I want to preface this with how I think first lines don’t have as much to say when picking up a book as the first page, or first couple pages. But I’ve collected some I think are particularly good ones, setting the stage for the rest of the plot. I also just now found out that apparently I like when authors describe silence as something tangible??
“The assassins dropped into the palace grounds at midnight, four fleet shadows dark against the wall. The fall was high, the ground was hard; they made no more sound on impact than the pattering of rain.”
Ptolemy’s Gate by Jonathan Stroud
“It was night again. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.”
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
“The night breathed through the apartment like a dark animal.”
Reckless by Cornelia Funke
“How does one describe Artemis Fowl? Various psychiatrists have tried and failed.”
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Carolyn, blood-drenched and barefoot, walked alone down the two-lane stretch of blacktop that the Americans called Highway 78.
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
“I am a fighter. To be a fighter, you have to be passionate. I have so much passion, it’s hard to hold it all in. That passion escapes as tears from my eyes, sweat from my pores, blood from my veins. So many people assume that I’m cold and callous, but the truth is you need a big heart to fight. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I have had it broken too. I can compete with broken toes or stitches in my foot. I can take a hit without batting an eyelash, but I will burst into tears if a sad song comes on the radio. I am vulnerable; that’s why I fight.”
My Fight Your Fight by Ronda Rousey
“The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we understood the gravity of our situation.”
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
To many, I was myth incarnate, the embodiment of a most superb legend, a fairy tale. Some considered me a monster, a mutation. To my great misfortune, I was once mistaken for an angel. To my mother, I was everything. To my father, nothing at all. To my grandmother, I was a daily reminder of loves long lost. But I knew the truth—deep down, I always did.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Life is bullshit.
We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
It’s tempting to leave it at that, but the next couple lines are pretty great too;
Life is bullshit. Consider your life for a moment. Think about all those little rituals that sustain you throughout your day—from the moment you wake up until that last, lonely midnight hour when you guzzle a gallon of NyQuil to drown out the persistent voice in your head. The one that whispers you should give up, give in, that tomorrow won’t be better than today. Think about the absurdity of brushing your teeth, of arguing with your mother over the appropriateness of what you’re wearing to school, of homework, of grade-point averages and boyfriends and hot school lunches. And life. Think about the absurdity of life.