I was made aware of an article on First and Last lines not long ago. Here's an introduction to that article and some of the books they had a look at. I can advice you to have a look at the whole article: it's fun. And of course I had to have a look at some of my favorite reads, so those first and last lines and my thoughts are below as well.
graphic by Invaluable
When you read the first line of a novel it is as if the book is inviting you in. If you like the invitation, you read on, if you don’t like it, you close the book. Finding the best words to draw readers in can be a long process. Authors spend months on the opening lines of their books. Stephen King revealed that he has spent years on opening sentences and has attributed the success of his entire book to those few words.
Though the importance of the perfect first line is undeniable, the closing sentence carries arguably the same weight. While opening lines set the tone for a work of literature, the last line brings the story full circle and leaves readers with a lasting impression. When an author can create a last line that is equally as powerful as the first, it is an achievement. Invaluable
created this visual
that takes a look at the first and last lines from iconic books. Take a look through these artful beginnings and ending and get inspired to take a look at the first and last lines from your favorite reads.
graphic by Invaluable
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
“Call me Ishmael.”
Herman Melville delivers one of the most famous lines in literary history in his American classic, Moby-Dick. The simple statement, “Call me Ishamel,” has been met with various theories as to Melville’s intention. One suggestion is that he wanted to indicate that the narrator may have been hiding something or acting duplicitous. Another is that he wanted to evoke imagery surrounding the biblical figure Ishmael, who was an outcast. The last theory about this iconic first line is that Melville is about to establish a casual introduction; a call to familiarity. By introducing the novel this way, it allows readers to get comfortable with the narrator and first person story that is about to unfold.
“And I only am escaped alone to tell thee.”
Equally as intriguing is the last line of Melville’s novel. Ishmael states, “And I only am escaped alone to tell thee,” signaling that he is the only one to survive a massive wreck. Everyone is killed but the narrator, who had quickly familiarized himself with audience from the very first line.
read the rest of the original article here
On to my First and Last lines!
Warning: I'm not such a pro at this, so my observations might not be so astute.
The Arrows of the Heart by Jeffe Kennedy
As soon as the sky lightened with the promise of dawn, I dressed and went out.
This line tells us this book is in first person, and that the lead character is an early riser, unlike me. Also it seems to be a nice day: no rain mentioned.
I wound my fingers in his hair and dragged him down to cover me.
This tells us this book has a happy end for the main character and at least one other character. They are about to have fun! *Happy sigh from Voodoo Bride* (Note: I know this book is a Fantasy Romance, so that's why I'm certain it's a happy end and fun activities. Had this been a zombie novel, I would be less sure.)
Flesh by Laura Bickle
The dead are easy to talk to.
This first line immediately gives me hope there might be zombies or other undead creatures. Also: it tells me the dead are easy to talk to.
“I think I'm doing it right.”
This tells us that even though the title and the first line hint at zombies, there's at least one person (possibly two people if the one talking isn't the kind to talk to themselves) left standing at the end of the book. Also this person thinks they might be doing something right. Maybe because they killed zombies?
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
The girls were never present for the entrance interviews.
Hmm... apparently there is something in this book where you need an entrance interview for. And the girls aren't at those interviews EVER! This sounds suspicious.
Like a key that finds its keyhole, Nancy was finally home.
This last line refers back to the title that is about doorways. Doorways often have doors and possibly keyholes. It also reads like a satisfying ending. Nancy is home. Home usually is a good thing.
The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander
There is a secret buried beneath the mountain’s gray skin.
This line immediately makes me curious. What secret? Will we find out what it is? Also: Who is telling this? I've never heard anyone refer to a mountain having skin.
Together they go to sing the song of their undoing, the joining, teaching, come-together song.
This last line gives me a bittersweet feeling. 'The song of their undoing' doesn't sound like a good thing, but it also mentions joining, teaching and coming together. Those are usually good things. Sounds like this might be emotional.
Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson
The monster looked like an old grandmother from the waist up, but it had six long octopus legs.
Another promising first line. A monster with octopus legs. Sounds like my kind of read! The mention of the monster looking like an old grandmother from the waist up tells me it's not a monster I've seen before.
Shulgi leaned down and held out his hand.
This sounds like the ending is positive. Usually you don't hold your hand out if you expect to get it bitten off or something.
This was fun! I might mix up my usual Teaser Tuesdays with a First/Last line post. Maybe even from books I haven't read yet. We'll see.