Friday Faceoff – Just Then Flew Down a Monstrous Crow…


This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This week’s topic is comparing covers featuring birds. It took me a while to track this one down – I recalled the cover, but had forgotten the book, so was delighted when I realised it was by one of my all-time favourite authors – Fool’s Quest – Book 2 of Fitz and Fool series by Robin Hobb.


This first cover is for the 2015 edition released by Del Rey. While I love a lot of their covers, I’m not sure this one really does justice to the book. The man dominating the cover is presumably Fitz, but I have such a clear idea of how he looks that I find it jarring.



For me there simply is no contest this week. This cover, produced by Harper Voyager, was the one I’d envisaged as soon as I saw this week’s Friday Face-off. I love its simplicity and the sense of movement with the wings half on and half off the page.  I also think the title font works well. As evidenced by my trawling back to find it – this is also a memorable cover. What do you think? Do you agree?

32 responses »

  1. I’m with you — I much prefer the UK cover. But the other cover, which is nicely done in its own terms, may be more appealing to US readers of epic fantasy.

  2. Pingback: The Friday Face-Off: Just Then Flew Down A Monstrous Crow | Books by Proxy

  3. I definitely agree! I absolutely love all the UK covers for Hobb’s books. From the John Howe artwork to the new covers which are currently doing the rounds, they’re all different but have a certain elegance about them! Great choice!

    • I think that operates under the tried and tested rule ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…’ I certainly notice a strong difference between UK and US covers – the US versions nearly always feature a person, and the artwork is often vivid and very punchy, whereas the UK covers often are more abstract or focus on objects, with some more detailed background, often in more muted colours – is there is a recognisable cultural difference with Polish covers in the same way?

      • It’s hard to say. Translated books often get the original (or slightly altered covers), but there are few publishers with very distincive cover designs.
        I’ve already mentioned “Uczta Wyobraźni” series, most of their covers are stunning:
        Another publisher has hard cover books all in black with just a small graphic in front.
        We also have a verz talented cover designer going by Dark Crayon, he designs several series for several sci-fi/fantasy publishers and if you’re curious, you can have a peek on his Facebook page:
        Other than that (and outside of sci-fi and fantasy genres) it’s quite a mix of good and bad, some copied from US, some from UK, some beautiful and original.

      • Thank you for taking the time to answer my query so thoroughly. I’ve gone onto the Dark Crayon fb page – you’re right… The original designs are beautiful, with a distinctly fey, otherworldly feel about them.

      • You’re welcome. My secret dream is for DC to make my covers… but I don’t think it’ll happen. 😉

  4. Pingback: The Friday Face-Off: Renewed Shall Be Blade That Was Broken | Books by Proxy

  5. Pingback: The Friday Face-Off: I Got No Strings to Hold Me Down – Books by Proxy

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