Sierra Leonean novelist Namina has a new epic fantasy on the way. The Merciless Ones is the second book in the Deathless series. It comes out April 2021 out of Delacorte Press and continues the inspiring story of Deka in The Gilded Ones.

The cover, as you can see pictured above, is stunning. Forna shared it on Instagram a while back. Just as The Merciless Ones continues the themes of feminism and empowerment in The Gilded Ones, the new cover references the aesthetics of the first one: the color, the gold tones, and Deka’s radiating beauty laced with fierceness. Forna explains on Instagram that it was designed by Johnny Tarajosu and provides some insights on what went into the design.

Wanna know how my covers were made? Read on…

So, THE GILDED ONES was originally called Deathless, and when I thought about the cover, I always thought it would be something black and gold and ominous. Then my editor @kelseymhorton told me about an artist called @tarajosuart.

Honestly, I was skeptical. I was like, his stuff is too pretty. But then I saw the first cover… In all my ideas I had about a cover for the book, I’d forgotten how young the girls were, how vulnerable. But Johnny (Tarajosu) got it. I was shook by his rendition of Deka. She’s soft, vulnerable, but you can see the determination in her eyes.

The second cover shows a more grown up Deka. She’s learned a lot, grown and is not as vulnerable. This is Deka the warrior and she is fierce.

Honestly, I’m so grateful for my covers. Growing up, I never saw Black girls on the cover of anything, much less ones that look so pretty. But here Deka is on two!!! different covers and she is stunning.

So thank you Johnny for the beautiful cover and thank you Kelsey for your vision. I am grateful.