Monday, March 26, 2012

Surprise Agent Invasion #7

Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 65,000 


Daela Blackwell has no magic in her, a revelation which plunges her status from noble to the scrap on every beggar’s shoe. When she witnesses her half-brother’s kidnapping by an enemy long forgotten, no one believes her -- no one except Trey, her brother’s favorite smuggler and sometimes friend. But help is scarce, and even a coward who turned on his people’s faith to escape imprisonment is better than nothing.

With Trey as a guide, Daela tracks her brother into Ethra, the desolate world where Trey’s people have been incarcerated for centuries. There, they learn that the spell used to create Ethra has become unstable, and that the world itself is consuming its inhabitants. With death courting her every step, Daela grows closer to Trey, and realizes that neither he nor his people are the vile monsters she’d grown up believing.

But getting into Ethra was the easy part. Now they have to get out, and Daela’s escape plan is still a work in progress. To make matters worse, Daela finds out that her brother’s kidnapper plans to sacrifice him in a dark ritual that will free everyone from the lethal world. Daela must make a choice: let her brother die, or condemn a race she once despised to the same fate.

First 250:

The two initiates stared at me with equal parts revulsion and pity. Both girls wore their hair pulled back, exposing the swirling gold tattoos at their temples that flaunted their standing as nobles of Hel’s Court. The blonde one met my eyes and winced. I arched an eyebrow, daring her to utter the word lurking behind her teeth.

Come on. Say it to my face, you little brat.


The word everyone thought but never said. The word I’d been reading in everyone’s eyes since I was five, despite their graceful manners and false smiles.

The blonde, proving she did have some sense of self-preservation, dropped her gaze and turned to her companion. And yet I could still hear the unspoken word like a whisper scuttling through the corners of the Sanctuary’s dreary antechamber.

Csuzu – child of infidelity.

I gripped the edge of the bench I’d sat on alone all morning and resisted the urge to scream that I wasn’t contagious.

The wooden door tucked in the corner creaked open. An attendant, the same man who’d been ushering initiates since early morning, came out. He glanced at the scroll containing the names of all the sixteen-year-olds who’d scheduled their Pledges for today. His gaze raked over us from under thick glasses. “Kerrah Mayre?”

The blonde sprang to her feet, grace forgotten in the wake of excitement. I should have guessed she was a Mayre. I thought I recognized that particular shade of blonde and patronizing disdain. 


  1. Your query and first page were overall quite well-done, though the opening para of the query was a little awkward. Does no one believing her have to do with her having no magic or the fact that the enemy was considered long-gone? Help's not just scarce, it's nonexistent if no one believes her, so she has to take what she can get.

    The word count seemed a bit short. Just something to consider.

    I thought you did a good job! Good luck!

  2. I'm going to echo the concern of the short word count. That to me says the worldbuilding or the plot may not be fleshed out enough or this should really be middle grade.

  3. I enjoyed this query and found the first page intriguing. I'll also say that the word count seems short for fantasy, but I'd definitely be interested in seeing more. Please send the first 50 pages to, attached as a Word document (.doc). In the subject line, please include my name and the contest title. I look forward to hearing from you!
    Taylor Martindale
    Full Circle Literary