Friday Face Off : “The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow!


(May is the month of Wyrd and Wonder – details here, Twitter: @wyrdandwonder)

FFOHere we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – the list has been updated to help out those of you who like to plan ahead – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

“The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow!” – A cover featuring a fantasy beast

Obviously I wanted to go with Tolkien this week but decided not to because I do tend to overdo it – although is it possible to overdo Tolkien?  I don’t think so.  Anyway, this week I’ve gone with The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making (Fairyland #1) by Catherynne M. Valente.  Now, most of the covers are fairly similar and just involve colour variations – but what do you think of the fantasy beast?  Anyway, here they are:

I think these are all quite nice, but I’m going to have to go for:


Which one is your favourite?

Like last week I’ve added a Mr Linky here so that you can leave a link if you wish or please leave me a link in the comments so we can all visit and check out each others covers.  Thanks

I’ve updated the list and included themes through to the end of 2019 – I’ve also included events that I’m aware of so that you can perhaps link your themes up where possible (if you know of an event you’d like to share that let me know in the comments).  I also have a list prepared for 2020 and so will set up a separate page soon for forthcoming themes.  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment.

Next week – A cover featuring ‘magical things’

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ or one of your favourite covers)


(May is the month of Wyrd and Wonder – details here, Twitter: @wyrdandwonder)

24th May – “bibbity, bobbity, boo” – A cover that features ‘magical things’

31st May –  “simples” – A favourite fantasy cover 

7th June  – “One swallow does not make a summer” – A cover that makes you think of Summer 

14th June – “Coraline opened the box of chocolates. The dog looked at them longingly.” – A cover featuring something sweet

21st June – Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year – Pagan rituals/standing stones/blazing suns – a cover with your own interpretation

28th June – “And who decided which people wore the striped pyjamas” – A cover that is striped

5th July – “The question of whether or not we are alone in the universe… has been answered” –  a cover featuring something/somebody historic 

12th July – A wrap around cover

19th July – “You can’t choose between life and death when we’re dealing with what is in between.” – A cover that is grainy or looks like ‘white noise’

26th July – “Ludo ….. down” – A cover that is Upside Down

2nd August – “There are children here somewhere. I can smell them.” A cover featuring children

9th August – “I’m disinclined to acquiesce to your request.” – A cover featuring Pirates

16th August – “The haft of the arrow had been feathered with one of the eagles own plumes” – a cover featuring feathers

23rd August – A cover that is a movie tie in

30th August – “I wandered lonely as a cloud” – a cover that is predominantly yellow

6th September “Warm September brings the fruit” – a cover that is seasonal for Autumn/Fall

13th September – Friday the 13th – unlucky for some!  A cover with ‘curse’ in the title

20th September – “Your hair is winter fire,January embers.” – A cover featuring hair

27th September – Freebie

4th October – “Feed me Seymour” – A cover that is 60s horror

11th October – ““And, though there should be a world of difference between the smile of a man and the bared fangs of a wolf, with Joss Merlyn they were one and the same.”  – a cover featuring an Inn

18th October – “It’s your favorite scary movie, remember? He had on the white mask, he stalked the babysitters.” – A cover featuring a scream

25th October – for Halloween – pick any scary cover you like

(I’m hoping that November will once again bring to us SciFiMonth – Twitter @SciFiMonth)

1st November – A cover that is predominantly grey

8th November – “big badda boom” – a cover that features an explosion

15th November – “No thinking thing should be another thing’s property, to be turned on and off when it is convenient.” – a cover featuring a robot

22nd November – A cover that is Futuristic

29th November – “When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.” – a cover that is 60s sci fi

6th December – Now is the winter of our discontent, Made glorious summer by this sun of York”  – a cover that puts you in mind of winter

13th December – A cover that features a temple/or religious icon

20th December – Longest Night –  a dark and foreboding cover

27th December – the festive season – a cover that is glittery or sparkling

(2020 – January is Vintage SciFi month so I’ll be including possible themes to take that on board.)

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente

Just finished reading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (henceforth known as TGWCF) which in the words of Holly Black is “A mad, toothsome romp of a fairy tale”

The GWCF is a lovely, beautifully written fairytale come adventure which I think both adults and children would equally enjoy and I think it would make an excellent story to read out loud.

The story features a 12 year old girl called September who is spirited away one evening on the back of a Leopard of Little Breezes accompanied by a Green Wind.  September is a somewhat lonely child, her father is away at war, her mother works long hours in a factory and September, being of a whimsical nature, longs for adventure.  Her wish is, of course, about to be granted.

This is a lovely tale beautifully written and illustrated and incorporating such a lot of new ideas.  As I was reading I had so many things running through my mind, The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and the Chronicles of Narnia not to mention Labyrinthe, The Never Ending Story and Peter Pan and the author clearly gives a shout out to a few of these during the chapter headed ‘The Island of the Nasnas’ where during a discussion regarding how one enters fairyland, apart from as a changeling or ravished ‘… there’s those that Stumble through a gap in the hedgerows or a mushroom ring or a tornado or a wardrobe full of winter coats.”  But, for me, the beauty of this book is that whilst feeling similar to so many family favourites and provoking such nostalgia in me as I read, it is actually not like any particular one.  Sometimes it was as though I had a fleeting notion of something but it disappeared before I could give it more thought or pin it firmly down.

In terms of characters – of which there are an abundance – let’s firstly talk about September.  An odd little girl, strangely down to earth.  She’s described in the book as irascible and heartless and yet clearly neither is really true as she proves on a number of occasions by putting herself at risk and refusing the easy way out, insisting instead upon helping her friends.  She shows plenty of heart really and is quite the adventurer.  I did feel so sorry for her on a number of occasions but she never really moped about – she shed the odd tear but pretty soon recovered and continued on her quest.  Alongside this we have the Marquess and her pet cat – the villain of the piece – I won’t mention more here except the Marquess turns out to be something of a surprise on more than one count  My absolute favourite of the peace though, without doubt – was A through L, otherwise known as Ell, a gorgeous scaly Wyverary (which I’ve never heard of before and simply thought was a dragon which shows how much I know).  I love this character.  On top of this we have an abundance of characters, usually strangely named, who put in an appearance at the appropriate time.

I don’t really want to say much more here as it will spoil the story.  Simply, if you’re young at heart and enjoy a good fairy tale then The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making could be for you and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  The end.

Now, I had a think about whether I could include this for my RIP event, so I rechecked and I think I can – I think this falls into ‘supernatural’ – come on – it has a Wyverary!  Check out this event here – you’re still not too late to join in!