Friday Face-Off: Dragon
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:
“You have nice manners for a thief, and a LIAR!”
~ a cover featuring a DRAGON
The Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb
Out of all the different types of dragons I’ve encountered in fantasy, Robin Hobb’s dragons are perhaps some of the most interesting and unique I’ve ever seen. The Dragon Keeper is the first book of The Rain Wild Chronicles, which is a series that takes place in the author’s famous Realm of the Elderlings. The story begins with a group of sea serpents journeying upriver to cocoon themselves so that they might emerge as full-fledged dragons. They are overseen by the dragon Tintaglia, the last known of her kind, with the help of some humans on the Rain Wild Council. Together, the expedition travels along the river in the hopes of finding the legendary Elderling city of Kelsingra.
These, however, are not your typical dragons. Malformed and unable to take care of themselves, these pitiful creatures are as far away from the “magnificent and noble dragon” archetype as you can get. That said, being weak and helpless has not humbled them at all. Take the least flattering stereotypes about cats, and dragons are like that except a thousand times worse–belligerent, arrogant, petty, and squabbly. Still, they felt fresh and different for me, and I liked them a lot for that.
And now, time to look at the covers:
First row, left to right: Voyager (2009) – HarperCollins (2010) – Harper Voyager (2015)
Second row, left to right: German (2012) – Russian (2012) – Dutch (2016)
While I do enjoy minimalist covers like the Voyager (2009) or Harper Voyager (2015) editions, my eye also couldn’t help but be drawn to the more colorful ones. Plus, I’m a sucker for the painted style that always makes me think of sweeping fantasy epics, so this week the clear winner is the Russian 2012 edition. It is a poor portrayal of the book, which makes the setting look cold and icy when the story actually takes place in a marshy forest (not to mention the vessels the characters traveled on were liveships, not Viking ships). Still, I really like the cool tones of this cover, and the dragon looks awesome, even though it, too, is a poor representation of the stunted, malformed river dragons in the story.
What do you think, though? Which cover is your favorite?