What’s in a cover? Six covers depicting a singular novel in very different ways

September 15, 2013 § 6 Comments

Below are six covers for the fourth Witcher novel by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski.  Last year, I finished reviewing all seven (or eight in Spain for the 1st editions) volumes of the Geralt series, but I did make plans to read the long-delayed (five years) Times of Contempt (why the title is plural here is beyond me, as it is singular in the other languages) in English soon after its August (US) 2013 release.  When I bought the e-book edition this weekend, I also saw that there was an Italian edition available and I thought that since I am currently working on improving my Italian reading comprehension that it would be a good idea to purchase an Italian e-edition as well.

I was struck by the differences in covers and as I searched for .jpgs of the two English-language editions and the Spanish and Italian editions, I came across images for the original Polish and French editions as well.  I found each cover to represent something markedly different from the others, enough so that I thought I would post brief thoughts on each cover:

Polish:  The Polish cover is simple, yet it captures an important scene from the story.  The unicorn perhaps is a stock fantasy beast, yet its appearance next to a (presumably) dead body seems to indicate many things transpiring within the narrative that aren’t baldly spelled out.  I liked this cover for how it plays up and then hints at something different to the fantasy setting.

Spanish:  Depiction of Ciri, one of the main characters in this series.  Decent image (better than the original Spanish edition of a weapon), but the image is a bit too stiff and there isn’t much of a sense of the character here.

French:  Why do I think this cover might be a good candidate for Good Show Sir?  It’s so antiquated and doesn’t really fit in with what actually transpires within the novel.  If I hadn’t already read the series, covers like this would have likely dissuaded me.

Italian:  Now this cover is much better, as it captures Ciri and her balance of youth and later rough experiences quite nicely.  It feels like photoshopped and I like the use of colors here.

UK:  This is a reused cover from the Spanish edition of the second volume (not yet available in English translation), The Sword of Destiny.  Yennefer is pictured here.  See above comments about the Spanish cover, although this one I liked a bit more due to the prominence of the character; not as much background imagery to distract.

US:  Uh…uh…wha?  The image looks like Geralt is battling that sandpit monster from Return of the Jedi.  The lettering, however, is decent, but wow what an off-putting cover.

What about you?  Which covers did you like/like best?  Which ones should have been rejected before publication?

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