The Friday Face-Off: Here be Dragons

Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a new weekly meme here at Books by Proxy. Join me every Friday as I pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe.

Here be Dragons

Temeraire / His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

Welcome to this week’s Friday Face-Off! This Face-Off is all about dragons, so I’ve gone for the first book in a series I intended to start almost ten years ago and still haven’t got around to!

Published as Temeraire by Harper Voyager in the UK and as His Majesty’s Dragon by Del Rey in the US, the first book in Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series has some stunning cover art on offer by some very talented artists. Take a look and see which one is your favourite.

Harper Voyager – UK Cover

Artwork by Andrew Davidson

Del Rey / Ballantine – US Cover

Artwork by Dominic Harman

| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

For me, the UK cover of Temeraire wins hands down. That wood engraving by Andrew Davidson is ridiculously detailed and has some wonderful depictions of dragons. I love the illustrative style, the very simple colour palette and the interesting typeface which grows from the tail of the main dragon!

On the other hand, despite an eye-catching piece of dragon artwork in the centre, the red background of the US cover completely distracts my attention – so much so that I’d almost say I disliked it if it weren’t for the alternative editions below. The typeface similarly does nothing for this cover which has led to a very easy decision this week! I only hope Andrew Davidson continues to produce beautiful cover art!

| Alternative Cover Bonus |

Temeraire - Alternative

Artwork by Dominic Harman

Additionally, Dominic Harman has produced several alternative covers for the UK including this mass market edition (left) based on the first edition UK cover, and the latest cover (right) which is incredibly similar to the US cover from Del Rey. Despite both these covers being beautiful and the fact that I prefer both to the US offering above (the cover on the right definitely benefits from a light background and improved typeface!), I can’t help but think it’s something of a loss to have come away from that gorgeous wood engraving from Andrew Davidson.

Which cover wins your vote this week? Are any of the alternative editions your favourite? Have a cover of your own? – Post the link below!

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

Next Friday’s theme is: Green With Envy

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15 thoughts on “The Friday Face-Off: Here be Dragons

  1. Oh, I completely endorse your choice! I fell in love with the concept of the books before I read any of them – it’s one of the few series I have followed right the way through without falling away from it and I have loved the progression throughout. And the beautiful delicacy of the engraving not only encapsulates a sense of the time, it also includes all sorts of delightful detail captured in the story… Thank you for yet another awesome offering!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad it’s a book you’ve enjoyed – I’ll definitely have to bump it up my reading list now! This cover seems to capture the premise so well and it sounds like something I’d really enjoy…. the only problem is now I have to hunt it out of the masses!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the UK cover. I agree that the red in the US cover is distracting. I prefer the white background in the alternate covers section. The center piece in the US cover is pretty cool too. The ship seemed to move as I scrolled down….maybe I’m just tired.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh no – where did my comment disappear to!! Drat – me and technology! I’m with the UK team on this one. I love that cover. Still haven’t read this series but have always wanted to give it a chance.
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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