Query Critique 73

Dear Agent Name,

In an ancient Rome-like world, people who once had magical abilities – the Verasians – are enslaved, forced to fight each other. This sentence reads a bit clunky. Maybe there’s somewhere else to put the Rome-like world bit? On the other hand, if you leave that out, it sounds too much like Hunger Games. Their only chance of freedom is seventeen-year-old Aelia who defeated all odds: hiding in a forest, she guards the last Soultree left on Earth – and the growing magic inside it that could free them. But she can only hide for so long… Maybe this is the idea you need to start with. Also, I’m intrigued by this Soultree, and I want to know more about it. Do the people enslaving the Verasians know it’s there? So maybe consider starting with something like “Seventeen-year-old Aelia guards the Soultree, the only chance of freedom for…”

When Saro, the owner of a gladiator school, finally captures Aelia, taking her far away from her tree, it seems all hope is lost. What does protecting the tree entail? If she’s not there, will the tree die? Or does she need to be there to harness the power? Now a gladiator in Saro’s arena, Aelia must train and fight for survival. I’m kind of thinking that this Saro character doesn’t need to be mentioned in the query. It cuts down on the number of names the reader needs to remember, and it’s sufficient to say that she’s been captured and is now a gladiator. And she has to fight while chained together with Zenon, the star of the arena. Zenon dances on Aelia’s nerves – he pushes her to train, tests her limits, and has an irritating way of making her blush. Aelia doesn’t want to kill her people to save her skin, but if she dies, the Soultree dies with her. Why? I think this is something that should be tuched upon earlier. No magic will save her now, and the hope for all Verasians depends upon her swift blade. 

SUN AND IRON is a stand-alone YA Fantasy novel with series potential and is complete at 73,000 words. Spartacus meets Snow Like Ashes. Cool comp titles!

I. M. Verasian


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