Friday Face-Off: Red

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:

“Lips as red as the rose.”
~ a cover that is predominantly RED

Mogsy’s Pick:
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Set in a world reminiscent of Austen meets fantasy, Sorcerer to the Crown is so wonderfully adaptable that pigeonholing it into any one category would be impossible. That said, “fantasy of manners” is a term that also frequently crops up when describing novels like this, with a focus on a rigid set of expectations within a hierarchical societal structure. Take our protagonist Zacharias Wythe, the first black man to ever hold the Sorcerer Royal title in Britain. Skilled as he may be, he still faces intense opposition and bigotry from those who feel that a freed slave should not have risen so far above his station.

Despite the possibility of war with France, the dwindling magical resources of England, and the political entanglements involving difficult witches and diplomats, it appears the greatest threat to Zacharias might very well be some of his own neighbors and peers. Already plagued with ugly rumors surrounding the death of his predecessor and adoptive guardian, Zacharias now finds himself targeted by someone who wants him dead. And just when he thinks life couldn’t get any more complicated, along comes Prunella Gentleman, a mixed-race young woman of considerable thaumaturgical power. In a world where women using magic is considered anathema, Zacharias decides to flout social norms, taking it upon himself to mentor Prunella and teach her how to control her powers.

Let’s take a look at the available covers:

From left to right:
Ace Books (2015) – Macmillan UK (2015)
Pan Paperback (2016) – German Edition (2016)




I own the Ace Books edition, whose deep red cover originally inspired me to feature this book for today’s topic. But the truth is, I’ve never really cared for it. Aside from being too bland, the contrast also isn’t sharp enough, making it difficult to make out all the fine detail. Rather, I’ve always much preferred the UK cover with its elegant style and gold-on-black color scheme (plus, I bet it looks even more amazing in real life). When the UK paperback came out, Pan went with a red-on-cream theme which I also thought was pretty–but it’s still nowhere near as dramatic or eye-catching as the original.

I think my mind is set. It’s the Macmillan UK (2015) all the way. But what do you think? Which one is your favorite?

19 Comments on “Friday Face-Off: Red”

  1. If I had to choose to read this book based on a cover alone, I’d go with the first one. It seems the most “fantasy” oriented while with the others I’d really be wondering just what I’m getting into.

    Now, once I read the book, that might be different. I rather like the German edition from a purely aesthetic viewpoint…


  2. Of all the cover choices that are available in red and we both picked the same book. I love the black and gold and it was going to be my choice too but I’ve gone with the red cover – the thing is, I’ve looked at that cover many times and yet putting the post together this week is the first time I’ve noticed the creature on the front – and I just loved spotting it, it made me happy. It is a little bit too subtle truth be told but I like it. I love the black and gold one – in fact, tbh, I like all four covers for different reasons.
    Lynn 😀


  3. The UK cover def looks great IRL. That’s the edition I have. Was thinking to get the red US edition at first but I also thought it was bland and wished the images on it would pop just a bit.


  4. I first got the golden cover because WOW so gorgeous, then got the red one for reread so I wouldn’t use the nice one too much hahah! Plus the red one is floppy!


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