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Remember, anyone who offers their comments this month is eligible for either $10 for Amazon or B&N OR a 20-page critique from me.
This week we have the query for an upper-MG fantasy from Kimberly Callard. My overall thoughts are at the end. As always, this is all just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.
At only 14 years old Zane Blackthorne is the youngest Shadowcatcher on the force. He's also the best. He has to be. The ridiculous amount of gold he earns hunting down tax evaders is the only thing keeping him from ending up back in the slums where he was raised.
And he'd rather eat a Narcow than end up
Zane thinks he's hit the jackpot when the Empress commissions him to collect the shadow of a political opponent. Sure, she threatens to sic bounty hunters on him if he fails, but that doesn't scare Zane. He's too good to fail. At least, he is until a rat-faced urchin named Meescha gets in his way.
A victim of the Shadowcatchers herself, Meescha shows Zane what happens to those who can't afford to buy their shadows back. Most become husks of their former selves, withering away with agonizing slowness; the rest die instantly, their lives snuffed out like street lamps at dawn. Haunted by the faces of the suffering shadowless, Zane must make a choice: continue living in luxury as the Empress's enforcer or
quit do the right thing and spend what's left of his
life hiding in the slums with a target on his back.
|I believe agents assume it's a|
SHADOWCATCHERS is a 48,000-word Upper MG fantasy told from two viewpoints: Zane's and Meescha's. I am submitting it to you because (insert personalization here).
note it is a multiple submission.
I am an associate member of SCBWI.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
There is a LOT of good here. Stakes and voice in the intro. Inciting incident in the 2nd paragraph. Sadistic choice in the 3rd. It's almost as if you've been reading my comments to the others, Kimberly.
The only comment I have is a nitpick about the choice. It's sadistic all right, but I kind of know what he's going to pick, and I'm curious about where the story goes after that. He doesn't hide in the slums, so what does he do? What's his new goal?
All that to say I feel like there's more story here. Honestly, this is probably good enough to garner requests, but if you wanted to improve it, that's the direction I'd go (but not too far in that direction, lest the query get too long, aye?).
What do the rest of you think?