Top Ten Tuesday: Opening Lines

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish back in June 2010. It is currently hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and, as is stated on the blog, it was “born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.”

Hello, reader!

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s topic is an interesting one that’s all about grabbing your attention. We’re focusing on opening lines! Now, I’m going to be honest, though there are plenty of books I love that I know probably have amazing opening lines, my brain is not good at remembering them. I don’t own all the books that first popped into my head, either. But I do have a stack of ten newly acquired books from Book Outlet that I haven’t hauled yet, so I’m gonna do a weird amalgamation of TTT and a book haul! We’ll be discovering the opening lines of these ten novels together and I’ll let you know my thoughts on them.

This is why I love the more open-ended prompts 😉


An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

My parlor smelled of linseed oil and spike lavender, and a dab of lead tin yellow glistened on my canvas. I had nearly perfected the color of Gadfly’s silk jacket.

Not the most compelling of first lines, but, still… color me intrigued!

(See what I did there?? 😆)

Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent

I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.

Well, this is a mystery/thriller about a man who is arrested after putting his wife in a coma. I guess we’re jumping right into it.

Sadie by Courtney Summers

It’s a beautiful day in the city. The sun is shining, not a cloud in the sky.

In contrast to the previous mystery novel, this opening line is definitely less attention grabbing. But this first bit is also the transcript of a podcast, so it’s still pretty interesting!

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

The room where they at last found him was so cold, they wondered at first if he had frozen to death. Face as white as snow, skin as cold as frost, lips as blue as ice.

Uh, yeah, I’m in! I haven’t a clue what is going on (though I know because of the synopsis that there’s been a murder) and I want to know more!

All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor

So, tell me about Fatima Ro. There are a lot of people who are curious about her right now.

Yes, random character I don’t know yet… tell us! Okay, it got me. I’m curious to see where this interview and story is going.

A Blade so Black by L.L. McKinney

Alice couldn’t cry. She couldn’t scream. All she could do was run.

Umm,well, who wouldn’t be intrigued by that opening? Why is Alice running? What is she running from? I need answers!

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

October in East Evansburg, and the last warm sun of the year slanted red through the sugar maples. Olivia Adler sat nearest the big window in Mr. Easton’s math class, trying, catlike, to fit her entire body into a patch of light.

This is a middle grade horror novel and I kinda love when horror novels start off so… normal.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

I locked my phone and carried on looking at the ceiling before unlocking it and sending a follow-up “xx.” That would prove to Tom that I wasn’t as emotionally detached as he accuses me of being.

This is a contemporary story about a young black woman living her life in London, so this opening definitely sets the mood. It doesn’t make me want to immediately read more, but I’m definitely interested.

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie. He probably didn’t even consider it a lie, and neither did I, at first.

This is a courtroom drama and we’re starting off with lies. I want to know what the lie was and I want to know how everything pans out!

Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield

There was once an inn that sat peacefully on the bank of the Thames at Radcot, a day’s walk from the source. There were a great many inns along the upper reaches of the Thames at the time of this story and you could get drunk in all of them, but beyond the usual ale and cider each one had some particular pleasure to offer.

Well, this is only two sentences, but I’m already liking the style. I adored The Thirteenth Tale, so that may have colored my judgement. Either way… I definitely want to read more.


What are some of your favorite opening lines from books? Which one of these lines grabbed you the most? Did you do your own TTT? Let me know in the comments!

And, as always, happy reading!

10 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Opening Lines

  1. Ooh – intriguing. I’ve added A Blade So Black and Small Spaces to my TBR. 🙂

    I’ve always liked the first line of Runemark by Joanne Harris: “Seven o’clock on a Monday morning, five hundred years after the end of the world, and goblins had been at the cellar again.”

    Liked by 1 person

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