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2023’s Most Anticipated Reads: A Cover Evaluation

By Megan Coote and Juliette Tulloch


To kick off the new year the Cover Design Evaluation team have selected some of 2023’s most anticipated releases and are taking a look at the inspiration and designs behind them.


Atalanta by Jennifer Saint

Release date: 13 April 2023


Bestselling author Jennifer Saint is releasing her next novel Atalanta this April, which brings the formidable Atalanta and her adventures amidst the Argonauts to life in a re-imagining of the Greek myth. The eye-catching cover was designed by Micaela Alcaino who has designed covers for Jennifer Saint’s previous work including Elektra and Ariadne. For each title, Alcaino has crafted beautiful designs which reference the Greek myths they are based on. For this design the image of the titular character Atalanta, a huntress, is where my eye is first drawn. Her figure exudes strength, bow in hand, primed and ready for use, encapsulating the fierce essence of her character. The design also nods to the voyage she takes with Jason and the Argonauts to prove herself. The illustration of the sailing boat and the subtle golden waves in the bottom corners hint at their expedition. The colours used are kept fairly simple, with a striking sunset-orange background, white and black for the animals and touches of gold throughout; gold is often used in Greek mythology, with Midas and his golden touch, for example, and is generally associated with desire and luxury. Alcaino has beautifully incorporated gold in her design with golden vines twisting up around Atalanta and the deer. This leads your gaze upward towards the apples at the top, a reference to the golden apples used to distract Atalanta in the original myth. Overall, Alcaino has created a striking design that clearly relates to the novel’s theme, enticing lovers of Greek mythology to add this to their 2023 reading list. You can find more of Micaela Alcaino’s work here.


You Shouldn’t Have Come Here by Jeneva Rose

Release date: 25 April 2023


Jeneva Rose, author of the psychological thriller The Perfect Marriage is set to release her next novel this year. The book follows Grace, an overworked New Yorker who, looking for an escape from her busy life, books an Airbnb on a ranch in the middle of Wyoming. But after her arrival she makes some unsettling discoveries. The cover needs to make a strong impact to gain interest and this design certainly does that, exuding a foreboding atmosphere and giving you a sense of the book's genre before you even read the blurb. The lone car heading along the long-winding road helps create a feeling of isolation and tension as though you are watching the driver head towards danger, but you are unable to stop them. The colour palette is kept muted with the main colour coming from the bright red used for the roof of the house and the lettering, which is a popular colour choice for crime fiction and thriller cover designs. The windows of the house have warm, yellow light emitting from them which at first appears to be inviting but this is contradicted by the dark silhouette of the forest looming menacingly behind the house. Forests are regularly used in the crime and horror genre as we see them as places where danger lurks amongst the shadows, playing on the fear of the darkness and the unknown. These associations we make with the forest makes this the perfect setting to give the design an ominous feeling, mirroring the feeling felt by Grace.

A Day of Fallen Night – The Roots of Chaos by Shannon Smith

Release date: 28 February 2023


Fans of The Priory of the Orange Tree and its universe will be pleased to hear that the prequel is soon to be released. When the Dreadmount erupts, three powerful women must work to protect mankind from a devastating threat. Sabran the Ambitious, Dumai and Tunuva Melim all experienced different upbringings but will play the same part in this epic instalment. Longer than the first novel, more politically complex and with a larger cast, this is sure to be on every fantasy lover’s wish list. The art direction and cover design is once more courtesy of David Mann, and it flows from the first book into another stunning design. Mann has reversed the colour palette, instead focusing on striking hues of blue and intricate line details that immerse the reader into a world overtaken by dragons. The mountains are kept in the background as the bursts of golden flames and scales intertwine, insinuating that this instalment will delve deep into the origins of these creatures and their destruction. You can see more of Mann’s work as Bloomsbury’s Creative Director here.

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