#WyrdAndWonder Top Ten Tuesday | First lines from my favourite fantasy novels (and one novelette)


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week’s theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!

This week’s theme is ‘Opening Lines’, and as I’m currently taking part in Wyrd & Wonder today seemed like the perfect time to share the opening lines from ten eleven of my favourite fantasy stories. These aren’t necessarily my favourite opening lines, but they’re most certainly opening lines that invited me into stories that have stayed with me!

“Maia woke with his cousin’s cold fingers digging into his shoulder.”

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Let’s get the obvious choice over with first, because I’m sure you all know by now that this is my favourite book. When I started reading this book I was scared that I’d be intimidated by the way the dialogue’s written, but soon enough I got used to the rhythm of it and I fell in love. I re-read this story every year, and love it even more each time.

“Meche folded the magazine and finally decided to look out the window.”

Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Another of my favourite books, and a book of Moreno-Garcia’s that deserves so much more love! Meche remains one of my favourite heroines, I love her a great deal, and even though I haven’t re-read this novel in full since I first read it (although I have re-read my favourite sections) I still remember so much of it.

“Joost had two problems: the moon and his moustache.”

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

This is such a fun opening line that didn’t prepare me for how much I was going to end up adoring this book. I read this line and thought ‘cool, this is going to be a fun heist story’ and then the heartbreaking backstories came out of nowhere and hit me in the feelings. Well played, Leigh, well played.

“‘I believe the question, then,’ says Vasily Yaroslav, ‘is one of intent.’”

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

I had no idea what to think of City of Stairs when I started it because it felt so unlike anything else I’d ever read, but by the time I finished it I realised I’d read one of the best fantasy novels I’ve ever read.

“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

I finally crossed this novel off my TBR last year and, of course, I adored it and I loved Lynch’s writing. I can’t wait to read more from this series!

“Saffron takes her customary place at the little round table on the dais of the Traitor King.”

The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections by Tina Connolly

This novelette was shortlisted for a Hugo Award last year, which is how I ended up reading it, and I don’t know what it is about it that I loved so much but I think about it regularly. Something about it made me nostalgic for the fantasy stories I loved when I was younger.

“Three children lay on the rocks at the water’s edge.”

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

This chunky novel set in medieval Ireland is a classic of the fantasy genre for a reason, and I fell in love with it when I read it. It’s got that traditional, romantic, fairy tale vibe that so many older fantasy novels do, and I loved losing myself in it.

“I suspect a percentage of my readership will see the title of this volume and expect the entirety of what is contained herein to be devoted to a certain discovery that took place in the Labyrinth of Drakes.”

In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan

If you’re going to try this series, I highly, highly recommend the audiobooks narrated by Kate Reading, who is a wonderful Isabella. This was my favourite book in the series and I’m itching to listen to it again.

“The real story isn’t half as pretty as the one you’ve heard.”

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

I read the first page of Spinning Silver and knew immediately that I was going to love it, and I wasn’t wrong. This is the retelling of Rumpelstiltskin I didn’t know I wanted and it’s a masterpiece.

“My father was a king and the son of kings.”

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Oh Patroclus, will I ever think of you and not want to weep? I love the way Madeline Miller writes – she’s like a Greek chorus all on her own – and this novel is beautifully written.

“Time grows short, my love.”

The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin

Another masterpiece, and the book that made Jemisin go down in history as the first author to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel three years in a row – and all for books in the same series. This third and final book didn’t work for a few readers, but I absolutely loved it; I’m a sucker for stories about mothers and daughters.

What did you talk about this week?

31 thoughts on “#WyrdAndWonder Top Ten Tuesday | First lines from my favourite fantasy novels (and one novelette)

  1. Dedra @ A Book Wanderer says:

    I am determined to finally read Six of Crows and The Song of Achilles this year! They’ve been waiting on my shelf for too long. Lovely post! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dianthaa says:

    I forgot about Locke Lamora, that book has so many great lines.
    I’m very impatiently waiting for my copy of City of Stairs to arrive, it was due yesterday, I needs it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Leah says:

    A few of these books are on my shelf (The Song of Achilles, Spinning Silver)–I must check them out! Silvia Moreno-Garcia deserves all the attention.

    I still have to read one of N.K. Jemisin’s books.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nikki @The Night is Dark and Full of Books says:

    Great first lines! I haven’t read a lot of fantasy lately but these are tempting me a bit. I actually was about to put the Six of Crows one in my list too. Only it was a bit difficult to fit in with the other lines 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Emer @alittlehazebookblog says:

    Daughter of the Forest sounds incredibly compelling to me. I just went back and read your review of it and I must say I’m very curious about it. I’m not familiar with the original Grimm fairytale (or more accurately I’ve probs forgotten it because I did actually read as many Grimm fairytales as I could as a kid) but I really do like the idea of setting a fantasy tale in medieval Ireland because we have such a great tradition of myths and legends here to enrich the atmosphere of any fantasy retelling

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jess @ Jessticulates says:

      Ooh I hope you enjoy it if you pick it up! It’s so beautifully written. It is slow, but I got lost in it as soon as I started reading it and I was a bit bereft when it ended. I recommend treating it as a standalone, though! The second book suuuuuuucked.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. dinipandareads says:

    Oooh haaay, so many great lines! I haven’t heard of half of these books but quite a few of these opening lines have piqued my interest 😍 Lol that opening for SoC makes me want to re-read that book now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jess @ Jessticulates says:

      Hahaha same! I haven’t read SoC since I first read it two years ago (can’t believe it’s 2 years since I read that book already) and I had such an urge to read it again while compiling this list. I might give it a re-read later this year before the Netflix show comes out. 🙂


  7. evelynreads1 says:

    I’m about to start City of stairs, and also have no idea what it is about haha! But that first sentence sounds interesting!


    Liked by 1 person

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