Today, the guys in the Goodreads Top 5 Wednesday group had a great topic: INACCURATE BOOK COVERS!  Those book covers that have nothing to do with the story, or the cover model doesn’t look anything like the actual main character, or it’s a really cheesy cover for a great read!

As I’ve admitted before I’m a Cover Lover.  I readily confess that I have and will buy books because the cover art is great.  Yeah, yeah, maybe that is shallow, but for me anyway, you can, many times, judge books by whether their covers are good or bad.  So with that in mind, here are my Top 5 picks for Most Inaccurate Fantasy Covers.

the-hobbit-worst-cover5. THE HOBBIT

There have been dozens and dozens of really amazing book covers for J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.  Even the ones featuring the feature films were tastefully done in my opinion.  But the cover to the right is by far the most inaccurate and worst one of the whole lot.  I mean, has anyone ever (even before the feature films) pictured Bilbo or Gollum looking this way?  I never did, and, honestly, this cover insults my vision of these iconic characters.  And it is on the 50th anniversary edition to boot.  Talk about a letdown.




This military fantasy series by Christopher Rowley was a fun romp, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  It had a classic feel, cool dragons, and a really fun story filled with enough magic and world spanning adventure to keep your attention.  What it did not have were good covers.  The one to the right might be the most inaccurate and silly looking of the bunch, but none of them correctly depicted this hard fighting, intelligent battle dragon and his dragon boy.  All of which is a shame, since I’m sure loads of people did not try these novels due to the silly looking covers.



foxandempire3. FOX AND EMPIRE

Okay, first off, this has one of those gold foil enhanced covers which were all the rage long ago, but which I personally never liked.  Second, it shows a naked baby floating over a battlefield while soldiers hide under their shields in fear.  It has been a long time since I read this book, but I seem to recall this book being more along the lines of a military fantasy with lots of political machinations and battles.  Somehow, I don’t think this captured the epic nature of the story.  Plus, you gotta admit that gold foil looks horribly tacky.  Just saying.




throne-of-the-crescent-moon-12. THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON

Covers are there to sell books.  I understand that.  So an artist is going to take some artistic liberties to capture the essence of the story, even if the picture doesn’t really reflect a particular scene in the tale.  With the book to the right, however, someone went way too far, because Thrones’ cover makes the book seem like it is about three brave heroes fighting off a monster horde.  When you read the book though, these guys spend more time dealing with personal problems and drinking loads of tea than fighting anyone.  And I would have really liked to have known that before I spent loads of time reading a novel about tea drinking.


theheirofrengarth1. HEIR OF RENGARTH

A book cover can’t get any more inaccurate than when the image on its front are of characters from another story.  With Heir, some artist decided to take Prince Colwyn from the 1983 movie Krull and put him front and center with Valeria and Thulsa Doom’s general from the 1982 movie Conan the Barbarian flanking him in the background.  How do those three individuals have anything to do with this story?  They don’t.  And I can’t think of a better example of an inaccurate book cover than this one.  It really is perfect for this topic.

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  1. N. N. Light says:

    Love this topic! OMG that Hobbit cover is the worst thing I’ve ever seen! *shakes head*

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Yikes! Those covers!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That cover for The Hobbit is terrible!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sometimes even very GOOD cover art can be horribly inaccurate.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The cover for the Hobbit is indeed the worst of the lot! Even forgetting Gollum for a while, and even taking into account that Hobbits go on the portly side, *that* Bilbo does not look like any mental image I had of him, even before the movies.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. @lynnsbooks says:

    The Hobbit cover is hideous. Gollum looks like something out of an old B&W vampire film! The Crescent Moon book – well I guess I can see why they took liberties with that one – I can’t imagine them selling as many books with a picture of the three on the front sharing a pot of tea and dolling out sympathy. Misleading covers eh!
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bookstooge says:

    I’m with you on that Crescent Moon cover. It made the book look exciting and full of action. Ha, nothing could have been further from the truth. Possibly the worst book I read that year…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Jordan says:

    I’m pretty sure that edition of The Hobbit will never not make me crack up – I can’t even imagine what they were thinking!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. It’s always amusing to me when book covers don’t match the stories within, though somehow I sense sci-fi and fantasy novels get the brunt of the bad art. I will admit “The Hobbit” cover cracked me up – and not in a good way! 😀 Even before the movies, that isn’t how I pictured Hobbits to look at all. And Gollum seems like a cross between the Green Goblin (though far less green) and some odd vampire/Vulcan hybrid. Not good at all. And what on earth is up with that naked baby? That one I really don’t want to know. Granted, most of the time artists have never read the given manuscript and may only have a blurb to work from, but still. To me, these covers are just lazy. Then again, sometimes you have to wonder what these artists might have been thinking (or ingesting) when they drew these. Thanks for sharing – I enjoyed a few well-deserved chuckles! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Rabia says:

    Not sure what it is about fantasy and science fiction covers but they tend to be more inaccurate at times more so than other covers or maybe its just me

    Liked by 1 person

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