First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?
- Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
- Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
- Finally… reveal the book
He was an easy mark.
Nahri smiled behind her veil, watching the two men bicker as they
approached her stall. The younger one glanced anxiously down the alley
while the older man—her client—sweated in the cool dawn air. Save for the
men, the alley was empty; fajr had already been called and anyone devout
enough for public prayer—not that there were many in her neighborhood—
was already ensconced in the small mosque at the end of the street.
She fought a yawn. Nahri was not one for dawn prayer, but her client had
chosen the early hour and paid handsomely for discretion. She studied the
men as they approached, noting their light features and the cut of their
expensive coats. Turks, she suspected. The eldest might even be a basha,
one of the few who hadn’t fled Cairo when the Franks invaded. She crossed
her arms over her black abaya, growing intrigued. She didn’t have many
Turkish clients; they were too snobbish. Indeed, when the Franks and Turks
weren’t fighting over Egypt, the only thing they seemed to agree on was
that the Egyptians couldn’t govern it themselves. God forbid. It’s not as
though the Egyptians were the inheritors of a great civilization whose
mighty monuments still littered the land
Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.
But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.
In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.
After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…
The reason I pick these lines is that recently I buddy-read this book with Ashmita from The Fictional Journal. She’s a great friend of mine, so please go check her blog out!