Monday, 25 April 2011

What Cover Would You Go For?

Welcome back to this semi-regular feature where two copies of the same book turn up on my doorstep and I ask readers which cover art you all prefer. Sounds simple doesn't it? Not this week...

Today I give you Robert Redick's 'The River of Shadows' and here's the blurb to start you off...

In the gripping sequel to Robert V. S. Redick’s acclaimed epic fantasy novels The Red Wolf Conspiracy and The Ruling Sea, the crew of the vast, ancient ship Chathrand have reached the shores of the legendary southern empire of Bali Adro. Many have died in the crossing, and the alliance of rebels, led by the tarboy Pazel Pathkendle and the warrior Thasha Isiq, has faced death, betrayal, and darkest magic. But nothing has prepared them for the radically altered face of humanity in the South.

They have little time to recover from the shock, however. For with landfall, the battle between the rebels and centuries-old sorcerer Arunis enters its final phase. At stake is control of the Nilstone, a cursed relic that promises unlimited power to whoever unlocks the secrets of its use—but death to those who fail. And no one is closer to mastering the Stone than Arunis.

Desperate to stop him, Pazel and Thasha must join forces with their enemies, including the depraved Captain Rose and the imperial assassin Sandor Ott. But when a suspicious young crewmember turns his attentions to Thasha, it is the young lovers themselves who are divided—most conveniently for Arunis. As the mage’s triumph draws near, the allies face a terrible choice: to break their oaths and run for safety, or to hunt the world’s most dangerous sorcerer through the strange and deadly dream kingdom known as the River of Shadows, and to face him a last time among the traps and horrors of his lair.


Now normally, either the US or UK cover art establishes itself as a clear winner over the other and I can pick a favourite right away. Not today though. Today we have...

The US Cover...

 Looks very nice and all but doesn't really tell you anything about the book itself (other than that there's a sword and shield in there somewhere...)
 
The UK Cover...

This cover tells us a little more about the story but, unfortunately, what it seems to be telling us is that a sea serpent has been disturbed in the shower (by a big ship) and hasn't had time to dry her hair...

Neither of these work for me but if you had to choose one for your bookshelf which one would it be? And has anyone here read the first two books? Here's another series that has passed me by and I'm wondering if it's worth a look...

13 comments:

Jordan said...

I would take ghost sword over spiny ladyserpent 10 times out of 10.

Sally Sapphire said...

Well, if this isn't an interesting twist. Usually, the UK covers win me over hands-down, but I actually like the US cover better in this case.

Rambling Scribbler said...

I personally prefer the US cover, I tend to prefer symbols rather than actual scenes on my covers.

Benni said...

Aesthetically, I'd rate them about equal (and neither are that great), but I agree that the UK cover tells me more about the story. The sea serpent hair is really funny, though.

Esther said...

I'd choose the US cover. The darker colours seem more adult to me.
The sea serpernt says 'teen fantasy' to me while the sailing ship elicits a large yawn.

Antonakis said...

I prefer the US cover. Maybe it's the overall colors and mood, maybe the choice of font type and font color but the US cover feels more balanced and less intrusive. I don't mind when books depict a specific scene on the cover but I prefer it when it's something more generic that has to do with the whole of the story and not only a chapter or a moment. I have always felt (since I was a kid) that showing an epic-looking fight/danger scene on the cover was a little bit "thin", shallow, superficial and cheesy.

Jeff said...

I prefer the US cover.

Also, I have read the first two books. I thought they were decent, but unremarkable. There are some good ideas and origninal magic and settings, I just wanted to wring the character's necks a few times too often.

Jeff

Mark Lawrence said...

I like the sword and shield better as art - I think the serpent and ship are better given the nature of the tale. And certainly the first book had a YA edge to it - the tale is told almost entirely through a young teen boy and teen young girl POV - so if it says 'teen fantasy' it may not be entirely wrong. The series is enjoyed by many adults though and I'm not categorising it as YA.

As to whether you would enjoy the series, Graeme, I can't predict. Certainly there's very good writing and great imagination on display - whether the tone and tale will suit you ... dunno. Give it a try :)

Pat said...

I prefer the US cover myself, but unlike an earlier poster, I prefer actual scenes to symbols! I initially "read" the shield as a compass rose at first glance.

shaneo52 said...

UK's are usually best, but US wins for once, I just bought the Red Wolf Conspiracy too, starting as soon as I finish Dragons Path.

JamesY said...

I'm not really drawn to or turned off by either. However, I think I will wait for the publisher's inevitable re-branding in a few years time which may provide something more appealing to me, but hack off everyone waiting for the final volume in a matching cover.

Salt-Man Z said...

Man, that UK cover really reminds me of the UK cover of The Lees of Laughter's End. Looks like it might even be the same artist.

Phillip H. Tang said...

US cover definitely.