I feel kind of bad about these 'Compare the Covers' posts, because I'm usually only moved to do them when I spy that the UK cover of a book I want to read is ranging anywhere from a) not an improvement on the original, or b) absolutely terrible. So it feels like I'm always putting down the work of the UK publishers/cover designers when, probably seven times out of ten, I prefer the UK versions of books. I just happen to make posts about the ones I dislike.
UK cover US cover
The UK cover on the left isn't bad. The red is very striking and between the colours and the model, it's a very attractive cover. I think I would definitely pick it up in a bookshop and expect a fun read. But I'd also expect something a little bit...tacky. Cheesy fantasy fun. With the scary eye watching over our brave heroine and the lightning flashing in the red sky, this is a cover unafraid to embrace the cliche. I'd be expecting a guilty pleasure. I don't know if I'd be expecting a book that has received numerous starred reviews. My biggest complaint against the UK cover though, is - Paolini quote nonewithstanding - that the fact that this book is about DRAGONS is not prominent enough. I think the eye is a dragon's eye, but you can't really tell for certain. And if your book is about DRAGONS, that is not something you keep quiet about, you shout it from the rooftops.
Like the US cover, which actually has a dragon on the rooftops, making my point for me nicely. In contrast to the UK cover, the US cover is serious. Maybe a little too serious? It looks positively sombre. On the one hand, I wouldn't be embarrassed at all to carry the US version around in public. But on the other, I think I wouldn't necessarily be inclined to pull it off the shelf at first glance, either. Also interesting is that the UK cover makes me think 'Seraphina' is the name of the girl pictured, but the US one gives me the impression 'Seraphina' is a place - the UK cover is right in this instance. And the UK cover definitely grabbed me (it would have grabbed me more with DRAGONS, though).
So in this case, I think neither cover wins outright. The US cover could do with a little more eye-catching colour and the UK cover could do with dialling back the cheese. If I borrow Seraphina from the library, I'll choose the UK cover. But if I buy it, I think the US cover is the one I'll prefer other people seeing on my bookshelf.