Friday Faceoff – Every great story seems to begin with a snake… #Brainfluffbookblog


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 subject this week featuring on any of our covers is SNAKES, so I’ve selected a book from one of my favourite series, Tongues of Serpents – Book 6 of the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik.


This edition was produced by Del Rey in July 2010 and features two snakelike dragons entwined around a porthole showing a ship. I really like the rippled sand as a backdrop, but I do think the fonts are very boring, given what an amazing premise this series offers.


Published in June 2011 by Voyager, this is the cover of the book that I read. I confess to loving this series with the black and white etched illustrations relating to incidents within the book and featuring amazing dragons. I also like the coloured font that is in keeping with the strong period feel of the cover and nicely pops against the black and white. This is my favourite.


Produced by Pocket in March 2013, this French edition follows the theme of the dragon coiled around a porthole or some sort of orb. I love the font – I think it works beautifully and picks up the gilding around the porthole very effectively. However, the stormy backdrop isn’t sufficient foil to the dark crimson/brown dragon and while those half-furled wings are wonderful, I’d rather the head was more of a feature. I’m also rather distracted by the shadow of the dragon against the clouds – surely that shouldn’t be happening?


This German edition, published by Penhaligon Verlag in 2010, is my favourite of all the similar designs where a dragon is coiled around some sort of globe. For starters, this dragon looks properly fierce and I love the way it has grasped the patterned globe, which is also beautifully patterned in colours that contrast very well with the hot reds and oranges of the dragon and the scaled background – another nice feature. It was so nearly my favourite, but I found the font both plain and a poor contrast to the rest of the cover.


This Polish edition, published by Rebis in October 2010 is the cover that gave me the chance to actually choose this book. Instead of dragons, we have two snakes battling on this cover. While it all looks very dramatic, I’m not sure the snakes are all fully in proportion – it seems one of them is rather on the short side, but perhaps the hidden part of the body conceals several coils… Once again, that rippled sand effect is a great backdrop, but disappointingly this Polish cover has gone down the route of also duplicating the very dreary, if clear, font from the Del Rey cover. Which is your favourite?

36 responses »

  1. I like the Polish edition, the two snakes are quite effective indeed, but the black-and-white cover is the one I keep going back to: there is something very fascinating in that stark contrast between two basic colors, with the title giving the only accent.

  2. I actually would buy the stylistic cover in black and white with the word “serpent” in purple. For some reason it strikes my fancy. Maybe it looks “literary.”( LOL, I skipped to the Reply box before reading your thoughts underneath the picures…look at how much we think alike!)

  3. Well, to be honest, I HATE snakes!! BUT, I LOVE dragons!! That might seem paradoxical, but that’s how I feel. Maybe I prefer dragons because they fly, while snakes sliiiiither…..UGH.

    So that means I’m not a fan of that Rebis cover….. In fact, it gives me the creeps!!

    My favorite cover this week is the one YOU chose!! It kind of reminds me of the cover of another similar book, titled “Serafina”, by another author. I think the same artist created that created that cover, also created the one above. The styles look similar.

    As for the other covers, they look pretty creepy, too. So…..the Voyager cover wins, hands down!!

    How nice that you had the grandkids this weekend!! Hope all of you have an AWESOME Sunday!! ❤ 🙂

    • Ooo… I’ve read Serafina – which I really enjoyed and I hadn’t thought about it – but there is a cover that is similar to the Temeraire series, isn’t there?

      Yes… I feel the same way about snakes, too. I even jump a bit when I come across the beautiful slow worms in the garden, which are essentially legless lizards. Absolutely harmless and getting quite rare – and lovely to look at…

      I hope that you, too, have a wonderful Sunday, Mariaxx

  4. I’ve not read this series which is a shame because I was in love with the covers and they seemed to be very well received books. Your favourite is definitely my favourite too – I love that style and could just spend ages looking at all the detail.
    Lynn 😀

    • Yes… I’m aware that I bent the rules, but I needed a cover with a snake – and they are surprisingly thin on the ground:). And to be honest – I’ll take any opportunity to pick a cover featuring a dragon – because… DRAGONS:)))

      • My son would love you. He always read anything he could find with a dragon on the cover! I wish he still read like he did when he was younger. Isn’t the saying that rules are made to be broken?

      • lol… oh absolutely! I TRY not to break the rules, given that our lovely hostess with the mostest works really hard to find interesting and different themes each week – but I do BEND them:)

        As for your son… other interests and passions often take over, but in my experience if they have established a love of books at a young age, they frequently return to them later on. And it sounds like you’ve put in the groundwork:)))

  5. I love the Voyager edition: so eye-catching and classy at the same time. Back in Ireland, I owned most of the series, buying it as it came out, but I gave the books away: I had to be picky about what I was taking with me to the US.

    • Oh yes, when you move around, you do need to make those hard decisions… We are in the (very, very slow) process of pruning our print books drastically – well, I am. Himself is less enthusiastic:))

      • Oh, the woes of sharing a library with a significant other. This reminds me of “Marrying Libraries” from Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman. A delightful collection of bookworm-centric essays that addresses many of our common quirks.

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