Tuesday, October 18, 2016

RIP READS: Prologue - The Misunderstood Hero

Today, our special guest is taking 
a little different perspective on RIP Reads.  
Please give Uma of Books. Bags. Burgers. 
a warm welcome as she talks about . . . 


Credit:  Abigail Larson

Prologue - The Misunderstood Hero

Have you ever wondered what makes a thriller click? What creates the suspense that makes a thriller novel unputdownable? If you have, you probably came up with answers like plot, compelling characters, action scenes etc etc. Today I am going to add to this list an unlikely plot device.

The Prologue.

Yes, you heard me right. The prologue; something that most writers do away with and most readers skip. I personally love prologues. And by prologue I don’t mean Info-dumps, excerpts from inside the novel, a synopsis of the story or a completely unrelated (to the novel) piece of writing that exists for the sake of existing. As a matter of fact, these are the reasons prologues have gained a bad rep over the years.

By prologue, I mean a well crafted piece of writing that draws the reader into the story and keeps them hooked. Very often I’ve picked up a book because it had a compelling prologue that made me want to read the whole story.

So what makes a thrilling, suspenseful prologue? Today I will be discussing just that with the help of some amazing examples.
‘Message: My name is Jocelyn Esperanza Albrecht. I am the eldest daughter of Illeana Marques and Grayson Albrecht. At Camp Holliwell Research Facility, I’m known as Sunday Cashus- Sunday, because that was the day I woke up after my family died in an accident, and Cashus, because I am the ward, patient and test subject of Dr.Laurence Cashus. My parents were longevity scientists. The irony is that due to their scientific breakthroughs, I now have a life expectancy of twenty-one. I just turned seventeen. That leaves about four years. Three good ones...If I’m successful tonight.’-        Glimmer by Tricia Cerrone

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen is how a thrilling prologue starts. Can any of you not want to read Glimmer now? 

The author introduces the protagonist and gives us all the necessary details in one paragraph! While there is so much information in that one paragraph, it does not feel like an info dump. The protagonist, in very simple words lets the readers know her name, where she is, who she is and why she is. That is one of the things readers look for at the start of the prologue...to know the main character, a reason to connect with them. The prologue sets the tone of the book. With just a couple of words, the author lets readers know the book is certainly going to be thrilling.


‘“At first we didn’t know what to call them. Most called them zombies, but it didn’t seem right, because unlike their fictional counterparts, they didn’t hunger for flesh. Others called them demons, sent back from the underworld to the world of the living after a lifetime of sin. Ghosts, spirits, the possessed, one thing was certain: the dead were dead no longer” – A.J.Hill
-        Rise of the Chosen by Anna Kopp

Rise of the Chosen is one of my favourite Thriller/dystopian books and I personally love the prologue! Author Anna Kopp begins the prologue by introducing us to a futuristic Earth. I love how she gives us the necessary information through quotes by the people in her world. The prologue has two more quotes that don’t just provide us the information but also gives us an idea of people’s reactions to The Waking.

Prologues are a great way to introduce readers to an unfamiliar setting and give them the basic idea of it. The world Anna Kopp creates is scary and you know it at the very start of the prologue.


‘My gift is the future.
My gift is salvation.
My gift is Inferno.
With that, I whisper my amen . . . and take my final step, into the abyss.’

-        Inferno by Dan Brown 

From the master of suspense himself, the prologue of Inferno ends with an ominous note. Someone has jumped to his death; taking with him a huge secret. Here too, the prologue sets the tone of the novel. I love action in prologue as there is so much show than tell.

I personally like prologues that make a hundred questions pop one’s head. Such kind of prologues are catchy and makes the reader want to read the rest of the book just to find out the answers to the questions.

So basically, in the prologue of a Thriller or a suspenseful book, we readers look for relevant information without it becoming an info dump. We like the suspense to begin at the prologue. We love it when the prologue brings up interesting questions whose answers will be revealed in the course of the story. We love action in prologue. We want the prologue to give us a reason to STAY and FINISH the whole novel.

And also, I’m pretty sure everyone has realized by now that I have an unhealthy obsession with Dean Winchester but can you blame me? I mean...

Thanks to Tif for having me here at Book Bloggers International today!

Feel free to visit my blog Books. Bags. Burgers. for Book reviews, Author Interviews, Excerpts and more!



P.S.  For more information on Readers Imbibing Peril (RIP) Reads, check out the challenge here.


  1. Thank you so much for stopping by to share with us today! I think the prologue can be such a controversial thing, but you bring up some great points here. They really can set the tone for a novel!!


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