Top Ten Beginnings/Endings

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week she posts an idea for relating to books, and encourages other book bloggers to respond with their own “top ten” list.

This week’s topic is top ten beginnings/endings in books. Both of these are incredibly important: one is the first impression that you’re given of a story, the other is what will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. There have been so many times when a book has failed to capture my attention at the beginning or has let me down in terms of the ending, whether it was rushed, there was no resolution, or it just wasn’t as well-written as the rest of the book. Here are some of the books that got it absolutely right:

Best Beginnings

2b2
“The circus arrives without warning.

No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

3b“To say I’d been kept prisoner my entire life in an attic wasn’t quite true. It was only fifteen years out of eighteen, and I was allowed to walk in the gardens for a half-hour some days.”

4b
“Once upon a time, there was a girl who was special. Her hair flowed like honey and her eyes were as blue as music. She grew up bright and beautiful, with deft fingers, a quick mind and a charm that impressed everyone she met. Her parents adored her, her teachers praised her, and her schoolmates admired her many talents…

This is not her story.

Unless you count the part where I killed her.”

7b
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.

It did not end well.”

5b
“You saw me before I saw you. In the airport, that day in August, you had that look in your eyes, as though you wanted something from me, as though you’d wanted it for a long time.”

Best Endings

1b
“The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.”

6b
“A LAST NOTE FROM YOUR NARRATOR. I am haunted by humans.”

8b
“For the living and the dead, she would make herself a reckoning.

She would rise.”

9b
“I do, Augustus.

I do.”

10b
“And if the Thames that ran beside them, sure and silver in the afternoon light, recalled a night long ago when the moon shone as brightly as a shilling on this same boy and girl, or if the stones of Blackfriars knew the tread of their feet and thought to themselves: At last, the wheel comes full circle, they kept their silence.”

What are some of your favourites? Leave a list or a link to your post in the comments below.
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Book Review: Stolen by Lucy Christopher

ImageIt happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.

This is my story.

A letter from nowhere.

Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?

The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don’t exist – almost.

My Rating:  5 cupcakes

Any review that I write for this book won’t be able to do it justice. It’s so hard to put into words the wide range of emotions that I felt while reading this and how deeply this book affected me without giving too much away, but here goes nothing.

Stolen is definitely one of the best books that I have ever read – the number of times I had to put it down because I was crying too hard to see the words on the pages can attest to that.

The characters are incredibly real and complex, to the point where you too are experiencing Stockholm Syndrome. The Australian Outback, where much of Stolen takes place, is more than just a setting – it’s beautiful yet dangerous, harsh yet loving, and is truly a character in its own right.

The writing is beautiful and evocative, and will simultaneously break your heart and give you hope. In the end, you’ll find yourself wondering how we can truly judge what is right and wrong, especially when it comes to the actions of others. After all, “it’s hard to hate someone once you understand them.”