Dark Core #QueryKombat critique party

Uncategorized

L.A.

Title: Dark Core
Genre: YA Fantasy

Query:

Reincarnation can be a bitch, especially when a mad goddess keeps killing you.

Seventeen year-old Saekina hides in the massive city of Dennin, alone against demonic assassins and their mysterious master. Not even her patron goddess has bothered to help her. She relies on her daggers, and strange, uncontrollable power that sends the demons fleeing.

Her solitude is broken when she meets three others also hunted by the assassins—and wielding the same power. For the first time in years she has friends, and she isn’t about to let anyone hurt them. They set out to discover the reason they are hunted, scouring the city for answers.

Their search drags them into the middle of a secret battle between the gods. Even worse, her patron goddess—someone who should be protecting her—is the one sending the demons after them, afraid they’ll access the memories from their past lives and with it, the knowledge to defeat her.
Saekina’s blades and power are ready, but they can’t kill a god. To defeat her, Saekina must delve into her past life and uncover the secret the goddess is so desperate to protect. If she fails, she and her friends will be hunted throughout endless lives and forced into the same battle. If she succeeds, it might kill her for good.

First 250:

Light orbs lined the streets; their weak glow cast long, crawling shadows out from barren buildings. Saekina took the next corner fast, and tucked against the building, waiting. No one coming. Good.

She ducked into the alley toward the hotel’s rusted door, and passed dumpsters overflowing with rotted food and half-used magical charms. She ignored the rotting scent—she’d smelled worse.

She brushed a strand of dark hair behind her ear. Even at this time of night the heat clung to her skin, creating a layer of sweat. Then again, the hot seasons in Dennin were never anything less than sweltering. She’d have to pay someone, and no way would she waste her money on that.

Her stomach grumbled. After tonight, she’d be able to eat for days. Information on slavers never fails to earn at least a gold coin. The bounty hunters are gonna rip each other apart for this info.

She cast a few furtive glances towards the end of the alley before pulling the door open. She shuffled past the hotel’s owner. He looked up from his coin purse with a bored expression. “Ah, it’s you again.”

Saekina slipped him the usual payment for not ratting her out. He’d invested a lot in making his hotel safe for less-than-legal operations. Plenty of back entrances and large vents hidden by glamours. I’ll have to drop this place before he gets figured out. Don’t want to be there when people realize he’s playing both sides. “We good?”

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12 thoughts on “Dark Core #QueryKombat critique party

  1. Love the idea of this! And I love the first and last sentences. Great opening and ending.

    Just a few suggestions — would it work to name the patron goddess? Something like, “Not even XXX, her patron goddess, has bothered to help her.” That was you could use her name throughout the query instead of always having to say patron goddess.

    Also, I was wondering if you might add “a” to this sentence: She relies on her daggers, and a strange, uncontrollable power…”

    I also wonder about “defeat her.” Since they didn’t know they were fighting her, would it make sense to say they might “overthrow her?” Obviously you know the story better than I, but it was just a thought.

    All in all, a good query, and I want to read the book! 🙂 Good luck.

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  2. I wouldn’t mind reading this MS. Loved the query.

    Only stumbled on one sentence:
    ‘She’d have to pay someone [for what?], and no way would she waste her money on that.

    Good luck in the contest!

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  3. Thank you so much for all the support.

    I had the same dilemma about naming the goddess before. Her name and the mc’s are similar, and it’s explained why in the story. In the query, it would come off as two similar sounding names.

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  4. Wow I remember previously reading your first 250, but I hadn’t read the query yet. Both are absolutely fantastic! Your first line made me laugh out loud! This has sarcastic humor (always a plus), but intensity as well. Well done on your first 250 opening. I like the first lines much better now. Sorry I can’t add to anyone else’s feedback, because this rocks!

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  5. Reincarnation can be a bitch, especially when a mad goddess keeps killing you. [I LOVE this first line]

    Seventeen [hyphen here]year-old Saekina hides in the massive city of Dennin, [I think you need a verb here. Or to change “against” to “among” or something] alone against demonic assassins and their mysterious master. Not even her patron goddess has bothered to help her. She relies on her daggers, [<-no comma needed] and [a]strange, uncontrollable power that sends the demons fleeing.

    Her [I think it would be good to say her name again here] solitude is broken when she meets three others also hunted by the assassins—and wielding the same power. For the first time in years [comma] she has friends, and she isn’t about to let anyone hurt them. They set out to discover the reason they are hunted, scouring the city for answers.

    Their search drags them into the middle of a secret battle between the gods. Even worse, her patron goddess—someone who should be protecting her—is the one sending [I think this should be "who has sent" or something like that since it already happened] the demons after them, afraid they’ll access the memories from their past lives and with it [since memories is plural, I think this should be "them"], the knowledge to defeat her.
    Saekina’s blades and power are ready, but they can’t kill a god[dess]. To defeat her, Saekina must delve into her past life and uncover the secret the goddess is so desperate to protect. If she fails, she and her friends will be hunted throughout endless lives and forced into the same battle. If she succeeds, it might kill her for good. [wonderful stakes!]

    Best of luck!

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  6. And the first 250… 🙂

    Light orbs lined the streets; their weak glow cast long, crawling shadows out from barren buildings. [Maybe it’s just personal preference, but I think if you changed the ; to , and made “cast” into “casting” , this sentence would flow better] Saekina took the next corner fast, and tucked against the building, waiting [s/b waited?]. No one coming. Good. [I like these brief sentences.]

    She ducked into the alley toward the hotel’s rusted door, [no comma needed] and passed dumpsters overflowing with rotted food and half-used magical charms. She ignored the rotting scent—she’d smelled worse.

    She brushed a strand of dark hair behind her ear. Even at this time of night the heat clung to her skin, creating a layer of sweat. Then again, the hot seasons in Dennin were never anything less than sweltering. She’d have to pay someone, and no way would she waste her money on that. [I’m not sure what this sentence means]

    No comments on the rest! Good luck in the contest!

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  7. I love this! Would read it from this query. Great job pulling us in. Opening and closing sentences are great! Well done, hope you get a bite!

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