Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cover Art round-up

I am perfectly aware that I should not judge a book by its cover. But I do love cover artwork so much that I cannot restrain myself very often, especially when an author is unknown to me and the first connection I make with the writer’s work is the visual one. Lately, due to various reasons, I was unable to post some book covers I loved, but I did gather them up and nothing gives me more pleasure than to feature them on my blog. Actually, I would have been happier if I could make a post for each one of them, but given the current situation it is good to show them together as well.

“Blackbirds” & “Mockingbird” by Chuck Wendig (Angry Robot Books/ artist Joey HiFi) – These covers are amazing. Joey HiFi’s work is at its peak here, with such depth to each cover that I lost track of myself while admiring them. I also love the black and white combination with the red lettering title a lot.

“Blackbirds” - Miriam Black knows when you will die. She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides.
But when Miriam hitches a ride with Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be murdered while he calls her name. Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim.
No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.

“Mockingbird” - Miriam is trying to keep her ability – her curse – in check.
But when Miriam touches a woman in line at the supermarket, she sees that the woman will be killed here, now.
She reacts, and begins a new chapter in her life – one which can never be expected to go well.

“The Croning” by Laird Barron (Night Shade Books) – This is one of the novels I am looking forward to read this year. Laird Barron’s “Occultation” and “The Imago Sequence and other stories” were excellent and I am eager to see how the author tackles the longer fiction. Excellent cover as well.

Strange things exist on the periphery of our existence, haunting us from the darkness looming beyond our firelight. Black magic, weird cults and worse things loom in the shadows. The Children of Old Leech have been with us from time immemorial. And they love us...
Donald Miller, geologist and academic, has walked along the edge of a chasm for most of his nearly eighty years, leading a charmed life between endearing absent-mindedness and sanity-shattering realization. Now, all things must converge. Donald will discover the dark secrets along the edges, unearthing savage truths about his wife Michelle, their adult twins, and all he knows and trusts. For Donald is about to stumble on the secret...
...of The Croning.

“Wide Open” by Deborah Coates (Tor Books) – Both the author and the novel are a mystery to me, but that is one extremely luring book cover. And one reason enough to give “Wide Open” a chance if the opportunity arises.

When Sergeant Hallie Michaels comes back to South Dakota from Afghanistan on ten days' compassionate leave, her sister Dell's ghost is waiting at the airport to greet her.
The sheriff says that Dell's death was suicide, but Hallie doesn't believe it. Something happened or Dell's ghost wouldn't still be hanging around. Friends and family, mourning Dell's loss, think Hallie's letting her grief interfere with her judgment.
The one person who seems willing to listen is the deputy sheriff, Boyd Davies, who shows up everywhere and helps when he doesn't have to.
As Hallie asks more questions, she attracts new ghosts, women who disappeared without a trace. Soon, someone's trying to beat her up, burn down her father's ranch, and stop her investigation.
Hallie's going to need Boyd, her friends, and all the ghosts she can find to defeat an enemy who has an unimaginable ancient power at his command.

“Rasputin’s Bastards” by David Nickle (Chizine Publications/artist Erik Mohr) – A book cover that does a gorgeous job for David Nickle’s novel. It doesn’t reveal anything too specific, while meeting the novel’s concept with grace at the same time.

They were the beautiful dreamers. From a hidden city deep in the Ural mountains, they walked the world as the coldest of Cold Warriors, under the command of the Kremlin and under the power of their own expansive minds. They slipped into the minds of Russia's enemies with diabolical ease, and drove their human puppets to murder, and worse. They moved as Gods. And as Gods, they might have remade the world. But like the mad holy man Rasputin, who destroyed Russia through his own powerful influence . . . in the end, the psychic spies for the Motherland were only in it for themselves.
It is the 1990s. The Cold War is long finished. In a remote Labrador fishing village, an old woman known only as Babushka foresees her ending through the harbour ice, in the giant eye of a dying kraken–and vows to have none of it. Beaten insensible and cast adrift in a life raft, ex-KGB agent Alexei Kilodovich is dragged to the deck of a ship full of criminals, and with them he will embark on a journey that will change everything he knows about himself. And from a suite in an unseen hotel in the heart of Manhattan, an old warrior named Kolyokov sets out with an open heart, to gather together the youngest members of his immense, and immensely talented, family. They are more beautiful, and more terrible, than any who came before them. They are Rasputin's bastards. And they will remake the world.

“Obsidian and Blood” by Aliette de Bodard (Angry Robot Books/Larry Rostant) – I love that Angry Robot Books went for the omnibus edition of Aliette de Bodard’s series for the cover of the French edition of the first novel in the series, “Servant of the Underworld”. It is a very nice cover, but I am still very curious to see what the other two covers of the French editions would look like.

A massive fantasy omnibus containing all three novels in the Obsidian and Blood series:
Servant of the Underworld: Year One-Knife, Tenochtitlan – the capital of the Aztecs. The end of the world is kept at bay only by the magic of human sacrifice. A priestess disappears from an empty room drenched in blood. Acatl, high priest, must find her, or break the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead.
Harbinger of the Storm: The year is Two House and the Mexica Empire teeters on the brink of destruction, lying vulnerable to the flesh-eating star-demons – and to the return of their creator, a malevolent goddess only held in check by the Protector God’s power. The council is convening to choose a new emperor, but when a councilman is found dead, only Acatl, High Priest of the Dead, can solve the mystery.
Master of the House of Darts: The year is Three Rabbit, and the storm is coming… The coronation war for the new Emperor has just ended in a failure, the armies retreating with a mere forty prisoners of war – not near enough sacrifices to ensure the favor of the gods. When one of those prisoners of war dies of a magical illness, Acatl, High Priest for the Dead, is summoned to investigate.

“Blood and Feathers” by Lou Morgan (Solaris Books/artist Simon Parr) – Another beautiful combination of black-white-red for a wonderful visual impact. Not as great as Chuck Wendig’s covers, but a very good one nonetheless.

“What’s the first thing you think of when I say ‘angel’?” asked Mallory.
Alice shrugged. “I don’t know... guns?”
Alice isn’t having the best of days: she got rained on, missed her bus, was late for work. When two angels arrive, claiming her life so far is a lie, it turns epic, grandscale worse.
The war between the angels and the Fallen is escalating; an age-old balance is tipping, and innocent civilians are getting caught in the cross-fire. the angels must act to restore the balance – or risk the Fallen taking control. Forever. Hunted by the Fallen and guided by Mallory – a disgraced angel with a drinking problem – alice will learn the truth about her own history... and why the angels want to send her to hell. What do the Fallen want from her? How does Mallory know so much about her past? What is it the angels are hiding – and can she trust either side? Caught between the power plays of the angels and lucifer himself, it isn’t just hell’s demons that Alice will have to defeat...

“The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce (Doubleday) – It is not a title that fits to the genres that make my reading bulk, but that doesn’t mean that it should be neglected. Especially when it comes with such a simple, but very efficient cover artwork.

When Harold Fry leaves home one morning to post a letter, with his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other.
He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking to save someone else’s life.


Unknown said...

I've seen the Blackbirds/Mockingbird covers before (and they're both great), but that cover for Obsidian and Blood has to be the clear winner . . . WOW!

Mihai A. said...

That is a great cover indeed. I loved it the instant I saw it on the French publisher's site. I still have to say that Blackbirds/Mockingbird covers are something truly amazing and some of my favourites of this year :)