November 11th, 2009

See what I did there? Lauren Panepinto over at Orbit US have unveiled a new look for the Mass Market Paperback outing of Best Served Cold in the States which will be coming along in June next year, and it looks a little something like this:

Oooooooh. Interesting departure. I have to say I much prefer this to the US Hardcover look which drew such ire from you all when it was unveiled back in February. This approach makes sense to me – I think it stands a good chance of bringing in readers who might otherwise not have picked up my stuff, I think it looks bold, tough, and uncompromising (kind of like the content, hopefully), and above all it makes the book look like what it is – a fantasy thriller.

Anyway, I like it. As an approach, and as a piece of artwork, I think it’s got guts. But no doubt you will all have your own opinions…

Posted in artwork by Joe Abercrombie on November 11th, 2009.

34 comments so far

  • I really like this cover quite a bit. Artistically, the black/white/red colors work great, and the sword & snake are pretty cool looking, too.

  • J. Canning says:

    Dare I say this is the most original looking cover for a fantasy novel i've ever seen? I love it.

  • I like this cover much better as well, and agree about it possibly drawing a wider audience. I love the fantasy genre, but still greatly dislike much of the cover art which strikes me as cheesy.

    This new cover somewhat reminds me of a mix between Carl Hiaasen and Terry Pratchett novel covers- solid colours, simple imagery, and bold fonts.

  • Rob Barrett says:

    It's a great cover, Joe. BTW, I had my annual grad. school gaming group reunion last weekend in Vegas, and I talked up First Law and BSC quite a bit. Upon returning, I heard from one of my buddies that he had picked up a used copy of Blade Itself–and promptly ordered the rest of the trilogy 250 pages later.

  • Sam, friend to Friendly says:

    Beats the shit out of the US hardcover art, that's for sure. If this had been the original art for the hardcover, maybe I wouldn't have paid the extra money to get a UK book shipped to me. Well…yes I would have. God forbid I am forced to wait an extra 3 weeks to read such life-changing, soul-shattering ingenuity.

  • thorny says:

    Love this cover. I could read that book in public somewhere….I had to order from Amazon UK to get a hardback copy. Started to pick up a copy here in the states and my wife said "what is that? twilight?" ouch. my dignity shriveled.

  • Swainson says:

    I like it. I sort of says: revenge with swords, it's gonna bite you.

    Mind you I 'm very happy with my double signed UK hardback.

  • Rise_Against says:


    I like the UK cover better. But after reading the book I came to like the US hardcover. That is how I picture Monza now and it says "Snake of Talins" without having to put an actual snake on the cover. I very much like the original US cover over this.
    This says more thriller than fantasy to me.

  • JenMo says:

    I always really liked the US hardcover. Monza looks hot and dangerous and not at all typical fantasy cheesy. Covers that portray kick ass chicks always draw me. This paperback cover just seems, meh, like it'll blend in with the rest.

    However I'm looking forward to seeng the Glokta and Jezal covers on he reprints of TFL books. I loved seeing Logen on the cover you revealed a lil while back.

  • Harvey Quinn says:

    I love this mate, it's almost like an album cover (much cooler obviously).

    Could attract a whole different audience.

  • Phil says:

    Definately not impressed with that cover!

    The UK covers are stand outs just because they are unique, look on the book shelves in stores and they really grab you because they look interesting.

    This on the other hand looks like a kids book. No a teen horror.

  • Darn Phil said everything I wanted to say.

    Crappy teen horror look. Looks like a second rate book for which the author had his little brother do the cover.

    Now be honest, who would pick this up in a bookstore where there are hundreds of other books around it that actually have a cover that says something about the content.

  • don't happy says:

    This is not an interesting cover at all! You would have been better off using the UK cover for the new US cover. All of your other covers are unique, interesting, and eye-catching! I would look right over this one.

    I totally agree with JenMo the old cover is awesome and Monza looks like a mean bitch just like she should. I have to disagree with her about the new TFL cover though. Monza is depicted much better than Logen was.(in my opinion which isn't worth much) But I am looking forward to seeing Glokta and Jezals debut.

    And since when did plain ordinary covers start selling better than covers that are different and stand out?

  • Anonymous says:

    Is this a murder mystery?

    Stop the presses quickly!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    I quite like it. I suppose it is not about whether we like it as a bit of artwork (importand though that might be) but about if it would encourage anyone to pick it up and eventually purchase it. We sometimes get so caught up in how much we like covers and forget that they are there mainly to attract us!
    So from a personal viewpoint and a regular stalker of the fantasy section of bookshops, if I saw this I WOULD pick it up. What would happen next would lead fom reading the back cover and the first page, but getting a punter to pick up the product must be half the battle surely?

  • not so anonymous says:

    This is off subject, but since I have to wait until 2010 for the next Abercrombie book I have been considering the Night Angel trilogy. Has anyone read it and what did you think?

  • tomlloyd says:

    Don't like it much by itself, but I think it's a good cover to put on the book – one that doesn't scream 'look at me, I'm a fantasy novel' and should get picked up by browsers outside the target market, which is a good thing!

  • Brandon Schutz says:

    I would have really liked to see the continuation of the covers of The First Law series. I much liked the original hardcover with the sword across the cover in the style of the First Law. That being said I don't think it is a horrible cover, and I do think it will give more of a reader friendly look than many fantasy covers. I can't stand the cheesy cover with the hero on a horse and usually a castle and a dragon in the background. Either way I'll probably be buying the paperback as I only bought the digital version from Barnes and Noble before.

  • JenMo says:

    @ notsoanonymous
    the Night Angel trilogy really is a good read with a lot of twists and turns. The end wasn't my favorite, but it was a great read getting there.

  • nicisixx says:

    I actually liked the US Hardback cover. It got me to pick up the ARC and promote the book. Having tried to hand sell it, I understand the urge to change it. I've often pointed out the hardback as a suggestion and had people respond "yeahhhhhha . . . I don't think I'd like that." And they would have.

  • Elfy says:

    Why couldn't they just have gone with the original UK cover? That's the one I got down here in Australia and the other 2 I've seen haven't stacked up to it. I thought the first one was pretty bad, this tops it on the awfulness scale by a long way. My wife took one look at this and said that's horrid!

  • stuffz says:

    Eh, I like the original one better. The map/scroll/parchment look is pretty unique and acts as a sort of brand for your work. As it is now this mass distribution model looks like a cheesy fantasy book from the 80s.

  • The Writer says:

    I love it! A cover to be proud of.

  • JenMo says:

    You know what's a bad cover? The new Wheel of Time book. Classic fantasy cheesy. Kinda sad cause all of Sanderson's other novels have great covers.

  • MurfMan says:

    Awesome Cover. Wish that more were this original.

  • Anonymous says:

    To MurfMan
    You call this original?
    Do you know how many fifth graders could draw this?

  • Anonymous (and others),
    I think it is an original approach for a novel that most people would consider epic fantasy, yes. I think it's also suitable for this book because it's as much a thriller as it is a fantasy, and I think many thriller readers will still enjoy it.

    I don't actually think very many fifth graders could have drawn this, but that's hardly the point. The technical difficulty level of the art on a cover is a bizarre measure of its quality. Complexity rarely makes for an effective cover. I think readers often forget that a cover is first and foremost a selling tool. If it's pretty, that's nice, but it's far more important that it be impactful, and above all connect the book with the widest possible and most appropriate market. I think this cover has a good chance of achieving that.

  • Jo says:

    Interesting cover. I'd assume from the format it was a comic novel in the Chris Brookmyre style rather than a fantasy novel though.

    I must say that on the whole I prefer UK book design to US but that must just be a matter of familiarity.

  • I don't know what everyone has against the US hardcover art. I liked it. It reminded me a bit of the art from Last Argument of Kings (the large paperback version). The new one looks fine, in a generic-fantasy-novel way, but that's the problem: it doesn't stand out.

  • As an aside, this artwork: is what made me pick up The Blade Itself in the first place. The unique nature of the artwork, and the quality of the cover itself (thick, not glossy or crappy) stood out and made me think the book might be worth a look. I'm glad I did.

  • Anonymous says:

    It's a slight improvement on the truly awful US hardback cover in that it doesn't make me want to instantly puke, but it's clearly not as awesome as the UK cover.

    I demand that you keep the original UK style for rest of the books in the series; else I won't be buying anymore!!! Well obviously not as clearly I love your books regardless of the fact that reading them in public causes acute public embarrassment.

  • Anonymous says:

    ORIGINAL should always be the way to go. We all know the old saying that you can't judge a book by its cover. Well, I judge that if people didn't pick up and buy any of Joe's books the first time around the change of coverart isn't going to change the fact that they haven't an adventurous bone in their body! Rock on Mr Abercrombie-whatever you write-with whatever kind of cover it has, I'm there the minute it is published!

  • Jak says:

    I suppose I am in the minority. I prefer the U.S. Hardcover version. Pretty much why I bought the book, which led me to buy the first 3.

  • Xamir says:

    Like the cover, but what of the text and font and format within? Is it the same as the original cover? The one with the Map of Styria soaked in blood, a sword and a few coins that tells you, here, there’s a map, it’s bloody, I’ve given you the money, buy me and read me now fuckass!

    I do believe that this edition makes me think inner city suburbia, guns, knives, sticks, a whole lot of hooligans. Or perhaps a Graphic Novel of the actual text.

    Hey… there’s an idea…

    If you do it, give me the kudos.

    My point is, I like the original, I like this version, but I’d be expecting a very different setting for the story than what you have in the pages.

    PS… Nearly finished Best Served Cold. And I LOVE it!

Add Your Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *