Tag Archives: prose

Looking into Hooks: A Series of Unfortunate Events

“If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.”

"I'm unique and original and stuffs"

I was looking through The Best Opening Lines from Books and I couldn’t help but comment on this one. I remember how popular this book was in grade school. As an eleven year old girl with a weight problem you can bet I was hardcore into setting myself apart from the crowd, and being an individual. This meant I was walking around with printed pictures of anime characters strung around my neck like necklaces and wearing punky wristbands. What it did NOT mean was giving into the “in” book of the moment. Also, to be honest I was a lazy kid and reading a series longer than three or four books was daunting to me. But I gave in.

"Things don't go well for us... and we're not just talking about the movie franchaise"

This, in my opinion, is one of the best hooks ever written for its genre. It plays on the urge all young children and tweens have to blatantly rebel against orders. This opening line wasn’t just a polite suggestion, it was a challenge, it was the author putting her book out there, then asking you to put it down when you already had it in your hands. So as soon as you read that line you marched up to the register and demanded your guardian purchase this book for you so you could show it that you were grown up and could handle a little tragedy. This is something you would later take back when you found yourself smashing your head against a wall a wondering when these poor orphans would finally catch a break.

The only downfall? It doesn’t really hold you out for the entire series. At least it didn’t for me. Somewhere between borrowing the fourth book from the library, never bringing it back, and then donating it to Good Will, I could make it to the tenth book… or was it eleven?

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Had to share this…

I had to share this. I think it’s pretty relevant considering that half of this blog is hooks, and this person is basically cataloging what they think are the best 100 opening lines from books. I’m busy with studying for an exam that I have soon, but hopefully I can make a few short posts about what I think of these opening lines before I get back to the reviewing business.

Next will either be “Bossypants” by Tina Fey or something else…

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Hook #6: The Quarterlife Crisis

“Do you know, that before your mid-life crisis you have at least four other crises?”

That’s amazing, riveting, I think dryly. Jane likes to share things she’s learned with the rest of us. It, likely, makes her feel very cultured and intelligent. Not much intelligence in reading the first story you come upon in some lifestyle magazine at the dentist’s office. Without a source to credit validity simply comes down to performance.

And so I sit on a cream slip cover segmented couch, swirling the untouched wine in my glass. I don’t drink, I’d said.

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Hook #5: The Estrangement of Dr. Fry

He had two cavities. One in his upper molar on the right side and the other on the left. Michelle smiled at him and pulled the teal mask over her face.

“Open as wide as possible please.”

His lips cracked and broke on either side. He thought distractedly that he should have put something on. He almost used a lip-balm sample he found under the sink in the bathroom, but thought better of it. Shiny lips on a man he thought, what would people say?

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Hook #4: Loretta’s Antique Emporium

I used to think the everyone’s purpose in life was simply to live. It didn’t matter whether that meant conducting heart surgery to save a child’s life, or sitting in an alley shooting up. As long as there was blood in your veins and air in your lungs you were living. It took me eighteen years to realize that life wasn’t like that. The mailman delivering shitty rom com dvds from Netflix, the mother of two, even the astronaut in space, none of them were living. Not really.

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Hook #3: If I Should Die Before I Wake

The blue horizon stretched across my vision and wild blooms with strange dotted petals bat against my legs. Dad would have loved it. They all would have. Giant shining beams of light flashed in the distance. It was like granddad’s movies from when he was a kid. At first I never wanted to watch them. They were black and white, the sounds were made by people, and the effects by shining different lights on the screen. Soon I found myself looking forward to those nights. Now it was just me, Evie, and flashing beams of light against a blue horizon.

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Matched by Allyson Condie

First Paragraph: Now that I’ve found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night? My wings aren’t white or feathered; they’re green, made of green silk, which shudders in the wind and bends when I move—first in a circle, then in a line, finally in a shape of my own invention. The black behind me doesn’t worry me; neither do the stars ahead. I smile at myself, at the foolishness of my imagination. People cannot fly, though before the Society, there were myths about those who could. I saw a painting of them once.

"I'm like Obama for these people."

Review: Matched is an faux-utopian I swear I should coin that term universe. Their government acts much like a librarian on crack and meticulously sorts everyone into a place in society that has the highest percentage of universal success. Based on each individual’s unique characteristics they are sorted into categories deciding everything from who to marry, which food to eat, and which trees to plant, to how many weights to lift at the gym. Cassie, the novel’s heroine, is initially primarily concerned only with who she will be matched with at the matching banquet. Quite simply they arrive at this banquet, a computer tells them who they will marry, and then they begin a process of getting to know the person. At this point suddenly an image of Jdate.com pops into my mind as I think of how similar this is to internet dating. Except of course for the fact that if you meet the person and they have giant buck teeth and a unibrow you can’t change your mind.

The problem Cassie has it that for a quick second before her announced match is revealed the computer flashes an image of another boy named Ky Markham. DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNN.

Since she is the heroine of the novel it would be completely unacceptable in every way for her to simply move on, so she pursues Ky and ultimately falls in love with him instead. I would say spoiler alert but it’s such an obvious outcome that it seems unnecessary to do so. Thankfully not everything in the novel is so predictable and a lot of twists and turns develop out of Cassie’s new interest in Ky. Cassie starts to figure out that the perfect uptopia she lives in, is in fact, not as it appears.

"... wait for it... it's coming... I can feel it... just wait..."

What’s most commendable in this novel is how Condie took an initially flighty and shallow girl and developed her into an intelligent and inquisitive young woman—if I can say so without sounding like a mother at her teenage daughter’s high school graduation. Quite often I don’t particularly like female protagonists as they tend to blend in with the background. The male lead always seems more interesting likely because they have to be unique to catch the protagonist’s attention. Sadly, Matched is no different. Ky Markham is still 500 times more exciting, character wise, than Cassie. Even with her acts of rebellion and new outlook on life, when reading a scene with Cassie I found myself wondering what Ky was doing.

While I did enjoy the novel and will definitely be reading more of this series, for its inability to make its protagonist more likable than her love interest, I highly doubt it will be counted amongst my favourite reads. With more of these sorts of faux-utopian novels coming out (Hunger Games, Matched, The Maze Runner, Uglies, Year of the Flood, I could seriously go on forever…) Matched is still able to come up with a fresh concept. This makes me happy because at the rate people are going I’m afraid we might run out of ways to destroy the world as we know it, and give birth to a new world where people are ignorant to their own oppression.

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