Friday Faceoff – Sea in a storm, night with no moon and the anger of a gentle man… #Brainfluffbookblog #FridayFaceoffatmosphericcovers


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 being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and this week we are featuring ATMOSPHERIC covers. I’ve selected The Wise Man’s Fear – Book 2 of the Kingkiller series by Patrick Rothfuss, which I absolutely loved – see my review.

This edition of The Wise Man’s Fear was produced by DAW Books March 2011. Full of shadows and intrigue and mainly featuring wet stone, some of it rough-hewn, some of it paved, not much seems to be happening. But I love this cover and it became – quite rightly – the default cover for this outstanding epic fantasy. It’s the play of moonlight on the rain-slicked cityscape… that archway… and the figure standing in a pool of moonlight. It doesn’t hurt that this is a relatively uncluttered cover and while the fonts are very plain, they work well with the design. This is my favourite…

Published in March 2011 by Gollancz, this another classy effort. The cover is beautiful with those fire-red leaves surrounding the figure dominating the middle of the cover with his flourished sword and lightning limning the stormy skies. But that’s part of the problem. Though it is pleasing on the eye, it seems far too generic to properly represent this remarkable, accomplished novel. It only lacks a rearing horse to tick all the epic fantasy tropes that generally end up on a cover.

This Portuguese edition, published in November 2011 by Arqueiro, has broken away from the darker, moodier covers that defined this book and produced something brighter. It is also beautiful – I love that shade of turquoise, which is eye-catching and unusual in this genre. The sense of the forest whited out behind the intense light is well done and this one could have been a real contender if the figure in the foreground didn’t look quite so much like a refugee from a Disney cartoon. I would have preferred a more travel-scuffed depiction of Kvothe.

This Finnish edition, published in June 2015 by Kirjava, is a great cover. I love that burst of colour on the skyline with the birds flying away from the gathering stormclouds. Young Kvothe crouched on the roof is well depicted – and I really like the fact that he isn’t looking at us. My problem with this one is that the execution is relatively crude. The definition is poor and the colours blocky, with the artwork lacking detail and shading. It’s a shame, as the design is great, but it looks as though the cover designer still hadn’t got to grips with Adobe Photoshop.


This Czech edition, published by Argo in October 2012, is another strong offering. I really like the stone ornamentation apparently staring down at young Kvothe, who is glaring out at us, while dealing with a flock of birds. There is a sense of movement and urgency about this cover that isn’t present in any of the others. I like the gradated shading on the author and title fonts, which nests them within the overall cover design, rather than making them look as if they were just plonked over the top as an afterthought. This is the one I so nearly went for… But which is your favourite?

32 responses »

  1. What a great choice! These are all so different. I think the last one is my favorite, simply because I’ve never seen it before and I absolutely love it😁

    • Thank you, Tammy – I recalled that first cover and so this was the one that popped into my head when I saw the theme… And yes – that last cover is rather special, isn’t it?

  2. These are so fun. I like the same one as you. Although the Czech cover and the Portuguese cover are good runners-up for me. I am sooo mad at Rothfuss for never finishing the series. Arrgh. I’ve been mad about it for years. Lol.

    • Oh I know! It was so outstandingly goooood! I felt sad, as much as anything else. I’m guessing he hit a massive brick wall and just couldn’t get around it… Writer’s block is a monster:(.

      • I rarely pick up an unfinished series anymore, because of Rothfuss and Martin (never finishing Game of Thrones). So aggravating. You are much kinder than I am. Lol. Anyway, I’m a total sucker for a great cover.

      • Oh, I’ll agree with you on that one! I certainly don’t BUY books in an unfinished series, though I’ll happily get hold of the Netgalley arc. Although – I have been known to crack when it comes to a stormingly good cover…

  3. This is such a great book so I always love when it’s picked for a theme and there are so many covers. I like your choice this week – it definitely fits the atmospheric theme doesn’t it.
    Lynn 😀

  4. Ooooh, you’re right about that third one. I really really liked the color there, but the moment I read “disney” I thought of Merida from BRAVE. Yup, this character does look like something from that. And I do so love those red leaves, but you’re spot on again about how it looks so, so much like, well, so much else already out there. There first one’s got a healthy bit of menace to the fantasy. 🙂

    • You are so right about the character looking like Merida! And I LOVE Brave – I’ll take it over Frozen, anyday… Yes – I probably was being a bit harsh – but I still think that first cover has an X factor:))

      • Nah, it’s not harsh, especially considering how many fantasy covers Disney/Hyperion/Obsidian/Whateverian has been putting out. I’m sure the cover art’s to attract some of the younger fantasy fans out there.

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