Query Critique 34

Dear Agent,

Any human servant would choose the workhouse over Evlalia – and her most recent two just have. Evlalia isn’t a common name, so it took me a minute to understand that that’s who “her” referred to.

She sacrificed hours informing them of every flaw. But her words were wasted on people, as usual. At least she didn’t dare to make a positive start: it would clearly have gone to waste as well. Short (1-2 sentence paragraphs) can be really effective, but only if used sparingly. Also, the number of short paragraphs in this query make it feel longer than it should be.

No High person makes their own food or laces their own corsets. Evlalia needs a new servant, and a magic one will have to do.

Part metal, part human, a unit is a magical servant summoned from the Internet. They come with unique software: some read or run faster than a forming thought, others grow their toenails or eyelashes six times faster than normal. To me, this seems more interesting than the first bit. 

Buying a unit so damaged it’s considered unsellable? At least he needs her too much to ever leave. And it reminds everyone that Evlalia picks the road less travelled, even if it leads over a cliff.

Her new unit is Tace, and he can teleport. At least he could, before his old user left him without hands and on a ventilator. I think handless and on a ventilator flows a little smoother, but that may just be personal preference. Thanks to Evlalia, he no longer passes out after twenty seconds, but he still waits on the roof every night for his old user to come back.

Evlalia’s words stop her disappearing into just another average, replaceable person; Tace’s muteness is more voluntary than everyone thought, and his body is built around being able to disappear at will. Maybe rework this sentence. It’s a bit confusing. Friendship between them was a risk neither planned to take; it just seemed to happen, like the cutting remarks Evlalia always assumed she could keep back if she tried.

Not being able to dismiss people makes interaction complicated; as Evlalia meets other units, she’s relieved to find them just as easy to offend as humans. Being installed with dictionaries and perfect memories just seems a bonus. I’m not sure how relevant this is to the main plot line.

Kyrillos can read every blood vessel pumping in Evlalia’s neck, and when his domination over his user is questioned he knows exactly which artery to pinch shut.

Halimeda can read every regretted word and past mistake in Evlalia’s mind, and when the motives of her sudden friendship with Tace are questioned she knows exactly what Evlalia wants left unsaid. I wouldn’t mention Kyrillos or Halimeda unless they’re REALLY important. Even still, they seem a little distracting.

Tactful silence might save Evlalia’s life, but also makes her indistinguishable from everyone else. That less travelled road does end in a cliff – and it might be better to jump.

Um… What genre is this? Age group? Comparative titles? (reminds me a little of Marissa Meyer’s Cinder)

Mystic Cyborg

My biggest concern with this query is lack of direction. I felt a little like I was wading through various plot lines. I think the query would be improved by focusing on the biggest source of conflict. Is it Evlalia’s lack of servitude? Is it Tace’s injuries? Is it that there are these other units potentially causing problems? Flesh out the main conflict, make it obvious, and establish clear stakes.


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