Cover Reveal : City of Strife by Claudie Arseneault

Today I have a cover reveal for you from Claudie Arseneault, an amazing Quebecois author (and friend!) who writes super fun LGBTQ+ fantasy and sci-fi with way too many characters in them. Ahem, who said that. 😉 If you like sprawling networks of diverse characters with all manner of complex relationships, you will really like Claudie’s work.

But… onto the (long awaited) cover of City of Strife, the first in Claudie’s new series!

City of Strife's beautiful cover

Into City of Strife’s Glorious Cover—A Little Behind the Scenes

(Guest post by Claudie Arseneault) 

Isn’t it beautiful? Amazing? Gorgeous? Freaking all over the place? All of these at once, right? Or maybe that’s just me. But, really, the first time I saw my cover, my heart stopped. It was my city. The one who had lived in my head for almost a decade, now spread out before my eyes in all its eclectic glory. I just love the chaos.

Representing Isandor was a tall order for any cover artist, but this cover is just the proof I have the best twin in the whole damn world (what’s that you’re saying about bias? Pshh. Nonsense).

So, curious about the process behind this one?

Each tower was drawn separately, with a handful being connected by a bridge. She drew inspiration from different sources every time (my close shots of Firenze’s Duomo were put to good use), which means the Gothic tower can stand right next to precious colourful Art Nouveau glasswork. I asked to make them fancy and over the top, to reflect the local culture. Isandor’s founding families come from Alloria, a region with great love for dramatic shows—of wealth and power as much as theatre plays and huge pieces of art. In Alloria, the wealth you can exhibit is a signifier of your power, and that holds true for Isandor.  Since the city is on top of a steep Cliffside and space was an issue, they started competing for the highest, most ludicrous tower. The end result is a completely disjointed city, with high bridges leading from one spire to the next and plazas hanging midair.

I love how the cover places you inside the city, very close to one of said towers, and you can see the thorough detailing that went into it. I’m glad I don’t have a specific character on it, either. I like to say City of Spires is a mosaic-trilogy, with perspective from many of its resident building into a full picture, and it wouldn’t feel right to give one of them the spotlight. Not to mention, the way the novel itself is constructed places Isandor itself—its politics, its culture, its systems—as an antagonist.

Isandor is my star. I started writing because of this city. It is hard to explain how big a part of me it has become and how amazing it is to finally bring it to life, through a beautiful cover and, let’s hope, a thrilling story.


Claudie Arseneault is an asexual and aromantic-spectrum writer hailing from the very-French Québec City. Her long studies in biochemistry and immunology often sneak back into her science-fiction, and her love for sprawling casts invariably turns her novels into multi-storylined wonders. The most recent, City of Strife, comes out on February 22, 2017! Claudie is a founding member of The Kraken Collective and is well-known for her involvement in solarpunk, her database of aro and ace characters in speculative fiction, and her unending love of squids. Find out more on her website!


More information about the upcoming City of Strife:

Isandor, City of Spires.

Bickering merchant families vie for power through eccentric shows of wealth and brutal trading wars. Unspoken rules regulate their battles, but when an idealistic elven lord provokes the powerful Myrian Empire, all bets are off. They are outsiders, unbound by local customs, and no one knows how far they’ll take their magic to dominate the city. Nobles and commoners alike must fight to preserve their home, even if the struggle shatters friendships, destroys alliances, and changes them irrevocably.

City of Strife is the first installment of the City of Spires trilogy, a multi-layered political fantasy led by an all LGBTQIAP+ cast. Fans of complex  storylines criss-crossing one another, strong friendships, and found families will find everything they need within these pages.

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