On the fifth day of Christmas…

. . it’s a great day to review the year that was 2011 – in covers! So, five of the best (in my opinion, anyway):

First up has to be the amazing new cover look for Charlaine Harris and the Sookie Stackhouse novels. It’s so bright, especially on gloomy winter days, that it can’t help but make you smile. Thanks go to the wonderful Patrick Knowles for the cover designs, and to the fabulous Orion Art department!

Next I have to tip my hat to the incredibly talented April Schumacher, the illustrator of our editions of Kristen Britain’s Green Rider novels, who worked with our fabulous in-house designer Laura Brett. I love Green Rider in particular – it’s a beautiful, detailed, fabulous illustration, which is why it makes this list.

. . . my third choice is the cover for The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie, put together using the inimitable talents of Dave Senior (for the map), Didier Graffet (courtesy of Bragelonne, for the amazing axe artwork) and turned into one marvellous cover by Laura Brett. I’m not usually a fan of fantasy maps, but this one is so detailed – and interactive! – that I can’t help but love it.

The Wise Man’s Fear is another stand out cover for me. It was a long time in the publishing, but the drama of the figure and the detail of the leaves still make me think of adventure whenever I see it. Thanks, once again, go to Laura Brett – this time as both the designer and the very talented cover illustrator!

And my fifth is Sam Green’s artwork for Brandon Sanderson. It’s so unique, clean and impressive that it really makes an impact, and I think his artwork for The Alloy of Law is one of the best covers Gollancz has ever put together:

. . . But these are just my stand-out five. What are yours . . . which of your favourites did I miss?