Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover Issue 144: Fantasy (Part 15)

Today’s post is sponsored by Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers and Iron Widow!

Title Iron Widow
Author Xiran Jay Zhao
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Publication Date September 21st 2021 by Penguin Teen
Find It On GoodreadsAmazonChaptersThe Book DepositoryBarnes & NobleIndieBound

Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this blend of Chinese history and mecha science fiction for YA readers.

The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.

When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected — she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​

To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way — and stop more girls from being sacrificed.

Do! Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I pay tribute to some of the best and brightest the publishing world has to offer in the way of book cover design.

Please Note: I’ve done my best to credit the designers and artists responsible for the beautiful covers below, but was unable to find this information for a number of those listed. If you know of an uncredited designer responsible for any of these book covers, please let me know and I would be happy to include proper attribution in this post. Their work is lovely and deserves to be credited.


01. The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova
(Cover design: Kelli McAdams ● Cover art: Erick Dávila)

02. Red Wolf by Rachel Vincent
(Cover design: Alice Wang ● Cover art: Dan Burgess)


02. The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley
(Cover art: Khadijah Khatib)

03. Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
(Cover design: Terri Nimmo ● Cover art: Ashley Mackenzie)


05. Into The Bloodred Woods by Martha Brockenbrough
(Cover art: Marcela Bolívar)

06. Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis
(Cover design: Casey Moses)


07. These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan
(Cover art: Luisa Preissler)

08. Wings of Shadow by Nicki Pau Preto
(Cover design: Tiara Iandiorio ● Cover art: Kekai Kotaki)


09. Little Thieves by Margaret Owen
(Cover art: M. S. Corley)

10. The Excalibur Curse by Kiersten White
(Cover design: Regina Flath ● Cover art: Alex Dos Diaz)


11. The Coming Storm by Regina M. Hansen
(Cover design: Greg Stadnyk ● Cover art: Tran Nguyen)

12. Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales by Soman Chainani
(Cover art: Julia Iredale)


13. Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen
(Cover design: Regina Flath ● Cover art: Jeff Manning)

14. Ferryman by Claire McFall


15. This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron
(Cover art: Raymond Sebastien)

16. Terciel and Elinor by Garth Nix
(Cover design: David Curtis ● Cover art: Ashley Mackenzie)


17. A Clash of Steel by C.B. Lee
(Cover design: Rich Deas ● Cover art: Feifei Ruan)

18. Dreams Lie Beneath by Rebecca Ross
(Cover design: Molly Fehr ● Cover art: Annie Stegg)


19. A Rush of Wings by Laura E. Weymouth
(Cover design: Debra Sfetsios-Conover ● Cover art: Kim Ekdahl)

20. Black Water Sister by Zen Cho
(Cover art: Yuta Onoda)


21. The Midnight Girls by Alicia Jasinska
(Cover design: Nicole Hower ● Cover art: Charlie Bowater)

22. The Wild Ones by Nafiza Azad
(Cover art: Alex Cabal)


Now it’s your turn! What are some of your favourite Fantasy covers? Did I list one of your favourites here or is there one I forgot that just has to be included? Let me know in the comments!

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Jen is a thirty-something Canadian book blogger and bibliophile currently residing in the wilds of suburbia. Aside from a penchant for older men, particularly those with the surnames Firth, Elba and Norton, Jen is also passionately interested in running, Mad Men, and Marilyn Monroe. In addition to being a voracious reader and self-proclaimed television addict, Jen is also an aspiring children and youth services librarian who would like to pursue a MLIS and better help readers find the perfect book for them.

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