Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Which cover would you go for? 'The Dirty Streets of Heaven' (Tad Williams)

I'm a big fan of Tad Williams (still need to read the last two 'Shadowmarch' books but I'm pretty sure it's impossible for him to write a bad book) so I chased down an advance copy of 'The Dirty Streets of Heaven', to the very ends of the earth, just to be sure that I got a copy. Well, I chased it all the way to DAW, in the US, but you know what I mean... :o)
And after all that chasing, a copy of the UK edition arrived in the post this morning. Should have saved myself the bother, and just waited really, shouldn't I? In my defence I was expecting to see 'Dirty Streets' released by Orbit, for some reason, and they'd been awfully quite about it (which they would be, given that it's Hodder who are publishing it over here...)

I'm only going to read one of the two editions (might read one and keep the other) so I thought it would be a good time to run another one of those posts where I show you the US and UK covers and you tell me which one you like the best. That way, both editions get a shot at appearing here (I'm nice like that).

Have some blurb first,

Bobby Dollar is an angel—a real one. He knows a lot about sin, and not just in his professional capacity as an advocate for souls caught between Heaven and Hell. Bobby’s wrestling with a few deadly sins of his own—pride, anger, even lust.

But his problems aren’t all his fault. Bobby can’t entirely trust his heavenly superiors, and he’s not too sure about any of his fellow earthbound angels either, especially the new kid that Heaven has dropped into their midst, a trainee angel who asks too many questions. And he sure as hell doesn’t trust the achingly gorgeous Countess of Cold Hands, a mysterious she-demon who seems to be the only one willing to tell him the truth.

When the souls of the recently departed start disappearing, catching both Heaven and Hell by surprise, things get bad very quickly for Bobby D.
End-of-the-world bad. Beast of Revelations bad. Caught between the angry forces of Hell, the dangerous strategies of his own side, and a monstrous undead avenger that wants to rip his head off and suck out his soul, Bobby’s going to need all the friends he can get—in Heaven, on Earth, or anywhere else he can find them.

And here are those covers...

The US Edition

 The UK Edition

The more I do these posts the more I come to realise that the whole 'UK cover art is better than the US covers' is more than a bit of a myth. I mean, look at those two covers. What I like about the US cover is that it's a hell of a lot more honest than the UK cover. 'Dirty Streets' is a story about an angel and the US cover isn't afraid to tell us that. The UK cover though... Clearly designed for the guy on the tube who doesn't want to admit to other commuters that he's reading a fantasy book. It's a cover that emphasizes the detective element of the book over the fantasy stuff and that's fair enough, whatever sells the book I guess. I prefer the up front nature of the US cover though, it has to be said.

That's me and my opinion, what do you think? What cover do you prefer and would you be caught reading the US edition on a packed commuter train? I would :o)

Comments in the usual place please!

P.S. The two editions will be released within about a fortnight of each other in the first two weeks of September. That's close enough for me to start reading my copy now so look out for a review in the next couple of weeks.


Anonymous said...

For a change I'll go with the US cover (usually prefer the UK offerings). You can see from the out what the main character is.

The UK cover looks very Nic Cage "City Of Angels" ish to me.

Ellie said...

I would go with the US one. Maybe it's the color scheme. Maybe it's the fact that the image on the UK one just seems hastily done by someone who just discovered Photoshop. The UK one also looks more 'urban fantasy', and I tend to dislike 99% of urban fantasy covers.

Anonymous said...

UK cover all the way the USA cover is just too generic - quite boring

April said...

I like the UK cover better just for aesthetic reasons. The US cover is too close to the poster for the movie Heaven Can Wait.

If they had put some sort of wings/halo on the silhouette in the UK version it would win hands down.

Liesel K. Hill said...

I also think I like the UK cover better. It's more intriguing and the colors pop much more. :D

Elfy said...

I love Tad Williams, like you I don't think he can write a bad book, and I also haven't read all of Shadowmarch, but I am looking forward to this. Of the two covers I'd go for the UK one. It's classier. I don't know why the US doesn't take it's lead from the UK regarding covers, they're almost always better.

Unknown said...

I agree that the US cover actually shows the character, which is cool, I like the look of the UK cover much better.

I'm usually one for the "UK covers are better than US covers" too.

Seitherin said...

I have to go with the US cover on this one. The UK cover is very stridently monochromatic, very cold. The US cover is warmer and tells you up front that angels are involved.

Adam Whitehead said...

In fairness the UK > USA cover thing is a couple of years out of date. The American publishers have pulled their finger out and produced some great covers recently, whilst the UK market has become overloaded with the 'hooded figure' motif of late.

Graeme Flory said...

True, although in my defence (what with one thing and another) I'm a couple of years behind myself with cover art. Catching up though! I guess I just never got that awful 'Bonehunters' cover out of my head :o)

I actually like the 'hooded figure' motif, just so long as it looks like it has had a little effort put into it (unlike 'The Straight Razor Cure'...) It also works really well for the artist who only has to draw a hood rather than a face... ;o)