Friday Face-Off: Black & White

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:

~ a cover featuring a BLACK & WHITE DESIGN

Mogsy’s Pick:
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

Interesting that today’s theme is accompanied by a chess-related quote, because appropriately, my pick for this week also has a chess-related title and cover(s). The book’s protagonist is Myfanwy Thomas, who begins this story with no memory of who she is, but thanks to a letter she finds clutched in her hand, she is able to piece together enough of her identity to work out what to do next. Thomas (the name she has taken to calling her pre-amnesic self) was something called a Rook, a high-ranking member of a clandestine government organization known as the Checquy—kind of like MI5 except they are charged with protecting the United Kingdom against all kinds of supernatural threats. Many of the Checquy’s agents are super-powered as well, including Myfanwy, who eventually discovers that she is endowed with a rare but potentially dangerous talent of her own. Soon, she learns that someone in the Checquy had betrayed her, and in order to find out who the traitor is, she must reintegrate herself in the organization and hope that no one would suspect her memory loss.

So that’s the story, now let’s take a look at the covers:

First row, from left to right: Little, Brown and Company (2012) – Head of Zeus (2012) – Back Bay Books (2012)


Portuguese (2016) – French (2014) – French (2015)


Czech (2012) – Chinese (2014) – Turkish (2015)



For such an entertaining and eccentric novel, I was rather disappointed to find that most of its covers were pretty standard and unvarying. Most of the designs I found played on the same two themes of either the rook piece or the checkered motif. So after some waffling, I decided to go with Head of Zeus as my winner, followed closely by the 2015 French edition. In my eyes, those are the only two that come closest to capturing the tone of the story, but ultimately, I think the eye-catching splashes of red give the HoZ version the edge.

What do you think? Which one is your favorite?


24 Comments on “Friday Face-Off: Black & White

  1. Your choice is the most eye-catching design, but I quite like the 2014 French edition as well as the Chinese version. It’s the symbols on the chessboard that drew my eye, and the colour-scheme of the Chinese cover.

    Now to have a look at your review:)


  2. I like the Little, Brown and Company cover and the Back Bay Books covers the best- they have that heraldic look I kinda like. I would say those are my favorites.


  3. This is a great choice of book, Mogsy:). I also think you’ve chosen the best cover and you’re right – there is quite a strong similarity across the covers. That said, none of them are bad – the other one I really like is the Czech offering, which is also a bit different.


  4. My favourite is definitely the second and I was kind of scrolling down wondering whether something would beat it but no – so it made me smile that that was your favourite too. This book is on my wishing – I should get to it.
    Lynn 😀


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