BBC #3: Favorite Fantasy Book Covers

I’m the worst at keeping up with memes. I’m so bad at them that I even forgot to keep up with my own meme that I created to focus on one my favorite things about books — book covers!

I created BBC (Beautiful Book Covers meme) last year to feature and talk about book covers I love. My plan was to make BBC a monthly meme but after the second post, I totally forgot about it. I’m just horrible at sticking to a schedule or remembering what memes I’m participating in. I easily get distracted by the shiny, new one to come along.

Well, a few days ago I was reminded of my meme when I saw Beth’s (Bethan May Books) post on fantasy book covers she likes. The idea popped into my head to do a similar post and use it for my neglected meme. Well, here it is. There are loads of fantasy book covers I like so this will be a multi-part post with others posted in the future.


The Fox and the Star was the first book to pop in my mind when I considered this topic, though it’s more fairytale/folklore than hardcore fantasy like the Lord of the Rings series. Drawn to the vintage feel of The Fox and the Star cover design, I decided to choose similar cover designs for this post. The following are the few that quickly came to mind.

The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith

Cover art by Coralie Bickford-Smith

The Fox and the Star is a children’s picture book about a lonely fox and his only friend, a star that guides him through the dark, scary forest.

This was the first book to pop in my mind when I thought of this topic. I love the cover and have always wanted to get myself a copy. I always check the shelves in bookstores to see if it’s in stock and if it is, I trail my fingers across the cover to feel the texture of it. It’s cloth bound and the illustrations and words are embedded in it.

I love the silver on midnight blue background, which gives the impression of stars in the night sky, and the vines trailing through and surrounding the words to hint at the dark, threatening forest that the fox relies on his friend to guide him through. This is such a wonderful design and it always catches my eye whenever it’s displayed in stores.

Bickford-Smith is a London-based book cover designer at Penguin Books.

Also, see this Guardian post for more about the design and this Brain Pickings post for more about the story.

The Worm and the Bird by Coralie Bickford-Smith

Cover art by Coralie Bickford-Smith

I had to feature this book as well because the cover is just as gorgeous as The Fox and the Star though The Fox and the Star holds my attention longer because the silver on its cover pops more.

The color tone of The Worm and the Bird is more subdued and makes me give more attention to the illustrations teeming with underground life. So, unlike The Fox and the Star, which I loved for its contrasting colors, I love this cover because of the illustrations. I love that there’s so much movement in it and that it gives a strong sense of how crowded it must be for the worm, and I like that only a feather is used to represent the bird above. (I want to get this book too.)

The Worm and the Bird is a children’s picture book about a worm who wishes for more space and the bird above who patiently waits.

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo, illus. by Sara Kipin

Cover art by Ellen Duda

The Language of Thorns is a YA fantasy book of short stories set in the Grishaverse, the setting in which the Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy is set.

I love the design, but it took a while for the dark color tones to appeal to me. I love how detailed the illustrations are — the spikiness of the curlicues — and the items in the corners. I think the cover is eye-catching and I love the texture of the embossed words and illustrations. On screen, those pointy ends seem as if they could hard someone.

According to this article on theMarySue.com, the cover design was a “collaborative effort” between Leigh Bardugo, art director Natalie Sousa, and senior designer Ellen Duda (both Sousa and Duda work at Macmillan Pub.) that began with a Pinterest board that Bardugo and the design team all contributed to.

For the cover’s imagery, Bardugo “wished to evoke a sense of danger,” hence the thorns; Sousa “wanted to represent the six tales inside” the book, hence the icons (I guess I’ll figure those out when I read it); Bardugo’s editor, Erin Stein, “hoped [to] bring to light the magical qualities,” so hidden elements were plugged in for the reader to discover; and Duda “wove it all together beautifully to make what you see on the cover today.” Duda also drew inspiration from vintage books to give a hint of them in the completed cover.

I think they all did well and successfully created a cover that’s very appealing.

In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle

Cover art by Elizabeth Story

From the author of The Last Unicorn comes another unicorn story — In Calabria, a fantasy novella set in the modern world about a man who aids a unicorn and has his world upended because of it.

As I was jotting down titles to include in this post, In Calabria was foremost in my mind but it took forever for me to remember its title or the name of the author. My mind would only focus on the detailed borders of the cover: the curlicues and other such decorative lines surrounding the title and image of the unicorn. I had to visit a bookstore to jolt my memory into telling me the title and author’s name.

I love this cover design because it makes me think of the covers of vintage books that contain such decorative lines and curlicues often in gold or silver. I also like the detail that precedes the curving lines and runs along the edge of the cover. It adds some texture to it and makes me think that I’d be able to feel its imprint if I should rub my thumb over them.

Elizabeth Story is the lead designer at Tachyon Publications, which published In Calabria.

The Crimes of Grindelwald by J.K. Rowling

Cover art by MinaLima

Here’s another beautiful cover filled with so many detailed illustrations that they almost dazzle my eye. Like Bardugo’s Language of Thorns above, the screenplay of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is also filled with lots of Easter Eggs that hint at what the movie will be about.

The screenplay will be published on November 16, the same day that the movie will be out, and the cover was designed by MinaLima, the graphic design team for the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films. According to the cover’s designers, the design is influenced by art nouveau, the aesthetic used for the film; and since the film partly takes place in Paris, that is represented on the cover in the form of the Eiffel Tower.

I love this cover for the curls and swoops and rolls of the lines, the colors, and the many icons that make me wonder what exactly this story will be about. (I see nifflers, the dark mark, the Deathly Hallows symbol, bowtruckles, and what I assume to be phoenix feathers.) I didn’t intend to get this when it comes out, but the more I look at the cover, the more I slowly change my mind. Chances are, when November 16 rolls around, I will see the movie and get myself a copy of the screenplay.


Well, that’s it for BBC #3.

I hope you found here some new books with great covers to read. 🙂

33 thoughts on “BBC #3: Favorite Fantasy Book Covers

    1. The Language of Thorns is the only one I own too. Haven’t gotten around to removing the cover so I will take a peek beneath it now. All I’ve been doing so far is running my hands over it and admiring it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! 🙂
      Once I started putting titles together, I realized that most had a similar style so I decided to focus on a vintage-vibe theme.

      Like

  1. These are beautiful covers! I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but when I see books covers like these, I can’t help but pick them up!

    Like

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