Top Five Tuesday: Opening Lines from Fantasy Books

This week, Bionic Book Worm has asked us to spend a Top Five Tuesday asking us about our favorite opening lines.  And because it’s Wyrd and Wonder, I’m choosing all my picks from fantasy books!  I thought this would be a lot harder than it turned out to be becuase my brain can get a little fuzzy on specifics when it comes to remembering books.  But I let my gut lead me to pull some things off my shelves and found that YUP, there was a reason I was drawn to certain books for this challenge!  So without further ado, let’s look at some quotes!


It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. – RED SISTER by  Mark Lawrence

I mean, how do you do much better than that? You immediately find yourself going why is a nun so scary that you need to bring, not a handful of highly trained warriors, but an entire freakin’ army?


“This isn’t stealing,” I insisted, a little loudly considering the only person who could hear me was a two-foot-tall squirrel cat who was, at that moment, busily picking the combination lock that stood between us and the contents of the pawnshop’s glass display case. – SHADOWBLACK by Sebastien de Castell

The second book in the SPELLSLINGER series gets props for immediately letting the reader know that life for Kellen since he left home is going about as well as can be expected, which means it’s a total disaster.  Also, the amazing image of a squirrel cat picking a lock as a human counterpart keeps watch is absolutely absurd and sets the tone for this delightful series.


Kell wore a very peculiar coat. – A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab

Of all the things that the author wants you to know about when A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC begins, she starts with Kell’s coat.  Which of course begs the question, Who is Kell and what’s so special about that coat.  Have I read on to find the answer to that question?  Absolutely.  Opening hook, mission accomplished.


At the height of the long wet summer of the Seventy-seventh year of Sendovani, the Thiefmaker of Camorr paid a sudden and unannounced visit to the Eyeless Priest at the Temple of Perelandro, desperately hoping to sell him the Lamora boy. – THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA by Scott Lynch

WOW, there is a lot packed into one sentence. On its own, we get a feel for the fantasy world we’re in, the knowledge that there are thieves and gods, and the Lamora boy, are titular character, is someone that the Thiefmaker wants to get rid of, which tells me this kid is already up to know good – or at least, somehow involved in something troubling.  Please, tell me more!

Foundryside RD4 clean flat

As Sancia Grado lay facedown in the mud, stuffed underneath the wooden deck next to the old stone wall, she reflected that this evening was not going at all as she had wanted. – FOUNDRYSIDE by Robert Jackson Bennett

Starting in media res is a common ploy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t effective.  Poor Sancia is having a rough night, but what was that night supposed to be, and how did it go horribly wrong?  There’s also a slight exasperation which sets the tone nicely for the rest of Sancia’s adventures.



I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites.  It had been well over 35,000 hours or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don’t know, a little under 35,000 hours of movies, serials, books, plays, and music consumed.  As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure. – ALL SYSTEMS RED by Martha Wells

It’s not fantasy, but I couldn’t let a post about openings go by without giving a shout-out to one of the best opening paragraphs in recent memory, from the absolutely fantastic series THE MURDERBOT DIARIES.

And those are my picks!  What is your favorite opening?

17 thoughts on “Top Five Tuesday: Opening Lines from Fantasy Books

Add yours

  1. The first sentence of of Red sister is amazing!
    I now really want to pick up Foundryside! it sounds great!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. TLoLL is one that REALLY hooked me right from the first few sentences. I immediately knew I was going to love that book just from the style of writing. (Could have also been the swearing lol.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s science fiction, but one of my all time favourite openings is from Count Zero by William Gibson:

    “They set a Slamhound on Turner’s trail in New Delhi, slotted it to his pheromones and the colour of his hair.”

    Gibson has an incredible gift for packing his sentences full to bursting with character and world building. This one short sentence flows so fluidly off the tongue and does double and triple duty in the work it does to deliver a cache of information about his world.

    Liked by 1 person

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