Escape Velocity

A curated Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction Media

Time to get to know the Escape Velocity Collection’s curators! How? By asking them the questions that really matter! Let’s see what our curators have to say… 

Today’s question is:

What book’s cover made you want to immediately read it? And how did that turn out?

With both Lotte and myself drooling over the pretty cover of The Priory of the Orange Tree by Ivan Belikov, I thought it would be a good idea to ask the curators what other book covers drew them into a story.

Myself, as always with these questions, I keep coming back to Julian May’s The Saga of Pliocene Exile – for some reason, the below cover art of The Many-Coloured Land was really exciting to, like, 10 year old me, with the weird juxtaposition of knights and spaceships and a sleek futuristic rifle and a banner hung with gruesome gilded skulls. As it turns out, it remains one of my favourite book series, ever. So the cover didn’t lie! It was drawn by Michael Whelan, whose style just evokes an entire era of speculative literature. And he has worked for some big names, such as Brandon Sanderson, Stephen King and Robin Hobb too! Now that’s a list I want to see Julian May pop up in…

An honourable mention goes out to Sylvain Neuvel’s Sleeping Giants – in that case, it wasn’t me, but our friend Matt who bought the book on a whim because of the cover and that, too, is one of my favourite reads of the past years. I particularly love the simplicity of this design, though I don’t have a physical book anywhere so I can’t figure out whom to credit…

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Though I’m susceptible to beautiful book covers like any other person, I don’t tend to buy or read books I know nothing about. When I judge a book solely by its cover, they usually end up on the bottom of my endless TBR pile.

The latest book in this category, Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (with cover design by Daniel Pelavin), I bought during my vacation in Mexico. I was looking for a backup book in case I would finish my intended holiday books faster than expected, and the Mayan iconography and style drew my attention. I’ve yet to read it though.

Peter: Robin told me that she really loves the fancy covers of the latest editions of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld-novels, and the below cover for Reaper Man in particular. We don’t need to tell you that you are probably fine judging a book by its cover if the cover says ‘Terry Pratchett” – that’s a guarantee for good laughs! 



For my birthday last year, my friend gave me a bookstore gift card. It took me a while to actually use it, but eventually, I caved and bought The Dragon’s Promise by Elizabeth Lim. It features a stunning cover with artwork by Tran Nguyen. I’d rolled a natural one on my perception check and didn’t notice the words “THE THRILLING SEQUEL” on the back. I ended up going back and buying the first novel in the series, Six Crimson Cranes, which also has a gorgeous cover (though done by a different artist, Kelly Chong).

Having since read Six Crimson Cranes, I unfortunately have to say it wasn’t quite for me. I also read The Dragon’s Promise as well, but only really because I already have the book…

Peter: Jasmijn told me “Magic, representation, cranes, and a fairy dragon.”

I guess that speaks for itself. I have nothing to add. Jop did though…

Jop: The other book that enchanted me with its cover would be the Dutch translation of The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill, with art by Yuta Onada. I mean, look at that composition! The moon, the fluttering hair, the glowing origami birds… The tiny dragon! I didn’t stand a chance. It’s one of the books I’m currently reading, so we will find out the result soon enough.


That’s it: another soul-searching question answered!

Still curious? Visit each curator’s page to see what they’ve recently been up to!

Check out our reviews of the media discussed in this post here:

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