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 and is currently hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog. This week the theme is a cover featuring a scene under the sea, so this week I have selected Goddess of the Sea – Book 1 of The Goddess Summoning series by P.C. Cast.


This cover, produced by Berkley Sensation, was published in October 2003. This is a lovely design, with the murky image of the mermaid overlaid with the classy title font. It is the most straightforward of the covers, but I especially love the warm richness of the colouring.


This edition was produced by Berkley in October 2008. It is an interesting cover, with its green tint suggesting we are underwater, but there is no fish tail. Instead, the girl is wearing fishnet stockings, with a trident design shining on her shoulder and the suggestion of scales in the backdrop. I like the clever visual clues that the girl facing away from us is a mermaid. However, what lets down the cover for me is the drearily ordinary font which is at complete odds with the visual hide and seek going on.


Published in 2011 by Ediçoes Asa, this Portuguese edition suggests the girl is underwater. Again, there are a few visual games – the hair decorations that look like air bubbles. I like this one – the play of lighting across her face is beautiful.


This German edition, published by Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag in May 2012 is the worst effort, in my opinion. It looks as though the marketing intern has been let loose with Photoshop. The moody girl with the heavy, gothic makeup peers knowingly at us, looking as if she is setting off for a nightclub, rather than transforming into a mermaid. While the backdrop looks more like black flock wallpaper…


This Polish edition, produced by Książnica in June 2011, is the best cover in my opinion. The classic mermaid pose, leaning clear of the water, is given depth and interest by the play of light and scattered water droplets. The bodice, dripping with strings of pearls and in the process of falling from her body, adds movement and interest to the image. While I think the font is too large, at least an attempt has been made to soften it. Which one is your favourite?

20 responses »

  1. I have to admit the first isn’t really my favorite kind of style of cover, however, I like it best because it’s the only one that shows the whole mermaid thing! I wouldn’t have even caught onto the fishnets and scales thing in the second cover, and you’re right that the German one doesn’t make me think of water at all.

    • I know – I don’t know WHAT they were thinking when they designed that German cover… Thank you for giving your opinion – this is one of my favourite memes because I’m always fascinated to see what other people think:)

  2. What a great choice of book – I like the first and last and it’s definitely difficult to decide between the two – the cover you pick would definitely make me want to pick the book up but the first shows the full mermaid – which I love – and similarly I would want to pick it up..
    Lynn 😀

  3. Argh! I don’t think I like any of them! I guess I would have to choose the last but with major misgivings. Of course I didn’t like most of the author’s work when I read it back in the day. So maybe that contributes?
    x The Captain

  4. I think the last one is my favorite. It might not clearly indicate whether the woman is a mermaid, but it’s so detailed and skillfully done that it still takes my breath again. And yeah, that German cover… It’s very gothic. And a gothic style isn’t a negative in itself, but if it doesn’t accurately reflect the story inside, then it could give potential readers the wrong impression.

  5. I think I have read this one a long time ago and had the second cover. I am surprised at how differently these cover all incorporate the mermaid aspect. Either with the colors or the water and only the first one actually shows the tail. I am not sure actually which one I like best. I had already seen the first 2 covers before, but I think I like the last one the most. It has such a magical feel and a more subtle hint to he mermaid part with the water and how she surfaces. The fourth one is probably my least favorite, it doesn’t seem to hint clearly to the mermaid theme and like you said it looks a bit too badly photo shopped.

  6. Hmm. It’s so interesting that of all these covers, only one is clear the girl’s a mermaid. That second cover reminds me of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments–I wonder if they went for that flavor to attract those readers. I must agree that last one’s got the most fantastic feel, I think, without getting too urban, edgy, or whimsical. Spot on once again, my friend! xxxxxxxxx

  7. I agree with you that the last one is the best (with the first one being just horrible). Though, I think, the font size is fine for that cover. One of the main things nowadays is making the title and the author’s name visible in thumbnail, because more often than not, this is how the readers first view the books. So a book with a blurry thumbnail or unreadable title is more likely to be passed over.
    It made sense that the enticing title took much more cover space that likely unknown in Poland author. I’ve seen that done both ways: big title if it’s super-interesting with smaller font for the author who might be knew/uknown, or huuuuge font for the author name and smaller for the title if they’re an established bestselling author.

    • Yes – you make a good point about the varying sizes of the fonts, depending on whether the author is well known, or the title is eye-catching. It’s noticeable that Wyndham’s name is a LOT larger than the title on this selection.

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