Best Fantasy Book Covers Of 2023: 7 Tips To Inspire

POSTED ON Aug 16, 2023

Sarah Rexford

Written by Sarah Rexford

Home > Blog > Book Production, Cover Design, Writing > Best Fantasy Book Covers Of 2023: 7 Tips To Inspire

The best fantasy book covers of 2023 are in and they are spell-binding. Book covers are one of the first key factors that either draw readers in or turn them away. Because of this, it’s crucial to get them right. 

While we’ve all likely been told not to judge a book by its cover, the truth is, most of us probably do. That’s why today we are looking at the best fantasy book covers of 2023. 

I discuss the various aspects that go into a standout book cover design, seven of the covers that particularly stand out from 2023, and how you can use these gorgeous designs to inspire your own. 

Whether you choose to traditionally publish your book and hope to have some part in the book design process, or choose to self-publish your novel and will design it yourself, you can learn from these tips. The best fantasy book covers of 2023 cover a variety of sub-genres. 

But don’t forget, no matter what genre you write, there are always takeaways from authors who design well. Fantastical elements will appear more otherworldly, as they should, but each cover below depicts a level of familiarity that draws readers in. 

I shouldn’t get ahead of myself though! Let’s lay the foundation as to why fantasy covers matter, and then dive in to discussing some of the best fantasy book covers of 2023. 

Why Fantasy Covers Matter 

Your book cover is the calling card, resume, and headshot for your book, so it’s crucial to put your best foot forward. To take this example further, think of your cover as the landing page on your author website. 

If people search your name on the Internet and your website pops up, you want to grab their attention from the first click. If they don’t like your landing page, it doesn’t communicate your brand, or it seems sloppy, they will likely click out. Just that fast, you’ve lost a potential reader.

The same is true for book covers. If a potential reader browses through their local bookstore, Barnes & Noble, or stumbles across your book on Amazon, you want to keep and grab their attention. How do you do that?

  • A gripping title
  • Engaging book cover 

With these key aspects in mind, it’s time to take a closer look at some of the best fantasy book covers of 2023. 

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7 Best Fantasy Book Covers Of 2023: Design And Inspiration

Your story’s plot plays a tremendous role in the type of cover you design. If your fantasy is a space opera and centers on a love triangle, you should use different fonts and colors than if you write a dark, medieval fantasy. Notice how plot plays a role in seven of the best fantasy book covers of 2023. 

1. Path of the Dragon: An Arthurian Fairytale Retelling

Jason Hamilton released his novel, Path of the Dragon, in April of 2023. He sets his story in sixth century England and casts Princess Una as his 18-year-old protagonist, fighting for a feeling of safety. The sole survivor of a dragon attack, the story centers on her treacherous journey to restore her stronghold. 

His cover features a golden emblem in the shape of a dragon, with the background completely black. Flecks of glowing green add life to what feels like a daunting story. 

2. The Terraformers

This futuristic epic by Annalee Newitz is the story of Destry. Her focus takes a dramatic shift when she discovers an entire people group previously unknown to her—living inside a volcano. Questions arise as she pursues the truth of their existence and her own. 

The cover features a futuristic city filling the entire right half of the cover and a vertical, not horizontal, title. The left half of the cover shows a river that dumps into a lake…leading to a volcano. Without even reading the back cover copy you’re likely to have a great idea of this book’s story. 

3. Star Bringer

Written by Tracy Wolff and Nina Croft, this new release is a futuristic fantasy set in a dystopian world. Filled with aliens, a dying sun, and tasked with saving the universe…seven surprising heroes, better known as misfits, must step up to the challenge. 

A soft, violet-blue and pink color palette are the feature colors of this third title in the best fantasy book covers of 2023. Space often feels blue, ethereal, and enthralling, and this cover communicates each of these aspects meticulously. 

4. Untethered Sky

Brought to you by award-winning author Fonda Lee, this fantasy fable stars Ester. Ester is a girl who’s been orphaned by her mother’s death and haunted by her baby brother’s murder. Her life takes a new focus—killing the monsters who killed everyone in her family, except her father. 

Fables are known for telling important tales throughout history, and this cover looks like it was taken right out of the time period itself. Neutral colors and a watercolor like image of Ester, with a massive bird above her, make you want to immediately open to page one. 

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5. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

This bestselling, historical fantasy starts in France in 1714. Addie LaRue spends her life fighting to leave her mark on the earth, despite being cursed—she is forgotten by everyone she meets. 

A black and white headshot. What looks like a gold constellation of stars. A sinister feel of foreboding. This minimalistic cover (on the Barnes & Noble exclusive edition) shows that sometimes, less is more in book cover design. 

6. The Splinter In The Sky

This debut, science-fiction romance novel shares Enitan’s story. She hopes to one day quit her day job and build a business from her passion—tea. But then someone murders the one she loves. Her sibling is kidnapped. Now instead of securing her tea business she must find safety for those she loves and maybe even her homeland.  

This cover gives major Dune or Arrival vibes, which shows it’s in good company. Muted blues, violets, and greens pull you into the design: A small individual stands in gold and green clothes before large objects. The objects seemingly float in the sky, hinting at intrigue and mystery. 

7. Fourth Wing, The Empyrean

This spring release written by Rebecca Yarros became an instant New York Times bestseller. Violet is small, fragile, and ordered to become a dragon rider. This 20-year-old protagonist leaves her quiet life to fight a war filled with friends, enemies, and lovers

This cover is filled with fragile, almost breakable lines, reiterating the fragility of Violet. The occasional swirling lines and light, dusty-gold coloring hints at Violet’s past, more elegant life. Hard, black font portrays the title and author name, revealing the dissonance between who Violet starts as and who she may become. 

Best Fantasy Book Covers Of 2023: Lessons To Implement 

These seven best fantasy book covers of 2023 teach writers many lessons. Sometimes, less is more, as we saw with The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue. The Terraformers cover shows that sometimes playing around with not just fonts and colors but the direction of titles captures attention. 

Star Bringer demonstrated how tying in colors that we often associate with specific ideas (for instance, blue with outer space) provides a sense of familiarity in a story world that’s new and exciting. 

What lessons most grabbed your attention? Choose one or two to implement, and see how it takes your cover to the next level!

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Sarah Rexford

Written by
Sarah Rexford

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