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Book Cover Smackdown! ‘The Blade Itself’ (Limited Ed.) vs. ‘Knife of Dreams’ vs. ‘The Habitation of the Blessed’

Hold onto your berets, kids! It’s time for another Book Cover Smackdown!

Here are the 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.

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

15 Comments on Book Cover Smackdown! ‘The Blade Itself’ (Limited Ed.) vs. ‘Knife of Dreams’ vs. ‘The Habitation of the Blessed’

  1. I’m going to go with “The Habitation of the Blessed”.  The cover packs a lot of information into a small space without crowding the art, which is intriguing.  The consistency of the design is also very appealing…I like how the border pattern behind the title and author credit matches the design on the main figure’s robes. 

    This cover is a unique image that really sells the book.

  2. While it is pretty cliche, I have to go with Knife of Dreams. The bottom half isn’t exciting, but the illustration is really cool. One of the best book illustrations of people that I’ve seen in a while. It’s ultra real and the perspective is very creative.

    I probably like “Habitation of the Blessed” the least (despite the fact that I kinda resemble the dude reading the book), but that’s because it doesn’t promise action to me. I like a book cover that promises that I won’t be able to put it down.

  3. I also like the cover of The Habitation of the Blessed – it reminds me a lot of the art on older Magic the Gathering Cards, so nostalgia points there.

    For The Blade Itself, I feel like the intensity of the type doesn’t match the dude that seems to be chillaxing on the ledge.

  4. The Blade Itself, minus the text which I do not like it takes over the cool vibe of the scenery and lone figure. People on these book covers look like folks I know dressed up for a festival, if its a new book I would rather they leave it all up to the imagination to start. No demon boar babies? I loved those guys, they should make cameos on different book covers..

  5. I’m in agreement with J. Sherer on this one. Knife of Dreams is the best, Habitation of the Blessed is the least appealing. The Blade Itself would be much better with another font choice for the text, and also if the image was punched-up with a little more contrast.

  6. Again a hard one as none of the covers grab me in particular… Probably Knife of Dreams, except for the fact I much prefer the starker cover on my UK hardback is way cooler – the looping snakes making a 3 circle figure of eight thing on a plain blackground.

    The Blade Itself has some great looking artwork that is completely spoilt by the horrible looking title that has been slapdased across the cover completely unbalancing the cover.

    Habitation of the Blade, looks a bit 80s to me and I find the amount of white swirly stuff (feathers, hair, pages and fur collar are all just too much) all over the cover off putting.

  7. dadafountain // September 21, 2010 at 3:39 pm //

    Definitely like Habitation of the Blessed, even though it’s definitely not in the kind of style modern SF goes for.  Reminds me a little of 70s post-hippie SF covers in one of those “this will blow your mind, maaaan” kind of ways.

    Don’t like Knife of Dreams cover at all.  Maybe I just can’t stand run-of-the-mill fantasy action art, even if this is a well-crafted example.  Certainly the artless bottom half is a poor choice.

    Blade itself is nice and brooding.  Does its job, I think.

  8. I think the Knife of Dreams is the best cover of the three.  There is a very dynamic sense to the picture. It makes me wonder what is happening. 



  9. Bookcover Joy Killer // September 21, 2010 at 10:07 pm //


  10. All I can say is definitely not Knife of Dreams…just on principle.  When the size of the author’s name is almost as big as the remaining artwork I give it a pass.  Especially when said author can’t wrap up a tale using ~10,000 pages of writing.  Just sayin’.

  11. Pamela Reese // September 22, 2010 at 9:05 am //

    I prefer “Knife of Dreams” artwork; it is an excellent portrayal of the feeling of the novel. Although I seriously dislike half the cover being given over to the author’s name.  It wasn’t necessary; everyone appreciates who Jordan is without it being screamed.

    In very close second place is the exquisite artwork of “The Blade Itself”.  It is moody and evocative, although it doesn’t really ‘tell’ me much about the book itself.

    I very much dislike the third book cover design. It is busy, dark, and cluttered.  It does not attract me to the book and feels a bit like a cheap e-book cover. 

    Thank you for letting us offer our opinions, such as they are.  Artwork is, after all, very much a matter of personal taste.

  12. I like how the title of The Blade Itself it’s the main element of the cover and also like the type used. But I like more the action in Knife of Dreams

  13. The Blade Itself. Not how I pictured Abercrombie’s world, I just like the uncluttered look of it. I’m not a big fan of prominent characters on covers.

  14. As usual, the covers aren’t good, but at least the Blade Itself isn’t totaly horrid. Blessed looks like it was done by the authors slightly talented kid.

  15. Jonathan Eli // September 23, 2010 at 9:27 am //

    The Blade Itself works for me. I really don’t want to know much about the story through the cover. It would draw me in and make me pick up the book or read the information about it on Amazon. Better than the other two.

    Jonathan Eli

    The Last Cabbandeum

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