First Lines Fridays (13) – July 9, 2021

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!

Today’s First Lines:

“The trees have to be tied down by the sunset. When the Woodsmen come, they always try to run.

The girls who are skilled forgers fashion little iron stakes to drive through the roots of the trees and into the earth, anchoring them in place. With no gift for forging between the two of us, Boroka and I haul a great length of rope, snaring any trees we pass in clumsy loops and awkward knots. When we finish, it looks the spider web of some giant creature, something the woods might cough up. The thought doesn’t even make me shiver. Nothing that might break through the tree line could be worse than the Woodsmen.”

Do you know which book this is from? Scroll down to find out!

Title: The Wolf and the Woodsman

Author: Ava Reid

Publication Date: June 8, 2021

Goodreads Synopsis

In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.

But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.

As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.

In the vein of Naomi Novik’s New York Times bestseller Spinning Silver and Katherine Arden’s national bestseller The Bear and the Nightingale, this unforgettable debut— inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology—follows a young pagan woman with hidden powers and a one-eyed captain of the Woodsmen as they form an unlikely alliance to thwart a tyrant.

Thoughts & Comments

This is one of my most anticipated releases from June, and I’m excited to finally be getting to read it soon. These first lines definitely build up some suspense and mystery, and I’m curious to see where the story goes.

Does this book sound like something you would like? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!

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