It’s that time again! Nope, it’s not vacation time, but it is time for Bookwraiths second part of our Best Fantasy Covers!
I was very grateful for the response my first list got, especially all the comments and messages it received, and quite frankly, it surprised me that so many of you mimicked my personal feelings that good fantasy covers had a lot to do with whether you ultimately purchased the novel. (When I say this, I mean that a good cover increased the chances you’d actually investigate the novel to see if you wanted to try it while a bad cover made you generally steer clear of the story.) This affirmation by so many of you made me feel better about coming out of the closet and admitting my propensity to buy fantasy novels that have good covers.
Anyway, with my fear of rejection and ridicule now alleviated, I give you my second five nominations for Best Fantasy Covers.
1. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
This is the 1981 edition of the classic tale with cover artwork by Darrell K. Sweet (who both awed and annoyed me most of my life with his work.) While I know that this cover definitely is an example of Sweet’s notorious “renaissance faire” style, for some reason that particular problem has never bothered me here. Perhaps that is because this cover convinced me to pickup The Fellowship of the Ring in the first place and begin my amazing journey through the world of Middle-Earth, or maybe the artwork harkens back in time to my pre-teen years when life was a bit more rosy and without the constant problems of today’s reality. No matter the cause, however, this cover will always have a place in my heart and on any Best Fantasy Covers list I pen, and I am not ashamed to admit that I will miss seeing another one of Mr. Sweet’s covers on a fantasy novel. May his soul rest in peace.
Purchase the novel at Amazon.
2. The Legions of Videssos by Harry Turtledove
This is a 1987 book with a great cover by Romas Kukalis. Mr. Kukalis is probably best known by his name “Romas” which graces the cover of hundreds of speculative fiction novels from 1980 until present. Here he really captured for me the dread of a Roman centurion who finds himself trapped in an alternative dimension where magic and monsters are far from mere myths but real and very, very dangerous. I have always liked everything about this cover: colors, poses of the legionaries, monster, and the general mood. Plus it looks really intriguing, making me want to see what the novel is all about. A monster attacking a Roman centurion, I mean what the hell!
Take a look at more of Romas Kukalis’ art Here
Purchase the first book in the series at Amazon.
3. The Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan
First off, I generally hate these types of fantasy covers: all color, big words, and a small space for some typical fantasy-type characters with a moody backdrop, but for some reason, it really works with these novels. And since I couldn’t decide which one was better, I’m posting all three of them. Book One, Theft of Swords, introduces us to our two heroes, who look deadly and dangerous, but the golden colors of the cover give away the fact that this book is definitely not a nightmarish grimdark creature but more along the lines of a “classic” fantasy tale. Book Two, Rise of Empire, changes the mood of the series with its dark reddish cast of the cover and the images of our two friends wrapped inside their dark cloaks, hiding from the ever increasing despair that their current situation is casting over them. Book Three, Heir of Novron, has Hadrian striding forward through the ruins of what we assume is the mystical Percepliquis. Naturally, Royce is lurking in the background, always covering Hadrian’s back. These three covers are just excellent examples of how great artwork of this type (Provided here by Larry Rostant.) can be merged with some interesting cover graphics and text to create an intriguing and eye catching fantasy cover. Great job, guys!
Take a look at more of Larry Rostant’s art Here
Start the adventure at Amazon.
4. Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
This is just an absolutely cool cover by Jason Chan. I know it is somewhat old school in its layout, but it really convinced me this novel had to be epic with that sort of fantasy battle raging on the front cover. Now, for those of you who have read my review of this novel, you realize I did not enjoy the novel nearly as much as I did this cover. Unfortunately, the main characters in Throne of the Crescent Moon spent more time drinking tea than battling ghuls, but be that as it may, it was a well written novel that I am glad that I tried. However, no matter the stories shortcomings in my eyes Mr. Chan really gifted everyone with a fabulous cover — even if it is a bit misleading, because no one is drinking tea.
Take a look at more of Jason Chan’s art Here
Purchase the novel with a slightly different cover at Amazon.
5. Misere: An Autumn Tale by Melissa Frohock
I do not know exactly why, but this cover makes me want to find this novel and read it. Perhaps I will be disappointed, but I really need to know who these three people are and what the hell is going on. And if covers are suppose to make a person feel exactly the way I just described then Michael C. Hayes has succeeded immensely.
Take a look at more of Michael C. Hayes’ art Here
Purchase the cover and all at Amazon.
Well, that is my next five nominees for best fantasy covers. Come one tell me the ones you like. We all know you actually do look at them.
Misere. It’s more of a painting than a cover; I can so imagine it in my bedroom (wife permitting, of course)! Awesome artwork…
Yeah, it is a beautiful painting, and I picked it because it was different. That is the great thing to me about fantasy covers, there is enough room for everything from paintings to cartoons covers. 🙂
Miserere here for me too. Beautiful cover, and for a beautiful book. Such an underrated novel.
Re: Riyria covers, I once stumbled upon a fantasy fiction forum on Goodreads where six or seven members admitted to picking up Theft of Swords because the two men on the cover “looked hot”. Okay, I think Hadrian and Royce are a couple of dashing heroes too, but I still had to chuckle a little at that. But oh well, at least that means Orbit’s doing something right? I think? 😀
Orbit definitely made the right call with these books. Their packaging of this series was great. Plus Mr. Sullivan wrote some great novels to. 🙂
I LOVE the Throne of the Crescent Moon and Misere covers. I would love the Sullivan covers more IF half of the cover weren’t blocked out like that – I almost feel cheated. Of course Tolkien covers are always fabulous =)
I agree the Sullivan covers could have been better with more picture and less graphics, but even with that being said, they are good ones.
Thanks for the comment. 🙂
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