top ten first lines in my favorite fantasy books

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 |
Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where we all get to exercise our OCD tendencies and come up with bookish lists.  If you’d like to play along, check out this post.

top ten tuesday

This week’s list is basically a top ten of my favorite fantasy books and the first lines from those favorites.  I’m not a meticulous record-keeper or sentimental reader. What I mean is, I know the stories that I love beyond reason, but I’ve never kept a journal of awesome quotes or perfect first lines, and I don’t really swoon over prose except as part of a whole book.  It's not an original list, but here, have it anyway!

Top Ten First Lines in My Favorite Fantasy Books


1. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente – “Once upon a time, a girl named September grew very tired indeed of her parents’ house, where she washed the same pink-and-yellow teacups and matching gravy boats every day, slept on the same embroidered pillow, and played with the same small and amiable dog.”

2. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones – “In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three.”

3. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley – “She scowled at her glass of orange juice.”

4. Sabriel by Garth Nix – “The man looked at the child again and sighed.”

5. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – “She had been running for four days now, a harum-scarum tumbling flight through passages and tunnels.”


6. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal – “The Ellsworths of Long Parkmead had the regard of their neighbours in every respect.”

7. Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey – “Her eyes were so sore and swollen from weeping that she thought by right she should have no tears left at all.”

8. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – “It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.”

9. The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis – “It was a dull autumn day and Jill Pole was crying behind the gym.”

10. Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton – “Bon Agornin writhed on his deathbed, his wings beating as if he would fly to his new life in his old body.”

What are some of your favorite first lines in books? 

21 comments:

Kate @ whYAnot said...

Howl's Moving Castle is such a fantastic novel and the first line... It has a way of reading it and bringing me back to Sophie and Howl (and my favourite Calcifer's!) story!
Great list!

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Kate @ whYAnot

Becca Bee said...

I really want to read The Scorpio Races sometime! That first line is definitely interesting. Shiver was just okay for me but this new one looks better. Nice list!

Nicole Rivera said...

So I have never read Howl, though it is one of my favorite Miyazaki films. I think it is high time I check this book out!!

chrissireads said...

Great selection of quotes! Sometimes the first line really does just grab you!

Ula (Blog of Erised) said...

Good list! I should really finish Abhorsed series. Loved Sabriel. :)

Happy reading!
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Andrea said...

I am like you in that I don't keep track of quotes or things like that. I love the way you approached this one by going to your favorite books. I forgot about the beginning of Sabriel but I definitely agree that it was a great one. Great list!
Here's my link: http://bit.ly/1c9RNB2l

Lauren @ Books, Tea & Me said...

That first line of The Scorpio Races has already sparked my interest. I need to read it!

kimberlybuggie said...

LOVE Neverwhere. I also really like it that you included the first sentence! They are wonderful!
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thekams said...

The Scorpio Races made my list, too. I love that book so much - Maggie Stiefvater really has a way with words. Fairyland has an awesome beginning, too (and ending!).

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

O I like that last one.

quinnsbooknook said...

I'm not really someone who pays much attention to quotes either. I really had to think about this topic.

I haven't read any of these books, but Howl's Moving Castle is at the top of my to-read list.

Amanda said...

I've been wanting to read your top two for a while now. I've heard great things. I adore Neverwhere - my first Gaiman book - and Shades of Milk and Honey was such a great combo of Austenesque and magic.

Chikadee said...

Sweet list: Blue Sword, Scorpio Races, Howl's Moving Castle, Silver Chair...great!

Liviania said...

The Scorpio Races line is destined to become a classic.

April (BooksandWine) said...

I might have just sighed a little bit over The Scorpio Races first line. Ugh, I love that book and want to read it again even though I totally just read it earlier this year.

Kristen said...

So many great books on your list! The Scorpio Races has to be one of my favorite books of all time now. Love that you went full fantasy on this one. I just loaned the first Valente book to my older sis and I hope she likes it!

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Anna said...

I was thinking of The Blue Castle as well! :) Such a great book. I also love Howl and The Silver Chair!

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http://diamondinroughcoal.blogspot.com/2013/07/top-ten-tuesday-3.html

Angela said...

Love #7. I think we've all been there.

Ruby Scarlett said...

I'm sad I didn't have a blog when this top ten tuesday came up but your choices are excellent!
I should read Shades of Milk and Honey. REALLY should - it keeps popping up everywhere next to books I love.
I love Sabriel but I read it a while ago and never read the sequels so I should fix that.

Oooo ' where she washed the same pink-and-yellow teacups and matching gravy boats every day, slept on the same embroidered pillow,' Valente has such gorgeous writing - don't you love the details of this? It's exquisite.

nishitak.com said...

That opening line of Neverwhere is curious. I just read that book last week, and the opening line was completely different...I don't remember the exact quote, but something about Richard Mayhew vomiting outside a bar the night before he goes to London.

Maybe there are slightly different versions of the same book? I definitely like your beginning better.

Cecelia said...

nishitak.com - I may have chosen the first line from Chapter 1 rather than the prologue. I do remember the scene you're talking about. Ahhh! Sorry for the confusion.

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