Friday Faceoff – Where there’s fire there’s…


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 cover featuring smoke, so I’ve selected Smoke – see my review here – by Dan Vyleta.


This edition was produced by Doubleday in May 2016. The impressionistic view of the Houses of Parliament with the Thames in the foreground is beautiful, though feels more like fog than the sooty, unpleasant excretion caused by wicked, impure thoughts of the novel. While it is attractive, with plenty of eye appeal, I’m not sure it adequately portrays the novel.


Published in July 2016 by W & N, this cover is extremely effective. The black cover contrasts nicely with the wisping threads of smoke rising off the stylised S and its very simplicity sets it apart. I really like this one.


This edition, published by Anchor Books in June 2017, is really disturbing. The person seems to be consumed by the thick, black smoke pouring off him, leaving only his feet uncovered. This one is my favourite – another elegant and simple design, I think the image is both compelling and eerie.


This paperback edition, produced by W & N Books in April 2017, is a variation on the second cover, and the extra touch of colour makes it even more attractive. I like the grey cover and the deep blue curls of smoke, which look both beautiful and menacing. This cover is a very close second, to the extent that I nearly rolled a dice to see which would be my favourite this week.


This Swedish cover, published in September 2016 by Albert Bonniers Förlag, has taken the story as the cover’s reference. A Victorian street scene is enveloped in thick, choking smoke and the sepia tones complete the period feel, which gives the cover an extra sense of authenticity. Once more, this is a well designed, attractive cover. Quite often, I’m reasonably certain that I’ll know which cover will turn out to be the favourite – however, today I haven’t a clue. Which is your favourite? I’m very much looking forward to finding out!

34 responses »

    • Thank you – yes – that touch of colour to the original black/grey design really gives it a kick, doesn’t it? Thank you for swinging by and taking the trouble to comment:)

  1. Hmm none of the choices are really jumping out at me this week either, none that I can peg as my definite favorite. Push comes to shove though, I would probably go with the last one, just because of how dramatic that image is!

    • It is very dramatic – but I don’t think there are any wrong ‘uns this week… I find it really interesting that some authors seem to be very lucky with all their covers – and others have a dreadful time. It doesn’t necessarily mean the most famous have the best covers, either…

  2. The second one grabbed me instantly. Then I spotted the last one. I really like both but the second will be my favorite.

    • Yes… there’s something about that grey smoke wisping against the black, isn’t there? Thank you for taking the time to comment, Laura, and I hope you had a great weekend!

  3. I haven’t read this book yet but I’ve seen the first version of the cover a few times and thought it was lovely. Like you though, I don’t know that it necessarily fits all that well with the book’s synopsis. I think the second and third ones probably fit a bit better.

  4. This sure sounds like a totally FASCINATING novel! What if people could REALLY know what we were thinking? Perish the thought, lol!

    The first of these covers that really grabbed me was the first W & N Books cover. And then, the second W & N cover also grabbed me! I love them both! They are both very simple and elegant, and I think they definitely fit the book’s theme.

    The impressionistic cover just left me cold, not only because it depicts fog, instead of smoke (and I agree with you there), but also because the font used for the title and author’s name is boring and “klunky looking”. Lol.

    The Anchor Books cover is, as you have stated, very disturbing and eerie. I can’t look at it for more than a few seconds at a time, as it makes me VERY uncomfortable. It just looks as if someone has set themselves on fire…..SHUDDERS!!

    As for the Swedish cover, I like it quite a bit. I think I would have picked this one (except that I don’t speak Swedish, lol), but then those two W & N covers attract me SO MUCH MORE!!!

    Thanks for showcasing these covers, Sarah!! LOVE this blog hop/meme!!! HUGS!! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Yes – if I hadn’t been smitten by that creepy cover, those W & N cover would have had my vote, too, Maria. Thank you so much for your kind comments and enthusiasm for this meme – I always love getting your comments!

  5. Hmm. You know, some titles you’ve picked have had some real clunkers of book designs, but this time you have a collection of beautiful, eerie designs. I suppose the only one I can find fault with is the first, because as you said, it’s the only cover that vaguely ties to London, but that’s all.

    Added this one to my Goodreads list, by the by. 🙂

    • Yes, I know! Some of them have been real shockers, haven’t they? That’s the joy – or otherwise of the weekly theme… But this time, all the designs are very strong. I find it fascinating that the strength or otherwise of book designs isn’t down to how successful or well-known the author is. In fact, the better known they are, often the worse the book cover…

      I’d be interested to know what you make of this one, Jean:)

      • You know, that’s a great point. It’s like the priority is gone because the name *is* the selling point.
        I was reading a few comments on Goodreads–some surprising deviseness. Devisicity. Devisitude. Suffixes, I’ve got them! Ahem. So now I’m all the more intrigued what’s going on here. 🙂

  6. I like the second one the most – it’s clean, it’s elegant, and it’s contemporary. It also is unique in using smoke with the lettering. I also like your favorite, though I feel the execution feels a bit muddy – I think such a cool idea deserved a crisper and more eye-catching approach.

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