FIRST LINES FRIDAY

 

Hello, Friday! First Lines Friday is a feature on my blog in which I post the first lines from a book I am interested in reading, either a new release or a backlist title! For the next several Fridays, I will be featuring titles I am going to hopefully read as part of my 12 Decades/12 Months/12 Books challenge (#12decades12books). I still have never read anything of Elizabeth Gaskell’s work, and sometimes I question myself about it as she’s a contemporary of Charlotte Bronte. However, I am working on expanding my horizons during this quarantine time, and I placed an order for Wives and Daughters for my #12decades12books challenge.

To begin with the old rigmarole of childhood. In a country there was a shire, and in that shire there was a town, and in that town there was a house, and in that house there was a room, and in that room there was a bed, and in that bed there lay a little girl; wide awake and longing to get up, but not daring to do so for fear of the unseen power in the next room; a certain Betty, whose slumbers must not be disturbed until six o’clock struck, when she wakened of herself ‘as sure as clockwork,’ and left the household very little peace afterwards. It was a June morning, and early as it was, the room was full of sunny warmth and light.

On the drawers opposite to the little white dimity bed in which Molly Gibson lay, was a primitive kind of bonnet-stand on which was hung a bonnet, carefully covered over from any chance of dust with a large cotton handkerchief; of so heavy and serviceable a texture that if the thing underneath it had been a flimsy fabric of gauze and lace and flowers, it would have been altogether ‘scomfished.’

This is the last of her novels, published serially before she died and completely posthumously, and this was the title of hers (aside from North & South) that spoke to me.

FIRST LINES FRIDAY: Notre-Dame de Paris, by Victor Hugo

Hello, Friday! First Lines Friday is a feature on my blog in which I post the first lines from a book I am interested in reading, either a new release or a backlist title! For the next several Fridays, I will be featuring titles I am going to hopefully read as part of my 12 Decades/12 Months/12 Books challenge (#12decades12books). I bought, like a lot of people I think, Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris last April when the Notre-Dame Cathedral caught fire, but like a lot of my purchases, I didn’t read this right away, even though I kept looking at it. I have started reading it now and am looking forward to taking my time with it, especially because I have a lot of time to fill! This is from the John Sturrock translation (ISBN: 978-0-140-44353-0).

Three hundred and forty-eight years, six months and nineteen days ago today, the people of Paris awoke to hear all the church-bells in the triple enclosure of the City, the University and the Town in full voice.

Not that 6 January 1482 is a day of which history has kept any record. There was nothing noteworthy about the event that had set the burgesses and bells of Paris in motion from early morning. It was not an assault by Picards or Burgundians, it was not a reliquary being carried in procession, it was not a student revolt in the vineyard of Laas, it was not an entry by ‘our most redoubtable Lord Monsieur the King’, it was not even a fine hanging of male and female thieves on the gallows of Paris. Nor was it the arrival, so frequent in the fifteenth century, of an embassy, in all its plumes and finery. It was barely two days since the last cavalcade of this kind, that of the Flemish ambassadors charged with concluding the marriage between the dauphin and Marguerite of Flanders, had made its entry into Paris, much to the annoyance of Monsieur the Cardinal of Bourbon, who, to please the king, had had to put on a smile for this uncouth mob of Flemish burgomasters, and entertain them, in his Hotel de Bourbon, with a ‘very fine morality, satire and farce’, as driving rain drenched the magnificent tapestries in his doorway.

So far, I’ve found this translation to be good and easy to read, and I can’t wait to spend more time with it!

FIRST LINES FRIDAY: Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee

Hello, Friday! First Lines Friday is a feature on my blog in which I post the first lines from a book I am interested in reading, either a new release or a backlist title! For the next several Fridays, I will be featuring titles I’ve added to my TBR cart. I have the physical copy of Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee and then picked up all three on a really great Kindle deal a few months later… and that was over a year ago. I’m trying to make an effort to read (and finish!!) more series, especially ones that I’ve got all the titles for on hand.

At Kel Academy, an instructor had explained to Cheris’s class that the threshold winnower was a weapon of last resort, and not just for its notorious connotations. Said instructor had once witnessed a winnower in use. The detail that stuck in Cheris’s head wasn’t the part where every door in the besieged city exhaled radiation that baked the inhabitants dead. It wasn’t the weapon’s governing equations or even the instructor’s left eye, damaged during the attack, from which ghostlight glimmered.

What Cheris remembered most was the instructor’s aside: that returning to corpses that were only corpses, rather than radiation gates contorted against black-blasted walls and glassy rubble, eyes ruptured open, was one of the best moments of her life.

Five years, five months, and sixteen days later, surrounded by smashed tanks and smoking pits on the heretic Eels’ outpost world of Dredge, Captain Kel Cheris of Heron Company, 109-229th Battalion, had come to the conclusion that her instructor was full of shit. There was no comfort to be extracted from the dead, from flesh evaporated from bones. Nothing but numbers snipped short.

I really enjoyed Lee’s Dragon Pearl, a MG sci-fi novel put out by Rick Riordan’s imprint, so I’m looking forward to see what he did previously in his adult science fiction!

FIRST LINES FRIDAY: Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse

Hello, Friday! First Lines Friday is a feature on my blog in which I post the first lines from a book I am interested in reading, either a new release or a backlist title! For the next several Fridays, I will be featuring titles I’ve added to my TBR cart. I’ve seen several 2020 reading challenges that involve reading backlist titles in addition to new ones, and I think I’m going to make that one of my personal challenges this year too. I have so many books released in the last several years that I’ve been meaning to read, and Rebecca Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning is one of them. It’s also gotten a bump because I’m really enjoying Star Wars: Resistance Reborn as well. I started reading Trail of Lightning about a year or so ago, but I remember I was reading about eight different books at the time because I was in a weird reading place, but I’m definitely making it a priority in the next few months.

The monster has been here. I can smell him.

His stench is part of the acrid sweat of exertion, part the meaty ripeness of a carnivore’s unwashed flesh, and part something else I can’t quite name. It fouls the evening air, stretching beyond smell to something deeper, more base. It unsettles me, sets my own instincts howling in warning. Cold sweat breaks out across my forehead. I wipe it away with the back of my hand.

I can also smell the child he’s stolen. Her scent is lighter, cleaner. Innocent. She smells alive to me, or at least she was alive when she left here. By now she could smell quite different.

Have you read Trail of Lightning? What did you think of it? Is it on your list?

FIRST LINES FRIDAY: This Is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Hello, Friday! First Lines Friday is a feature on my blog in which I post the first lines from a book I am interested in reading, either a new release or a backlist title! For the next several Fridays, I will be featuring titles I’ve added to my TBR cart! This week’s feature is Amal El-Mohtar’s and Max Gladstone’s This Is How You Lose the Time War published by Saga Press in 2019.

When Red wins, she stands alone.

Blood slicks her hair. She breathes out steam in the last night of this dying world.

That was fun, she thinks, but the thought sours in the framing. It was clean, at least. Climb up time’s threads into the past and make sure no one survives this battle to muddle the futures her Agency’s arranged — the futures in which her Agency rules, in which Red herself is possible. She’s come to knot this strand of history and sear it until it melts.

She holds a corpse that was once a man, her hands gloved in its guts, her fingers clutching its alloy spine. She lets go, and the exoskeleton clatters against rock. Crude technology. Ancient. Bronze to depleted uranium. He never had a chance. That is the point of Red.

I love time travel and I always have, and I’m really excited to see how this novella unfolds. I’ve heard such great things about it!