Query Critique 85

Dear XXXXX,

I am writing to inquire about representation of my young adult paranormal romance, KEEPER OF SHADOWS.

A broken 17-year-old boy must break a Shadow Keeper’s curse before he loses his life, but with his fierce and stubborn neighbor helping he might lose his heart first.

KELLAN CASEY gave his heart to a girl, but instead she took his soul and traded it to a Shadow Keeper for her own survival. Capitalizing names is good in synopses. It’s a little weird in a query letter. Now Kellan is turning into a Shadow Keeper – a dimension hopping wraith creature that collects the souls of the living. It’s a little strange to me that you would wait until now to define what a Shadow Keeper is when you’ve already mentioned it twice. Hiding his transformation and resulting intense physical pain behind a bad boy reputation, Kellan has pushed everyone away including the one person who might be able to save him.

Desperate to save her childhood friend, ABBY MARINO forces Kellan to let her into his twisted world of hell beasts and betrayals. For a girl who thought not getting into the right college was the end of the world, the almost dead boy shows her what it’s like to really live and that there may be a fate worse than being average. In return Abby gives Kellan back the one thing he’s already lost – hope.

Now with a ticking clock on the Shadow Keeper’s curse, Kellan and Abby need to work together to find a way out or Kellan will lose his life and the one girl that he might actually be willing to die for. Good stakes, except that this is the first mention of a curse that we’ve gotten. I think that’s probably something that needs to be expanded upon earlier in the paragraph..

A combination of edgy and sweet, KEEPER OF SHADOWS would appeal to readers of Katie McGarry’s DARE YOU TO but with a supernatural twist. Put the comp title in italics rather than all caps to set it off from your title. The manuscript is complete at 89,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Query Critique 82

Ashlynn Weaver doesn’t know she’s a dream-walker, only that she can control her dreams So for this first sentence I would try focusing on the dream controlling aspect rather than throwing out this unknown term, especially since she doesn’t know what that is. Her waking life is another story—falling for her best friend who’s hung up on his ex, wondering if her missing mom is still alive, and worrying she’ll vanish next. Ash tries to hide her delusions, so similar to the ones her mom had before, but the monsters are getting harder to ignore. The monsters sort of came out of nowhere. Especially when a serpentine creature nearly drowns her in a pool.
When Ash finds a magic lamp and releases Rizian, a jinn made of fire, she’s ready to get fitted for a straight jacket. The jinn is interesting, and I almost wonder if it could be worked into the query sooner? Maybe even in the hook? But, surely hallucinations don’t introduce themselves, and who could resist three wishes on their eighteenth birthday? Rizian introduces Ash to a magical world she never knew existed, and she offers magic he’s equally unfamiliar with: friendship. Some good voice in these sentences. Together, they rescue Ash’s bewitched mom, but a fairy queen won’t let them return to the human world unless Ash agrees to unravel a twisted scheme that targets fairy children. The evidence points to witches and reveals secrets about Ash’s family that explain why she sees monsters—fairies—and why her dreams have turned deadly. Her emerging ability to dream-walk proves dangerous when an unplanned foray into her sister’s dream has effects on waking life.
After using two wishes with unexpected consequences, Ash is caught in a conflict between worlds and a romance with Rizian that’s literally too hot to handle. When it turns out her sister is the real target of the witches’ sinister plans, Ash must relinquish her last wish, one that could make an impossible love possible, unless she can dream up another way to save her. Great stakes!
WISHES OF FIRE is an 107,000 word young adult paranormal romance, with potential for a trilogy. Thank you for your time and consideration,