For those who didn’t see how things panned out via Brackify, it’s time to announce my Book Cover of the Month of December!

And the winner is…


This image and other associated images are used for review and critique purposes under fair use doctrine. Also, I’m trying to help this guy sell books.

Betrayer’s Bane by Michael G. Manning.  For  those who want to see the Facebook post that launched it all, just click here.

As I said, this image just had so much impact. The design is beautiful, the text is well placed. Everything in this cover builds off of the other. Notice the way the eyes of the older figure direct to the author’s name while the line of sign of the younger figure takes you to the title text. It’s a linear design, but the flare at the base of the title text holds the eye and keeps the viewer from wandering off. The spot color is perfect in hue.  The moment is tragic. The detail in the art/design is spotless.  It’s really not a mystery this cover did so well.  How well?  Let’s look at the stats!

Betrayer’s Bane simply dominated! It received 42 out of 144 total votes (29%).  To give you some scope, it’s final opponent, A Throne of Bones (which is still an amazing cover) received just about half as many votes. (15%).  It never received less than 5 votes in each round of the bracket.

december-bracket-finishThat means this was a great cover, and you all were very loyal and wonderful voters. Seriously, the last round was amazing! I lost some editing time because I kept refreshing to see just how many votes this cover would get. I’m so glad I had this idea.  But, enough about the voting, let’s talk about the book with the cover pretty much everyone loved!

Betrayer’s Bane is the third book (and final) in the Embers of Illeniel Series.  It’s connected to Manning’s Mageborn series. Manning states in his forward to Bane that this book is closer to horror than fantasy. I don’t hold that against him.  If I were just a reader, I’d have bought the entire trilogy. Alas, I have to work at some point. So I picked up my e-verson of Bane.  Here’s the teaser from Amazon.

“Tyrion was a good person who had been born to a simple family and raised with love, but the world has shaped him for a different fate. Twisted by violence and torture, he is obsessed with a relentless desire for vengeance, and he has sown the seeds of wrath in his children. The She’Har have offered him the opportunity to be a great leader and usher in a new era of prosperity and peace, but despite his gentle beginnings, Tyrion is no hero.

Heroes are born to build, and while many laud the efforts of such leaders, others will work to bring them down, for all good things must come to an end. Every forest must inevitably face the flame.

Destiny has chosen Tyrion for a different path and given him the spark that will burn the world to ashes. Embracing the evil within, he will reap a harvest of hatred, and no one will find safety in the purge of fire that he brings; even the betrayer has his bane.

Will anything be left to rise from the ash?”

This is Book 1 of The Embers of Illeniel. Click here if you want to start from the beginning.

I’m not yet familiar with Mr. Manning’s work, but I’m optimistic I’ll enjoy Bane. I tend to become loyal to authors who peak my interests, so it’s possible I’ll read most of his other work.

Here’s Mr. Manning’s bio from his author page.

I’m actually trying to find out who did the cover, but I’m not having a lot of luck. I’ll keep researching, and if I find out who created this awesome sauce, I’ll update this post because if this guy is affordable, I think any author should see about his prices!

Bane is currently number 4 on my TBR list. (There’s this Sanderson guy, and that Sleeping Legion series).  I’ll post my review here when I finish.

I had a ton of fun with this, so here’ my plan. I’m already going to do a bracket for January as well as the rest of the year. I may fill in the bracket with some HMs from previous brackets, but most will be from covers I found in Amazon’s New Release section for fantasy and science fiction. If you follow and like my page, you can see what covers will make the bracket. (This month is already looking amazing!)  At the end of the year, I’ll do a final, winner take all (just bragging rights, I’m broke) bracket for the Book Cover of the Year.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I have.

Thanks for reading


46 thoughts on “Book Cover of the Month of December!

    1. I’m a huge fan of this idea so far. I really just enjoy all the elements. I look at covers anyway. I’m always shopping for future artists. When I go to conventions, I love walking around and looking at art. If I were stupid rich, art would be my vanity hobby. Thanks for stopping by J.J.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks J.R! I talk to my students a lot about design and elements of an image, and I love looking at art, so this gave me a chance to feed all those impulses in a way that at least got some people some credit. Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d like to do something closer to the end of January if that’s cool? I’m starting to project out blogs, which gives me a bit more time, and I increase blogs because there are times when I get an idea or update my tour. I’d like you to have a guest post (interview) when book 3 is closer to hitting the shelves too!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I really enjoyed reading the breakdown of the competition. Super clever idea, Matt! Your explanation of the cover design concepts for the winning book was phenomenal — spot on analysis. I’m hoping to get in on this action for the next brackets.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Corey! My main main is back on the blog and making comments. You have been missed! Thanks for the feedback. I thought it was one of my better ideas. I’m always looking for good covers, and I’m stoked to see Wastelander’s when it’s all finished.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve misses the back-and-forth to be sure! It’s a brilliant idea…keep it going. Wastelander and Drake are coming soon (lock your doors and hide the booze).

        Liked by 1 person

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