Query Critique 26

Dear Ms. Nelson,

For seventeen-year-old Cas Leung, bossing around sea monsters five thousand times her size is just the family business. I like this hook. Cuts right to the chase of what’s interesting about her. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission, slaughters her favorite Reckoner, and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water. I’d like a little more explanation of what a Reckoner is. Otherwise, this paragraph seems solid.

There’s no time to mourn it. It being the Reckoner death, right? Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on the ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.

Cas has fought pirates her entire life, and she’s not about to stop. But when she starts to fall for one – the captain’s prickly, swaggering apprentice girl – she begins to see the complexities of the NeoPacific in a different light. As she grapples with her old values and her new perspective, Cas must decide whether taking vengeance against her captors is worth becoming even more monstrous than the Reckoner pup she’s raising.

Complete at 63,000 words, THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US is a young adult science fiction novel with LGBT+ romance elements.  It’s the monsters of Pacific Rim and the myth of Persephone Hmm… I’m trying to think where the Persephone myth would fit in based on what I’ve read. on the seas of the future. While the story stands alone, it also has series potential. My short fiction has been published by HarperTeen as part of the online bonus content for the Defy the Dark anthology.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you!


Once and the Future Sea Queen

Overall, this one is looking pretty good! The setting, conflict, and stakes have all been really well established.



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