Bookish Musings: Opening Lines

 
 

I don’t think the first line of a book has to be the absolute best. Truthfully, how many people are reading ONLY the first line and then giving up on a book? I do think a great first line can hook a reader who might’ve been on the fence though. And regardless, I just thought it’d be a fun idea to look at the opening lines of some different books… and have a fight to the death! Just kidding about the “fight to the death” part, but you can tell me your favorite in the comments :-P

I mostly chose these books randomly from my Goodreads ‘read’ shelf in order to keep it interesting, so this isn’t meant to be a top ten list or anything. But these are all books I enjoyed with perhaps the exception of one that is simply out of my genre comfort zone. Anyway, here are ten opening lines for you all to check out!


The Root by Na'amen Gobert TilahunDoom Sayer by Clara CoulsonRushed by Brian HarmonThis Dark Endeavor by Kenneth OppelBeckoning Blood by Daniel de Lorne

The Root by Na’amen Gobert Tilahun

The door had barely opened into the lemon-yellow infirmary before Nurse Dan was hurrying over to help him onto a cot, resignation clear on his round, pink face, the skunk of weed thick as always.

 

Doom Sayer by Clara Coulson

The enemy’s base is full of chickens.

 

Rushed by Brian Harmon

Eric Fortrell lived a perfectly unremarkable life until he happened to have a very extraordinary dream.

 

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

We found the monster on a rocky ledge high above the lake.

 

Beckoning Blood by Daniel de Lorne

The pig refused to die.

 

Chase the Dark by Annette MarieWasteland King by Lilith SaintcrowA Faerie's Revenge by Rachel MorganThe Consumption of Magic by TJ KluneMongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

Chase the Dark by Annette Marie

Attempted murder was not how Piper liked to start her afternoon.

 

Wasteland King by Lilith Saintcrow

The assassin and the red-haired girl burst onto the shuttered, dark fairway, and Crenn almost thought they had a shot at escaping unseen—until the shadows at the far end, under the Ferris wheel’s spidery bulk, birthed a cold gleam and clawed silvershod hoofbeats rang on packed dirt.

 

A Faerie’s Revenge by Rachel Morgan

The ship rolls from side to side as it rises and falls on the swell of heaving waves.

 

The Consumption of Magic by TJ Klune

Once upon a time in the Kingdom of Verania, there was a kickass boy born in the slums of the City of Lockes.

 

Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

My grandfather used to tell me he was a werewolf.

 

If we’re gonna choose favorites… I’m gonna have to go with the chickens :-P But I will say that the opening line of Mongrels somehow really portrays the feel of the book, and I like that. Let me know your favorite of these in the comments or if any have got you interested in the books!

 
 
 

Talk to me!

Which of these opening lines is your favorite?

 

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  1. Roberta R.

    Either the chickens or the poor pig LOL. A short, surprising opening sentence is what works best for me. Fun post! I agree about needing a lot more than a first line to get hooked on a book. I always read the first chapters on Amazon before I commit.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol yeah things didn’t go so well for that pig. The short ones are definitely attention-grabbing! I often read the previews on Amazon before deciding to commit to a whole book too.

  2. Suz

    The short sentences work best for me. The long ones give me the feeling that the book is going to be hard work. Or is that me being lazy?
    My fav quote is probably ‘Attempted murder was not how Piper liked to start her afternoon’ but the chickens and the pigs have a good hook too.

    1. Kristen Burns

      No, you’re right. The Wasteland King quote, the whole series is like that. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the writing, but it is more work to get accustomed to it and everything and takes more focus.

      The attempted murder one is fun lol.

  3. Greg

    I love a good opening line, and a really good one can totally set the tone! I think I like Doom Sayer the best, because honestly… how not? Chickens. Beckoning Blood though makes me wonder, and Wasteland King conjures some kinda supernatural showdown at a carnival, so I’m down for that.

    Mongrels is definitely a good one- not your usual grandparents story lol.

  4. Lola

    The chickens one is the one that stood out for me, it really makes me wonder why that base was full of chickens. I usually don’t really put more attention on the first line of a book, but it’s actually quite interesting to see them out of context like this. I can’t think of any great openings from the top of my head, but now I am tempted to check out some first lines.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s really not important to the story lol, but it’s such a catchy first line. I don’t tend to pay a lot of attention either, that’s why I thought this would be fun, and it is!

  5. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    You made me laugh with your comment about people picking up a book and putting it back down if they don’t absolutely love the first line. Now, that’s some picky reading right there. LOL!

    I agree with you about the chicken line. So funny! I also really like Annette Marie’s first line.