Fantasy Book Cover Smackdown! ‘Flame of Sevenwaters’ vs. ‘Crossed Blades’ vs. ‘Polterheist’

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by cover…unless it’s an SF Signal Book Cover Smackdown!

It’s time once again to have your way with some upcoming book covers, this time with a new trio of November fantasy releases.

Here are today’s contenders…

Your Mission (should you choose to accept it): Tell us which cover you like best and why.

Books shown here:

NOTE: Bigger, better cover art images are available by clicking the images or title links.

7 thoughts on “Fantasy Book Cover Smackdown! ‘Flame of Sevenwaters’ vs. ‘Crossed Blades’ vs. ‘Polterheist’”

  1. Of the three, I like the cover for Crossed Blades the best. The mast and the sail give a great sense of movement and depth to the cover. I also think the subdued color palette of the artwork really works, and is very harmonious. I probably would have chosen a different color for the title, however – it’s a bit too bright to completely harmonize with the rest of the color. I really like the font, however, and I think it, combined with the dragon on the sail, really give you a sense of the setting.

    My problem with the Flame of Sevenwaters cover is not the execution, it’s the concept. The image is very static, with no movement or depth. The scene is also fairly bland and tells me nothing about the story except that it’s probably a period fantasy with a female protagonist who has dogs. And, honestly, the woman and dogs look like they’re standing in front of a backdrop.

    The cover for Polterheist is just a little too reminiscent of genre covers that rely on scantily-clad women to sell the book. It’s definitely not the worst I’ve seen, but that bodice is not being held up by anything on this earth and the woman’s interaction with the tree branch tells me nothing – it could be holding her captive, it could be a science experiment, the tree and the woman could have a relationship… And not only does it tell me nothing, it makes me not particularly care what happens to this woman. Also, the angle of the tree branch with the title on it is just odd. It looks like the upturned brim of a sombrero.

  2. Eh, interesting choices – fairly balanced among themselves, so hard to pick a clear favourite.
    The second is thematically nice, I suppose, but a bit too “flat”, reminiscent of frescos and other ‘classic’ catholic art. The framing and clothing also favours that impression; however the hair is veering away from that style and the dogs are a bit too detailed.. It looks a bit incongruous.

    The third – I don’t know, probably I’ve been on the Internet for too long and been to exposed to stupid things, but, well – a young woman in revealing clothing being bound by tentacle-like things while striking an “innocent & helpless” pose and expression? … Really not liking the associations that creates. Idk, maybe most normal people don’t make that connection, but to me it just seems way to uncannily like that seedy stereotype.

    So that leaves the middle choice, I suppose. Not bad, but something’s off with the proportions between the character and the mast.. It feels odd. Still, this edges out the ‘best’ choice, imo, because of being a bit more revealing of what the book itself might contain and be like.


    I might have overthought this, though.

  3. Wow, Palencar vs. himself vs. Dos Santos. That is a hard one because I love both authors’ work. Palencar’s stuff has its own unique texture and creates such mood, but I think I have to go with Dos Santos’ work (I assume it is him, he’s done the other Resnick covers recently). I think the art director did a much better job of making the cover text work with the image, and the image itself fills the space nicely. I haven’t read Laura Resnick but I would pick up a copy of the book for that cover, so it wins for me.

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