What YA’ Reading: Great First Lines

The first line of a book can make or break it. A great first line can pull you into the book in a way nothing else can. Here are a few books I recommend with amazing first lines and amazing stories.

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

After fleeing Paris, Celine Rousseau arrives in New Orleans to work with the sisters of the Ursuline convent. She discovers her love of the city and its culture. Celine is also introduced to its darker underside, La Cour des Lions, and its leader, Sebastien Saint Germain. As people start dying gruesome deaths, Celine discovers she is in the sights of the killer. She’s also in the middle of a feud that could destroy the life she has started to build. Or the feud could give her everything she didn’t know she was looking for.

“New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead.” I knew from this opening line this was going to be an incredible book. It surpassed my expectations, which is saying something. Renee Ahdieh is one of my favorite authors, so my expectations were pretty high to start with! This book does a great job of playing with vampires and werewolves without being over the top. The Beautiful is set in the late 1800s, and is so beautifully descriptive that you can imagine how everything would look, smell and taste.

Celine is the fun and sass that perfectly counters Sebastien’s brooding nature. Celine’s personality truly shines through, particularly in the scenes with La Cour des Lions. It draws out her backstory and what caused her to come to New Orleans in the first place. This book will pull you in from the very beginning and never let go. Fair warning: you will want to make sure you have the sequel on hand when you finish!

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Theodosia was only 6 years old her life was irrevocably changed when her mother, the queen, was killed and her country was invaded and enslaved. The Kaiser forced her to become the Ash Princess, a symbol of defeat to her people. She was forced to live as a prisoner in her own home, stripped of even her own name, and endure both abuse and ridicule by the court that took everything from her. For 10 years Theo held out hope that someone, anyone, would be able to save her and her people. When events destroy any last shred of hope, Theo realizes she may need to rise up from the ashes and save herself.

“The last person who called me by my true name was my mother, with her dying breath.” This first line was spectacular. I immediately needed to know more. Theo is a wonderful character to follow. However, it was the secondary characters of this book that gave it so much depth. Whether they were helping or against Theo, it made her struggle feel much stronger and the world much bigger. The connections they created and destroyed over the course of the novel absolutely make this book. I could not put this book down. The author did a great job of making characters appear lovable or despicable only to turn things on their head by the end of the book.

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

Vika and Nikolai have never met, but they share the same secret – they are the only enchanters in Russia, but there can only be one. When the tsar initiates the Crown’s Game in 1825, both are summoned. To win means the opportunity of a lifetime – becoming the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s advisor. To lose means death. They are both playing to win. Let the games begin.

“The Crown’s Game is an old one, older than the stardom itself.” I have always been fascinated by the tsars of Russia, so this opening line piqued my interest immediately. The story may be fiction, but there were enough elements that felt like they could be real that it made me stop and think, “Maybe?” with regards to the fantastical things that were taking place. This book was so good that I immediately jumped into the sequel after finishing it.

Vika and Nikolai are such a great pair of main characters. Vika is serious and focused. Her trainer has been like a father to her, helping her craft her magic. Vika is eager to show what she can do and make him proud. Nikolai is more light-hearted. As an orphan, he has felt alone for most of his life, as even his trainer holds him at arm’s length. He has never known what it was like to have anything handed to him. The conflicted relationship of Vika and Nikolai builds and creates a lingering question of what will happen. They know they have so much in common, while also completely aware that only one of them can survive.

Here are more books I recommend with amazing first lines:

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Abigail is the Community Services Librarian. Some of her favorite genres are young adult fantasy, inspirational fiction, and chick lit. She loves to listen to music, crochet, watch DIY television, and eat pretty much anything that involves potatoes or chocolate.