First Lines Friday #45

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?  If you want to make your own post, feel free to use or edit the banner above, and follow the rules below:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first (I cheat a little bit here *cough*)
  • Finally… reveal the book!

If you’re using Twitter, don’t forget to use #FirstLinesFridays!


Hello, reader!

Happy First Lines Friday! I hope y’all had a good week. If not, let me distract with books! The book I’m featuring in today’s post is one that is on my one of my yearly TBRs. It’s only recently got on my radar, I’m sad to say, but I’m definitely looking forward to reading it!

Now, let’s see if the first few lines can make me even more eager.


The Line(s):

“People who move to New York always make the same mistake. They can’t see the place. This is true of Manhattan, but even the outer boroughs, too, be it Flushing Meadows in Queens or Red Hook in Brooklyn. They come looking for magic, whether evil or good, and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.”


The Hints:

This is a horror novella written by a Black author.

It also has magic and magic-wielders.

And it is set in New York City. As the quote might have clued you into, haha.


The Reveal:

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

Click the cover to be taken to the Goodreads page

Goodreads Synopsis

People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.

A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?


Did that first line capture your attention? Did it make you want to read the rest of the story? Let me know in the comments!

And, as always, happy reading!

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