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?