In the beginning…

laini taylor trilogyMusing Mondays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, in which we muse about books and reading.  Anyone can join in!

There are a million different wasy to start a story—to captivate your reader from the very first word. This week I was reading Dreams of Gods and Monsters (the final installment of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy) and it struck me as I finished chapter one—this is the best book beginning I’ve ever read.

I went back to the beginning of the other books in the trilogy and I realised that they all had brilliant, captivating beginnings.  And contrary to the advice of many English teachers, they didn’t all begin with action.  What captured me from the first sentence was the presence of two things: intrigue and irresistible language.

Although each beginning is similar in those ways, they each describe a different aspect of the story:

Character’s Thoughts

Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Karou had no sinister premonitions about the day.  It seemed like just another Monday, innocent but for its essential Mondayness, not to mention its Januaryness.  It was cold, and it was dark – in the dead of winter the sun didn’t ride until eight – but it was also lovely.  The falling snow and the early hour conspired to paint Prague ghostly, like a tintype photograph, all silver and haze.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor


Prague, early May.  The sky weighed gray over fairy-tale rooftops, and all the world was watching.  Satellites had even been asked to surveil the Charles Bridge, in case the… Visitors… Returned.  Strange things had happened in this city before, but not this strange.  At least, not since video existed to prove it.  Or to milk it.

Days of Blood and Starlight – Laini Taylor


Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor

Nerve thrum and screaming blood, wild and churning and chasing and devouring and terrible and terrible and terrible-
“Eliza. Eliza!”

A voice. Bright light, and Eliza feel awake.  That’s how it felt: like falling and landing hard.  “It was a dream,” she heard herself say.  “It was just a dream. I’m okay.”How many times in her life had she spoken those words? More than she could count.  This was the first time, though, that she’d spoken them to a man who had burst heroically into her room, clutching a claw hammer, to save her from being murdered.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters – Laini Taylor

These enthralling beginnings have pulled me into each of these books like no other, and earned Laini Taylor the title of my favourite author.

How do your favourite books begin? What’s the most memorable book beginning you’ve read?


13 thoughts on “In the beginning…

    • Action is definitely the most exciting way to grab a reader (hence why English teachers love it so much). But there is something I love about Laini Taylor’s subtle hints of intrigue and her beautiful prose that draws me in, rather than just plonking me in the middle of the action. I think it’s story content. Especially in the first two books, the story isn’t about the action.

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