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!
I peek from behind the tattered velvet curtains at the chattering audience, their mouths full of candied pineapple and kettle corn. With their pale faces flushed from excitement and the heat, they look as gullible as dandelions, much like the patrons in the past five cities. The Gomorrah Festival hasn’t been permitted to travel this far north in the Up-Mountains in over three years, and these people look like they’re attending the opera or theater rather than our tavelling carnival of debauchery.
The woman wear frilly dresses in burnt golds and oranges, buckled to the point of suffocation, some with rosy-cheeked children bounding on their laps, other with cleavage as high as their chins. The men have shoulder pads to seem broader, stilted loafers to seem taller and painted silver pocket watches to seem richer.
If buckles, stilts and paints are enough to hoodwink them, then they won’t notice that the other “freaks” of my freak show are, in fact, only one.
I read this book when it first came out in 2017 and found it very enjoyable. The setting was vibrant and unique, odd and varied. Also, that cover sucks me in every time. I love it. Even when I walk by my bookshelf I tend to stop and pull this book out just to look at it, touch it. This was a good fantasy read, if a little rigid in places. Still well worth a look.
Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.
But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.
Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear. (from Goodreads)
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