Sometimes books can take a few chapters to get into, but other times, it’s love-at-first-page…and those books usually end up being some of my favourites!
Yes, there’s been the odd slow-starter that I’ve ended up loving in the end (Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, for example), but most of my favourite reads have started out strong.
So here’s a few early signs that I’m probably going to love a book:
I immediately click with the characters.
Most of my favourite books are my favourites because I loved the characters so much (Harry Potter, Six of Crows etc.), so a good early sign for me is if I’m already clicking with the characters within the first few chapters.
Sometimes it can take a while to get a sense of a character, and that isn’t always bad, but personally I love when a character makes a big impression on me within a few pages. That way I know I’m going to want to stick with them through however many hundreds of pages the book is.
I’m interested to see what happens next.
For me, the best book openings are ones where something major is happening, and I find that I actually want to know what happens next. Some more mediocre books I’ve read have started out a little ‘meh’ and I’ve just bumbled along, waiting to see what happens, but I haven’t been eagerly sitting on the edge of my seat wanting to know…
The best books have me invested in the story from the beginning, and eager to know more.
I want to know more about the world of the story.
One of the main genres I read is fantasy, and for me it’s always a good sign when I start reading and am intrigued by the world of the story. Perhaps something curious happens in the opening, and I find myself wanting to know why that happened, or the opening setting is particularly vibrant…either way, wanting to know background details is a good indication that the story isn’t boring (and that the author hasn’t been info-dumping too early…if they had, I wouldn’t have questions!).
I like the writing style.
In an ideal world, I wouldn’t notice a book’s writing style. That may sound weird, but personally I like it best when I’m so absorbed in a book that I forget it’s a book, and it just seems like a movie playing in my head. So if I’m already absorbed in the story within a few pages, then that’s a very good sign!
There’s a few more noticeable writing styles I don’t mind (I like quite lyrical styles that makes the story feel like a fairytale, for example!), but if it gets too weird, then I find it really off-putting. That’s the problem I have with a lot of literary fiction: if it tries to do something clever, or different or experimental with the writing style, it stops me becoming absorbed in the story.
This might seem a little vague, but sometimes you start a book and you just know, don’t you? You just know that you’re in for an amazing ride, and you don’t want to put it down for even a second!
What about you? What early signs are there for you that you’re going to love a book? Is there anything that immediately puts you off?