Friday Faceoff – Zip it, lock it and throw away the key


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 keys, so I’ve chosen Keeper of the Keys – Book 2 of The Cycle of Fire series by Janny Wurts.


This cover, produced by Grafton in 1990 is really eye-catching with the limited colour palette of blues. The glowing key illuminating the face from below gives an otherworld, ethereal cast to the character and while I don’t much like chatter on the front cover – at least the endorsement isn’t too intrusive. This is my favourite.


This edition was produced by Ace in August 1988 and is far more dramatic. The protagonist is clearly in a desperate situation. I really like the unfolding drama with the sinister figure looming over the hapless lad. My problem with this cover is that the beautifully painted eagle somehow gets lost amongst the large golden lettering. Why on earth didn’t they choose another colour for the title font?


Published in October 1995 by HarperPrism, this is another beautiful detailed, action-packed cover. This time, the protagonist (he does get about, doesn’t he?) is hanging off the hull of a boat, moodily clutching the key around his neck as he gazes out across the seascape. I also thoroughly enjoy this one – but the eerily lit face just edges it. Which one is your favourite?

19 responses »

  1. I think I also prefer the first as the keys are most present there. It just seems to fit the title so well to have actual keys on the cover. But the second and third one does look great too and it’s interesting to see how different they are.

  2. Ah, that third is just so busy with the golden font over the brown boat. I do agree with the second cover. Maybe a pale silvery color for the lettering would have done it? Regardless, I’m with you on the first. The illuminated keys and face promise something more than a mere adventure. 😉

  3. I know these are all old-style covers, but the artwork on the last two doesn’t strike me as very good. The first one is much better, and it does have that eerie feel… which actually makes my instincts say there’s something wrong with it too, and I just can’t pin it down. But all in all this *is* the best one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.