Friday Faceoff – Snap!


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 a mirror image or reflection, so I’ve chosen The Dark Mirror – Book 1 of The Bridei Chronicles by Juliet Marillier.


This cover, produced by Tor Books in June 2006, is my least favourite. While the hint of a reflection and the gnarled tree behind the seated girl does give a sense of the otherworldly tone that pervades this outstanding historical fantasy series, it doesn’t do it justice. I also think the lettering is clunky and unsuited to the genre and content.


This edition was produced by Tor books in March 2006 and is far more appropriate. The lone tree, reflected in the water in a wild landscape beautifully evokes the mood of the book and would immediately have me wanting to pick it up. This one is my favourite.


Published in 2007 by Bertrand Editora, this Portuguese edition has also manages to capture the magical sense of the book, though I’m not quite sure what that fraying piece of lace at the top is all about… But those brooding trees reflected in the lake are very effective.


This Australian edition, published in November 2007 by Pan Australia, is also effective and haunting. I particularly like the title font, which fits the period without being too fussy or taking away from that stunning landscape – this is a very close second for me. Which is your favourite?

30 responses »

  1. Wow. This is a really tough one, Sarah! I definitely like the second through fourth covers more than the first one… But I think my vote goes to #3, the Portuguese one. That one actually drew a gasp from me, between the storm clouds, the dark tree-lined horizon, and the burst of sunlight in between.

    And I still need to read more of Juliet’s books! I’ve only read Daughter of the Forest so far and would love to read more from that series. I’m pretty sure I have Shadowfell and Dreamer’s Pool, too.

    • Yes – none of them are dreadful and I think all except the first one are very good.

      This is a wonderful series – I read it a while ago and I just love her writing. She manages to make this period come alive. Highly recommended:))

    • Ah – that’s interesting, Rae:). I think there is a real cultural difference between UK and US tastes regarding covers. As far as I can gather, Brits prefer covers with landscapes, objects and themes whereas Americans like covers featuring people… It is a huge over-simplification – but there often seems to be a divide that runs along those lines:) Have a great weekend, my friendx

      • Now that you mention this, it is NOT an oversimplification, but a fact. You are in a position to know this fact, and it might be worth a little “musing” (Maybe in your Sunday post) to let other people become aware of it and comment on it.

  2. Had to keep scrolling up and down. They’re all pretty good. I’d say the last one is the best. The second one is good too.

  3. Ooo, this one’s tough! I agree the first one is just plain bland. The color palette is just…meh. The forest reflecting is quite eerie, though, which is neat, but I do think the last one’s my favorite. I’m not one for tag lines on the front cover, but it’s succinct and not cliché, which is a nice surprise. Plus there’s the font, which is nice’n’elegant, and the cold color palette, which has the otherworldly feel. And now I’m wanting to read this one, too! 🙂

  4. The first one is not stunning, but I think it’s better than the others. Why? Because the remaining three, even though they aren’t bad, don’t seem to fit the genre. They are static landscape images that suggest contemporary literary fiction or psychological drama somewhere in the countryside, and they don’t evoke the “A future king. A young fey woman. A true love or kingdom’s downfall.” in any way (except for the actual text).

    • Oh that’s an interesting way of looking at it – and you are spot on. Though landscape plays a huge part in Marillier’s books and I personally found the other covers better evoke the mood of her books. But it’s always fascinating to hear a completely different opinion about the covers – which is one of my favourite posts of the week:)

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