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 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.