The Best Opening Lines in Literature

In honor of my very first actual post, I thought I would dedicate this to the best first lines in literature! The first line, or lines, of a book are what sets the tone and are often what hooks the reader. You know you’re in for something good when you get the feels from the start! I did some research, asked my Instagram followers to weigh in, and compiled the following list, and I invite you to share YOUR favorites in the comments! Without further ado, lets get to it!

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“This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.” – The Princess Bride, William Goldman

“Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world.” – Eragon, Christopher Paolini

Photo Dec 31, 8 54 39 AM“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, Erin Morgenstern

“Today was the day a thousand dreams would die and a single dream would be born.”
The Kiss of Deception, Mary. E. Pearson

“They said the only folks who belonged in Deadshot after dark were the ones who were up to no good. I wasn’t up to no good. Then again, I wasn’t exactly up to no bad either.” – Rebel of the Sands, Alwyn Hamilton

“All children, except one, grow up.” – Peter and Wendy, J.M. Barrie

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“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C. S. Lewis

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.” – The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

“Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French.” – The Luck of the Bodkins, PG Wodehouse

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” – Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

“Kell worse a very peculiar coat.” – A Darker Shade of Magic, V.E. Schwab

Photo Dec 31, 8 56 56 AM“Mr and Mrs Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling

“Not for the first time, an argument had broken out over breakfast at number four, Privet Drive.” – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling

“The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane.” – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.’” – The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

“The morning had dawned clear and cold, with a crispness that hinted at the end of summer.”  – A Game of Thrones, George R.R. MartinPhoto Dec 31, 9 02 16 AM

“A mile above Oz, the witch balanced on the wind’s forward edge, as if she were a green fleck of the land itself…” – Wicked, Gregory Maguire

“I would have lived in peace, but my enemies brought me war” – Pierce Brown, Red Rising

“The screw through Cinder’s ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle.” – Cinder, Marissa Meyer

“There is a particular circle of hell not mentioned in Dante’s famous book. It is called comportment, and it exists in schools for young ladies across the empire. I do not know how it feels to be thrown into a lake of fire. I am sure it isn’t pleasant. But I can say with all certainty that walking the length of a ballroom with a book upon one’s head and a backboard strapped to one’s back while imprisoned in a tight corset, layers of petticoats, and shoes that pinch is a form of torture that even Mr. Alighieri would find too hideous to document in his Inferno.” – The Sweet Far Thing, Libba Bray

Photo Dec 31, 8 51 25 AM“On the second Sabbat of Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.”
Strange the Dreamer, Laini Taylor

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.” – Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor

“It was a dark and stormy night.” – A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle

“There is one mirror in my house. It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs. Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day of every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair.” – Divergent, Veronica Roth

“People often shit themselves when they die.” – Nevernight,  Jay Kristoff

“Nothing stinks quite like a corpse.” – Godsgrave, Jay Kristoff

“Maybe I’d always been broken and dark inside.” – A Court of Mist and Fury, Sarah J Maas

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Please share your favorite lines in the comments below!

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