For your writerly and readerly contemplation, here are the opening lines of a fantasy novel by Susan Fletcher, published in 1989, called DRAGON'S MILK. It is one of my favorite books, along with its companion books, FLIGHT OF THE DRAGON KYN and SIGN OF THE DOVE. Susan is a fellow Oregon writer whom I've met at SCBWI conferences.
Something was wrong.
Kaeldra knew it the moment she awoke. She sat bolt upright and strained her senses against the dark. The loft smelled of mildew and damp hay. A cold breath of mist wrapped around her shoulders and neck. Something--the seabird?--rustled in the room down below. Beside her, Kaeldra heard Lyf's soft snoring. She reached out and laid her hand on Lyf's chest and felt reassured, somehow, by its gentle rise and fall.
Gradually the blackness of the loft dissolved into vague gray shapes. Now Kaeldra could make out Mirym's sleeping form in the far corner, could see the dark half-circles of Lyf's lashes against her cheek.
Everything all right. No sign of what had awakened her. No hint of anything wrong, except the prickling chill that crept up Kaeldra's spine and fanned out across her back.
Even though there is a weaker "was" in the first line, it's still a compelling line. There is a variety of senses involved: smells of mildew and damp hay, a feeling of coldness, the sounds of the seabird rustling and Lyf's snoring. Added to that are the more intangible senses, the sense that something isn't right, the prickling chill that results from it. These few paragraphs introduce Kaeldra to the reader as the main character before the action starts (and yes, action starts in a couple more short paragraphs).
And there are BABY dragons in this book, mischievous and adorable! Susan calls them "draclings." The main character Kaeldra names the draclings Synge, Pyre, and Embyr.
Have you read DRAGON'S MILK and/or its sequel and prequel?
Can you add any further thoughts to why this passage does or does not work?
On a scale of 1 to 10 (1=low, 10=high), what would be the level of your interest in reading further after these opening lines?