Friday Faceoff – Behind every mask there is a face, and behind that a story… #Brainfluffbookblog #FridayFaceoff


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 meme is currently being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and the theme this week the theme to feature on any of our covers is masks. I’ve selected The Masked City – Book 2 of The Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman. I loved this one – see my review here.


This edition was produced by Tor in December 2015. It is the default cover and is the one on the book I read. The maroon, leather effect is striking, especially with the details standing out so clearly in a white silhouette. Overall, this cover has a classy, period feel which nicely echoes the book. If I have a slight issue, it’s that it might be mistaken for a straight historical adventure, though perhaps the detailing of the dragons in the corner should dispel that impression.


This German edition, produced by Bastei Lübbe in August 2016, has chosen to depict the cover as an old map. The detail is lovely and the rather scuffed, battered effect to replicate ageing is a nice touch. However there are two issues with this version – it simply looks a drab mess in thumbnail size and once again, there is very little to guide the reader that this is actually a fantasy book.


Published in November 2017 by Omega, this Czech edition is also beautiful. The gold against the navy blue gives this cover a glorious, luxurious feel, harking back to the days when books were so exclusive and expensive, only the rich could afford to own them. I love the title font, which echoes this splendid opulence. However, the caveat I raised with some of the other offerings still stands – more so, as there isn’t a discrete dragon outline in a corner to give a prospective reader a clue that this is a fantasy adventure.


This Italian edition, published by Fanucci Editore in April 2018 is my favourite. I love that beautiful, eye-catching mask which sings out of the cover, giving this one extra focus and impact that I think is slightly missing from the more restrained efforts. If I have a niggle, it’s that the title font could be less boring.


This cover, published in February 2017 by Wheeler Publishing Large Print, is back to the sumptuous, old fashioned feel of most of the others. Though this time around, there are more clues for readers. While I generally dislike lots of chatter on covers, there isn’t any artwork to be obscured and the recommendation by N.K. Jemisin should provide a hint that we are dealing with a SFF book. Once again, the effect is elegant and eye-catching. Which is your favourite?

32 responses »

  1. I need to continue w/ this series! I’ve only read the first book. I like the TOR edition, and the Italian one as well, although the Czech one may be my favorite- even though it doesn’t advertise that it’s a fantasy book, I agree. It looks so sumptuous though.

    • Yes… I was very, very tempted by the Czech book – though since I’ve started publishing my own work, I realise I’ve started looking at covers in a completely different light:)). And yes – this one is even better than the first book.

  2. Oh man, this one’s tough. There’s such an emphasis on the masks that it feels like the fantasy element is shoved onto the back burner. I do love that first one best, if only because it’s blurb-less and it sneaks the dragons onto the cover elegantly. I’d love to love the map version, but as you say, from a distance, it looks garbled. Maybe if they’d combine a couple elements…like, a mask made out of a map? A scorched outline of a dragon in the middle of the map? Hmm.

  3. I like the original Tor cover but can see why you’ve chosen your winner – it’s very dramatic and really eye catching. And why on earth didn’t I think of these books!
    Lynn 😀

  4. Another GREAT cover post, Sarah!! LOVE it!! 🙂

    I have to state it right away — the first cover is my favorite. I LOVE the silhouettes, the detailed, ornamented edges, the rich feel of the background — in a word, EVERYTHING about this cover! It has such an elegant, luxurious feel to it, as well.

    I would put the Wheeler cover in second place, but I don’t like that there are no visual clues letting readers know this is a fantasy novel. And no, I don’t like the “cover chatter” (I LOVE this phrase of yours!) on it, either, even if it does contain an acclaimed author’s endorsement.

    The Czech cover would be my third choice, although, again, there are no visual clues as to the book’s content. (As you can see, I’m a very visual person, lol.) It IS a very elegant cover, though.

    The Italian cover, although striking, also frightens me. That mask has a VERY sinister, creepy feel to it. SHUDDERS!!

    As for that German cover, it’s a TOTAL disaster!! It looks like a city was bombed or something. And that pile of books with the blue bow on top looks totally RIDICULOUS! What’s up with THAT, I wonder?

    Thanks for sharing all of these covers!! I always look forward to reading your cover posts!! HUGS!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Thank you for your careful and thorough examination of each cover – I always really look forward to your detailed comments. And you’re right – that first cover probably provides most clues as to the genre, as well as being elegant and attractive. Hugsxxx

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