There's been a few synchronous mutterings on the blogosphere lately about beginnings: Jonathan Strahan posted some opening lines (I recognised only the first two, bad me), and Jodi examined a few of the books on her shelves.
Strangely enough, I'm not particularly into beginnings. As such. They're important, yes, but it's the ending (or the climax) that sticks with me after the book has finished. And the voice of the book. Beginnings have one job, as far as I'm concerned: to give me the voice, straight up.
This maybe has something to do with my bookstore browsing habits. Okay, so it's a cover that tempts into picking up a book. But I very rarely open the book on the first page for a tasting: it will be a random page in the middle. Sometimes I'll glance over the very very first page, where the publisher has printed an exciting snippet, but that always comes from somewhere in the middle of the book anyway. Only if the middle is intriguing will I turn back to the opening and taste it.
Having said that, in the comments to Jodi's post, Rae posted an opening snippet that immediately made me want to run out and pick up the book. And I do have an opening that ranks among my favourites: it's the prologue to Stephen Donaldson's "The Mirror of Her Dreams". It sticks with me partly because I’ve read the book through several times; but I do remember being entranced by the sly whimsy of the opening on first read. But then there are openings I dislike, such as that belonging to The Lord of the Rings. On re-reads I've taken to starting at page 200 or so, when the hobbits have ditched Tom Bloody Bombadil and actually have started acting like they have a purpose. See? Beginnings. They can't be trusted.
Now excuse me while I hunt out "Bridge of Birds" 😉