Book Cover Love: Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff – US or UK Edition Showdown!

This morning, the cover for the US edition of Jay Kristoff’s upcoming Empire of the Vampire, was revealed! The UK edition’s cover was released a few weeks ago. Now that both covers are out for the public to pick apart, the bookish community is abuzz with commentary on which cover they prefer and why. Of course, I figured that I out to join in on the discourse and give my own opinion!

As with all of my reviews and To Buy or Not to Buy posts, all of the opinions in this post are strictly my own, and should be taken with a grain of salt. Please don’t be offended if my views different from yours, as we’re all human with different opinions!

The Covers

The US Book Cover for Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff
The US Edition
The UK Book Cover for Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff
The UK Edition

The Showdown

So here, we’ve got two pretty distinctly different book covers! Aside from the color palettes (red, white, and black, with various gray tones) we’ve got two covers that seem like they’d appeal to different audiences. There’s a lot that I can say about each one, so I’ll tackle each separately before the final showdown and decision!

I’ll start with the US cover, since it was just revealed today. At first glance, the US cover looks to me like a pretty standard Adult Fantasy book cover (which makes sense, because it would fit in well amongst the rest of Tor’s [the publisher] catalog. The typography for the title is very ornate with a ton of flourishes and details (In some ways, I think it’s a bit too fancy an comes off as a bit cheesy, but that’s just me.) Given the faux emboss on the letters, I hope that we get a nice raised emboss on the actual hardcover edition! The detail that I really don’t like about the US cover is the shirtless man on it, which is what makes it feel like a little cheap and more like a generic fantasy cover for me. I think that the cover would have been beautiful and still very striking if it only had the animals made of swirling blood designs and the title centered above it. (Also, this is a tiny detail, but I don’t really like that the US cover has the blurb from V.E. Schwab on the cover. Yes, she’s a very popular author in both the adult and YA fantasy genres, but in my opinion, the blurb is a bit distracting and messes with the visual balance of the cover!)

Now, to move onto the UK edition! This cover is very unique in my opinion! It’s very gothic, bloody, detailed, reminiscent of vintage tattoos, and incredibly on-brand for Kristoff (who’s already known for his bloody and graphic Nevernight series.) The style of the UK cover actually reminds me a lot of the UK Nevernight cover, and I think that this cover will appeal to people who liked the high detail and minimal color palettes of those editions. I can’t wait to read the book so that I can understand all of the symbolism in the cover. I appreciate that it has no blurb on the front and that the design takes up the entire cover. It’s simultaneously very simple and very ornate, which I love.

When I look at them side-by-side, it’s pretty clear to me that the UK edition is the winner in my eyes. It’s just so striking. The focus is immediately on the title, and then you can take in the other gorgeous symbolic details. On the otherhand, the US edition seems a bit more cluttered and my eyes aren’t sure if I should look at the title, the man, or Kristoff’s name first. The UK edition designers nailed the visual hierarchy, and they also created a cover that doesn’t seem very stereotypically “Fantasy” like the US one, which I think will help this already highly anticipated book find a wider audience! (Of course, the fact that its very gothic and has that 7 pointed star might scare away some readers, but oh well!) I’m very excited to preorder the UK edition. I’m sure that diehard fans will get both editions (and probably several other special editions as well) but I’ll just stick to the standard UK edition.

About the Book – Featuring the Winning Cover

The UK Book Cover for Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff

Title: Empire of the Vampire

Author: Jay Kristoff

Publisher: Tor (US) & Harper Voyager UK (UK)

Genre: Adult Fantasy

Release Date: 9/7/2021

Page Count: 400 pages


Synopsis: From holy cup comes holy light;
The faithful hands sets world aright.
And in the Seven Martyrs’ sight,
Mere man shall end this endless night.

It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise. For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a sea of darkness.

Gabriel de León is a silversaint: a member of a holy brotherhood dedicated to defending realm and church from the creatures of the night. But even the Silver Order couldn’t stem the tide once daylight failed us, and now, only Gabriel remains.

Imprisoned by the very monsters he vowed to destroy, the last silversaint is forced to tell his story. A story of legendary battles and forbidden love, of faith lost and friendships won, of the Wars of the Blood and the Forever King and the quest for humanity’s last remaining hope:

The Holy Grail.

Thanks for reading! Which cover do you prefer? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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