It’s hard to believe that 2020 is (finally) coming to an end. In a year that brought us wildfires, pandemics, racial violence, earthquakes, tornados, explosions, and untold number of other catastrophes, it’s sometimes easy to forget the all-too hidden goodness that continues to surround us. And what better example of goodness and beauty than in the amazing works of creative ingenuity that graced our online bookshelves. In a year where e-reading was king, let’s give a shout out to the dust jackets of yesteryear in the hopes that 2021 may find us roaming the aisles of dusty old bookshops once more, fingers lighting over grainy pages and embossed spines. So as a parting gift to the year which shall-not-be-named, I give you: the top 10 best fantasy book covers of 2020!
In the world of the narrows, nothing is free, no one can be trusted, and you’re always safest on your own. One of my absolute favorite reads this year, Fable takes you on a journey of gorgeous lyricism the likes of a long-forgotten sea chanty. That combined with this gorgeous closeup cover where the deep blue of the sea’s secrets is matched only by the sapphire of Fable’s eyes makes this an easy addition to this year’s list of best fantasy book covers as we eagerly await the sequel’s release next March!
The Summer of 2020 saw the release of The Glamourist, book 2 in the Vine Witch Trilogy, the gorgeous historical fantasy series set in turn-of-the-century Paris. I just love the rich hues of this cover, combined with the unique typography, giving the cover a truly multidimensional look. Stay tuned for book 3 (The Conjurer) coming January 2021!
Another gorgeous historical fantasy from Erin Morgenstern, The Starless Sea is an enchanting story filled with pirates, mysteries, and ships that sail the starless sea. Plus I’m a sucker for such gorgeous perspective artwork like we see on this cover, where looking through the window may just transport us into another world entirely.
Something about this cover just gives me shivers, but but in the best possible way! From the faceless gaze, to the nearly forgotten droop of the half-dead flowers, you just know you’re in for an eery ride. It’s historical fantasy meets gothic horror and it’s absolutely irresistable! Plus it definitely has one of the best fantasy book covers of 2020!
Book 1 of JLA’s latest series was released way back in March, quickly followed by the sequel (Kingdom of Flesh and Fire) in September. Still waiting for the third installment to arrive next April, but in the mean time, I’d just like to admire this gorgeous cover design. Object focuses have really been trending in fantasy novels this year and I really feel like the dagger and arrow convey a unique contrast!
Another cover with a super interesting perspective. It took me multiple takes to decide if we were looking from above the water or beneath it, and part of me thinks that this is precisely the intent. In this gorgeous work of historical fantasy meets magical realism, Coates takes us on a journey to the deep south, where power and mystery meet cruelty and fear.
Kingdom of the Wicked is a new historical fantasy released in October. I haven’t had a chance to make it through but it’s definitely on my TBR list! I just love the mood painted by this gorgeously atmospheric cover. It’s gotten pretty good reviews so far. What do you all think? Anyone had a chance to take a look so far?
Book 1 in Maxwell’s new firewall trilogy was released back in May and quickly followed by book 2 later that summer and with book 3 coming this February. I’d classify this trilogy somewhere between fantasy and science fantasy, given that there’s a definite space-related twist (no spoilers here!). But besides all of that, just look at this gorgeous cover! I’m a sucker for cool visual effects and the snaking fire cutting through the rock is pretty beautiful.
Anyone familiar with my own books knows I’m a sucker for a gorgeous silhouette overlay and boy does this cover deliver that! Definitely one of the best fantasy book covers of 2020! Hot of the presses with a December 1st release date, this historical fantasy is based on Portuguese legend and filled with famine, flower magic, and a touching queer romance. This is definitely another one that will be joining my TBR list!
Ok, so it feels a bit self-serving to include my own work here. But I just wanted to take a moment and recognize the gorgeous work of my cover designer, Natalia Junqueira. I was just so impressed by her ability to work with color, shadow, and silhouettes to create this gorgeous composition. Within the tree silhouette (its roots and leaves symbolizing the grounding and canting forces of pneumonancy), you can even get a sneak peek of Crîd Eálas, the capital city of Loren with the great fortress of the Vindolum rising in the background. Again, so impressed by Natalia’s work on this and definitely recommend her for any design projects you may have planned! Check out more of my work here!