In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three.
– Howl’s Moving Castle (yes, again)
I love this opening because it establishes so clearly that this novel is going to poke fun at fairy-tales. The eldest of three? Isn’t that the one who’s supposed to fail “first and worst” in all the stories you’ve ever heart?
Novel openings are so important because they are what’s going to draw you in, and tell you what kind of book this is going to be. As much as I love reading, I have to admit I’m always nervous when starting a new book. I never know if I’ll like the characters, or if I can trust the author. So an opening that invites me in and makes me comfortable is essential to me.
By the way, here’s a neat list of clever openings lines that I found online the other day. Not sure if the analysis of why the lines work is always spot on – you can’t always explain the magic of words in words – but it’s fun to read, anyway. Plus, Jane Austen makes the list.