Friday Faceoff – Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit


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 fools. I was unable to find any covers depicting fools, but instead went for a cover that took me back to a cracking series I thoroughly enjoyed – J.V. Jones’ The Book of Words trilogy. Master and Fool is the third and final book.

masterandfoolThis first cover was published by Aspect in November 1996 as a paperback. Whether this is the cover we’ve got, I’m not sure – it may well be as we picked up the first book on a whim and then pre-ordered the next two books, desperate to know what would happen next…


This second cover is the produced by Orbit in 2000. I like the lettering and simplicity, with the drama and menace played out in the centre, making it my preference. The first cover is too garish, with no sophistry. It looks a bit like a child’s adventure book, which is badly under-selling the power and punchy enjoyment of Jones’ storytelling skills. What do you think?

9 responses »

  1. I prefer the first cover, actually. I love all the action and it seems to capture a moment in the story. It reminds me of the Wheel of Time series covers.

    • It’s just as well they provide a range of covers, isn’t it? I loved the series – and you still come across it from time to time in bookstores, both new and used. It’s worth a read.

  2. The second cover gets my vote, too. If I were to find this book in a store, I’d probably pick it up if it had that cover. I do like the overall idea for the first cover (a magician on a ship), but the illustration quality is too lurid for my taste (which you had said as well).

    • It’s interesting how people’s tastes in book covers varies, isn’t it? I’ve been struck at the range of responses to some of the Friday Face-off covers and realise that getting the right cover is a tricky subject.

  3. I agree on your choice. The second one is more interesting and original, though I think the empty spaces around the title/author’s name could use something extra. Maybe more texture or richer lettering?
    Still, it’s better than the first one. 😀

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