The Best First page you have ever read?

First impressions count.

And, like it or not, people will consider whether or not they will like your work just by reading the first few lines.

With that in mind I would like to ask you Who wrote your favourite opening to a book / best first line?

I like Stephen King’s ‘The Body’ (Stand By Me) and Neil Gaiman ‘The Graveyard.’
Something about those two stories that means you have to carry on reading.

Interested in your comments.

It was the best of blogs, it was the worst of blogs…

10 thoughts on “The Best First page you have ever read?

  1. sonofthemountains 21/05/2014 / 7:00 pm

    My literary roots are fantasy, Tolkien and the like. I was beginning middle school when I discovered Brian Jacques, and my reader/writer mind would never be the same. The opening pages of Redwall are my answer here. “It was the start of the Summer of the Late Rose. Mossflower country shimmered gently in a peaceful haze, bathing delicately at each dew-laden dawn, blossoming at high, sunny noontides, languishing in each crimson-tinted twilight that heralded the soft darkness of June nights….”

    There was my escapism — that perfect land of fantasy that makes the mentally stunning backdrop for the epic hero’s journey to come….

    • Curlydaz 21/05/2014 / 7:19 pm

      So evocative. Never read his stuff. What book should I start on?

      • sonofthemountains 21/05/2014 / 7:28 pm

        Well, I will definitely recommend Redwall, since it is the one I quoted here. Haha, but in all honesty, they are mostly self-sufficient, the majority of them structured as a tale told to children in the castle at night sort of idea. First pages of novels after Redwall are often some old member(s) of the community sitting children down around a fire to tell them the story, the grand hero’s journey, which then starts at Book 1 Chapter 1, and then at story’s end, the epilogue is the elders wrapping up their tale as the babes are all dozing off…..

      • Curlydaz 21/05/2014 / 8:46 pm

        Thanks for the heads up. Gonna put it on my ‘must read’ list. Can’t beat sitting around a fire listening to some ripping yarn.

  2. Wendy 21/05/2014 / 8:58 pm

    La Cucina and White Oleander. Those just pop up because I remember stopping to reread sentences and phrases because they were so new, or painted such a new vivid image, or were written in such a way that begged to be read out loud because the words were like music. A local poet read out loud a week or two ago and I couldn’t get the imagery she painted out of my head–that’s magic.

    • Curlydaz 21/05/2014 / 9:05 pm

      I’ve just had a quick look at both. White Oleander looks great. Thanks for your comment.

  3. RAM 27/05/2014 / 5:48 pm

    Lolita. Hands down.

    • Curlydaz 27/05/2014 / 6:50 pm

      That is a very good shout my friend. Even after Lana Del Rey sang it.

  4. A Voice 30/05/2014 / 8:10 pm

    Hands down, the best first page belongs to Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind. This is something that I find to be quite interesting because, starting with Soul of the Fire (book 5 in the Sword of Truth series) Goodkind uses deus ex machina in enough places to be genuinely troublesome and that’s not considering that the concept of a War Wizard all but tidies up it’s use as a plot device. It’s a shame because the characters and the series is very compelling, however there’s no getting around the troubling use of that detestable device. After finishing what I thought was the series in Confessor and seeing it end, yes, end with the use of deus ex machina I had no desire to read whatever else he would come up with.

    As an aside, the best series I’ve read is the ‘Rhapsody Trilogy’ by Elizabeth Haydon. There were many, many times that I had to stop reading because it was just too difficult and nevermind how much I wanted to continue. The characters all acted the way their personalities indicated they would and this led to moments of such emotional tension that it was tough for me to continue, I’d have to give it a few hours or a day before coming back to it. But I always came back, the books were that good, and the story is practically burned into my brain despite reading each book only once.

    And yet this sits alongside the late Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, my favourite in that I’ve read all but the last three books multiple times over and the first book between 13 and 15 times since 1997 when I was a freshman in high school. The reason this is not the best series I’ve read is due to a problem of scope, there simply are far too many secondary and even important tertiary characters to keep up with. It seems to me that Jordan was initially aiming at a much grander scope and somewhere along the line had to begin narrowing that scope to finish telling the story although, regrettably, he died before being able to do so.

    As a final aside, perhaps the best book I’ve read is Elantris by Brandon Sanderson, the man selected to help finish Jordan’s Wheel of Time series after his death. No other story has left me wanting more in quite the same way and no other story of it’s length has demonstrated such skill in the telling, vibrant and realistic characters, and the ability to make ethical points without them overshadowing the story. It was absolutely brilliant.

    When I aimed to write fiction these where the examples, positive and negative, that I drew from and examples that I think every fan of fantasy or simple damn good storytelling should experience.

    • Curlydaz 31/05/2014 / 7:26 am

      Thanks for such an in depth answer. Have you got any opening line examples from the books? What made them good first pages. Or is it that you like those stories so much, that the entire books grabbed you. I am going to investigate Robert Jordan, I am a fantasy novice ( I’ve only really read Scott Lynch) thanks for the recommendation. I really appreciate your answer, it’s a pleasure to hear from someone do well read,and accomplished at writing. Keep on blogging. Daz

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