So, I’ve decided to do a bit of thing here and start a new series of posts. How exciting! This is going to be the first of something I’ll be calling ‘Five of the Best’. The idea behind the series will be simple – I’ll pick five books that I think are amongst the best books going in a particular category/area and give a brief explanation of why I like them so much.
Today’s category for ‘Five of the Best’ is going to be… Prologues. You all knew that from the title, I’m sure! But thank you for indulging me with the mild suspense. I see this as a pretty natural topic to start on as prologues are something you read at the start of a book. Impeccable logic!
Now, I know some people don’t like prologues. They seem to be a bit of a controversial topic with people either loving or hating them. I fit squarely in the LOVE them category. A well-done prologue enhances a story so much. It builds excitement, it captures the reader’s imagination and attention, and it gives us an insight into the story/world the book is set in.
And now, without any more wittering, here are five prologues that, for me, really stand out:
The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
The prologue in The Rage of Dragons is simply stunning. It’s fast-paced, action-packed and breath-taking. All the things that the rest of this book is! It certainly isn’t a gentle introduction to this novel, and it really dumps you in the deep-end of the action. Plus, it covers an absolutely crucial piece of history in Evan Winter’s world that is central to so much in the story and how the Omehi culture has developed.
The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan
Mystery is a big element of The Gutter Prayer, and that’s something that really shines through from the word go in this prologue. Initially, the POV seems a little strange but that draws you in and gets you asking questions. You want to know more… And when you finally do know more, and the POV makes complete sense with some of the reveals later on, then POW! The genius hits you square in the face.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Atmosphere is the key word with this book. It’s a book with a beautiful, fairy-tale-esque style and this is really set up in the prologue. It captures you and immerses you into the world of the Medieval Russian wilds as you huddle around a fire place, deep in the depths of winter and prepare to hear an enchanting tale of magic, spirits and monsters. What more could you want!
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
We all expected this one to be on the list, right? You want beautiful, atmospheric writing that is a pleasure to read? You got it here. You want mystery that makes you go ‘What happened here? I need to read on!” You got it here too. Quite honestly, I think the prologue and opening chapters of this book are the best parts of this book – and that’s a hill I’ll die on!
A Game of Thrones by George. R.R. Martin
The prologue to A Game of Thrones really sets up the big threat of The Others for the whole of A Song of Ice and Fire. I know each book has a prologue, but for me, this isn’t the prologue of a single book, but of an entire series! It is a great set up to the big struggle that is to come and it has a pretty high creepiness factor that makes you go ‘Oh, these people are in serious trouble if they don’t get ready.’
So, there you have my first ‘Five of the Best’. Hope you guys enjoyed it! What kinds of things would you like me to discuss in this series in future posts? I’ve got a few ideas myself, but would be great to hear you ideas too.
As an aside, I’ll include an affiliate link for each of these books with bookshop.org below. They help support independent book stores, so it’s great to be sending you guys their way!
Have a great day!