Even though I did a column not too long ago about updated book covers, I was really struck by the fact that three books I read this week all have gorgeous artwork. These titillating and beautifully rendered designs stopped me in my tracks and had more than a little influence in my choosing to read these particular books. So while I’ve read some really great books with stinky covers, here are some recent releases where the content on the outside is as good as the inside.
Geist by Phillippa Ballantine
Besides having an awesome cover and being written by a librarian, the real reason I’ve been raving about this book to everyone I know this week is the beguiling world-building and tough characters at the core of this new fantasy series. Soul-eating geists plague a recently united kingdom, and only trained members of the Order of the Deacons can use arcane knowledge to safely banish them. However, it soon become apparent to Deacon Sacha Faris that all is not as it seems between the world the undead and the Order. Think Anita Baker in a traditional fantasy setting and you’re about halfway there.
The Moon Moth by Jack Vance with Illustrations by Humayoun Ibrahim
On the strange planet of Sirene, where every citizen wears mask of various design and style to denote their social status in society, and, a diplomat from Earth becomes embroiled in a grisly murder investigation. But all cannot not be as it seems when a killer is as masked as every other person on the planet. A graphic novel version of this wonderful Jack Vance story is a perfect marriage of art and storytelling. The quiet moments in certain panels are simple breathtaking and act as a nice reprieve for this fast-paced thriller.
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
Miriam needs only to touch you to know the exact day, time and way you will die. So don’t take it personal when she arrives right before you kick the bucket to rob you of the money you won’t be needing in the afterlife. A nuanced character study of a tough-as-nails, but incredibly broken, young woman who just happens to be blessed (or cursed) with an amazing ability. The dialog is snappy, the horror is grim and the characters are always a little more complex than they seem at first brush. The perfect spring for those who want something a little out of the ordinary in their urban fantasy.