Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics. For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday participants are tasked with listing their top books that have covers with a specific design element chosen by the blogger, for example books with certain colours, items or animals on their cover. I thought that this was a pretty clever idea for a topic and I decided to go big with it and choose book covers that have the ultimate animal for my list, dragons.
Let’s face it, we all love dragons! They are some of the coolest creatures in mythology, with multiple cultures having their own version or alteration of the dragon in their storytelling traditions. Due to how iconic there are, the use of dragons in storytelling naturally transferred itself across to the world of fantasy fiction, becoming one of the most classic and well utilised monsters or companion creatures in books and movies, such as The Hobbit and the A Song of Ice and Fire series. As such there are multiple book covers out there that feature dragons to some degree and I was curious to see which ones amongst them were my favourite.
To pull this list together, I had a think about all the best books that featured cool dragon-related cover art. There were quite a few of these awesome, dragon-covered novels so I decided to limit myself to only using books that I have actually read. In addition, because dragon-centric series tend to use images of the creatures across multiple entries, I will limit myself to one novel from each franchise, just to create a bit of variety. This still leaves me with a pretty impressive collection of novels to choose from and I had to do some severe cutting to get it down to a top ten list with my typical honourable mentions section. I think the list turned out pretty well as there are some great novels below with awesome dragon imagery on their covers.
I will quickly note that I did have a couple of issues finding good quality pictures of some of the relevant covers I wanted to feature here, particularly for some of the older novels, but I have still tried to feature them as best I can. Apologies in advance if some of them don’t turn out perfect.
The Voyage of the Forgotten by Nick Martell
I love the cover but chose to only feature this as an honourable mention as the book hasn’t come out yet.
A Darkness at Sethanon by Raymond E. Feist
A couple of the alternate covers for this great book feature dragons on them, but this was the best looking one of them.
She Who Became the Sun by Shelly Parker Chan
Usagi Yojimbo: The Dragon Bellow Conspiracy by Stan Sakai
A great use of a dragon in the cover, even if the dragon in the title is more of a metaphor for firearms.
Top Ten List:
The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne
An incredible novel with an incredible cover. Easily one of the best uses of dragons in cover art that you are likely to ever see.
This fantastic Warhammer tie-in novel is spoiled for choice when it comes to dragons on its various covers.
Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
One of the best Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett, I love how well the dragon is used, both in this original cover, and in the novel’s exceedingly clever mystery.
Black Leviathan by Bern Perplies
An extremely epic and distinctive cover for a fun action fantasy novel. Black Leviathan, which is the English edition of Perplies’s original, German novel, The Dragon Hunter, actually has two fantastic cover variants with dragons on them, although I think the one the English version shown above is a lot more visually impressive.
The Bone Ships by R. J. Barker
All three books in Barker’s The Tide Child trilogy featured iconography of the series’ water-dragons, but I think the first entry, The Bone Ships, looks the best.
You can’t have a dragon-based list without featuring an entry from Paoloini’s Inheritance Cycle. All four novels in this series featured dragons on their cover, although I think that this cover from Eldest was the most striking.
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
A very beautiful cover for this complex and intricate fantasy novel.
Warcraft: Day of the Dragons by Richard A. Knaak
Several great Warcraft and World of Warcraft tie-in novels feature dragons on their covers, but my favourite of these is Day of the Dragons by Richard A. Knaak, which was an awesome story.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
Was there ever a chance I wasn’t going to feature this classic cover on this list? Of course not.
Dragonclaw by Kate Forsyth
The original cover of the first entry in Australian author Kate Forsyth’s The Witches of Eileanan series, Dragonclaw, had a great dragon picture on it, and it serves as an excellent first impression of an amazing fantasy book.
Well, that’s my list. As you can see there are some incredible books out there that make great uses of dragons on their covers. All the above novels are really good, and you will have an incredible time reading them, while also appreciating their stunning, dragon-filled covers. I had a lot of fun coming up with this list, and I will have to think about replicating it with another creature, item or colour in the future. In the meantime, let me know what your favourite books with dragons on the cover are in the comments below.