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Book Cover Smackdown! ‘Oath’ vs. ‘Crown of Vengeance’ vs. ‘Phoenix Rising’

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 selection 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.

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.

14 Comments on Book Cover Smackdown! ‘Oath’ vs. ‘Crown of Vengeance’ vs. ‘Phoenix Rising’

  1. I prefer Bard’s Oath, because it leaves everything open and in the future, lots for me to discover between the covers.

  2. I admit to being biased, it being MY book’s cover and all, but I favor Phoenix Rising. In addition to my bias, I also love what Lockwood did with the Phoenix armor — it’s not a chainmail bikini, it’s going to protect her. And he got all three of the main characters in the picture, using a scene straight out of the book. (The latter part, admittedly, very few but me could tell now, unless they bought the eARC from Baen).

    • I’m on Ryk’s side.

      I have read all Baen eArcs. Well, all of Baen’s books, but being older now I’m restricted to electronic publishing.

      That’s the first cover image I’ve ever seen in over 50 years of reading that is actually true to the story. Frankly, they should change it, because such felicity is such an aberration readers might suffer shock.

      Next, someone will write a back cover story precis that suggests they’d read the book. I’ll die of a heart attack.

      Really, it is an excellent cover, and even the colours of the components adhere to the story. Lockwood deserves an award for authenticity, I know there isn’t one but its about time someone created that award. Just maybe, fervent hope, it’ll encourage other cover aertists to actually give a ashit about the relationship of their “personal expression” and the story its supposed to be selling.

      Old Grumpy, seeing something requiring no grumps,

      Ian clark
      Gladstone QLD Australia

  3. Stephen M. St. Onge // September 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm //

    I vote for Phoenix Rising. I’ve seen dragons before. I’ve seen men-at-arms fight before. But I’ve never seen a frog in combat before!

  4. Shannon J. L. // September 10, 2012 at 3:27 pm //

    Phoenix Rising, hands down. Classic fantasy style but updated a bit, with very clear lines and a good image.

  5. Phoenix Rising. Bard’s Oath is pretty generic – I could almost swear I’d seen that cover on several other books. Of the other two, Crown of Vengeance is too busy, while I like the angle shot on Phoenix Rising better than the flat on of the other two. It’s also a battle scene, like Crown, but better focused: the three main characters of the story are clearly depicted in the center, with most of the foe around the edges, thus avoiding the mob effect.

  6. Phoenix Rising. I don’t get any sense of story in either of the other two, but the Phoenix Rising cover is just full of quirky details. Is that a frog wearing some sort of uniform just below the central character’s feet? I really get a vibe that the cover tells me something about the story. The Bard’s Oath and crown of vengeance covers seem a little to EFP for my taste. Any dragon story, any swords and sorcery war story for Oath and Vengeance, but Phoenix Rising has a hot chick with a flaming sword, a bucaneer, and a frog wearing a uniform. They look like the protagonists. What’s not to like?

  7. Brian M. Scott // September 11, 2012 at 2:18 am //

    Phoenix Rising, for pretty much the same reasons as Kay Shapero. I also appreciate the usable (if a bit outré) armor, and the male human is refreshingly individual. And Poplock Duckweed is the clincher!

  8. Phoenix Rising, for composition, colour scheme, and the feeling of action, as well as many of the reasons that others have stated (which I’m too lazy to repeat!).

  9. Phoenix Rising!

  10. Phoenix Rising, the cover entices you to look at the book.

    That is if Ryk Spoor name didn’t have you wanting to by it already.

  11. Phoenix Rising. Lots of action, but not cluttered. And the — toad??!? I think I have to get this book!

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