Best Fantasy and Horror Book Covers for April 2014

A new feature for the Aghast blog: A Book Cover Top 10 of the month. Each month, I check out the upcoming releases in the genres of horror, fantasy and sci-fi and pick my favorite 10 covers to feature.

Tracking down the artists is the hardest part of the whole thing and I have failed in more than one case this month. A few words about the list: I included only novels, novellas and anthologies. So no comic books or magazines. I tried to link to each book’s Amazon page, each artist’s portfolio and each publisher’s website. I didn’t always succeed in finding them.

If you find an omission, please let me know.

In any case, check out these covers and maybe buy some cool books!

 

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1. Dragon Age: The Masked Empire

Artist: Ramil Sunga
Author: Patrick Weekes
Publisher: Tor Books

Journey into the darkest and deadliest part of Orlais, where the weight of titles matters less than the strength of blades. Empress Celene of Orlais rose to the throne of the most powerful nation in Thedas through wisdom, wit, and ruthless manipulation. Now the empire she has guided into an age of enlightenment is threatened from within by imminent war between the templars and the mages, even as rebellion stirs among the downtrodden elves. To save Orlais, Celene must keep her hold on the throne by any means necessary.

lovecraftsmonters

2. Lovecraft’s Monsters

Artist: John Coulthart
Editor: Ellen Datlow
Publisher: Tachyon Publications

Prepare to meet the wicked progeny of the master of modern horror. In Lovecraft’s Monsters, H. P. Lovecraft’s most famous creations—Cthulhu, Shoggoths, Deep Ones, Elder Things, Yog-Sothoth, and more, appear in all their terrifying glory. Each story is a gripping new take on a classic Lovecraftian creature, and each is accompanied by a spectacular original illustration that captures the monsters’ unique visage.

Contributors include such literary luminaries as Neil Gaiman, Joe R. Lansdale, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Karl Edward Wagner, Elizabeth Bear, and Nick Mamatas. The monsters are lovingly rendered in spectacular original art by World Fantasy Award–winning artist John Coulthart (The Steampunk Bible).

Legions of Lovecraft fans continue to visit his bizarre landscapes and encounter his unrelenting monsters. Now join them in their journey…if you dare.

 

GALLOW

3. The Crimson Shield

Artist: Alejandro Colucci
Author: Nathan Hawke
Publisher: Gollancz

I have been Truesword to my friends, Griefbringer to my enemies. To most of you I am just another Northlander bastard here to take your women and drink your mead, but to those who know me, my name is Gallow. I fought for my king for seven long years. I have served lords and held my shield beside common men. I have fled in defeat and I have tasted victory and I will tell you which is sweeter. Despise me then, for I have slain more of your kin than I can count, though I remember every single face. For my king I will travel to the end of the world. I will find the fabled Crimson Shield so that his legions may carry it to battle, and when Sword and Shield must finally clash, there you will find me. I will not make pacts with devils or bargains with demons for I do not believe in such things, and yet I will see them all around me, in men and in their deeds. Remember me then, for I will not suffer such monsters to live. Even if they are the ones I serve.

HouseIvySorrow_front

4. House of Ivy and Sorrow

Artist: God forbid HarperTeen mention their artist
Author: Natalia Whipple
Publisher: HarperTeen

Transparent author Natalie Whipple is back with another refreshing blend of realistic romance and light-hearted humor with a one-of-a-kind paranormal touch. Fans of Charmed, Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy trilogy, and Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys won’t want to miss this spellbinding contemporary tale of magic, first love, and high-stakes danger.

Jo Hemlock is not your typical witch. Outside the walls of her grandmother’s ivy-covered house, she’s kept her magical life completely separate from her life in high school. But when the Curse that killed her mother resurfaces, it threatens to destroy not only her life but her grandmother’s too—and keeping her secret may no longer be an option.

 

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5. Masters of the Weird Tale: Carl Jacobi

Artist: David Ho
Author: Carl Jacobi
Publisher: Centipede Press

This title in our Masters of the Weird Tale series focuses on the weird fiction of pulp master Carl Jacobi, and is introduced by John Pelan. Over sixty stories are collected in a large hardcover edition, featuring original artwork. A large number of stories have never before been collected in book format.

 wwa

6. The Last Weekend

Artist: Pedro Marques
Author: Nick Mamatas
Publisher: PSPublishing

Meet Vasilis ‘Billy’ Kostopolos: Bay Area Rust Belt refugee, failed sci-fi writer, successful barfly and, since an exceptionally American zombie apocalypse, accomplished ‘driller’ of reanimated corpses. Now that all the sane, well-adjusted human beings are hunted to extinction, he’s found his vocation trepanning zombies, peddling his one and only published short story and drinking himself to death—that is, until both his girlfriends turn out to be homicidal revolutionaries, he collides with a gang of Berkeley scientists gone berserker, the long-awaited ‘Big One’ finally strikes San Francisco, and what’s left of local government can no longer hide the awful secret lurking deep in the basement of City Hall. Can Bill unearth the truth about America’s demise and San Francisco’s survival—and will he destroy what little’s left of it in the process? Is he legend, the last man, or just another sucker on the vine? Nick Mamatas’ The Last Weekend takes a high-powered drill to the lurching, groaning conventions of zombie dystopias and conspiracy thrillers, sparing no cliché about tortured artists, alcoholic ‘genius’, noir action heroes, survivalist dogma, or starry-eyed California dreaming. Starting in booze-soaked but very clear-eyed cynicism and ending in gloriously uncozy catastrophe, this tale of a man and his city’s last living days is merciless, uncomfortably perceptive, and bleakly hilarious.

city-of-iron-fish

7. City of the Iron Fish

Artist: Jeffery Alan Love
Author: Simon Ings
Publisher: Gollancz

Simon Ings has written a surreal adventure probing the very fabric of existence, tearing it open to reveal a sometimes horrifying world within. It is a work that will delight any fan of China Mieville. Only a fool would question the strange magics that maintain the cool haven of the City of the Iron Fish in the middle of an inferno of scorching heat and splintered rock, for the well-watered streets of the city hide secrets in their shadows. Thomas Kemp is just such a fool…And embarks on a journey that will take him to the limits of reality. It may kill him, worse, that may not be enough. Especially as it is his only friend, Blythe, who may discover the secret of the city’s isolation.

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8. The Bird Eater

Artist: Cyanotype Book Architects
Author: Ania Ahlborn
Publisher: 47North

Twenty years ago, the mysterious death of his aunt left Aaron Holbrook orphaned and alone. He abandoned his rural Arkansas hometown vowing never to return, until his seven-year-old son died in an accident, plunging Aaron into a nightmare of addiction and grief. Desperate to reclaim a piece of himself, he returns to the hills of his childhood, to Holbrook House, where he hopes to find peace among the memories of his youth. But solace doesn’t come easy. Someone—or something—has other plans.

Like Aaron, Holbrook House is but a shell of what it once was, a target for vandals and ghost hunters who have nicknamed it “the devil’s den.” Aaron doesn’t believe in the paranormal—at least, not until a strange boy begins following him wherever he goes. Plagued by violent dreams and disturbing visions, Aaron begins to wonder if he’s losing his mind. But a festering darkness lurks at the heart of Holbrook House…a darkness that grins from within the shadows, delighting in Aaron’s sorrow, biding its time.

 

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9. The Keys to the Realms

Artist: Mark Winters
Author: Roberta Trahan
Publisher: 47North

In this sequel to The Well of Tears, the last bastion of magic standing against the dark forces threatening the prophecy of the Ancients has narrowly escaped destruction—wrought by the sorcery of one of its own. Reeling from loss and betrayal, the Stewardry at Fane Gramarye is in chaos. The young acolyte Glain is called to replace the traitor as Proctor and serve the new Sovereign. It has fallen to Alwen to lead the order and find the remaining Guardians of the Realms and their keys of power. Only then will the king of the prophecy win his throne.

When assassins breach the protective veil surrounding the Fane, an unexpected evil is revealed. The renegade mage Machreth has garnered new allies and his agents might already have infiltrated the ranks of the order. Glain must discover where the treachery lies before Machreth bends destiny to his will, but the truth is shrouded by secrets. Though her visionary powers are strong, there are things Glain can’t foresee. Can she still trust those she calls her friends—or her own heart? For even Glain has something to hide…

 

DorothyMustDie_CoverOnly1.indd

10. Dorothy Must Die

Artist: Pokemon slave labor
Author: Danielle Paige
Publisher: HarperCollins

I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero. But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know? Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still the yellow brick road, though—but even that’s crumbling.
What happened?
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.
My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas. I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. I’ve been trained to fight. And I have a mission: Remove the Tin Woodman’s heart. Steal the Scarecrow’s brain. Take the Lion’s courage. Then and only then—Dorothy must die!

 

Comments

    • George Cotronis says

      Honestly, I do my best to find the artist at the usual places (and try a google image search). If I haven’t found it by then, chances are other people aren’t gonna find it either.
      I’m pointing out how often the cover artist isn’t credited in a visible location.

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