First Lines: The Princess Academy

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. 314 pages. 2005.

I am blantantly stealing this idea from Scott at Some Smart because I think it’s brilliant. However, for the purpose of today’s First Line, I’m using the entire first paragraph of my latest read. Now presenting Shannon Hale’s Princess Academy:

“Miri woke to the sleepy bleating of a goat. The world was as dark as eyes closed, but perhaps the goats could smell dawn seeping through the cracks in the house’s stone walls. Though still half asleep, she was aware of the late autumn chill hovering just outside her blanket, and she wanted to curl up tighter and sleep like a bear through frost and night and day.”

I absolutely love the second line in that paragraph. There is something very primal about waking just before dawn. I think of sleepovers as a little girl, when everyone seemed to wake simultaneously in those first precious moments of the morning. Or camping with friends and family, and waking up in the dark because you know daylight is just seconds away. Whenever I experience this most basic of communal behaviours, everything feels very right, as if the whole of modern society is a corrupted version of what we actually are supposed to be.

I was initially very hesitant to pick up and read this novel. The title completely threw me off, it seems very junior. But I really need to stop second guessing Shannon Hale, and I really need to stop second guessing books that Carol recommends to me. She has not been wrong, and Shannon Hale, in my opinion, has not written a bad book.

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3 responses to “First Lines: The Princess Academy

  1. Great first lines! I definitely identify with your camping association. I remember mornings like that in the tent as everyone starts to stir in their sleeping bags. If it was cold, sometimes I would just scrunch myself in deeper. But other times, I might get up and see who else is around, maybe munching breakfast by the fire pit.

  2. I’m glad you like the First Line idea! I guess I should do those more often.

    This is a great opener, too. I actually have the audio version of The Goose Girl in my car (thanks to Christy’s discussion of the sequel). I wasn’t really sure when I was going to get to it, but this has convinced me to listen to it as soon as possible.

  3. Christy – high fives all around for happy camping memories!

    Scott – glad Christy and I could mutually inspire you to start Goose Girl. I’ll be interested to hear your opinion.

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