you over the head with Steampunk (which Sanderson’s assistant, Peter Ahlstrom, has indicated is a bit of a misnomer when used to describe the novel) and instead embraces the magic and atmosphere of the series. I love the tagline, too:
There is still magic…
Sure, it’s generic, but anyone who’s finished the first trilogy can’t help but be curious given the climax and its fallout. Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this.
From GRRM’S blog:
Yeah, yeah. It’s been posted everywhere. I know. Still, if you’ve just rolled out of bed after a bender, maybe you haven’t seen it. Frankly, I haven’t seen it. With the real release of the show just around the corner, I’ve figured that I’ll just wait and watch the whole thing at once. Can’t come soon enough.
Night had come to the city of Skalandarharia, the sort of night with such a quality of black to it that it was as if black coal had been wrapped in blackest velvet, bathed in the purple-black ink of the demon squid Drindel and flung down a black well that descended toward the deepest, blackest crevasses of Drindelthengen, the netherworld ruled by Drindel, in which the sinful were punished, the black of which was so legendarily black that when the dreaded Drindelthengenflagen, the ravenous blind black badger trolls of Drindelthengen, would feast upon the uselessly dilated eyes of damned, the abandoned would cry out in joy as the Drindelthengenflagenmorden, the feared Black Spoons of the Drindelthengenflagen, pressed against their optic nerves, giving them one last sensation of light before the most absolute blackness fell upon them, made yet even blacker by the injury sustained from a falling lump of ink-bathed, velvet-wrapped coal.
I’ll be honest. As much as I’ve always enjoyed Scalzi’s Science Fiction novels, I have also yearned for the day when he’d finally make a leap into the more viable, much more enjoyable realm of Fantasy. Inspired by many of the most prominent self-published novels of the past several years, The Shadow War of the Night Dragon: Book One: The Dead City finally looks to be that leap towards respectability that Scalzi’s always needed.
As for the cover itself: at first I was worried that that the typography was a little over the top—I mean, it’s huge, lime green and longer than healthy, but the more I look at the cover, the more I think it just… works. It’s certainly something that would catch a readers eye at the bookstore, and that’s the true purpose of cover art. What I appreciate most, however, is that the artist, the lovely John Stanko, hasn’t gone out of his way to emulate/trace/photograph a bunch of J-Crew models, but, instead went down to his local pub, rounded up some of the fellows sitting long-faced over their beers and used them as inspiration. It gives the novel a more genuine feel and makes me believe they could take on that scary Dragon lurking in the shadows of the background.
If you’re as curious about The Shadow War of the Night Dragon: Book One: The Dead City as I am, Tor.com has an early excerpt out. Review copies are expected within the next week or so, so keep an eye out for an early review later this month! Now, to go brush up on my Cthulhu-language so I can pronounce some of those names…