Friday Faceoff – Seems like, street lights, glowin’…


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 the theme is street light covers, so I’ve chosen The Cuckoo’s Calling – Book 1 of the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling – see my review here.


This offering, produced by Mulholland Books in April 2013, is an interesting one – giving us the back of a young starlet who is facing a barrage of press photographer flashlights. What spoils it for me is the white colour of the font against the white lights which makes it difficult to pick out the title. I do like the fact it is uncluttered.


This is the definitive cover for the book, produced in April 2013 by Sphere, and is the scene depicting Cormoran leaning into the wind under a street lamp – he looks utterly alone. This is my favourite. I love the street railings and the chilly turquoise sky that give it a sense of melancholy and threat – so much classier than many of the modern covers with weapons dripping blood… The title font is also nicely done – clear and easily readable without slashing through the artwork.


This cover design produced in June 2014 by Salani does what many Italian covers do so well – take the overriding theme of the original successful cover and then makes it their own. For me, this runs the original a very, very close second. I love the muted colours, the sense of solitude and the Thames running alongside the walkway with Westminster arising from the mist in the background.


This offering is another Italian effort, produced in July 2014 by La Biblioteca di Repubblica, which has gone for an art decco version of the previous cover. The pity of it is that this interesting design is only a small strip in the centre of the cover. While the large chunks of black bordering the scene certainly give it a sombre mood, they are also boring.


What a difference a shift in the coloration can make – giving that cold turquoise a reddish tint certainly warms the cover up. This is the Catalan edition, produced by Proa in November 2014 and I’m guessing they decided the initial colour palette wouldn’t appeal to their book-buying public.

Which one is your favourite?

18 responses »

  1. I love the Mullholland cover but agree with you that the title in white over the flashes make it hard to read. So I’d have to say that the Sphere cover is the best – it stands out. I have to admit that I’ve had this book on my TBR for years now – I really must pick it up soon.

  2. I’m more familiar with the Mulholland cover at the top – but I think my two favorites are the same as yours, the Sphere and Salani covers. Not only are they beautiful, but (like you said) they both evoke a sense of solitude and mystery.

    • Yes – I wasn’t familiar with the Mullholland cover – which confirms my hunch that was the cover for the US and Canadian markets, whereas everyone this side of the pond is far more used to the Sphere cover.

      • Just wondering, but what do the covers for the two sequels look like in the UK? I’d be curious to see how they differ to the North American ones.

      • I’ve tried to get the covers copied into the comment box – but the technology has defeated me! But if you put into the Search box at the top of the sidebar SILKWORM, it will take you to my review with the UK cover and the other one CAREER of EVIL also features that one. I think they are equally effective and very cool. I’d love to know what you think about them…

      • They’re the same as the US covers! And I definitely prefer the dark, mysterious urban vibe of both covers over the the US version of The Cuckoo’s Calling.

  3. I have to tell you that I hate the Mulholland cover. Hate. It. I much prefer the European covers, especially June 2014 by Salani. It has the best of the UK cover with the addition of the London Skyline.

    • Yes! While I don’t dislike the Mulholland cover , I do think the European covers more effectively depicts the book and its mood music. But I’m also aware that cover taste varies a great deal and that the UK and US covers are often very different.

  4. I agree with you on the first one: bad font color choice. The second one is the most known one, and while I like the third one, the second Italian feels like cheap crime novels’ cover from 70s or 80s (at least this is what they looked like in Poland).

    • Yes, there was a time over here where covers went all blocky with slabs of primary colours – along with those horrible strips featuring the title and author. It certainly has a retro feeling about, which isn’t appropriate as The Cuckoo’s Calling isn’t set in the past.

  5. I’m with you on the 2nd and 3rd covers. The perspective fun with the wall in the 3rd cover is very slick, but I’m a suck for a wrought iron fence. As for that color change in the last cover, it does warm the cover, but darkness evokes loneliness, and a brighter cover does NOT evoke loneliness in my, um, book.
    I gotta wonder too about that first cover. It looks like it’s for a totally different book! I wonder why that designer took such a different take on the crucial elements of the story. Everyone else went with the male character…

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