Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Tantalizing Opening Lines in Books


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  Top Ten Tuesday has been one of my favorite memes ever since I started blogging, so huge thanks to Jana for taking over the hosting duties!

This week’s TTT topic is Opening Lines (Best, favorite, funny, unique, shocking, gripping, lines that grabbed you immediately, etc.).  I love this topic because I think opening lines are just so important, so much so that they can either make or break a book. I love opening lines that immediately grab my attention so that I’m off to the races to find out more about the story.  I love funny openers, openers that tease, and I also really enjoy atmospheric openers that really set the tone of the story right away.  Below are some of my favorites.


* * * * *

10 Tantalizing Opening Lines in Books




1. “We must, by law, keep a record of the innocents we kill.”  Scythe, by Neal Shusterman

Talk about an opening line that makes you want to keep reading to find out what the heck is going on!





2. “The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.” The Night Circus, by Erin Morganstern

The mysterious and atmospheric quality of The Night Circus is why it’s one of my favorite books and I was hooked as soon as I read this opener about a circus that just appears out of nowhere.  I immediately wanted to know more about that circus.





3. “I’m pretty much f*cked. That’s my considered opinion. F*cked.”  The Martian, by Andy Weir

Well, that’s certainly not what you want to hear when you open up a book about a mission to Mars.  I love the ominous tone it sets from the start and I knew I was in for a wild and yet fun ride based on the humorous undertone of that line.





4.  “For the better part of my childhood, my professional aspirations were simple–I wanted to be an intergalactic princess.”  Seven Up by Janet Evanovich.  The Stephanie Plum series is always fun to read anyway, but my Star Wars- loving self really got into the idea of Stephanie Plum as Princess Leia.





5.  “Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she’d been told that she would kill her true love.” – The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater.  This was definitely an attention-grabbing opening line because I immediately wanted to know how this person could possibly kill their true love and I also wanted to know under what circumstances she had been told this not even just once, but numerous times.





6.  “How does one describe Artemis Fowl? Various psychiatrists have tried and failed.” Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

This line immediately makes me want to meet this person who has managed to leave various psychiatrists befuddled. He sounds like an interesting fellow.





7.  “Kell wore a very peculiar coat.”  This line is just such a great teaser.  It’s so simple and yet it immediately got my wheels turning with curiosity about said peculiar coat. What was peculiar about it and what is so important about this coat to make the opening line of a brand new series?





8. “On the second Sabbat of the Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.”  Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor

I love this one because it starts off with an almost fairy tale-like quality and then bam! A girl falls from the sky. What the heck?!





9.  “When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.” To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee.

This one grabbed my attention because I wanted to know how in the world a child could have badly broken his elbow.  Was he in an accident?  Did someone hurt him? Was he abused? etc.





10.  “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone By J.K. Rowling

This opening line made me chuckle and immediately wonder why being perfectly normal was something worth bragging about in this couple’s mind.


* * * * *


Do any of these opening lines resonate with you?

52 replies
  1. verushka
    verushka says:

    Okay, your list has me regretting I don’t have the memory to recall stellar first lines like these! In particular, the opening line s at 1, 4 and 6 (Stephanie Plum!!)

  2. RO
    RO says:

    These are absolutely fantastic and definitely memorable! Air Hugs and Happy Monday to you!

  3. Matt
    Matt says:

    I never read Artemis Fowl. It’s been hovering just outside of my TBR, but that’s an excellent opening line!

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I read it recently with my son and thought it was a lot of fun. We’re looking forward to streaming the film on Disney Plus when it comes out next month.

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      It’s such a great series. I still need to read the last book but I have a copy so hopefully it will happen soon.

  4. Dini @ dinipandareads
    Dini @ dinipandareads says:

    Oh, those opening lines from Strange the Dreamer are so good 😍 Definitely sets the magical and dreamlike quality of the writing and the story too! The Martian and The Raven Boys are both on my TBR but now I’m even more intrigued and feel like they need to be bumped up my list! Lol great post 🙂

  5. Angie Elle
    Angie Elle says:

    Oh, I want to read Strange the Dreamer as soon as I can fit it in! And The Raven Cycle. Holy heck. That is one opening line.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Jo
    Jo says:

    I had the Harry Potter, A Darker Shade of Magic and Raven Boys lines on my list this week too, all such great ones!

  7. Sam@wlabb
    Sam@wlabb says:

    I just commented on that first line from The Raven Boys. It was an invitation to a very interesting story. That line from Seven Up is hilarious. I would want to get to know that character better

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      She’s such a funny character. I gave up on the series after about 15 books just because they were starting to get repetitive but I’ll always love Stephanie Plum.

  8. ShootingStarsMag
    ShootingStarsMag says:

    Harry Potter is just a classic opener. I love the one for Darker Shade of Magic and Scythe – I totally forgot about that. I need to keep track of great opening lines in the future. haha

  9. lisa thomson
    lisa thomson says:

    Great choices, Suzanne! The Night Circus is one of my all-time favorite books. Also, To Kill a Mockingbird. I was going to choose that as my favorite opening line before I even read it on your list! Also, many others you’ve chosen, I haven’t read and I’m now intrigued.

  10. Lindy@ A Bookish Escape
    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape says:

    What great first lines! You have a good mix of books represented too! I especially like the opening lines for Scythe, `The Raven Boys, Artemis Fowl, and Harry Potter. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. Lectrice Vorace
    Lectrice Vorace says:

    Excellent list! I haven’t read The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern, but I’ve read that opening line quite a few times. It’s a great story opener because it explains the circus and raises questions at the same time! Very mysterious…
    Here’s my TTT!

  12. Olivia Roach
    Olivia Roach says:

    I love The Raven Cycle and have just started reading the Artemis Fowl series this month and am really enjoying it. I haven’t read The Martian yet but I am loving that first line and now I kind of want to get to it sooner. Scythe was not particularly one for me but that is a brilliant first line, I will admit.

Comments are closed.