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Book Cover Smackdown! ‘The Burning Man’ vs. ‘The Inexplicables’ vs. ‘Deadfall Hotel’

Calling all armchair art critics! It’s time once again for another Book Cover Smackdown!

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:

  1. The Burning Man by Mark Chadbourn (Artist: John Picacio)
  2. The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest (Artist: Cliff Nielsen)
  3. Deadfall Hotel by Steve Rasnic Tem (Artist: John Kenn Mortensen)

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.

9 Comments on Book Cover Smackdown! ‘The Burning Man’ vs. ‘The Inexplicables’ vs. ‘Deadfall Hotel’

  1. I think this three covers are wonderful, but I’m picking “The Inexplicables” as my favorite. Wonderful colors, excellent typopgraphy.

    Deathfall Hotel is so different from covers of today, but this is also its weakness. Doesn’t stand out to much.

    The Burning Man is fine, but just that, fine. Doesn’t bring anything innovative, even if it has a nice illustration and typography.

  2. I’m going to go with The Inexplicables as well. I like the contrast of muted colors with the shock of red hair and fringe of blue sky, and the fact that they’re gazing off-cover is intriguing, pulling me in while giving me a sense of action, drama, excitement.

    I like what they were trying to do with Burning Man, but the flames make the text above it hard to read, and it doesn’t generally grab my attention.

    Deadfall Hotel puts me in mind of Edward Gorey, which is never a bad thing. However, it’s just the front of a building with two tiny figures going in. While the Gorey association is strong, I see nothing within the actual picture itself to pull me further.

  3. “The Inexplicables”. Can’t add to what’s already been said.


  4. I’m voting for The Inexplicables. I love the branding that Cherie Priest has built around her Clockwork Century novels. Even before I could read it clearly in the thumbnail, I knew it would be hers. I’m partial to steampunk stylings anyway. The Burning Man seems more fantasy, and Deadfall Hotel seems more 40’s noir.

    Finally, while all three covers have some kind of iconic imagery going on, only The Inexplicables seem to say that something serious is going down. Ride now. On top of you.

  5. I really like the drawing for DEADFALL HOTEL; it has a lot of great detail and whimsy. I think the font choice for the title and author could have been better, however. especially since there is no color, the big boring blocky letters somewhat take away from the charm and spookiness of the drawing. especially the author part. there are these great creepy twisty thorny vines, and then STAMP author’s name.

    I really do not respond well to the “Kingdom of the Serpent” font. I do like the picture though. It’s dramatic and mounrful. very compelling.

    I love the Inexplicables cover but I am biased so it’s not a fair vote I think.

  6. Teresa G // March 22, 2012 at 6:42 pm //

    Another for The Inexplicables here! That typography caught my eye upon first glance, then those colors held my gaze. I’ve always enjoyed the covers of Cherie Priest’s books. I don’t care if you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover — I do and because of it I have discovered many wonderful books.

    The other two covers are really nice but The Inexplicables just stands out for me.

  7. “Inexplicables” is my favourite out of the bunch, but “Burning Man” is a close second.

  8. Inexplicables. Priest has gotten a good amount of mileage and a unified aesthetic for her covers, and this is just the latest in that line.

  9. Chalk another one up for The Inexplicables here too! Great cover. As other’s have pointed out, somehow Cherie Priest has won the lottery with book covers. Every single one has been eye catching. And to her credit, she’ll be the first one to admit how good they are and how much that’s helped her to pick up new readers. You gotta love when a writer tips her hat.

    I love Deadfall Hotel as well, on another week, it could have been my pick easily. I like the fact that the style won’t be dated in 15 years like the other two probably will be.

    The Burning Man isn’t bad, but I wouldn’t have picked it up off the shelf. It’s just not very interesting.

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