cover lover collage 1

Your favorite dose of bad fantasy covers is back with some really BAD examples of fantasy art, not just the art itself but also the nonsensical nature of some of these covers. So with out any unnecessary explanations, here are my next five nominations for Worst Fantasy Covers!

1. Lord Valentine’s Castle By Robert Silverberg
Now, I know this has both sci fi and fantasy elements to the story, but it always struck me – like The Dragonriders of Pern – as more fantasy than science fiction, but that may just be me. Anyway, I have never understood this cover. Is this whole book about a juggler? Is he at a renaissance faire? Okay, perhaps he is part of a touring group of circus performers that is going to Lord Valentine’s castle? Maybe, they got lost. And then those weird things with tentacles showed up, and our performer decided to entertain them with juggling to keep them from eating him. Or maybe, he is trying to teach them how to juggle? Or are those tentacle creatures actually Lord Valentine and his wife? And who are those people in the background, and what are they doing again? Damn, this cover really confused me as a perspective reader.
Purchase the novel with a better cover at Amazon.

2. Fox and Empire by Harry Turtledove
I have always been a fan of Harry Turtledove and his alternative history series in particular, but the simple fact of the matter is the man has been subjected to some unbelievable covers over the years. There are many examples I could post to show this, but I decided to put the most humorous of them all. Here, in Fox and Empire, we have armored men fighting a ferocious battle. They are in their chariots pulled by fiery steads, and they are prepared for the most horrible warfare imaginable. But wait, what is that overhead? Oh god no! It is a naked baby floating around pissing on everyone. Even the mightiest warrior is forced to raise up his shield and hide under it in fear of the yellow death water that said babe is spewing down upon its enemies. Aaaahhhh! The yellow rain it burns! It burns! Make it stop! Please, make it stop!
Purchase the cover and all at Amazon.

3. The Original Black Company trilogy by Glen Cook.
Each of these covers are so bad that I could not pick just one. Instead, I decided to place them all together so that we can view them as a whole.
Book One, The Black Company, has the black leather clad, Darth Vader-like individual stabbing a pentagram. It reeks of evil – except it is so “bad” that it looks more campy than cool.
shadowslingerBook Two, Shadows Linger, has the window in the sky with Lady’s face, as she is having a conversation with Croaker. The image is true to the story but not very appealing.
thewhiteroseBook Three, The White Rose, has a huge tree shooting lightning. Once again, the image is taken directly from the novel, but it is not a very exciting cover.
As many of you know, I am a huge Glen Cook fan, and I personally have to admit I never bought a single Black Company novel at the bookstore due to these covers. After the series caught on, I saw the omnibus for sale in my through-the-mail book club (Anyone remember those things?) and thought that cover was intriguing. Honestly, I still wonder how anyone ever actually overlooked these covers, purchased them and discovered that these books were genre changing fantasy masterpieces.
Purchase a better cover and the stories themselves at Amazon.

4. Dragon’s Teeth by Mercedes Lackey
This is a novel of short stories by a prominent fantasy artist. I can just imagine the conversation between the publisher and the art team on this cover design.

Publisher: “We are real excited about this novel. It is called Dragon’s Teeth, and it is written by a very prolific fantasy author. So what we need is a cover to really portray the essence of this book.”
Art Team: “Wha-wha-wha.”
Publisher: “Okay. You are going to give us a great illustration of a leopard coming out of a mechanical portal. Do you think that is really . . .”
Art Team: “Wha-wha-wha.”
Publisher: “Yeah, I know you are the artist, but you really think a leopard is right for this book.”
Art Team: “Wha-wha-wha.”
Publisher: “Okay, okay, okay. Calm down. The leopard sounds great now that you have explained it. I’m sure you are right. Nothing else would work for a book titled Dragon’s Teeth except for a leopard.”

And that my friends is why a book called Dragon’s Teeth with a leopard on its front cover finds itself on this list.
Purchase the cover and all at Amazon.

5. Servant of the Dragon by David Drake
I’m not going to belabor the point that I just made above, but honestly, why would you place a huge bird on the front of a novel titled Servant of the DRAGON. It is beyond bizarre. But I’m sure the publisher and art team decided that since there were a couple of people fighting and some blue magical fireworks on the cover as well no one would ever even notice the bird. Well, I did notice! And I can’t understand why these idiotic covers keep happening to fantasy books. Make it stop already!
Purchase the cover and all at Amazon.

My weekly five. Now, it is your turn. Nominate a few covers you disliked.

This entry was posted in Cover Lover, Fantasy, Lists and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Rabindranauth says:

    I love the new Black Company covers by Raymond Swanland 😀

    I agree with Servant of the Dragon, though, wtf is up there? False advertising, I tells ya! *shakes fist*


  2. Bookstooge says:

    Have you actually read Servant of the Dragon? Because if memory serves me right, a gigantic bird IS involved in one of the mini-adventures that the “crew” go on. It kidnaps Sharina, the main characters sister.


    • Bookwraiths says:

      I have this one on my bookshelf to read. I’m glad the cover does have something to do with the book itself. You gotta admit though it is odd having a ferocious bird on the cover of a book titled Servant of the Dragon.


      • Bookstooge says:

        I “think” the bird is a servant of the dragon, just not the main one. But to be honest, I enjoyed all of the covers of the Lord of the Isles series, they were bigger than life and cheezy, just like the stories 🙂
        As for it being on your tbr shelf, have you read the previous 2 books?


      • Bookwraiths says:

        Nope. I found all of them at a used bookstore and thought they sounded okay. Have not found time to read them yet. Is the series decent?


      • Bookstooge says:

        I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, a lot! However, while I enjoyed the rest of the series [all8 or 9 of them], I can’t say they are great books. Repetitious, multi-quests with characters that are 2d. Just be aware. But the first book, I do HIGHLY recommend.



  4. cuckootree says:

    “Dragon’s Teeth” would be a great oath.


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