While the US and UK may have some lovely book covers, and I thoroughly enjoy comparing them with one another, at times I feel like we overlook some of the amazing international language editions of popular books. In some cases, they’re even nicer than the English editions! Last year I had a look at some international covers of popular YA books and I thought it might be nice to do this again but include Adult reads as well. So, here are some of the interesting covers I’ve found in my online exploration…
(Note: I’ve put either the US/UK cover on the far left for reference).
The 7 (1/2) Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton
France, Portugal, Italy & Slovakia
While the US/UK cover for Evelyn Hardcastle has a clear 1920s vibe, in my opinion the international covers are much more interesting! The French version is very mystical with all the stars and the moon, which works considering this isn’t a traditional mystery. I’m not really sure why the manor is sideways on the Portuguese cover but I like the red & white colour scheme. The Italian cover is probably my favourite. It looks like paper tole art with all the layered elements and people peering ominously out from behind the pillars. I’m a big fan of the Slovak design, too, and like that they went down a different route, focusing on the mysterious man in the plague doctor mask.
The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller
Spain, Germany, Turkey & The Netherlands
I know, I feature this book a lot on my blog but I love it so, too bad. I would have used Circe but there aren’t many different covers for it. The Song of Achilles, however, has some super pretty foreign language editions. I am so in love with the Spanish version. Mainly because it’s foiled and shiny. Like, look at that gorgeousness! I adore the border on the German cover and, although you can’t see it from this image, all the beige sections such as the hair are foiled, too. Give me all the shiny books! The Turkish cover is similar to the original US cover in design but with extra detail and a more “classical” colour scheme. It works, though. The Dutch cover is fairly simple but I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that shade of blue against the stark black is beautiful.
Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston
Sweden, Brazil, Russia/China & Japan
Most of the international covers for RW&RB have similar imagery and colours to the original. I’m not super fond of the Swedish cover but at least they tried something different. The Brazilian cover is very much like the original. The only real difference is the illustration style, which I like a lot better! They look so cute and fun. In complete contrast, we have the Russian cover (the Chinese cover uses the same image with a different border). It’s so serious looking and there isn’t much warmth. I would never have guessed it was a romance. With the Japanese cover we bounce back to the original’s vibes. The illustrations are sweet but they look slightly strange sitting in mid-air. Is it just me? At least the original’s figures were leaning on the title.
Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor
Poland, Turkey, Croatia & Norway
It turns out that the cover for Strange the Dreamer is pretty much straight up gorgeous all around the world. As you probably expected, lots and lots of moth designs. I generally like all the covers I’ve got listed here but that Turkish cover in bright sunshine yellow with blue accents is stunning. I also quite like the way the Norwegian cover has integrated the text into the moth’s wing. It’s still legible but looks different from the regular.
The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue – V. E. Schwab
France, Hungary, Bulgaria & Russia
For this one, many countries have embraced the US cover with the title in their own language, but there are several international covers which took different routes. The French cover keeps the US colour scheme but also includes a greyscale illustration of Addie. While I prefer the simplicity of the original, I do see a sort of haunting quality to this version. The Hungarian cover is completely different but I really like it. I think the layout is very nicely done and the soft pink/navy colour scheme is striking. The Bulgarian cover is a little odd but still nice. However, it does give me more of a science fiction vibe. Once again, the stars make an appearance, though. The Russian cover is hands down my favourite. I think I might even like it more than the original. It’s so dreamy looking for such a simple design.
Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
Japan, Greece, China & The Netherlands
The original cover for Where the Crawdads Sing is such a peaceful shot with a soft colour palette so I was interested to see how other countries had repackaged it. As it turns out, a lot of them took a like-minded approach just with different photography, like the Chinese cover. The Japanese cover is similar but I like that they’ve designed it like an oil painting, and the pink-purple colours are lovely. I find it so funny that the Greek cover went completely literal and smacked an actual crawdad on the cover. No mess, no fuss – here is a crustacean! The Dutch cover goes in a different direction to the others with the silhouette. I don’t mind this image but I wish there was slightly more contrast between the green foliage and the blue background.
Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo
Iran/Persia, France, Serbia & Israel
Like Addie La Rue, most of the international SoC covers are reworkings of the US/UK cover but I still found a few different ones. The Iranian/Persian cover is 100% my favourite. I’ve noticed that they seem to prefer using realistic-style illustrations in those countries. I love how Kaz is at the front, Inej in the top left corner & the rest of the crows in the back. It’s wonderfully dramatic. The French cover is quite clean and I like the crow image against the off-white background. The figures at the bottom are okay but could be more identifiable. The Serbian cover is another good one – great atmosphere and the decision to use Kaz’s cane as the focus was a solid one. It fits nicely against the original cover. The Hebrew edition isn’t my favourite but it’s not bad. The crow positioning is good and I like that they’ve tried to include some Fjerdan imagery at the bottom. It could be more visually dynamic, though.
The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
Korea, Japan, Georgia & Italy
Okay, I love all of these. Admittedly, cover designers for the The Night Circus had a romantic, fun subject matter and nice colour scheme to work with, so they were bound to come up with some pretty lovely imagery. These all look so mystical, dramatic and intriguing, but I think the Japanese and Georgian covers might be my favourites.
The Midnight Library – Matt Haig
Vietnam, Finland, Bangladesh and Italy
A book cover which features books, what could be more perfect? And these are all lovely in their own ways. The Vietnamese cover is my favourite. I love it so much – it looks magical. The Finnish cover is very tidy but it works. I appreciate the clean lines, plus the layout makes the title stand out. The Bangladeshi cover is kind of abstract but I like how the green and yellow stand out, and all the little images woven into the hair. The Italian cover seems like complete chaos at first but I think the pastels in the colour scheme and the white border pull it back for me.
Normal People – Sally Rooney
Czech Republic, Portugal, Norway & Slovenia
I really like each of these international Normal People covers. I’ve never been enthusiastic about the original US or UK covers so it was nice to explore some alternates. The colouring and layout for the Czech cover is great (love a good orange/blue combo). The only thing that bugs me is the empty eyes on the illustrations. The contrast on the Portugese cover is pretty cool – one dark half, one light, one figure looking forward, the other away. The colour scheme for the Norwegian cover is nice and the boxy layout is very modern and funky. The Slovenian cover is simple, much like the UK cover, and the yellow background reminds me of Conversations with Friends. I love the clean lettering and the illustration is nicely symbolic of the main characters’ bond.
Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
Germany, Hungary, Indonesia & Sweden
Covers for Station Eleven tend to fall into two categories – pretty/starry landscapes or full blown apocalypse (Google Lithuanian’s Vienuolika stotis and Japan’s ステーション・イレブン for examples). All of the covers above are nice in different ways. Germany has the starry sky and pastel colours, Hungary’s is another example of my fave orange/blue contrast again, Indonesia balances mysterious with ominous, and Sweden’s looks like travel poster art.
The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon
Bulgaria, Vietnam, Poland & China
There aren’t a lot of differently designed covers for The Bone Season but of those I found, there were several pretty nice ones. I really like the Bulgarian cover. It retains the image from the original in the middle but I’m really drawn to the addition of the cards, bones and mist surrounding it in that lovely blue. The Vietnamese cover is quite gothic looking. I find it interesting that they took the UK/US symbol and made it out of actual bones. It all feels very horror-esque. The Polish cover has a similar vibe to the original but with different imagery. I think the sun design is striking, especially against the blue. The Chinese cover isn’t my favourite, but it’s attractive in a sci-fi way.
Did any of these covers catch your eye more than their UK/US equivalent? If so, why? It definitely makes you want to try learning another language, or at least it makes me want to!
What’s your favourite international edition of an English language book?