Classic Urban Fantasy Opening Lines (& We Have a Winner!)

Thanks to those of you who participated in yesterday’s quiz of opening lines. Four of you–Teri Anne, K Giardina,  DonnaS and Riley–got them all right! (Tell the truth–Amazon, yes?) Scroll down for our winner.
Willie McCoy had been a jerk before he died. His being dead didn’t change that. Laurell K. Hamilton’s first Anita Blake book, Guilty Pleasures. I re-read this again recently, and it has aged well.

I’d been waiting for the vampire for years when he walked into the bar.  The first Sookie Stackhouse book by Charlaine Harris, Dead Until Dark. Love this series, especially books 3-9. This opening line still doesn’t grab me (but then again, my own first line doesn’t grab me, thus my fixation on opening lines right now). 

I heard the mailman approach my office door, half an hour earlier than usual. He didn’t sound right. The first Harry Dresden book, Jim Butcher’s Storm Front. One of my all-time favorite series that has still not started to fizzle. This isn’t the strongest first two sentences, and to be fair I should have included the first couple of paragraphs, which sets up the rest of the scene  

I didn’t realize he was a werewolf at first. My nose isn’t at its best when surrounded by axle grease and burnt oiland it’s not like there are a lot of stray werewolves running around. Sigh. Patricia Briggs’ first Mercy Thompson book, Moon Called. Love love love this series. The first UF series that has made me cry.

Private eyes come in all shapes and sizes, and none of them look like television stars. This is the opening to Something in the Nightside, the first in Simon R. Green’s Nightside series. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea–it’s like Dresden on steroids with a dollop of some hallucinogen. It’s also on my “must-read” list, which probably explains a lot.
I stood in the shadows of a deserted shop front across from The Blood and Brew Pub, trying not to be obvious as I tugged my black leather pants back up where they belonged. This is pathetic, I thought, eyeing the rain-emptied street. I was way too good for this. Kim Harrison’s Dead Witch Walking, the first in the Rachel Morgan/Hallows series. I love this opening graph. I have to admit that, like with the Sookie series, I started this series two or three times before pushing through and finally getting hooked. Still haven’t forgiven her for one twist in the story, though. Note to self: Readers hold long grudges; remember this when tempted to kill someone off. 
There were only two kinds of people in our town. “The stupid and the stuck,” my father had affectionately classified our neighbors. The opening to Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s YA bestseller Beautiful Creatures. It’s an awesome read and passed my YA test: it made me forget I was reading YA. A delightfully Southern gothic urban fantasy whose main characters just happen to be teenagers. 
I remember lying in the snow, a small red spot of warm going cold, surrounded by wolves. Opening to another YA bestseller, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I’m never quite able to forget these are YA because the emo factor is big, but the author’s language is absolute poetry.  
I sat at a table in my shadowy kitchen, staring down a bottle of Boone’s Farm Hard Lemonade, when a magic fluctuation hit. Any book that starts out with a character guzzling Boone’s Farm has gotta be cool. This is Ilona Andrews’ Magic Bites. The Kate Daniels series is one of those that didn’t grab me right off the bat, but I’ve been told (ordered, yelled at) that if I push through, I’ll fall in love with it.
If I had been a rational human being, I would have had a normal job and I never would have gotten involved with any of them. Love Marta Acosta’s Casa Dracula series–this is the opening to Happy Hour at Casa Dracula. These books are a whiff of fresh air in the days of dark, dark urban fantasy, combining sexy vampires with great humor.
I don’t like what Operation Iraqi Freedom has done to me. I went to the war a soldier. I came back a vampire.  I adore this beginning–it’s Mario Acevedo’s first Felix Gomez book, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats. The series is still sitting in my TBR pile. Anyone want to give me a nutshell review? 
Gil brought lawn chairs to the cemeterynot stylish Adirondacks, not even semi-confortable camp chairs (the ones with those handy little cup holders). No. He dug up some cheap plastic folding chairs, the kind that burrow into your leg flesh like leeches. Another great opening from a guy’s-guy book, Mark Henry’s Road Trip of the Living Dead. I stalk Mark on Twitter. I highly recommend it! 
Had the man in front of her not already been dead, Chess probably would have tried to kill him. Damned ghosts. The opening from Stacia Kane’s new series that looks like it’s going to be great. The book is Unholy Ghosts.
And now, thanks to a pull from, congratulations to (drum roll):
For the copy of the new urban fantasy anthology edited by George RR Martin and Gardner Dozois, Songs of Love and Death: All Original Tales of Star-Crossed Love. This looks like a great book! Congrats, Donna!
Now, off to work on my own opening lines. What’s the opening line of the book you’re reading right now?

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

3 thoughts on “Classic Urban Fantasy Opening Lines (& We Have a Winner!)

  1. I’m in total agreement with the Mercy Thompson series. I love it and always recommend it. Which reminds me that I still need to get books 1 & 2 back from my friend.

    Also agree about the Kim Harrison series. After that twist you mentioned, I’ve stopped reading them. I buy them but can’t bring myself to read them. Crazy, right?

    I liked the Simon Green series.

    The Sookie series was slow for me to get into. I’ve still only read the first book. I have the 2nd on my TBR shelf, along with Magic Bites.

    Love Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. Liked the show too, but that Harry didn’t really fit with my idea of the book Harry. Did you see it? What did you think?

  2. LOL, Angie. Well, I’m an eternal optimist. I keep thinking Kim Harrison is going to find a way to bring you-know-who back. I’m probably just delusional.

    I liked the Dresden Files show pretty well–only saw some of them recently. They’re all online thru No, the guy looks nothing like “my” Harry! And they did weird things with Bob. But I liked the show…as long as I didn’t try to tie it too closely to the books.