Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. For today’s post, I chose to focus on some opening lines from books that I loved. Sometimes, the first few lines of a book are enough to give you an idea of whether you’ll love the whole reading experience. I get pretty excited whenever I feel like a novel is off to a promising start. In no particular order, these are the ones that stood out for me:
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
She scowled at her glass of orange juice. To think that she had been delighted when she first arrived here – was it only three months ago? – with the prospect of fresh orange juice every day.
Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
I sat at a table in my shadowy kitchen, staring down a bottle of Boone’s Farm Hard Lemonade, when a magic fluctuation hit. My wards shivered and died, leaving my home stripped of its defenses. The TV flared into life, unnaturally loud in the empty house.
I have no idea why I was fascinated by these two opening lines with heroines staring down at their drink of choice but both scenes stuck with me. I recently finished rereading Magic Bites and I’m sorely tempted to reread The Blue Sword soon.
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
He was asleep, but woke at the sound of the key turning in the lock. The storage room held winter linens, and no one should have been interested in it in the middle of summer, and certainly not in the middle of the night.
The Sunbird by Elizabeth Wein
Telemakos was hiding in the New Palace. he lay among the palms at the edge of the big fountain in the Golden Court. The marble lip of the fountain’s rim just cleared the top of his head, and the imported soil beneath his chest was warm and moist. He was comfortable.
In these opening lines, two favorite characters, Eugenides and Telemakos, are doing what they do best: spying.
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes.
The odds were against poor Sophie even before she started her adventure, making the reader all the more eager to find out what happens next.
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die.
It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road I’d ever seen, where trees made breezy canopies like a tunnel to Shangri-la.
The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta
The string slices into the skin of his fingers and no matter how tough the calluses, it tears.
But this beat is fast and even though his joints are aching, his arm’s out of control like it has a mind of its own and the sweat that drenches his hair and face seems to smother him, but nothing’s going to stop Tom. He’s aiming for oblivion.
The two Melina Marchetta novels that I love best start with lines filled with so much emotion. They set the tone for the rest of the writing within these novels.
A Countess Below Stairs (also published as The Secret Countess) by Eva Ibbotson
In the fabled, glittering world that was St. Petersburg before the First World War there lived, in an ice-blue palace overlooking the river Neva, a family on whom the gods seemed to have lavished their gifts with an almost comical abundance.
I love the fairy tale feel start of the book. It’s a good example of why I love Eva Ibbotson’s writing.
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Every smiley moon, without fail, Claire dreamed of her childhood. She always tried to stay awake those nights when the stars winked and the moon was just a cresting sliver smiling provocatively down at the world, the way pretty women on vintage billboards used to smile as they sold cigarettes and limeade.
Another title that has a lyrical tone reminiscent of fairy tales.
The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand
Sylvain Marquis knew what women desired: chocolate. And so he had learned as he grew into adulthood how to master a woman’s desire.
Mmm chocolate. Of course, I kept reading! Can’t resist good chocolate.
What about the rest of you, what are your favorite opening lines in books? Have there been instances when you felt like you would enjoy reading a book based on just the first few sentences?