Tempting Your Reader Imagination with First Lines 

First Lines is a series of blog articles posted on around the first of the month. The first line of a story, we’re told, must hook the reader. Implied is that the reader will not buy the book if the first line isn’t great. These entries are from Amazon, my personal library, or other online booksellers. Do these first lines tickle your imagination? Do you want to read more?

The cover of the measure: the center of a golden yellow background is a bouquet of dark and light blue flowers tied with a white string.

PROLOGUE: It was difficult to imagine a time before them, a time in which they hadn’t come. 

The Measure: A Read with Jenna Pick , Nikki Erlick

The cover of Our Missing hears is a carribean blue that is lighter on the left edge than the right edge. In the middle of the cover is a partially feathered quill. The missing parts of the feather appear to be tiny birds taking flight off into the right upper corner.

The letter arrives on a Friday. Slit and resealed with a sticker, of course, as all their letters are: Inspected for your safety—PACT.

Our Missing Hearts Celeste Ng

Cover of the ferryman is a large expanse of sky golden sky mostly obscured by drak gray to blue and white clouds. In the bottom 1/8th is the horizon line of a sea and in the distance is the silhouette of a sail boat.

PROLOGUE: Dawn is breaking when she creeps from the house. The air is cool and fresh; birds are singing in the trees.

The Ferryman, Justin Cronin

The cover of the hanging city has a black star-studded background with a rich green building near the top center with a pair of staircases leading down from the building in a diamond shape. A gold scaled serpent with a red belly winds through the building and around the staircases.

PROLOGUE: “Let me tell you about Paca’s journey to Eterellis,” the old bard says, sitting on a dried stump and drumming knobby fingers on his knees.

The Hanging City Charlie N. Holmberg

The cover of Trail of Lightning has a yellow sky and clouds background with lightning striking from the upper right to the lower left corner. In the middle is a woman holding a sword in one hand and a gun in another, she is standing on the white roof of a red pickup truck with a young man in the passenger seat.

The monster has been here. I can smell him.

His stench is part the acrid sweat of exertion, part meaty ripeness of a carnivore’s unwashed flesh, and part something else I can’t quite name.

Trail of Lightning, Rebecca Roanhorse

The cover of Fourth Wing is a top to bottom gradient of light yellow to golden yellow, in the center it has a round line drawn image of clouds with a dragon  in white relief against a small black circle, The title overlays that image.

Conscription day is always the deadliest. Maybe that’s why the sunrise is especially beautiful this morning—because I know it might be my last. 

Fourth Wing, The Empyrean, book1, Rebecca Yarros


There are no affiliate links in this post. I don’t make a cent off of the books listed on this page. Usually these titles are pulled at random. They are here for your enjoyment. And to entice you to buy more books.

Do You Want to Read More?

Did you enjoy this list? Check out previous First Lines posts.

Which first lines tempted you? If none of these tickled your imagination, what is the first line of what you’re reading now?

1 comment

  1. Thank you as always! I added 4 of these to my TBR. (I did not know Justin Cronin had a new book out so thank you!) The only reason I didn’t add the other two was that I had already read Trail of Lightning and loved it. And I already picked up Hanging City. So those two are great selections!

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