These two books are written for entirely different audiences, are entirely different genres, and even written in different POVs, but they had one thing in common.
Both start with a very short (less than 150 words) sort of prologue, though it isn't set apart as a prologue.
From 19 Minutes:
In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five.
Nineteen minutes is how long it took the Tennessee Titans to sell out of tickets to the play-offs. It's the length of a sitcom, minus the commercials. It's the driving distance from the Vermont border to the town of Sterling, New Hampshire.
In nineteen minutes, you can order a pizza and get it delivered. You can read a story to a child or have your oil changed. You can walk a mile. You can sew a hem.
In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it.
In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.
The beginning of the Lightning Thief:
Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood.
If you're reading this because you think you might be one, my advice is: close this book right now. Believe whatever lie your mom or dad told you about your birth, and try to lead a normal life.
Being a half-blood is dangerous. It's scary. Most of the time, it gets you killed in painful, nasty ways.
If you're a normal kid, reading this because you think it's fiction, great. Read on. I envy you for being able to believe that none of this ever happened.
But if you recognize yourself in these pages - if you feel something stirring inside - stop reading immediately. You might be one of us. And once you know that, it's only a matter of time before they sense it too, and they'll come for you.
Don't say I didn't warn you.
Both of these intros are not scenes, because they don't involve any characters, action, setting or dialogue - they are just narrative. But they both set the tone of the book, reveal the voice, and create suspense that makes you keep reading.I immediately sat down a re-wrote the first 200 words of Valley of the Unicorns, to try to accomplish the same three goals: tone, voice, suspense. I'll tackle Raining Toward Heaven next, but of course it's a lot harder than it looks.
Here's a sort of related article from PubRants that I found helpful: Why Prologues often don't work.