Query Critique 17

Dear Agent:

Six months. That’s how long sixteen-year-old Lesha Clement figures she has left to live if she remains on Earth. Her once-green planet has withered so fast it’s as brown as the color of her skin. Save a couple words by just saying “As brown as her skin.” I think it sounds a little less awkward too. She dreams of growing old in an unpolluted world and escaping the clutches of Riley, her possessive Relocation Instructor. With Operation Abandon Earth in full swing, Lesha flees to Eris, a colonized planet halfway across the galaxy. The ship veers off course and crashes in a wasteland, stranding her with seventeen survivors, including Riley. With no chance of rescue, they head toward a distant mountain range, hoping to find shelter or locate the colony.

The government was dead wrong when they labeled Eris safe. If lack of food and water doesn’t kill them, flesh-eating snakes just might. Don’t all snakes eat flesh of some sort? Maybe man-eating snakes? Fellow survivor, Malik Romero, fights the snakes off and vows to get the group to safety, or die trying. His smoldering eyes pull Lesha in as much as his savior complex pushes her away. His over-protective attitude clashes with Riley’s obsession. So when you say Riley is possessive/ has an obsession, is that Lesha? I’m a little confused why Riley is not supposed to be a likable character. Also, is Riley male or female? Too bad for them. Who is “them” supposed to be here? Having lived through famine and riots back home, Lesha can take care of herself. She’s come too far to assuage any guy’s ego. Again, when we talk about “a guy” who are we talking about?

After someone goes missing, Lesha immediately suspects Riley. Finding the teen’s mutilated corpse in a desert shrine proves his so Riley is male. innocence but reveals something’s stalking them. Something predatory. Something deadly. Something else. If they have any hope of reaching safety alive, Lesha must put aside her feelings and work with Riley and Malik. Or risk being picked off one by one until they’re morbid decorations in some sick psycho’s shrine. This paragraph is the best at setting up the stakes for the story.

Complete at 86,000 words, PHOENIX RISING is a young adult science fiction thriller, you call this a thriller but the middle paragraph seems to focus a lot on the romance aspect. The third paragraph is the only one that screams thriller to me. Consider playing that part up more. a mix of William Golding’sLord of the Flies and the film, Predator. Thank you for your time and consideration.



Focus is important. If the novel is being pitched as scifi, focus on the scifi rather than the romance. Which isn’t to say don’t mention the romance. Just don’t let the romance distract from the scifi elements.

Yet this does sound wonderfully creepy.



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