Friday Face-Off: Playing Cards


Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme created by Books by Proxy! Each Friday, we will pit cover against cover while also taking the opportunity to showcase gorgeous artwork and feature some of our favorite book covers. If you want to join the fun, simply choose a book each Friday that fits that week’s predetermined theme, post and compare two or more different covers available for that book, then name your favorite. A list of future weeks’ themes are available at Lynn’s Book Blog.

This week’s theme is:

“Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well”
~ a cover featuring PLAYING CARDS

Mogsy’s Pick:
Planesrunner by Ian McDonald

When I saw what the theme was for this week, my mind immediately went to the US cover for this book, mainly because Planesrunner is never too far from my mind. It’s an amazing novel, the first of a Young Adult series called Everness, but don’t write it off just because of the YA tag — this is a smart, unique, and entertaining universe-hopping steampunk adventure like no other, and I’m glad to finally get the chance to gush about it. I just wish I knew whether or not Ian McDonald is planning on writing more for this series, because book three was the latest one to come out and that was in 2013.

Anyway, let’s take a look at some of book’s covers. Interestingly, the Pyr edition has two versions, one for the hardcover and one for the Kindle, with only slight differences between them:

planesrunner-pyr-1 planesrunner-pyr-2

The Russian edition is the only other cover to feature playing cards. The rest show the eponymous airship Everness in all her glory.

From left to right, top to bottom: Bulgarian (2015) – French (2013) – Italian (2017) – British (2012) – Russian (2013)

planesrunner-bulgarian-2015 planesrunner-french-2013 planesrunner-italian-2017

planesrunner-jo-fletcher-books planesrunner-russian-2013


This was a tough one. My eye for aesthetics went immediately to the Bulgarian edition, because damn, that’s just beautiful. At the same time though, my heart refused to relinquish the Jo Fletcher Books UK cover, and all because that’s the edition I own. Oh well, stubborn hearts win out in the end!

What do you think? Which one is your favorite?


22 Comments on “Friday Face-Off: Playing Cards”

  1. I agree with you that the Bulgarian and UK covers are the most beautiful, but I think I still have to pick the Pyr edition on the right. I love how the kid is coming out of the doorway, and the cards flying around.. It screams Chronicles of Amber which gives it my full and immediate attention. Now I’m off to search for your review of this book because at first glance it seems very interesting!


  2. I’m going with the russian one myself. The ones with all the airships, too steampunky for me to ever want to pick up. I’d look at the russian one and go “hmm, lets try this”.


  3. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this before! It sounds amazing. I just added it to my tbr…there’s nothing I love more than hearing about good YA speculative authors! 😀

    I love pretty much all the covers except the US one haha. The UK one stands out as the most unique, though- I’ll have to go with that one!


  4. Not a fan of the two covers with cards on them at all. My favorite book with cards on the cover is Laura Lams Shadowplay. Not that anyone asked, but it was the first one that came to mind for me.


    • Oh man, I totally forgot that the cover of Shadowplay features playing cards! I haven’t read that one yet though, so it wouldn’t have felt right for me to feature it anyway. One day though, one day, I must continue that series.


  5. Good choice (and the French cover is not bad, either)! This is the first time I heard about this series, and since I fell in love with McDonald’s Luna: New Moon last year, I will forget my distrust of YA novel and try this series. Your use of the words “smart” and “unique” is more than encouraging 🙂


    • It was because of this series that I decided to try Luna: New Moon. I was curious what it would be like going from his YA to Adult, but I’m happy to report no matter what age group he writes for, McDonald is superb 🙂


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