Friday Faceoff – Beware the jabberwock, my son… #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 FANTASY BEASTS, so I’ve selected The Red Knight – Book 1 of The Traitor Son Cycle by Miles Cameron – see my review here.


This edition was produced by Gollancz in October 2012 and is my favourite. It didn’t hurt that this is the cover of the edition that I read. I love the simplicity of the fully armoured knight fighting the wyvern – and how his foot is on the top of the title font, which is stylish and feels part of the overall design. The artwork is beautiful and detailed and it’s no surprise that this cover is the one that appears on most editions.


Published in January 2013 by Orbit, while this cover is clearly dramatic with the flames licking the sword – I find it rather generic. This could be any knight clutching any sword, though why anyone would want to roast their precious weapon is a puzzle. I do like the font, however, which works well within the design.


This German edition, published by Heyne in June 2013, is another strong offering. I really like the weathered parchment effect, with the slight blurring of the author and title fonts, as if this precious document has become wet at some stage. The engraving of the sword gives a sense of the medieval era, albeit an alternate timeline where wyverns and dark magic menaces the land.


Produced by Bragelonne in January 2017, this French edition once again features a hand holding the sword, but I think it is far more successful than Orbit’s effort. For starters, the detailing on the sleeve and the blood-spattered gauntlet feels more connected to the book than some random character holding a sword in a fire. I also love the background, which also had been given some serious consideration. The ornate lettering capitalising the title font manages to give it a period feel without compromising the clarity. This classy effort is a close contender, but for the fact that I’m a sucker for that wyvern.


This Russian edition, published by Фантастика Книжный Клуб in December 2016 uses the original cover as its inspiration, going back to the battle between the red knight and the wyvern. I’d expected this to be my second favourite, but I find the figures – particularly the fabulous beast – lacking in the fluid lines that add to the drama of the original. This stilted version simply isn’t as well executed, however I do like the addition of that red border which works really well against the grey background. Which is your favourite?


30 responses »

  1. I agree with your favorite! That first cover is gorgeous! I like all the things you mentioned, but I really like the design on the background too. Its intricate enough to fill up the empty space but light enough that it doesn’t distract from the focal point!

  2. The first one is also my favorite. I like the others too but they are also kind of…well, generic. To be honest, weapons/armor are so prevalent on epic fantasy cover these days, my eyes just kind of slide right on past them 😛

    • Yes – I certainly felt that about the Orbit cover, but I did feel the French edition had put some thought and effort into making the cover fit the actual book.

  3. Hmmm. Like you said, the blurring of the title’s lettering in that third version is pretty neat–it promises not all is neat and tidy. 🙂 But I love that fourth version with the gauntlet and blood and sword BUUUUT…but but but…the red background. I wonder why not a contrasting color, like a dark green or something, so the blood and gold scroll work could stand out better. x

  4. The first is my favorite: I like the artwork, the contrast that helps the focus and how the typography is a part of the design rather than being an afterthought.

    • Yes – and you’re right… It’s refreshing to see the title font incorporated into the artwork – it was one of the reasons why I liked it so much:)

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