I found it actually quite easy to rank the four nominees for this year's BSFA award for Best Art.
4) Cover of Lavie Tidhar’s Osama by Pedro Marques - Not that I dislike it; I understand and like the concept, and it almost works. But the trail of smoke, while no doubt meant to suggest both the cigarette of the noir detective and the collapse of the Twin Towers, doesn't quite manage the second; and the absence of any element suggesting the real Bin Laden's trademark beard weakens it.
3) Cover and illustrations of Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls by Jim Kay - this may be a little unfair, but I'm not sure to what extent the art we see on the web page corresponds with the art nominated for the award. At one point I thought that it was just the cover, in which case it would have been a clear fourth-place vote. But obviously it includes the internal illustrations as well, which are indeed striking and grotesque. The third image, the monster sitting on a shed, is particularly impressive. In the end I just like the other two more.
2) Cover of Liz Williams’s A Glass of Shadow by Anne Sudworth - this is just beautiful, the cat particularly well caught, its eyes reflecting the bright small flowers around it, the countryside so vivid that you think you could step right into it and feel the midsummer evening glow.
1) Cover of Ian Whates’s The Noise Revealed by Dominic Harman - it may be a bit sad of me, but I like good old-fashioned spaceships sometimes, and here we have a cover that tells us what the story is about (probably); things going whizz and bang and vroom, and a couple of minuscule human figures standing back in awe. The weird and (presumably?) natural rock shapes of the landscape both clash with and complement the modernistic and (presumably?) artificial metal shapes of the base from which the rockets are emanating. It gets my vote.