Friday Face-Off: Steampunk

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:

“I saw huge buildings rise up faint and fair, and pass like dreams.”
~ a cover that is STEAMPUNK

Mogsy’s Pick:
The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis

Humble French metallurgy is pitted against the demonic alchemy of the Dutch in The Mechanical, a steampunk alternate historical fantasy. In the 17th century of this timeline, prominent mathematician and scientist Christiaan Huygens changed the face of the world by creating an army of clockwork automatons capable of intelligent thought, but are enslaved to their masters through a series of magical geasa. This breakthrough ensured the survival of the Calvinist Dutch Empire, for very few found themselves capable of standing against a legion of these tireless and utterly obedient mechanical men called “Clakkers.”

Three hundred years later, the Dutch are the dominant power with only a small remnant of French Papists still fighting to oppose their rule. The book begins with the executions of a group of French spies, witnessed by a Clakker servitor named Jax. Across the ocean where what’s left of the French Court has been exiled to the New World, our other protagonist is spymistress Berenice, vexed that all her agents back in the Netherlands have been caught and killed. Not long after, Jax is unwittingly used to smuggle a dangerous piece of intel across the Atlantic. Thus begins an incredible tale of deadly secrets and ruthless politics, as our two characters’ fates ultimately come together in their search for what they desire most – for Jax, the sweet taste of freedom, and for Berenice, the vengeance on those who took everything from her.

Let’s take a look at the covers:

From left to right:
Orbit Books (2015) – Polish Edition (2016) – Italian Edition (2016)



There are only three versions to choose from this week, and a clear favorite for me is the middle one (pictured here the Polish edition). I love covers with art styles or illustrations that look like they could have come straight out of an old-timey scholarly text or reference book. The level of detail on this one is also stunning.

But what do you think? Which one is your favorite?

37 Comments on “Friday Face-Off: Steampunk”

  1. We have the first physical. The pageses are red tinted, so the book looks like it has fallen into some red paint, realy like it. The heart cover is amazing too. But not in any language i can read. Ive done a review a few months ago if you havent checked it out already


  2. Cool covers. I like the third one the best, I think, for the cityscape and the dark quality of it. The heart one is nice and super detailed though.


  3. I’m completely with you on this one – that heart cover is absolutely fabulous – the detail is clearly a labour of love… Apart from anything else – clockwork/steam-driven hearts are a staple of steampunk adventures!


  4. I can’t believe that we both chose this one – how random! I had some many others in mind and then spotted this on my shelf and just thought ‘yes’ – because it’s such a good read. And, I need to read the second book which it feels like I bought eons ago!
    Lynn 😀


  5. Same pick! I enjoy illustrations on covers much more than realistic images, although I’m unexpectedly enjoying the dark impact of the Italian version as well. 😉


  6. This is the first I’ve heard of him (*sigh* will I ever know enough?!) and this sounds really cool … *scribbling* … he’s now on the list. 😀


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