Friday Face-Off: City

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:

“That great condenser of moral chaos, The City”
~ a cover featuring a CITY

Mogsy’s Pick:
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

My pick for this week is a brutal dystopian set in 23rd century Thailand, in a world devastated by ecological disasters and economic collapse. Humanity is now almost entirely dependent on biotechnology for food production, and megacorporations control the market using their own genetically modified seeds, which have all but replaced the natural order. The capital city of Bangkok only survives due to technology, but its future is always hanging by a thread.

The titular character of the novel is Emiko, a “Windup Girl” genetically engineered to be a docile slave. After being abandoned by her master, Emiko is forced to endure abuse and humiliation at the club where she works in exchange for a measure of protection against the Thai government. If they find out she exists, she would be destroyed.

The covers for this book are many and varied, so let’s take a look at some of them now:

First row, from left to right: Night Shade Books (2009) – Subterranean Press (2011) – French Edition (2013)


Italian Edition (2013) – Polish Edition (2013) – Serbian Edition (2014) – Russian Edition (2012)


Chinese Edition (2012) – Romanian Edition (2013) – Czech Edition (2011)



This week is a really mixed bag, with some excellent covers along with some not-so-great ones (e.g. the monstrosities that are the Serbian and Czech editions that seem to have confused this for a horror novel). There are a couple that I love so much though, I think I’m going to have to go with a tie. My choices for the winners are the Night Shade Books (2009) and Chinese Edition (2012) covers, and I’m just gonna go ahead and leave the original artwork pieces here to speak for themselves.

What do you think? Which one is your favorite?



32 Comments on “Friday Face-Off: City

  1. I think I like the Italian edition best. The fairly blank face and barcode make the point that she is being treated as a commodity (at least I assume that’s the point). Sometimes aí prefer symbolism on book covers rather than a scene from the book.


  2. Some beautiful covers here. The French one makes me think of William Gibson’s ‘Idoru’. The Italian cover reminds me of ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’. I’ve always liked the original (?..) Night Shade Book’s cover, but the Chinese cover is really good, too. I’m going with China.
    Great post!


  3. My favorite is the Night Shade version without a doubt. Not only does it look futuristic but it has a style of illustration that I just really like. My 2nd pick would be the Chinese version as well. I’m not sure why she’s floating or flying through the air, but it’s a nice cover.

    The Russian edition has a bit of a futuristic look too, it’s okay.

    I’m not sure what’s going on in the Czech edition! And the Serbian one is just hideous.


    • Yeah, I like the Night Shade edition and the cover which shows a mixing of the future and past, with the skyscrapers in the background and the elephant in the foreground. And oh gosh, the Serbian edition is the worst.


  4. Wow. This is a huge range of covers for one book. I like the Chinese and Night Shade covers, too, but I think my favorite is the Subterranean one. I don’t know how well it fits the story, but the stained / torn parchment look, the fake seal, and the sketch of Emiko (I’m assuming it’s supposed to be her?) piqued my curiosity the most.


  5. I don’t think I liked any of them really. And that Serbian edition – it just gave me some serious creeps – and I LIKE horror so that’s saying a lot given that a non-horror book cover can creep me out more than most horror ones – crazy!


  6. What a fabulous choice of book! I’m impressed with the sheer variety of covers you found – but then this is a very highly regarded book, which I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read… Though your description of it certainly has made me consider adding it to my TBR list. And yes… the two covers you selected are the strongest contenders with my overall favourite being the Nightshade cover.


  7. Pingback: The Liebster Award Number Four – Bookmark Your Thoughts

  8. I like the Chinese version, but I actually like the Czech version the best.

    I haven’t seen any of those horror movies with a girl hiding her face behind her hair, so it doesn’t really give me a horror vibe. I see it more as the girl hiding her face out of shame or submission, which I’m guessing might be relevant to the novel (from your description, I haven’t read it).


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