Posts Categorized: Cover Art

Drakenfeld by Mark Charan Newton

I’ve made something of a career out of ripping into the many covers for Mark Charan Newton’s novels. Sometimes it’s in good fun, sometimes I’m legitimately offended. He’s got so many covers at this point that I’ve lost track of them all. This time around, however, Pan Macmillan has crafted together a cover that, I, well… like. It’s impactful, maybe a little plain, but steps away from the more traditional ‘Epic Fantasy Hooded Figure/Badass/Brooding’ cover trao that a few of Newton’s other covers fell into. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this angled at a Historical Fiction audience.

Newton discusses the cover, and why he feels like it fits so well:

Of all my many covers, this is by far the best and most appropriate. It really sums up the book, because nations (or rather nationalism) are core to the series, and the idea with the covers is that each novel features a coloured banner representing the country in which the novel takes place. The one above is the banner of Detrata, with a double-headed falcon, various glaives and swords and a lovely icon. It also evokes the classical world, which was – as regular followers of the blog might have guessed – a major inspiration for the novel. I like to think that the main continent of Vispasia could sit just off the classical maps, as some forgotten corner of the world yet to be discovered by archeologists.

I’ve read a portion of an early draft of Drakenfeld and enjoyed it quite a bit. I think Newton is spot on in his description of the cover. The multi-coloured flag approach is interesting, and, should the publisher follow through with it, should provide a nice looking set of books when the series is done.

The Abominable by Dan Simmons

A thrilling tale of supernatural adventure, set on the snowy peaks of Mount Everest from the bestselling author of The Terror.

It’s 1926, and the desire to summit the world’s highest mountain has reached a fever-pitch among adventurers. Three young friends, eager to take their shot at the top, accept funding from a grieving mother whose son fell to his death on Mt. Everest two years earlier. But she refuses to believe he’s dead, and wants them to bring him back alive.

As they set off toward Everest, the men encounter other hikers who are seeking the boy’s body for their own mysterious reasons. What valuable item could he have been carrying? What is the truth behind the many disapperances on the mountain? As they journey to the top of the world, the three friends face abominable choices, actions–and possibly creatures. A bone-chilling, pulse-pounding story of supernatural suspense, THE ABOMINABLE is Dan Simmons at his best.

God damn. I’ve never read Simmons, and I take issue with some of his personal politics. But, god damn, that’s a cover. The Abominable is set for an October, 2013 release.

Dragonwriter, Anne McCaffrey

Yesterday, it was announced that Michael Whelan, legendary artist who long provided art for the Fantasy and Science Fiction genres, including Anne McCaffrey’s popular Pern novels, will be providing the cover art for an upcoming anthology celebrating McCaffrey. Tor.com has details about the anthology:

On August 6th, Smart Pop Books is releasing Dragonwriter: A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey and Pern, a compilation of essays remembering the dragonwriter herself, Anne McCaffrey, and including contributions from •Elizabeth Moon, David Brin,• Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, •Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Richard Woods, Jody Lynn Nye, Angelina Adams, and more.

This is notable not only for Whelan’s previous contributions to the series, (including one of my favourite covers of all time), but also because he retired from the cover art industry several years ago, only popping out here and there to provide art at special times (like the release of A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, replacing the late Darrell K. Sweet). It nice to see Whelan return to the world of Pern. You can see more of Whelan’s Pern artwork in his tribute post to McCaffery.

Dragonwriter: A Tribute to Anne McCaffery and Pern will be released on August 6th, 2014 by Smart Pop. It is available now for pre-order.

Witch Wraith by Terry Brooks

Seems alright. Inoffensive, at least. The trilogy (Wards of Faerie (REVIEW), Bloodfire Quest) as a whole has a nice continuous look, including the screaming red I’m-not-a-sticker sticker. Still, we all know it’s the big, juicy name of the author that will sell these books, not the cover. In all, I’d say it’s a wash with the US cover.

God's War by Kameron Hurley

There has long raged a debate about the quality of UK vs. US cover art and the different ideals behind design aesthetics in the two regions. In general, fans seem to consider the UK to be the stronger market, and for a long time they were, but it’s my feeling that in the past couple of years, thanks to publishers like Tor, Night Shade Books, Pyr Books and Orbit Books, that the US has eclipsed the UK and is generating much more interesting cover art in general. Hurley herself said, “I am told the UK market is way more stuck-up about their covers. I adore my Conan covers, but $1 says the more mainstreamy-cover sells more books.”

If this is a ‘mainstreamy’ cover, I’m not sure I like where Del Rey UK is taking the series. Still, It’s nice to see Hurley seeing a release from a major publisher. What some people might not know is that Del Rey was originally meant to publish Hurley in the US, first picking up her novel, God’s War, before, for a variety of reasons that I’m not clear on, deciding to let Hurley and the series go. It, and its edits, were then picked up by Night Shade Books. Read More »