Top Ten Tuesday: my pretties

Top Ten Tuesday bannerTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, in which we talk about a bookish topic and have fun making lists. We’ve got a free topic, so I want to talk about beautiful cover art.

I’ve confessed before that good cover art can catch my eye and help me fall in love. Sure, the contents need to live up to it, but all books are not created equal. The lack of cover art is a thing that makes me sad about (and for) e-books; and they won’t get a look in this week – I’m strictly sharing some of the favourites I see when I look at my shelf.

All the Deverry books in trade edition showing off the gorgeous artwork (strong colours, dragons, moody half-lit characters in dramatic poses)

Artist: Geoff Taylor | The Deverry Cycle – Katharine Kerr

Go big or go home? There’s no way I can choose just one of the gorgeous Deverry books. Geoff Taylor’s cover art has always been staggeringly beautiful, regardless of how little it sometimes reflects the stories inside. Gorgeous, dreamy landscapes; brooding, half-shadowed figures; and often a sense of magic and movement.

Artists: Thousand Autumns of Jacob de ZoetJoe Wilson | Southern Reach trilogy – Kai and Sunny

I also adore an unjacketed hardback. I freely admit I picked up VanderMeer’s Annihilation because it was so pretty on the shelf (as are Authority and Acceptance), but I adore the etched style of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet too. This is one of those rare books where I had the ebook and bought the hardback secondhand because it was just so damn pretty.

Book cover: A Closed and Common Orbit - Becky Chambers (two silhouetted figures against a night sky of wheeling stars)

Artist: Mark Read | A Closed and Common Orbit – Becky Chambers

I love the cover of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet too (also by Mark Read, and along similar lines just a different colour palette), but I don’t own it so it doesn’t get to share this spot with its gorgeous sibling. Look at those dancing stars! The little silhouettes (put us in our place why don’t you)! It’s glorious and magnificent and humbling and inspiring.

Book cover: Wintersong - S Jae-Jones (a white rose in a glass ball)

Artist: Danielle Fiorella | Wintersong – S Jae-Jones

Snow, glass bauble, white rose, slight fussy old-school font – tick, tick, tick, tick. And the colourWintersong is just beautiful, and I love it (here’s hoping the contents live up to the cover).

Artist: Daniele SerraAfrican Monsters / Asian Monsters (ed. Margrét Helgadóttir & Jo Thomas)

The Monsters anthologies are staggering. Designed as coffee table books, they deserve to be left lying around where you can casually admire the sepia tones and casually off-kilter details that somehow hint these will not be comforting stories.

Book cover: Grimm Tales - Philip Pullman (wolf chasing Red Riding Hood through a monochrome forest)

Artist: Cheong-ah Hwang and Matthew Young | Grimm Tales – Philip Pullman

For all my love of rich colours and dreamy designs, I’ve got a big soft spot for crisp monochrome and I love the UK hardback of Grimm Tales for having such a sense of depth – and that splash of colour on Red Riding Hood’s cloak. Just gorgeous.


Oh look, it’s Geoff Taylor again. Honestly, just pick up some 1990s UK fantasy fiction – you stand a good chance of it being his artwork, and of me liking it.

Book cover: The Red Wolf Conspiracy - Robert V S Redick (a huge sailing ship is towed out of harbour at night)

Artist: Edward MillerThe Red Wolf Conspiracy – Robert V S Redick

Ships emerging from the gloom, with just enough hints at detail to suck me in every time (even before you wrap your head around the staggering size of the ship in the background). I’ve got a number of covers featuring tall ships, but this is probably my favourite (this artist also illustrated the gorgeous Subterranean Press edition of The Republic of Thieves, which I sadly couldn’t get my hands on).


Honourable mentions

Okay, I said I wouldn’t talk about my ebooks, but honestly some of these are just to die for: The Drowning EyesDragon Hunters, Nod, Certain Dark Things (the most mouthwatering of the lot!)


What’s your favourite book cover?