Monday, 21 April 2014

The Lost Souls of Angelkov by Linda Holeman

April 1861

The day his son was stolen, Konstantin had noticed the difference in the air.

I was scrolling through many books today with horrible, boring first sentences at the Google bookstore before I finally came across this opening line which I like. I wanted to write a review about a good opening line today.

Unfortunately, the next line describes the smell of the air as something that means the end of winter. I assume it is that muddy spring smell. In any case, the second line is about weather, which does not further conflict but instead only tells us the season, which is totally unnecessary because the date is already given and if readers want to imagine April, they can so so perfectly without the descriptive prompt.

I never will understand why the weather needs to be reported in the first paragraph of a book. It never hooks. It may create some mood and establish an element of setting, but without conflict, setting does not hook -  especially something as flimsy as the weather. I am getting tired of reading book openings day after day that begin with weather, it's starting to turn me off to opening a book at all. Weather is not creative, it is cliche for the millionth time already. Books that do not begin with weather or have very little weather at the beginning are starting to look like works of genius to me now.

Fortunately the opening line does hook. There is a character and a major conflict plot point.

First thing said:

"Papa, someone's coming."

This is still on the first page and the scene quickly unfolds as the abduction takes shape on page 2. It definitely hooks.

Verdict: Pass

I would score this higher if it hadn't wasted my time with the weather so early on.

Theodore Moracht

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