Friday Faceoff – Better to fight and fall than to live without hope… #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 subject this week featuring on any of our covers is a LONGBOAT, so I’ve selected Half the World – Book 2 of The Shattered Sea series by Joe Abercrombie.


This edition was produced by Del Rey in February 2015. I like the design – the huge wave rising out of the sea, with the breaking surf at the crest morphing into edged weapons. However, I don’t like the monochrome treatment – it looks rather drab and gives the impression that the book is a lot darker than it actually is. And other than that small flourish on the tail of the R, the title font is unforgivably boring.


Published in February 2015 by Harper Voyager, this cover makes my point. I think this one looks sooo much better than the bleak version above. We can fully appreciate the detailing of all those cool weapons, while the deep green water on the face of the wave gives a sense of the power of the sea, even without the plucky Viking boat fighting up it. And the title font is far more appropriately eye-catching – altogether a much better version. It never fails to surprise me how much changing colours can affect the whole feel and tone of a design. This is my favourite.


This edition, published by Harper Voyager in June 2015, is another strong offering. This time around we are on the longship, alongside the heroes as they negotiate a tricky strait. I love the prow of the boat, the back of the protagonist and the ominous sky, giving a sense of tension. The title font is both appropriate and eye-catching – I really like this one.


Produced by Arqueiro in January 2017, this Portuguese edition chooses to focus on the characters rather than the setting. While I think it is well executed and I very much approve of the clean, uncluttered look of the cover – and the fact they choose to let us know that it’s the second book in the series. However, I find the stern-faced, armed female protagonist rather generic.


This Romanian edition, published by Nemira in April 2016 is another attractive, well-crafted offering. However I think the scale is wrong. The longship is beautiful – that gold edging of the sail looks fabulous – but it’s too small and the grandeur of that epic landscape is simply lost. I’m itching to apply a zoom option to this cover, which has so much going for it… Which one is your favourite?

31 responses »

  1. I’d almost forgotten there was a longboat on this one! I do love the epic quality of the Nemira cover, though as you say, something about the ship seems off. Might be the scale, but I think the perspective looks wonky too. At first glance, I thought I was staring at the ship head on, but on closer inspection, it’s the front of the boat that looks a bit wrong.

  2. I love your choice – and, this is the book that I’d wanted to use – but could I remember it when it came to posting. No, of course not. The cover version I have is the top one but I think I’d spotted your favourite a few weeks ago when looking for something else and thought it would be ideal for this theme – but I just couldn’t recall it at all.
    Lynn 😀

  3. I like the cover with the generic Female protagonist in it 🤷🏽‍♂️ . Also Joe Abercrombie is my favorite author , I haven’t read this series yet , coz I like his grim dark First Law series and other standalone books he has written .

  4. I concur about the female–ever since Sara J. Maas, it seems that every cover needs a female with weapons on the cover to advertise “strong female character!” The wave of weapons is AMAZING, not to mention a touch Game of Thronesey to engage those who like Game of Thrones, but also clearly NOT so GoT as to make readers think they’re looking at a rip-off.

  5. My favorite is the same as yours: not only it’s eye-catching, but also creative in how it uses the wave to be something more. Other than that, Romanian edition caught my eye just because it’s neat.

      • I know of the series, but didn’t get into First Law trilogy (ended up only reading book 1) or Best Served Cold (I think I got halfway through), and this one is said to be more on the YA side, so I felt like it wouldn’t be for me.

      • I don’t really know why this one was regarded as YA, except that the protagonist is quite young. But the overall tone and feel of it didn’t strike me much as YA – except that it wasn’t as violent as First Law, or Best Served Cold – which I also abandoned.

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