Friday Faceoff – When darkness falls, beauty is lit from within… #Brainfluffbookblog #FridayFaceoffFREEBIEcover


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 now being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and this week we have been given the chance to feature whatever we like. I’ve gone for a wonderful science fiction read about an autistic young man set in the future called The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon…


This edition was produced by Del Rey in June 2005 and is a real contender. I love the image of the haunted-looking young man – the blurring effect of the light and the quirky positioning of the title. My main grizzle is the chatter in the bottom left of the cover which I think compromises the design, though at least it has been positioned with some thought.


Published in May 2004 by Ballantine Books, this Tenth Anniversary edition is another effective cover. The interlocking pieces making up the whole image, which is still off-centre creates an eye-catching, arresting effect. However, the title font is underpowered and boring, while that ugly textbox is completely out of place, especially given the strong colour draws the eye away from the otherwise muted design palette.


This offering, published by Ballentine Books in March 2004, is the least successful effort. The child’s windmill is evidently supposed to look as if it’s spinning at speed, but ends up looking like a poorly executed blur. This effect is emphasised in thumbnail, where the binary sequencing manages to make the whole cover look out of focus. I don’t like the limp title and author fonts, or the chatter cluttering up the design, either. A book this awesome deserves a far better cover.


This next cover was released in December 2010 by Hachette. I love the drama of the splinters of light flying off across the cover, while the dark purple corona against the black background looks beautiful. This cover certainly stands out from the others with the sheer visual drama. For once, both the title and author fonts are substantial enough to stand out from the design to be easily read, which surely ought to be their purpose, anyhow. This is my favourite.


This Polish hardback edition, released in May 2005 by ISA, is also a contender. I love the purple image of the young man with the silvered eyes, while the play of light in the background is beautiful and eye-catching. This one was so very nearly my favourite – which is yours?


31 responses »

  1. I so love this book and so don’t love any of these covers! The Hachette one is the best of the bunch and the pinwheel is just awful. Good choice of book though. I think everyone should read this.
    x The Captain

  2. Ya, the font is unattractive on all of them. Your choice is great but I think I like the first cover. I’m guessing you chose it because you liked the story. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Gosh, what a range of different covers for this one book! Given that I don’t find myself drawn to sci fi very often these daysI love the second cover down. It really draws me to want to read the book and it doesn’t scream sci fi to me. Having said that the first cover is the most stunning of them all.

  4. I almost entirely agree with you about these covers. The Hachette cover has the most impact and is the least cluttered, and the ISA cover’s orange title cover does clash badly. The only place where I’d disagree is that I consider the Ballantine cover the worst, as it manages to be simultaneously dull and disjointed — absolutely godawful.

    • Thank you! I’ll stick to my guns regarding the worst as I LOATHE that wretched child’s windmill – apart from anything else, I think also manages to be condescending as the protagonist isn’t a child, he’s a young man… Though perhaps I’m giving the cover art designer too much credit – they probably haven’t read it, anyway:)

  5. The first cover is the one I like best, and I can ignore the writing on the lower left corner if I focus on the image and the colors… More important, since I liked Moon’s Vatta series, I’m adding this title to my “wanted” list for future… explorations 🙂

  6. I can decide on the favorite. I can see why you like the Hachette one, but I feel like something’s missing from it. The Polish one (I owned it back in Poland, but didn’t get around to reading it before I left) is eye-catching, but at the same time foreground and background don’t mesh, making me feel like the face was pasted onto it… I guess it’s a draw then.

    • It’s a shame that this book hasn’t garnered better covers – it is a fabulous read… And I can see why the man’s face looks as though it has been pasted on, too – now you’ve mentioned it. But I still think it’s a better effort that at least a couple of the others:)).

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