Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Cover Art Faves

So yesterday I happened to see this post at Into The Hall of Books. It’s always so interesting to see what covers other people pick as their favorites — especially when you can’t imagine what they see in a particular book cover!

THE NIGHT CIRCUS cover doesn’t do it for me at all. Nor does that edition of THE HOBBIT. Nothing cartoonish is likely to appeal to me, though sometimes I like stylized. For me, the only one of those five that stand out is the RAILSEA cover; I like that one. Evocative and interesting and not at all generic. I like the one for GRAVE MERCY, but to me that one is fairly generic: Girl With Weapon. But I like the swirly dress.

So naturally I went down and looked at covers in my library. Naturally picking just five is really really really impossible, but if you think about covers in categories, it’s a little easier. Or at least it is for me.

My favorite for YA Girls is this one:

I like the way the girl is standing with her back to the reader; I like the blasted landscape; I like the city rising up in the distance. For YA covers with girls, I think this one is really outstanding — evocative and artistic and it would make me want to read this book even if it wasn’t by Dan Wells. Though since it is, I’d have bought it no matter what the cover looked like.

I must admit that if I was picking a Beautiful Girl cover, I might very well go for HOUSE OF SHADOWS, but I don’t necessarily want to pick one of my own covers. And besides, I am resisting the urge to do Beautiful Woman / Beefcake Guy categories. Instead —

For Dragons, I pick this one:

To me, this dragon looks ambiguous. Is he menacing the woman? To me, he looks like he might be protecting her. The stance of the man in the background contributes to the effect, because he’s not racing forward — he’s standing back and looking down at the scene. Of course if you’ve read the book, you know how suitable this ambiguity really is. I really love this cover!

For Creepiest, this is my pick:

I’ve come near buying this one just for its cover, but in fact I haven’t got it and haven’t read it. Anybody else read this one yet? Because if it’s good, I’ll pick it up in a heartbeat!

For Most Beautiful, I’m tempted to declare that THE FLOATING ISLANDS beats them all! But still resisting the urge to name my own books, I pick this one:

For Cleverest Concept, I pick a mystery I have on my TBR pile but haven’t read yet:

For Best CJ Cherryh cover, it’s a tough choice, because she’s had some GREAT artists do a lot of her covers. But I just love this one:

And for Best SF Cover Ever, it’s a REALLY tough choice, but . . . um . . . if you twist my arm and MAKE me pick one, I might go for:

Cover art is important to me! I have some books on my shelves that I’d discard except that I really love the cover. What are some of your favorite covers? If you’ve ever bought a book just because you loved the cover, what was it? It counts if you bought a new edition of a book because you liked the new cover better than the old! (I confess I’ve done that!)

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4 Comments Cover Art Faves

  1. Elaine T

    I love the cover of CUCKOO’S EGG with Dunn holding the baby Thorn. I bought that edition although I already owned the hardcover.

    Michael Whelen’s cover for BLACK SUN RISING by Friedman. I’d bounced off other Friedman (which also had Whelan covers), but because of the cover I bought this and even finished and enjoyed the book. Back when I worked in a bookstore, we noticed that Whelan covers sold books. And if it was a cover where you said ‘is that Whelan, or not?” it usually meant the book had problems.

    Kinuko Craft’s covers for Patricia McKillip books. I’d buy McKillip anyway, the covers are like gift wrapping.

    Whoever did the cover for the first edition of Hambly’s TIME OF THE DARK with Ingold in a basic suburban kitchen holding beer can. I probably would have skipped right over ‘standard wizard image’ without those details.

    Most Tom Canty covers such as on the McKillip collection that just came out. They sold books, too.

    Richard Gould’s covers – haven’t seen one lately, but there’s an example of his style here: http://www.americanfantasypress.com/Dreamthief.html. Almost got me to buy Moorcock, till I remembered how much I didn’t like reading his stuff. He did covers for other writers, too, but the Moorcocks made the biggest impression.

    And one reason PHOENIX RISING by Ryk E. Spoor is in my shopping cart at Amazon is the heroic toad in the story and who made it onto the cover.

    The TOADS & DIAMONDS cover really is stunning. I wish I’d taken more to the book – it felt somewhat unbalanced in the handling of the girls and what they learn. The swan maiden story by Tomlinson worked better for me.

  2. Michelle

    My favorite cover is Megan Whalen Turner’s The King of Attolia. Not only is it beautiful but it completely ties into the book-even to the smallest details.
    Another great cover is Mercedes Lackey’s one for Joust-talk about a gorgeous dragon.

  3. Mary Beth

    I quite liked THE REPLACEMENTS, although I don’t remember specifics, so I guess I didn’t love it. (It was a library book for me, not a purchase.)

    Covers I’ve loved–anything by Michael Whelan, obviously, but particularly his cover for Melanie Rawn’s SUNRUNNER’S FIRE. (This may also be my favorite dragon cover, and for a while when I was fourteen it was my favorite Hot Guy cover too. Despite that, I wasn’t very fond of the book itself). I also love Whelan’s cover for ASSASSIN’S APPRENTICE. I’ve always been fond of Jody Lee’s cover art for Mercedes Lackey’s Heralds of Valdemar books, too.

    Recent books: I was particularly struck by the covers of Kendare Blake’s ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD, which I read and loved and will probably reread for Halloween (along with its sequel, GIRL OF NIGHTMARES). I really like the cover for Jay Kristoff’s STORMDANCER but haven’t picked up the book yet. I quite like the cover for Maggie Stiefvater’s new RAVEN BOYS, which is a nice blend of realism and stylization — SCORPIO RACES does a good job with that too.

    Dan Dos Santos is one of my new favorite cover artists; I quite like his covers for the Mercy Thompson books.

    Bujold has some epically terrible covers and some really good ones. I have bought a new copy of YOUNG MILES just to get the hot-Miles-staring-into-space cover instead of the horrific playing cards one. (Miles’ face isn’t deformed, just his spine!)

    And I picked up LORD OF THE CHANGING WINDS off the shelf solely on the basis of its cover art — griffins! But I bought it on the strength of its first three pages. :)

  4. Ryk E. Spoor

    Elaine T: Thanks! Poplock Duckweed is happy to encourage sales. :) That’s also my favorite cover for any of my books thus far (with the Japanese covers for _Grand Central Arena_ just behind them)

    For me, the finest Hambly cover was probably the one for The Time of the Dark (Mattingly cover seen here: http://ibookswap.quandra.org/pic.pl?isbn=0345296699). I stared at the cover and said to myself “There is no way that cover reflects what’s in the book!” and bought the book… to find that I was wrong. It was a picture-perfect cover image.

    One of my other favorite covers is for Valentine Pontifex by Silverberg (this one: http://img2.imagesbn.com/images/102010000/102015445.jpg). It’s the figure of Valentine that does it for me.

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