Learning From the Book Blurb and First Chapter of ‘Cinder: The Lunar Chronicles’

Author Marissa Meyer

The role of the book blurb is to get the reader interested enough to want to read the book. Book blurbs can be a challenge for writers since they often contain spoilers that the author would rather be revealed as the story progresses. However, the spoilers are usually what makes the book interesting in the first place. If you cannot get the reader interested in the book enough to read it, the spoilers will never be revealed so it is best to give it up in the blurb.

Genre – Young Adult Science Fiction, Dystopian

I love the cover, very eye-catching and beautiful. The red heel is striking, while the mechanical parts, shown under the skin, alludes to science fiction. Next, most potential readers will go to the book blurb.

Book Blurb

EVEN IN THE FUTURE, THE STORY BEGINS WITH ONCE UPON A TIME…

Cinder Book Cover

Humans and androids crowded the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…

Sixteen-year old Cinder, gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second class citizen with a mysterious past and is reviled by her stepmother. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. Because there is something unusual about Cinder, something that others would kill for…

The first paragraph of the blurb does a great job of describing the precariousness of life in the future city of New Beijing: ‘raucous streets’, ‘plague ravages’ and ‘ruthless lunar people watch, waiting’. The people of Earth are weakened and on the brink of war. This future Earth sounds like a very scary place and the short sentences accentuate it.

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Learning from the Book Blurb and First Line of ‘Throne of Glass’

Author Sarah J. Maas

This post does not contain any spoilers.

Genre – Young Adult Fantasy

The book has a kick-ass cover. Apparently, the American version is not the same as this one? Why the publishers would do that when this cover is so dramatic, I will never know.

Book Blurb

Thone of Glass Cover

TWO MEN LOVE HER

THE WHOLE LAND FEARS HER

ONLY SHE CAN SAVE THEM ALL

In a world without magic, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the viscous king who rules from his throne of glass but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she will be released from prison to serve as the King’s Champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. And a princess from a faraway land with befriend her. But something evil dwells in teh castle–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival–and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

This is a great blurb. The first three sentences, centered at the top, set the tone. This is a serious book with serious consequences for failure: a romance within a dangerous setting. Not only are lives at risk but so are hearts. In the first paragraph, we learn about the protagonist, her circumstances and the setting.

The second paragraph increases the tension with effective phrasing: ‘fight for survival’, ‘desperate quest’ and ‘root out the evil’. The situation seems untenable. The question the reader ends up asking is: Why is she the only one who can save everyone? Will she succeed?

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Learning from the Book Blurb and the First Line of ‘The Martian’

Author: Andy Weir

This post contains no spoilers so read without trepidation.  However, you have probably already read this book because its been out a while, a movie has been made and the BOOK IS AMAZING!

Genre – Science Fiction or just plain fiction?

Again, my local chain bookstore had shelved this in a strange location, resulting in my wandering the aisles aimlessly, which I do whenever I get into a bookstore anyway. However, I like logic and it was shelved illogically in the literature section.

Umm… unless, I just woke up from a 20 year stupor, I’m pretty sure we haven’t visited Mars yet. This would put this book into the realm of science fiction. *sheesh*

Book BlurbThe Martian paperback

‘When a dust storm forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, astronaut Mark Watney finds himself stranded on Mars’s surface, completely alone.

Armed with nothing but his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength–Mark embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?’

This blurb is fantastic. Only three sentences long and it does its job brilliantly. The first sentence tells you the setting is Mars, and the main character is Mark Watney, an astronaut. The next sentence characterizes the protagonist. You learn that he is smart and skilled with a ‘gallows sense of humor’. The blurb is setting you up to like him before you even read the first page.

The words used in the blurb evoke images that bring the book to life: ‘stranded on Mars’, ‘armed with nothing but his ingenuity’ and ‘dogged quest’. The hyperbole of ‘impossible odds’ in the last sentence makes the reader want to discover if he succeeded. Also, the last sentence is a question, which engages the reader.

Knowing that I’m going to have to come up with a book blurb of my own, I really appreciate one done so well.

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