Etta

~ First Lines Friday – #21 (October 29, 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!


“Reginald Gatling’s doom found him beneath an oak tree, on the last Sunday of a fast-fading summer.

He sat breathing rapidly and with needle-stabs at each breath, propped against the oak. His legs were unfelt and unmoving like lumps of wax that had somehow been affixed to the rest of him. Resting his hands on the numb bulk of them made him want to vomit, so he clutched weakly at the grass instead. The tree’s rough bark found skin through one of the tears in his bloodstained shirt. The tears were his own fault; he hadn’t started to run in time, and so the best route of escape had appeared to be through a tangle of bramble-hedge that edged the lake here in St. James’s Park. The brambles had torn his clothes.

The blood was from what had come after.”


Do you recognize the lines?

Hint: This is the first novel in a new historical fantasy series.


Hint 2: It has been described as Red White & Royal Blue meets Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

This week’s book is:

A Marvellous Light (The Last Binding #1) by Freya Marske!

Expected publication: November 2nd 2021

Robin Blyth has more than enough bother in his life. He’s struggling to be a good older brother, a responsible employer, and the harried baronet of a seat gutted by his late parents’ excesses. When an administrative mistake sees him named the civil service liaison to a hidden magical society, he discovers what’s been operating beneath the unextraordinary reality he’s always known.

Now Robin must contend with the beauty and danger of magic, an excruciating deadly curse, and the alarming visions of the future that come with it—not to mention Edwin Courcey, his cold and prickly counterpart in the magical bureaucracy, who clearly wishes Robin were anyone and anywhere else.

Robin’s predecessor has disappeared, and the mystery of what happened to him reveals unsettling truths about the very oldest stories they’ve been told about the land they live on and what binds it. Thrown together and facing unexpected dangers, Robin and Edwin discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles—and a secret that more than one person has already died to keep. 


Similar to The Witch Collector from last week’s post, I randomly came across this novel on Netgalley when submitting another review. I am curious how this one will turn out as it is the beginning of a new series and it would be nice to add the future novels to my TBR. I am also very curious how the author will pull off the inspiration of combining Red White & Royal Blue and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I hope it turns out well and I have a new series to look forward to.


  • Have you read A Marvellous Light or is it on your TBR?
  • What did you think of the first lines?

2 thoughts on “~ First Lines Friday – #21 (October 29, 2021) ~

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