This isn't really news because the cover art has been out in the world since September, but the more I see this cover, the more I like it.
I'm absolutely sold on reading the book anyway. Jo Walton's previous novel, Among Others, was fantastic.
But this cover from Jamie Stafford-Hill is gorgeous and gives some idea as to what might be going on. Stafford-Hill is listed as the designer, here, which is a distinction that I might not normally think about, but this isn't a painted cover. So, as far as I know, there isn't an "artist" in the same way that we get from other cover artists. Normally I'm not a fan of more photorealistic covers, but this one is gorgeous.
As a side note, this makes me think about artists and the Hugo Awards. It's easy to tell when Donato Giancola or Jon Picacio has done a cover that that individual is the artist and when we are nominating for Best Artist, we are nominating that individual for the body of work they did in a particular year.
Designers, however, do more (and different) than the artist. In an incredibly simplistic reduction, the artist paints a work. The designer then does the layout of the rest of the cover, including title, author's name, other aspects that they need to put on the cover to make a final cover. That's my understanding. I could be wrong.
So, what happens when there isn't a cover artist in the way we think of Michael Whelan? The work that Stafford-Hill has done is no less beautiful or striking or worthy of note. But, would Stafford-Hill qualify for the Best Artist Hugo Award?
I don't know. I think so.
Regardless, beautiful cover, right?