Friday Faceoff – I must go down to the sea again…


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 ships, so I’ve chosen Ship of Magic – Book 1 of the Liveship Traders series by Robin Hobb.


This is the cover produced by Voyager in 1999. I like this one – it has the now-familiar design of all Hobb’s UK covers, with the attractive font and styling. The ship’s bow gives a sense of movement with the dragonwing in the foreground giving a hint of something else going on. The detail and artwork is nicely done.


This edition, produced in February 1999 by Spectra features the protagonist, Althea in the foreground. While I normally am not a fan of characters appearing on covers, as it is rarely how I envisage them, the depiction here works well. This is another eye-catching, attractive cover.


Published in 2008 by HarperVoyager, this is my least favourite cover. I suppose it was a 10th anniversary edition – but there is no sense of magic or excitement about this design. It looks like the sort of drawing you might find on a copy of an 18th century sailing manual, rather than a tale of piracy and oppression.


This is the offering Spectra came up with in December 2003 – and once again, bristles with energy and danger as this time around, it is the pirate Kennit who features in the foreground. The desperate liveship, Vivacia, also featured plunging through the waves. Another great cover.


This cover, produced by Plaza Janés in July 2015, is my favourite. I love the dark background, giving a sense of menace and the wonderfully dramatic font and loops across the top of the book. And this ship truly looks as if it could be magical and driven to madness… But which one do you prefer?

25 responses »

    • That’s absolutely fine, Sara – it’s a nice change to have so many quality covers to offer:). There’s only one really disappointing one here this week.

  1. Agreed that final cover is very beautiful 😍 although I like the first one as well, heck I even like the 10th anniversary edition that u don’t like

  2. These are some nice covers and I like how the ship seems to be on every one of them, but every different every time. I think that last one is also my favorite, it’s pretty! But most of the others look good too.

  3. I’m with you on many fronts, Sarah! The color scheme and font on the last one’s just smashing. I have to admit, it took me a minute to notice the dragon on the first cover. Why have the sails take up so much space, I guess? But otherwise, I’m with ya. 😉

  4. The 10th edition is pretty boring. I would think it was a history book or something nonfiction. While that’s not bad it doesn’t capture the magic that the other covers suggest. I think the first is my favorite!

    • You’re right, Katherine – that 10th edition does look very historical, doesn’t it? And that first cover is lovely – I like the fact that all Robin Hobb’s covers are instantly recognisable as her brand in this particular version. I do wonder if that magnificent Spanish cover is also part of a family of similar artwork for the series…

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