Look, I’m going to be honest: book covers are important. If I haven’t heard of or read an author before, this is how I decide if I want to buy their book or not: 1) The title has to catch my eye. 2) The book cover!! 3)The synopsis has to sound cool.
That’s it. That’s all. I know most traditionally-published authors don’t get a say in the artwork that gets slapped on their books, but at the same time, I love looking at the covers anyway. So, of the books I’ve read (and all but one of these are still on my shelf), here are the five that stand out from the crowd.
All book titles have links to their Goodreads page so you can read the synopsis if you want. The exception is Bitterblue; because it’s the third book of the series, I linked it to Graceling.
#5: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I was familiar with Taylor’s work through her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, but this book? It caught my eye just from the colors. There’s a lot going on visually, true, but I like that the cover is split into two colors, and that those colors are inverted on either side. Also, moths? You don’t see those on many fantasy book covers. Just saying.
#4: Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Black covers are my absolute jam. Normally, because they’re dark and spooky, but this one just felt so whimsical and pretty, and the line detailing around the title is gorgeous. I just think it reflects the story very well.
#3: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
I’m biased, but I’m not sorry. The color blue they used was just so pretty, and the font isn’t a simple serif/sans serif like the last two examples. Admittedly, if the girl in the background is actually Bitterblue, they made her look Graced. But the keys are fancy, weird, and exactly the kind of keys one would expect fantasy keys to look like.
*I almost did Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern instead of Night Circus, but I didn’t want two key covers on here, and I thought the key designs were a little less cool. You can say I’m wrong, it’s fine.
#2: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Man, she really got me by making the spine black, but no regrets. Also the front cover is so good. The crow’s detailing is excellent, but then the wings form the silhouettes of buildings, and I just think that’s so clever. And the font. The font. Serif but with some curls are my jam.
#1: Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
So apparently I have a love of books that cleverly connect architectural structures to the main figure on the cover. Because wow, that is a gorgeous dragon. That’s not your typical dragon-breathing-fire on the cover or whatever. And it’s looking down at Tess, and I think it just does a lovely job of symbolizing her character and her quest, and I love that she’s clearly out on a road. (I’m not being funny; that was a big part of her journey, traveling alone.) The font’s also up there with Six of Crows; I love that the S’s almost look like snakes.