Posted in discussion, Uncategorized

Favourite Opening Lines

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the importance of opening lines. After all, once you get past the blurb and the cover, it’s those precious first few sentences that can captive your attention and encourage you to delve further into the story. So I’ve decided to share some of my favourite opening lines with no summaries of what the stories are about. Quite simply just the opening lines.

 

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 

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My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip. I give Pirrip as my father’s family name, on the authority of his tombstone and my sister – Mrs. Joe Gargery, who married the blacksmith. As I never saw my father or my mother, and never saw any likeness of either of them (for their days were long before the days of photographs), my first fancies regarding what they were like, were unreasonably derived from their tombstones.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 

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First the colours.
Then the humans.
That’s usually how I see things. 
Or at least, how I try. 

Here is a small fact: you are going to die. 
The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald

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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 any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
Peter Pan by J.M.Barrie

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All Children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful,  for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, “Oh, why can’t you remain like this forever!” This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end. 

I Capture A Castle by Dodie Smith

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I write this sitting in the kitchen ink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining-board, which I have padded with our dog’s blanket and the tea-cosy.

Twilight  by Stephenie Meyer 

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I’d never given much thought to how I would die – though I’d had reason enough in the last few months – but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this. I stared without breathing across the long room, into the dark eyes of the hunter, and he looked pleasantly pleasantly back at me. Surely it was a good way to die, in the place of someone else, someone I loved. Noble, even. That ought to count for something. 

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

 

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I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen. The first of these came as a terrible shock and, like anything that changes you forever, split my life into halves: Before and After. Like many of the extraordinary things to come, it involved my grandfather, Abraham Portman. 

 

What are some of your favourite opening lines?

 

 

Posted in review, young adult

Life And Death – Stephenie Meyer

 

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Blurb: “When Beaufort Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, thrilling and terrifying turn. With her porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerising voice, and supernatural gifts, Edythe is both irresistible and enigmatic. What Beau doesn’t realise is that the closer he gets to her, the more he is putting himself and those around him at risk. And, it might be too late to turn back.”

 

When it was first announced that the tenth anniversary edition of Twilight was to include some bonus content I – along with a lot of other Twilight fans – thought it was going to be Midnight Sun. Sadly, it wasn’t. Instead we were given Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined which is basically a gender swapped version of the original Twilight story. Stephenie Meyer went into detail about why she did this, among other things, during an interview with Sasha  from aBookutopia which you can watch at your leisure. Here, I’m just going to lay out the basics.

As I said, this is a gender-swapped version so Edward Cullen is now a female vampire called Eydthe Cullen and Bella Swan is now the vulnerable human boy Beaufort Swan. The only characters that remain the same gender from the original are Charlie and Rene. This – Stephenie states in the foreword – is because during the time when Bella/Beaufort was born, it wouldn’t have been likely for an unemployed man to get full custody of a baby.  Which makes a lot more sense than…well… this entire book.

The story pans out exactly the same as the original: Beau moves to a new town, to live with an estranged parent. At his new school, he sets his sights on Edythe Cullen and her rather attractive family. As the story progresses, he spends more time with her, she tries to scare him away and so on and so forth.

One bit that really infuriated me was that when Beau knows Eydthe is a vampire and she has admitted it, he asks how old she is. She says that she was born in 1901. The internal monologue from Beau reads “my face was carefully arranged, unsurprised, patient for the rest.” Now, I’m sure that even if you knew someone had probably been around a while if they’re a vampire, and even I your year estimations were right, you would have some form of a reaction. Whether it’s a “wow that’s old” or “oh, that’s not as bad as I thought it would be.” I cannot, for the life of me, think of a time when my face was “carefully arranged” let alone would I be aware of it in an interaction I had with someone else.

It just read odd. Like a good 90% of the writing. Stephenie claims that one of the good things about having the opportunity to essentially “redo” the story was that she could change some of the lines/words that really bugged her and didn’t sit right in the original. I cannot think what parts she was referring to because the writing in this book was just horrendous. From a writer point of view, there were a lot and I mean A LOT of lines that I would have scrapped completely. I don’t know how these things slipped by an actual writer.

I will give Stephenie Meyer some credit: Life And Death is not exactly the same as Twilight. For a start, the event in Port Angles that causes Edythe to come to the rescue is a misunderstanding about Beau being an undercover cop which lands him in a tricky situation with a gun.  The ending is different too. But again, didn’t add much to the stop except that it just made Beau even more unbearable.

I’ve seen a few other reviewers who have actually enjoyed this but personally, I have no idea why.
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