Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles that are Complete Sentences

"Tope Ten Tuesday" in a white font mimicking handwriting on navy starry skies

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Everyone is welcome to join in the fun.

Now, I don’t remember much of my grammar lessons at school, but I can just about recall that a complete sentence contains a verb/action, and a noun. The nouns are not hard at all, but the verb? That was the trickiest bit of this prompt – finding titles with verbs in them!

Then there was the issue of where the verb was in the sentence and how it was acting. Titles like THE STARS WE STEAL are not full sentences because the verb is acting as a descriptor rather than an action. As such, I had to allow titles that were commands/imperative or I’d find none.


I love the uncompromising, ominous nature of this title. It implies an inevitability – THERE WILL COME A DARKNESS, and there’s no chance of stopping it – and makes you wonder how the characters will react to this unstoppable doom. Fight? Despair? Accept?

I love this trilogy (the second book, AS THE SHADOW RISES, is not a full sentence, alas, but a sentence fragment). It feels very much like the classic fantasy I grew up on, with prophecies, chosen ones, and a quest, but brought into the modern day (the women aren’t just wives waiting and cooking for the men, or the strange, unusual powerful sorceress, who STILL does all the cooking!) I am excited for the conclusion this autumn.

2. HOLD BACK THE TIDE, by Melinda Salisbury

The first of many imperatives on this list, HOLD BACK THE TIDE is a command that links into the themes of climate change and destruction linked to poor water management from a mill. Plus it’s a call back to King Cnut demanding the tide stopped! (He failed, unsurprisingly)

I adore this book. Anything Melinda Salisbury writes is stunning, but this book is probably her best yet. A creepy fantasy-cum-horror set in the Scottish Highlands, this short book will have you reading until after dark to find out what happens, screaming at the endings, and then unable to go to sleep because of the sense of unease it creates.

3. WE HUNT THE FLAME, by Hafsah Faizal

Both WE HUNT THE FLAME and its sequel WE FREE THE STARS have complete sentences for titles. Short and sweet sentences, taken from lines in the book, but that still counts!

This Ancient Arabian inspired duology is beloved by many, but just didn’t work for me. I found a lot of the plot predictable and the characters very flat – very one dimensional and boiling down to a single characteristic. Plus brooding by itself is neither character nor romantic! Just uncommunicative! There was a lot of pinning stretching out the time between action (and lots of the choices were absolutely terrible ones that they wouldn’t have done if they’d just thought for half a second.) I can see why some people love it, but it really wasn’t for me.

4. LONG MAY SHE REIGN, by Rhiannon Thomas

Book cover for LONG MAY SHE REIGN: a castle inside a smoking round-bottomed flask

OK, so this one is more of an acclamation than a complete sentence, (LONG MAY SHE REIGN being a coronation exhortation akin to God save the Queen) but I’m counting it as it’s an underhyped book that deserves more love!

This is a twisty political fantasy (so naturally I love it) about a girl who suddenly finds herself Queen after the twenty-odd people before her in the line of succession all mysteriously die at a banquet. Under suspicion of murdering them, she must find her feet in a role she never expected while everyone tries to exploit her inexperience.

5. SET FIRE TO THE GODS, by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons

The imperatives return! Both SET FIRE TO THE GODS and its sequel RISE UP FROM THE EMBERS are commands. The sentiment of the first is pretty shocking (defying and killing gods!?) which is why it works so well to grab the reader’s attention. Why is someone bringing down the gods? Is it even possible? Will they succeed?

I love the first book in this Greco-Roman gladiators-with-elemental-magic series, where two fighters with vendettas against their gods find themselves facing off in a grand tournament, only to discover a web of secrets that threaten their entire world.


WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER is the penultimate line of the hymn Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing. In the hymn, the phrase is preceded by “May I”, which gives the phrase a very different feel to this title, where it’s more of a curse, describing the lonely nature of Lee’s life, by virtue of her gender and hidden abilities.

This trilogy is a historical fantasy set around 1850 as gold-hunters head westwards, and Lee’s abilities to sense gold must be hidden at all costs. With nature as the primary villain, this first book focuses on the westwards trek, weaving a tale of friendship and both sides of humanity through the worst of times.

7. GIVE THE DARK MY LOVE, by Beth Revis

Book cover for GIVE THE DARK MY LOVE: A girl in blakc stands before a window overlooking the see holding a glowing gold jar

I imagine GIVE THE DARK MY LOVE like a really strange letter sign off. Give my love to Jo, Betsy, the dog, and the dark. See you soon! BID MY SOUL FAREWELL, the title of the sequel, has a similar association in my mind too.

That quirky tone is not to be found in this duology, however. Beth Revis explores power, corruption, and the descent into being perceived the villain through her antiheroine Nedra. A plague stalks the land, and Nedra’s desire to protect her loved ones will lead her down the path towards necromancy.


Book cover for THIS WILL BE FUNNY SOMEDAY: title in black on a banana skin on red

Despite having this book on a shelf by me, I typed this title wrong, as I did when writing up my review. It’s THIS WILL BE FUNNY SOMEDAY, not Someday, this will be funny. I have no idea why it’s stuck in my head the wrong way around!

A you might have guessed from the cover and title, this is a contemporary comedy. Izzy stumbles into a bar when trying to avoid her controlling boyfriend. There, she accidentally finds herself on the stage at the stand-up mic, and falls headlong into the world of stand-up comedy with new friends, but the lies she’s telling are twisting around her.

9. I AM MALALA, by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

Book cover for I AM MALALA, featuring her face

There are quite a few “I am” titles – I am Legend, I am Number Four – and I AM MALALA utilises the bold assertive nature of the statement to great effect. It is a declaration of identity and certainty, to define and claim who you are for yourself, rather than letting someone else do it to you.

I AM MALALA holds the place of being the first autobiography I ever read (and one of the few I’ve read – I tend to stick to biographies of long dead monarchs). It is a beautifully written book, following the story of her life from her father’s dream to being shot to coming to the UK. The edition I have ends just after being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize the first time, but I am sure later editions go further.


Book cover for WE ARE BLOOD AND THUNDER by Kesia Lupo: Two girls facing off across a red-lightning sky with the title between them

As most series follow a similar title pattern, this entry is also one where both books in the companion duology could be used. WE ARE BLOOD AND THUNDER and WE ARE BOUND BY STARS both use a similar trick to the I am one above, but this time in the plural. These titles are also longer and are similar to the X of Y and Z pattern so common in fantasy.

Set in a world where a city is trapped by an everlasting storm cloud, two girls’ lives are bound by it, even though their paths diverge – one away from the city, and one towards it.

What book titles do you love that are full sentences?

9 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles that are Complete Sentences

    1. It probably depends person to person. Generally, it’s longer titles that give a sense of the book but aren’t in a typical title pattern (so, not an “X of Y and Z” title) that catches my attention because they are non-standard


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