Remember that awful artwork that leaked a couple of months ago? Remember how Tor denied that it was legit and the real cover art would be much better?

Well, the only kinda lied about it all.
The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Erm… did Rand have too many beans at dinner? Or maybe the hole in the building behind him indicates extra hot chicken wings? Elayne certainly looks distressed. But, hey, at least it doesn’t look like he’s dancing a jig anymore! Sorta…

Seriously Tor, hire a new art department, please.

  • hooly May 14, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Yup, 100% agree. Looks like the 6th-grader summer intern picked that one. Blech!

  • Alexander Field May 14, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Not inspiring. Boring. Oh well.

  • Mark Chitty May 15, 2009 at 12:29 am

    Just because they know it’s going to be a bestseller that is no reason to give it such a crap cover, even though the past ones have been just as bad. Giving such a high profile book a cover like that will do nothing to help the genre, it’s just pants. Pants.

  • Tia May 15, 2009 at 2:01 am

    That is truly awful. What self-respecting guy would choose to wear such colors? And it looks like he’s yelling impotently at the sky after throwing a temper tantrum in what looks like an inn. Can we at least have a display of magic?

    I know continuity of art is important in covers, but they needed to switch artists many years ago.

  • Tom Lloyd May 15, 2009 at 2:09 am

    Man, that’s almost as bad as the last one, which was the worst cover I’ve ever seen!

  • sbp May 15, 2009 at 5:58 am

    Actually Rand is shaking his fist at the gods of fantasy book covers.

    “Why am I stuck in another craptastic cover?!?”

  • neth May 15, 2009 at 8:30 am

    hmm…let’s see

    First, this cover is just awful.

    However, pretty much every WOT cover is equally awful, so to expect something good now is unreasonable. This cover fits with the other awful covers, so in that respect it was the right choice – did anyone really expect good covers for the last 3 books after 12 books with bad covers?

  • hagelrat May 15, 2009 at 10:47 am

    *shudder* its a good thing he’s a well established author, a cover like that could kill a newbie.

  • Joe Sherry May 16, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    I’ll grant that this cover is rather crappy (because, well, it is), but Tor’s Art Department?

    THEY are good.

    Check out the Cherie Priest covers (with special attention to Boneshaker), Brandon Sanderson’s Warbreaker, The Revolution Business from Charles Stross. All excellent.

    Just browsing Tor’s website finds some good covers that MORE than makes up for the crappy Sweet cover(s). I’ve heard it suggested that RJ personally requested Sweet to work on his books.

    I think WoT is a special circumstance and most everything else coming out of Tor’s art department has been solid – if not better (again – have you SEEN the cover for Boneshaker?)

    Irene Gallo does good work.

  • aidan May 17, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Er, it was a joke, Joe.

    I’ve featured several Tor novels in my cover art posts.

  • Joe Sherry May 17, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Didn’t read as a joke.

    Besides, I’ve seen the sentiment passed around elsewhere in regards to the art department. It was worth speaking up about.

  • aidan May 17, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Well, from a non-sarcastic angle: it’s worrisome that the Tor art department would allow shit like this to get released to the public. While I appreciate that they’ve kept the same artist/layout since the beginning (which more publishers need to do), it’s clear that Sweet has just been phoning the last few in – there’s no action, the level of detail is non-existent and the characters look ridiculous. Even compared to earlier covers in the series (Lord of Chaos and Knife of Dreams aside), there were clearly some bad decisions made when it came to this cover.

    Based on some of Tor’s other cover art (some of which you’ve mentioned), they clearly know what makes an attractive cover. This isn’t one of them, neither are the Steven Erikson covers they release. I don’t care if Robert Jordan requested Sweet from his deathbed, because he almost certainly didn’t request a shitty cover that lacks any sort of impact at all. One has to wonder where that disparity in quality derives from.

  • Rob B May 18, 2009 at 7:21 am

    I think it all boils down to the fact that Tor wanted to keep the covers consistent over the series with the same artist.

  • Shane May 19, 2009 at 10:21 am

    The funny thing about this is that for years I ignored the Wheel of Time series precisely because I thought the covers looked horrible. I know, it breaks the old adage ‘never judge a book by its cover’ but I was always of the opinion that if a book is good enough, the publisher will want the cover to be nice. The WoT covers have always been embarrassingly awful, in my opinion, but this one is the absolute worst.

  • Alexander Field May 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Aidan, I totally agree with you man. Sweet needs to paint an intense piece with action and movement and detail. Especially for the biggest BOOK of Tor’s entire 2009 list. It’s imperative that they get this one right. How could they miss it so completely?

  • Brandaray June 2, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    TDR’s cover was an acheivment, and so was tEoTW – everything in between stinks

  • Jimmy July 19, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    The covers of The Wheel of Time books have always sucked. Darrell K. Sweet never captured the feel of the series and his representations of the characters didn’t even match the descriptions in the books. I never understood why Tor and/or the author stuck with him. This is a horrifically bad cover.

  • Soja September 10, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    You all seem to be forgetting something. Technically, This isn’t the last book, There are two more after it.

    And it doesnt hurt that they want to make an Omnibus version of the last three books in one big Volume.

  • aidan September 11, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Where’d you hear about an Omnibus, Soja?

    The whole reason the book has been split (beyond increased revenue and a more even release schedule) is because binding that many pages between one cover is very unwieldy and expensive. We’re talking nearly 700k words. The only Omnibus I could see is a limited-edition, that would cost an arm and a leg.

  • katydid September 29, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    The whole series’ cover art has been one stinker after another. Maybe we just have to “embrace the pain,” like Egwene?! But I’d rather be slapped on the ass with a slipper every time I pick up a RJ novel than have to look at the godawful cover art. Makes me embarrassed to read them in public or recommend them to friends.

  • joe November 1, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    I think that’s meant to be Aviendha, not Elayne

  • aidan November 1, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Ahh, well, if that’s supposed to be Aviendha then the cover’s even more ridiculous than I originally thought!

  • Sean November 6, 2009 at 3:43 am

    Thank goodness we don’t get these awful covers in Australia – the ones here may not be exciting, but at least they grant the contents some dignity! See it at:

  • Sabrina December 18, 2009 at 12:19 am

    In South Africa we get the British editions – in this case Orbit. Not the most exciting cover, but reflects the contents much better than the US ed.

  • […] can’t tell too much from this COVER NOT FINAL image, but it certainly looks a step above the atrocious cover for The Gathering Storm. Likely, the official release of the cover is just around the corner. […]

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