Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favourite Beginnings and Endings of Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic for bloggers to choose and list their top ten. It was a Top Ten Tuesday Rewind this week, I could pick any topic that had already been done before, so I chose a Top Ten Favourite Beginnings and Endings of Books.

Is it more important for a book to have an amazing beginning or an amazing end? Some people would say beginning – it’s what draws you into the story and those first few pages decide whether you continue with the book or move it aside for another time – and some would say ending – after all do you really want to read 300 odd pages only to be disappointed by the end? Obviously though you want a book to have an amazing beginning and end.

For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday Rewind topic I picked my top five favourite beginnings and my five favourite ends. Although I’d say all ten books on my list are amazing all the way through, not just the beginning and not just the end.

Top Ten Tuesday #33

Top Five Favourite Book Beginnings

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

To start with the beginning of this book confused me a little. The juxtaposition between the two scenes mixed into one made it hard for me to understand whether I was following two characters or one, as well as what came first and what came second.

But as I read more and started to understand the rhythm of the story and the writing it made it easier to really fall into the world Kristoff had created.

“The boy was beautiful…the man was repugnant.
Caramel-smooth skin, honey-dew-sweet smile…sclerosis skin, a shallow chin lost in folds of stubbled fat.
His lips brushed hers, warm and curling soft…His lips were on the tankard, draining the dregs as the music and laughter swelled about him.
Her last nevernight in this city. A part of her didn’t want to say goodbye…His last nevernight in this city. A part of her still didn’t want to say goodbye.”

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

I really enjoy books with humour in them, and one of the things I kept hearing about in all the reviews I read of My Lady Jane was the humour. It was one of the things that made me bump this book up and up my to-read list until it was at the very top and from the first page, the first word, I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed.

“We have a different tale to tell.
Pay attention. We’ve tweaked minor details. We’ve completely rearranged major details. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent (or not-so-innocent, or simply because we thought a name was terrible and we like another name better). And we’ve added a touch of magic to keep things interesting. So really anything could happen.”

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

From the very beginning, reading this book from Percy’s point of view, I was drawn in by his voice. It made it so much easier to really get into the story and the adventures Percy, Annabeth and Grover were soon going on.

It’s one reason I’m nervous about starting the Heroes of Olympus series, the fact that the books are no longer going to be in Percy’s POV.

“Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood.
If you’re reading this because you think you might be one, my advice is: close this book right now. Believe whatever lie your mum or dad told you about your birth, and try to lead a normal life.”

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The first sentence of the first book in this series pretty much tells you how it will end. The Raven Boys takes the root of the problem and drops it in your lap with the very first words but even still you can’t help but fall in love with the characters, while at the same time expecting something terrible to happen to them.

Also who else is incredibly excited to hear that Maggie Stiefvater is writing a spin-off series from Ronan’s point of view. I would give anything to get my hands on those books right this second.

“Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she had been told that she would kill her true love.”

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Even in the very beginning you don’t know who you should be rooting for, who the bad guy is and who the good guy is, but the moral ambiguity of this book is what I loved most about it. The story jumped around a fair bit but I was hooked from the first page, and remained that way even after I’d finished reading.

“Victor readjusted the shovels on his shoulder and stepped gingerly over an old, half-sunken grave.”

Top Five Favourite Book Endings

*I’ve tried to avoid anything too definitive but this part will contain spoilers if you haven’t read any of the books below.*

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

This is a book that ripped my heart out, crushed it under its feet, and then laughed at my pain. I was in tears and, even though going into The Song of Achilles I knew how it would end, part of me still hoped for a different outcome.

However I would highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone; come and join in feeling this pain.

“I have done it,” she says. At first I do not understand. But then I see the tomb, and the marks she has made on the stone. A C H I L L E S, it reads. And beside it, P A T R O C L U S.
“Go,” she says. “He waits for you.”
In the darkness, two shadows, reaching through the hopeless, heavy dusk. Their hands meet, and light spills in a flood like a hundred golden urns pouring out of the sun.

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

If anyone needs to know how to write a successful cliffhanger than this is the book I would recommend as a reference. I read A Gathering of Shadows back when it was first released in February and even now I still find myself thinking about that ending

The wait for the third book is unbearable, and it’s all because of that cliffhanger.

Now Lila swallowed and drew the knife’s blade across her forearm. It bit into flesh, and a thin ribbon of red rose and spilled over. She smeared the wall with her blood and clutched the shard of stone.
‘Whatever I am,’ she thought, pressing her hand to the wall, ‘let it be enough.’

Highly Illogical Behaviour by John Corey Whaley

I feel like sometimes in contemporary YA books there is a lot of pressure to include a definitive ending, a happily ever after for every character. Don’t get me wrong it’s great to read but it’s not realistic.

The ending for Highly Illogical Behaviour was hopeful more than anything else; there wasn’t a miraculous cure for Solomon instead there’s more of a beginning of a possibly of something more for him.

“The world is big and scary and unforgiving. But we can survive out here. Solomon Reed did. I held his hands and we counted to ten and it was beautiful. He was an astronaut without a suit, but he was still breathing.”

More Than This by Patrick Ness

As much as I hated the way this book ended I also loved it at the same time. There are no answers to be found, but it was the same throughout the whole book not just with the ending and I feel if we were given a more solid ending it would have ruined the story.

That’s not to say I’m not still desperate to know how it ends for Seth, but given the lack of answers the book gave me I have to imagine my own ending.

“He’s uncertain what’s going to happen next.
But he is certain that that’s actually the point.
If this is all a story, then that’s what the story means.
If it isn’t a story, then the exact same is true.”

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I loved this book, I really did, but it wasn’t until the end that it felt like there was a bigger story being told that would expand over the course of the trilogy. Little hints were dropped but the last few pages the villain was revealed and everything kicked into high gear.

I can’t wait to see how everything continues in the next book.

Illuminae: Got one more file for you
Illuminae: read it and weep
Illuminae: then run fast
Illuminae: and run far

Illuminae: Now run

So what do you think? Did you take part in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, if so let me know what some of your favourite beginnings and endings of books are or what you picked for this week’s free-for-all.

56 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favourite Beginnings and Endings of Books

  1. Re-reading that ending for AGOS gave me chills, really. I can’t wait to know what happens next, and having to wait is so cruel. My Lady Jane needs to jump on top of my TBR right now, I love books with a great humor and I read so many good reviews about that one 🙂 and More than This… oh, that book, well, you know how it got me ahah. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here, honestly just going back and skim reading the last page to find that quote made me want the next book even more, and I didn’t think that was even possible!
      Oh My Lady Jane is amazing, and realy funny as well so I hope you like it. And yes I know exactly what you mean about More Than This, I still don’t think I’m completely over that ending myself! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Vicious really had a great beginning. I was honestly so conflicted on which character I should be rooting for! I’m starting A Gathering of Shadows, and if you categorize it as having a good ending, I can’t wait to get to the end! Honestly, endings are so difficult. I hate predictable endings, and then when there’s too much of a plot twist that it’s obvious that the author tried to be unique. It always has to be the perfect combination, (I’m probably asking for too much here.. haha)
    Do you normally like cliffhangers? For me, it’s a love hate relationship where I love how the book ends, but hate how that’s the only thing I can think of for a month.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s pretty much exactly how I felt as well, but that’s what I loved about it, the fact that you had no clue what side you should be rooting for, there was so much at stake for both Victor and Eli. Oh A Gathering of Shadows is amazing! I can’t wait for you to finish it you’ll have to let me know what you thought of it as soon as too!
      There’s a fine line to walk to create a decent ending. You don’t want it to be too predictable, safe or boring but at the same time you don’t want it to come out of nowhere and completely throw the audience off either.
      Normally I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers as well. I love them if I have the next book on hand but if not I’m just terrible at waiting for the next book to be released so I can find out what happens next! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I started it last night, and have been breezing though it! I’ll let you know as soon as I’ve finished, and we can discuss 🙂 This is why I can never watch TV shows until the whole season is out.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad to see More than This on your list! I’ve always loved ambiguous endings, so I really liked how the book ended, though I HAD hoped for a few more answers. Percy Jackson and The Raven Boys have some of my favorite openings too!

    ~ Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Part of me really loves ambiguous endings as well. You’re free to imagine for yourself what happened to the characters, but then again sometimes I just need solid and definitive answers.
      Oh both series have brilliant openings, they really pull you into the story don’t they? 🙂


  4. I love this!! I did skip over most of the ending ones because I haven’t read them yet. I totally agree with Percy Jackson, Illuminae and The Raven Boys! The journey you go on is so incredible. The start of Percy Jackson is one of my all time favourites! Heroes of Olympus is a bit different not being in Percy’s POV, but once you start getting to know all the characters it’s easier to deal with. I’m really excited to read Vicious, Nevernight and The Song of Achilles!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lauren, and yeah that’s why I put the warning there. I loved all these books and want everyone else to, which I don’t think they could if I’d spoiled the ending for them!
      I think I’ll still love the Heroes of Olympus series just as much, I plan to start it very very soon, but until I pick up the first book and start reading I will be a little nervous about that difference you know?
      They are all amazing books; The Song of Achilles had me in tears and that’s a hard feat to accomplish. Vicious is one of V.E. Schwab’s bests and although I haven’t read any of Kristoff’s other books (does Illuminae count if he wrote it with someone else?) I think it could be one of his bests as well! 😀


  5. I am reading My Lady Jane right now and it’s ridiculously funny. However, humor thins out by the end of the book, which makes me very upset 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I found that as well actually. I think in the second part there was more of a focus on the fantasy and magic aspects and the conclusion of the book in general which was good don’t get me wrong but I still would have liked to see more humour as well!


  6. Love this topic! I adore the start of The Raven Boys, and the ending of Illuminae was also so good, and definitely set things up for the story to continue on. I also haven’t read Nevernight, but the quote makes it sound so good that I may have to check it out soon 🙂
    My TTT

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!
      The Raven Boys was a brilliant start to the series, and I think Illuminae was the same as well though I preferred the ending of the book to the beginning.
      There are a fair few positive reviews out there for Nevernight, mine is one of them, so I really hope you enjoy it as well!
      Thanks for the link, I’ll definitely check out your TTT post! 🙂


  7. HI,
    I am trying to get a bigger number of followers before I post any new articles.
    Your blog seems super cool, I followed you.
    Would you please check mine and maybe follow me back.
    Thank you.

    I have some of those books on my TBR but I have read none of them YET
    Which one is your top1, maybe i’ll start reading it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the follow and I’m glad you like my posts and everything, I’ll be sure to check out your blog as well. 🙂
      They’re all brilliant books so I’d recommend all of them, but if I had to choose just one it’d have to be the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab, she’s just an amazing author and it’s an amazing series! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a great list! I’ve not read Nevernight (or any of Jay Kristoff’s work yet, actually) but the quote you’ve used is GORGEOUS. I’m hearing so much about My Lady Jane at the moment, so I’m definitely going to put that on my list. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sammie! Nevernight was the first book by Jay Kristoff I read but it has convinced me to read his other series. 😀
      I heard A LOT about My Lady Jane as well, it’s what convinced me to pick it up in the first place, but I’m glad I did because it’s an amazing book, I hope you enjoy it too! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh it had me in tears and I was on the train home as well, so in public surrounded by people who probably thought I was really weird, but it was such a moving story!
      They’re both amazing books, quite different tones and stories but I hope you really love them! 😀
      Thanks! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love this theme! The beginning and ending of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer is beautiful and mind-boggling. (It begins with the imaginative rambling of a young boy with autism, and ends with a flip book animation of a man falling from the World Trade Centre during 9/11).

    For my TTT, I wrote about books I love but never reviewed before:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! Ohh, that actually sounds like quite an interesting book, I’ll definitely have to look it up sometime.
      Thanks for the link as well, I’ll definitely check out your TTT post. It sounds like a great topic, I know I have loads of books I’ve loved but never reviewed! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I had to have at least one book from The Raven Cycle on here, and although I loved the ending I think the beginning was just that little bit better because it’s what started everything! 😀
      Thanks for the link, I’ll definitely check out your TTT post! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I started Nevernight all confused too! Tbh I kind of skimmed the beginning until I find an easier ‘start’ where I could just lose myself in the story, haha. Like I understand-ish what he’s trying to do, I’m just not sure I like it. 😛

    My Lady Jane though. And that line for The Raven Boys. And THAT line for Vicious… that book has the best opening scene I’ve ever read.

    And AGOS. OMG. That was one of the best cliffhangers ever. Like I dislike cliffhangers on the basis that they make me wait, but I also love it because the anticipation/excitement caused by it is unreal. Great choices, Beth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was an interesting way to start the story but it took me a couple of pages before I fully understood what was happening. I didn’t skim the pages but I think it was only when the story started to be more cohesive that I was able to fully immerse myself in the book you know?
      There are so many books with amazing openings but I will admit My Lady Jane, The Raven Boys and Vicious, well all my picks were really, were the ones where I was hooked from the very first word!
      AGOS for me is the ultimate cliffhanger. I read the book in February and I still think about it now nearly half a year later! I’m not really a fan of cliffhangers either but I don’t really mind this one, I think in part because I know the third book is going to live up to my expectations and then some!
      Thanks Reg! 😀


      1. Yeah, it’s definitely quite inventive! You have more patience than I do… but then again I skim just about anything that’s boring so I could immediately get to the good parts.

        I still think about AGOS too. That series definitely gives me the longest book hangover ever – I love the characters so much and just can’t stop thinking about how great the world-building is. I’m super impressed by Schwab’s imagination, and I have a feeling that ACOL will just about KILL me in the best possible way. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh there are times when I want to skim through pages/chapters. The fourth Game of Thrones book was hard to get through because I wasn’t interested in many of the characters in that book. But I always worry about missing something so I try and resist the urge.
        I seem to be thinking about it more and more the closer we get to the release date of ACOL, but I know the feeling because I feel like that book is going to kill me as well! 😀


    1. I have seen loads of people raving about that series so I think once I start it won’t be an issue but until I do it’s gonna be something I’m a little concerned about at least.
      The whole book was amazing actually, it had such a unique look at the story of Jane Grey, and it was hilarious as well! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  11. My Lady Jane is on my list for this month. Totally agree with you on Nevernight. That opening was so different I even mentioned it in my review. Kristoff is definitely on my list of authors I must read now. I still need to read Illuminae. I also loved The Song of Achilles. Everything about it from start to finish was amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you enjoy My Lady Jane, I’ve seen so many amazing reviews for it and mine will probably be another one!
      Yeah the beginning was definitely different, it wasn’t the hardest book to get into but it was up there, and once I understood more about the writing it was easy to become addicted to the book!
      I would highly recommend Illuminae, and I don’t think there are enough words in the English language to express how much I loved The Song of Achilles. I was in tears on the train home from work reading the last few chapters!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My Lady Jane sounds awesome, and I’m glad it’s more light hearted and not the actual story cause we all know that doesn’t have a good ending. Ha! I’m right there with you on Achilles. It took me close to a week to collect my thoughts. My appreciation for that novel is off the charts. It’s such a beautiful book. I loved it so much. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh god yes I know what you mean, this book would not be half as funny if it ended the same way history tells us Jane Grey’s life ended.
        I needed a bit of time to adjust to everything that happened as well. I finished The Song of Achilles on Monday and I’ve yet to pick up another book because I just couldn’t. I’m hoping to start Stealing Snow tomorrow but until then I need to wallow a bit more!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m aiming to write my review this weekend, I feel enough time has passed that I can successfully collect my thoughts on the book now.
        I started reading again so I feel like I’m officially over the book hangover The Song of Achilles gave me! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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