Friday, October 5, 2012

First Line Friday No. 9


I think Fridays are my favorite days to blog -- I love discovering new books and great first lines have always thrilled me.  I think my favorite one when I was younger was the opening to "The Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis:

"Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids."

While it isn't a particularly attention-grabbing hook, the use of  "Once" (reminiscent of "Once Upon a Time..." stories) and the historical aspect of it (World War II/Fantasy) always intrigued me.

There are other books whose first lines aren't a plunge into action right off, and while they're rather overlooked at the moment (new writing advice says to 'plunge right in' to the action and never let your reader take a breath), I enjoy the time an author takes to paint the scene.  It allows the story to feel more real, sometimes.

So today we'll be looking at an opening that isn't as attention-grabbing as, for instance, the Maximum Ride series opener, but it slowly pulls you in's too late.  (shiver)

Standing on the edge of a crowded road, I looked down onto the rolling fields and abandoned farms of the Tula Valley and got my first glimpse of the Shadow Fold.  My regiment was two weeks' march from the military encampment at Poliznaya and the autumn sun was warm overhead, but I shivered in my coat as I eyed the haze that lay like a dirty smudge on the horizon.

A heavy shoulder slammed into me from behind.  I stumbled and nearly pitched face-first into the muddy road.  "Hey!" shouted the shoulder.  "Watch yourself!"  "Why don't you watch your fat feet?" I snapped, and took some satisfaction from the surprise that came over his broad face.  People, particularly big men carrying big rifles, don't expect lip from a scrawny thing like me.  They always look a bit dazed when they get it.

--From Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy, Book 1) by Leigh Bardugo

This story starts right before something big happens.  It takes a short amount of time to develop a sense of the world and introduce you to the main character without you having to scramble and acquaint yourself mid-flight (or mid-run or whatever).

Reasons to keep reading:

1.  Abandoned farms?  "Shadow Fold"?  Tell me more!

2.  Our MC is in the military -- why are they moving, what are they fighting?  Where does our MC fit in?

3.  I love a character with sass/lip.  It makes for great dialogue

4.  This character appears to do the unexpected.  I am interested.

5.  Honestly, the title and cover alone made me want to read the book.  So there's that.

This one was on my To-Read list that I wrote up a few weeks back and I was so excited when I saw our library had it!  I'll be posting a review soon, so stay tuned...

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