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Book Cover Smackdown – February Dragon Edition (A 5-Way Smackdown!)

February is a popular month for books with Dragons on the cover. But in a book cover cage match, who emerges victorious? You decide!

Here are the contenders…

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

Books shown here:

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.

11 Comments on Book Cover Smackdown – February Dragon Edition (A 5-Way Smackdown!)

  1. This has to be the Todd Lockwood cover for A Natural History of Dragons. I’ve seen this on a couple of websites on “most anticipated for 2013” lists and based on the cover alone I can see why. Can’t wait to peruse this one in the bookstore and possibly bring it home.

  2. This is a tough one. I love the dynamic energy the dragons featured on the The Order of the Scales and Van Horstmann.

    But I too must go with the cover for A Natural History of Dragons. Rather than portray a dragon as a fierce creature, it turns the creature into something elegant and scientific, something to be studied. A very interesting way to consider a dragon.

  3. Van Horstmann all the way. Why? Because that’s the dragon mount for one of the most notorious classic Warhammer Fantasy characters, the sorcerer Van Horstmann. And it’s Ben Counter writing the novel. I love his work.

  4. Todd Lockwood – easily.

    I’ve actually read an e-ARC of the book and it’s just wonderful how the cover and title give you a perfect idea of what it is about. Namely, the “science” of dragons. We all remember those pictures of the human body where you see part skeleton, part muscle, and part skin wrapped all around it. Well, with a dragon it looks even cooler.
    Plus, it’s a wrap-around cover(see the whole thing here on TOR’s homepage:
    I’m totally in love with it. It’s simple, it’s evocative, it’s gorgeous.

    Gushing aside, the Stephen Deas covers are always beautiful, even if the dragons look more ferocious and wild.

  5. A Natural History of Dragons does it for me. I’ve seen some great dragon covers, but for some reason (probably the chaotic nature of dragons), dragon covers always seem to have so much going on, and despite how beautiful some can be, you can never really keep your eyes on thing.
    This cover is very simple, and gets across the idea of the book in a surprisingly minimalistic approach for a dragon cover. I just love it. Makes me want to look through it at the very least, if not pick it right up.

  6. periklis begzos // January 12, 2013 at 9:47 pm //

    Todd Lockwood. I grew up with his monsters from AD&D and in that sense “taught” me how a dragon looks. Also, I have a soft spot for any “fantasy atlas” or “monstrous ecology” book…

  7. Van Horstmann I think is the winner.

    A Natural History of Dragons comes really close but remains a sketch. If the right side of the dragon (the most finished part) had a little more polish it would have moved it to the front of the pack.

    Van Horstmann had an excellent muted palette and whenever you toss in the hint of color with a muted palette it really gives it that POP!

  8. This one is easy. A Natural History of Dragons is just stunning in its simplicity and perfect interpretation of scientific anatomical drawing. There’s plenty of white space so it’s not overwhelming like the “standard” heavy covers represented by the other candidates here. Truly a breath of fresh air when it comes to dragon art. The typography is masterfully done as well, something I cannot say for the Dragon Fate book. It’s just an overall brilliant book cover.

  9. I agree with the majority, A Natural History of Dragons wins here. It’s refreshing and cheeky. Plus everything works on it.

    Dragon Fate is interesting. It’s clearly a National Geographic cover design. That’s cute. It’s also book 6, so were the previous 5 also NatGeo homages?

    Order of the Scales is probably an epic piece of artwork, worthy of a calendar, but as a cover it’s busy. And let’s hope this is a rough, because the title box isn’t centered under the top blurb and that’s just embarrassing.

    There’s nothing special about the cover of The Silent Dragon. Standard issue. Perhaps the story is as well.

    The artwork for Van Horstmann is nice. But the layout is a mess. The sideways title creates a weird tangent with the dragon’s nose. Someone at the publisher owes that artist an apology for that.

  10. Natural History: This one has form, style, grace and attitude.

    Dragon Fate: Reminds me of a man dressed in a dragon costume

    Order of the Scales: They look stringy. Like a horde of hungry supermodels.

    The Silent Dragon: It’s a statue… I like the labrador with wings. Why would I want to read a story about a statue?

    Van Horstmann: Another supermodel. Bony, spiny, angry, one-dimensional.

  11. I vote for Natural History of Dragons. It’s the one that, to me, really catches the eye even if you’ve seen a million dragon covers.

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