What do you think?

In novel writing, is it really important to hook the read with a delicious opening line? A while ago, I would've said yes. No one has the patience to struggle through a story. When shopping in a brick and mortar store, some readers still let the first page decided whether or not they want the book.

But, after reading The Last Wish and Dark Lover, I'm leaning towards not sure. The first several pages of both books were a pain. The female protagonist in Dark Lover was so annoying. The Last Wish was told in a format I didn't expect and didn't care for at first. It was like a short story collection, no story arc.

Despite this, I pushed on and, as it turns out, they were both great reads. I devoured Dark Lover in like two days. The Last Wish was awesome! This happened with Prince of Thorns too

Besides, I can't remember the last time I read an impressive opening line.

Maybe we should instead focus on making the readers love the characters from the start. The reason I stuck with those two books, outside of sheer curiosity, was because I loved the male protagonists.

This may be where audience research comes in. How do your potential readers decided what books they want to read?

What do you think? How important is it for writers to focus on grabbing the reader with the first line or a tantalizing opening?