Wednesday, September 4, 2013

7 Favorite First Lines

Here's a fun post that I hope will entice people to share with me their favorite first lines as well. I was inspired to do this after my friend Mara did her favorite book beginnings and endings on her blog (see her post here) and thought it would be fun to show everyone what my favorite first lines are. As writers and readers both, we know that first lines are so important because that is what will keep a reader reading. Some of these might not even be from my favorite books, but they are all from books I enjoy very much.  Okay, I'll also admit that most of these are actually the first paragraphs and not just the first lines, but oh well.

7. Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

"Sailing toward dawn, and I was perched atop the crow's nest, being the ship's eyes."

I think I like the simple beauty of this first line, and the whole first chapter of this book is probably my favorite part out of the whole thing.

6. The Last Knight by Hilari Bell

"To say it was a dark and stormy night would be a gross understatement. It was colder than a witch's kiss, wetter than a spring swamp, and blacker than a tax collector's heart. A sane man would have been curled up in front of a fire with a cup of mulled wine and a good boo--, ah, I willing wench. But not me. I was out in it. I'm squire to a hero."

Because I love Fisk, and I think this first line totally captures his character perfectly =)

5. Fair Blows the Wind by Louis L'Amour

"My name is Tatton Chantry and unless the gods are kind to rogues, I shall die within minutes."

This is one of those first lines that grabs my attention instantly and makes me want to read more.

4. The Sea Wolves (Secret Journeys of Jack London) by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon

"If it hadn't been for the pelican, Jack London would have been murdered by the wolves."

Again, one of those first lines that makes me want to read. I also love this one because, unless you know the book, it's rather strange and makes you wonder whether to take it literally or not.

3. The Rogues by Jane Yolen and Rober J. Harris

"I have seen ghosts in a burned-out cottage and the devil on horseback. This is no lie. The first I saw on the day my brother, Lachlan, and I picked out way through the shell of Glendoun. And the devil--well, he followed soon after."

One of my favorite books ever, and I really liked the introduction to the story in this first line. It has a nice ambiance.

2. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

"It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die."

I love this first line. It makes you want to read more, and is also eerily nonchalant in the delivery, giving a good introduction in just this line into Sean's character (and Sean is one of my favorite characters ever). I always like lines in books with first POV that let you know the character as soon as you start the book, and this is one that does that.

1. Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini

"He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad."

After consideration, I kind of had to decide that this is probably my most favorite first line ever. I don't know why, I just really love it =)

So, a bonus discussion question: what is it that you like best in first lines?


  1. Your choice of books is interesting, not just first lines. :-) one of my favourite openers is from Catherine Jinks's Pagan's Daughter. "Oh, no! I've killed the chicken!" Of course, I had read the other Pagan novels, so I knew a bit about the heroine's father, Pagan, and it told me she would be like him. It certainly drew me in.

    1. I haven't read that one yet, but that's a pretty good one =) I also like ones that start out with interesting sections of dialogue.

  2. That was a great list of books! I grew up reading Louis L'Amour and Maggie Stiefvater- well what more is there to say to that?! =)

  3. This is a great idea! :) I haven't read any of those, but Scaramouche is one I've been interested in since I was a teen. I'll read it one of these days! I can't remember first lines of books. I'd have to cheat!

    1. I couldn't remember them word for word either. You should do one too =) And Scaramouche was a very entertaining read, I enjoyed it a lot once I finally got the chance to finish it ;)