So there’s a trend going around BookTok at the moment where people “convince” you to read books based on the first line. I thought this was such a great idea that I had to make my own post about it! But I’m going to be featuring my favourite books. Hope you find a new favourite among these.
Check out one such video here!
“Lest anyone should suppose I am a son of nobody, sold off by some peasant father in a drought year, I may say our line is an old one, though it ends with me.”
The Persian Boy is about the last seven years of Alexander the Great’s life, as shown through the eyes of his lover, Bagoas. If you love novels about Ancient Greece, you definitely want to pick this one up!
“There is a pirate in the basement.”
The Starless Sea is about Zachary who finds a book in his university’s library that has a scene from his own childhood in it. After reading the book, he finds himself on a life-changing journey with a group of mysterious people that leads to a secret library deep underneath the earth. Such an original story!
“When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist.”
Circe is about a goddess-witch who is banished to a island by Zeus, where she spends her days growing more powerful and meeting famous people from Ancient Greek mythology. The writing is phenomenal and Circe is an incredible woman. Love that Madeline Miller gives voice to those characters in Ancient Greek mythology that are often overlooked.
“When the Moon rose in the Third Northern Hall I went to the Ninth Vestibule to witness the joining of three Tides.”
Piranesi is about a man called Piranesi who lives in a House that is also the whole World, with oceans and animals and only one other human. Such a weird book, but so beautifully written as well. I adore this book so much.
“The stranger came out of the sea like a water ghost, barefoot and wearing the scars of his journey.”
The Priory of the Orange Tree is about Ead, mage of the Priory of the Orange Tree, who is sent to watch over and protect Queen Sabran whose death is said to foretell the apocalypse. If you want to read a 900+ page sapphic slow burn, this is the book for you!
“My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die. I counted.”
On the Jellicoe Road is about a teenage girl called Taylor who is in her final year of school when she’s made school captain, has to deal with the turf wars between her school and two others, her guardian disappears, and the boy who betrayed her years ago shows up again. This Australian novel is so incredible, literally plot twist after plot twist.
“So far, magic school was total rubbish.”
In Other Lands is about a boy called Elliot who discovers a magic wall and travels over it to find an unseen magical world; he is accepted into the magic school there and has numerous adventures with his new friends (and sort of enemy). This book is adorable and funny, and Elliot exploring his bisexuality is incredible.
“Night does not communicate with the day. It burns up in it.”
Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants is about Michelangelo after he escapes from Rome after incurring the wrath of the Pope, and finds himself in Constantinople and is commissioned to construct a bridge. This short book is deceptively powerful and so interesting.
“In the deep wilds of the north, there is a Shrine cut into the mountainside.”
The Unspoken Name is about an orc named Csorwe who is sent to be sacrificed to her god, the Unspoken One, but at the last second she accepts an offer from a wizard to escape and become his protector as he sets out to get revenge against the people who stole his kingdom. You want to read this book based on these two words: Talasseres Charossa .
“Although I haven’t been shot at for years, it took me a long time to understand that the bang wasn’t artillery.”
The Bedlam Stacks is about Merrick, a former smuggler, who is sent to Peru for quinine (to help treat malaria) by the British government, and while he is there, fairytales become reality as he and his guide Raphael are stalked across the jungle by a creature from a lost time in Peru’s past comes back to life. This is such a strange book but gosh it’s so addictive, and so fascinating.
“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.”
Howl’s Moving Castle is about a girl named Sophie who is cursed by a witch to look like an elderly woman. Ashamed, she runs away from her family and ends up working for Howl, a strange wizard who is obsessed with wooing princesses. Gosh, this book is so much fun and so damn cute! Howl is the dramatic wizard I wish I was.
“Among all the gods and buddhas of heaven, there was one famous laughingstock of the three realms.”
Heaven’s Official Blessing is about Xie Lian, a once-powerful god who fell from heaven twice and now wanders the world searching through trash, as he is raised up for the third time and sent on many adventures on behalf of the other gods, with the frightening demon ghost king, Hua Cheng. This extremely long book — 2000 pages — is an incredible romance between two damaged men. It will absolutely destroy you, you need to read it!
What are some books with great first lines that you’ve read? Let me know!