Top 5 Tuesday || Books with Creatures on the Cover

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What’s better than a little creature?

Books with said little creatures on the cover, of course! Maybe it’s because I read a lot of fantasy, but I do love a good creature feature, especially illustrated ones. As nice as it is to leave things to the imagination, I can’t resist the work of talented artists, especially wrapped around the work of talented authors.

And since Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads is a generous and clever soul, that’s what today’s first T5T post will cover! This is actually a catch up from last week, since I was on vacation. It’s also me trying not to feel too bad about skipping books with food on the cover. Did you know I own ZERO books with food on the cover? Big ol’ goose egg. None. Zip. Kind of disappointing really, but maybe it’s because I don’t read much contemporary, where I’m sure you see more of it.

Petition for fantasy books to start putting food on covers? Nah, what am I saying? We have creatures!

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange Tree Cover

I think every single one of you knew I’d put this book on here. It’s a work of art in every way, and I also had way too much fun vandalizing it for April Fool’s Day back in 2020. What’s not to love about big, scary dragons curled around towers?

Bonus points for imagining this illustration as depicting the dragon at full size. No, I don’t mean sizing the image up until it matches. I mean assuming the dragon is as big as the illustration already is. A teeny weeny little murder lizard playing on a dollhouse castle. Is it weird that I love that image?


Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon (Gravemaidens #1)

Gravemaidens Cover

Technically, the creatures here are on the more subtle side, especially compared to Priory. But look again and you’ll see the moths fluttering around this beautiful cover. I’m still so in love with this cover that it makes me mad now and again.

And yes, this was another cover to fall victim to my snail Photoshop frenzy. I have good taste, I’m telling you.


For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig (For a Muse of Fire #1)

For a Muse of Fire

Sometimes I feel like the digital image doesn’t do the cover of For a Muse of Fire justice. My hardcover has a gorgeous, shimmery jacket that makes the center dragon pop like nothing else, and I adore it! Plus, this is the first of three intensely beautiful covers in the series, and it does an incredible job of putting Jetta’s shadow puppetry magic on show before you even start reading.


A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #1)

A Natural History of Dragons Cover

Confession time! This one was a gift and I still haven’t read it. That said, I could spend hours looking at the cover alone. It reminds me a bit of Dragonology and all the other dragon books I read as a kid, plus it has that lovely biological illustration flavor. If this were an illustrated guide rather than a novel, I know I’d spend hours soaking up every detail, flipping back and forth between this illustration and the numbered sections that elaborate on the dragon’s features.

And yes, there’s a dragon. I know, I know, there’s a theme here. I just can’t get away from it.


House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

House of Salt and Sorrows

To be fair, this is a more stealthy creature cover, seeing as you don’t get an entire creature. There’s just some tentacles poking up in the bottom right corner, plus a starfish and some shells. That said, it’s such a pretty freaking cover, and it perfectly conveys the salt-soaked gothic atmosphere of the book! It’s also another of those covers that somehow looks even prettier in person, so I had to include it here.

Aren’t you glad this one wasn’t another dragon?


That’s it for today’s creature feature! Do we share any favorites? Am I missing one that deserves to be on this list? Let’s chat, and stay tuned for another T5T installment shortly! 💛

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