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Please keep in mind that I'm no query guru, but I have read a considerable amount of query slush thanks to Query Kombat. (And that is a lot of repeating of the word query.) I might have an edge on what works and what doesn't. But as in all such critiquing, the suggestions are mainly subjective. Or in other words, take it with a grain of salt and see if others agree with me.
With my son in Japan, I have less towels to wash and tons of hot water left. Plus, no one has stolen into my hidden stash of chocolate. Happy days! SO here goes, Query #2.
Dear Agent [will be personalized once I actually send it out to agents and include their name and why I think they would enjoy the novel)I actually asked a question on this subject to agents during an #askagent session to mixed answers. Some like a little chit chat,while others don't. The Shark wanted straight to the query. So it's a toss up.
Seventeen-year-old Mihael Wrath might be the son of the most powerful Sin in the Demon Realm, but if he doesn’t turn into a full demon by his eighteenth birthday, he’ll be just another blood splatter on the sacrificial altar. Hmm. That's like turning the tables on normal. He wants to be a demon. Interesting! Nice hook. But what is a Sin?
With his birthday just around the corner and no demonic powers in sight, Mihael would rather face the shame of running away than the blade of a demon’s knife (I'm with you on that one!). His father, the Sin of Wrath (Ah! I'm getting a better picture of it now.), has different plans: Sacrifice Mihael, use his blood to start the next Apocalypse, and win the battle for the Human Realm for good. Those demon fathers. Can't trust 'em as far as you can throw 'em. Does Human Realm need to be capitalized? Where is this taking place? Demon realm, human realm, angel realm? So many realms. I'm getting dizzy.
In a panicked attempt to save himself and the world, Mihael decides to warn the Order of the Angels of Wrath’s plan. It’s a risky move—especially when he finds out the Order doesn’t believe him and demands his head for “false accusations.” They don't believe a demon in training? Hard to fathom. This section is short on voice. Here would be a good place to stick in some personality for Mihael. With the sacrificial knife closing in and world headed for the simmer setting, Mihael decides to flirt with the enemy. He warns the Order of the Angels to wake up and see Wrath's plan...
With only hours left and a cruel new playing card in his father’s game (A touch generic.) , Mihael finds allies in an unstable (Give more detail. How are they unstable? That's your voice!) psychic and a conceited (Same here. Use details to make this voicey!) half-angel, who are also liabilities. They’re hopelessly outmatched (Now angels and demons both want to take off their heads)—but if the three of them can’t stop Wrath, millions will die, and life as they know it will end.
HALF-BREEDS AND OTHER LIABILITIES is a 80,000 word YA urban fantasy novel with series potential. It will appeal to fans of Holly Black’s WHITE CAT and Cassandra Clare’s THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS. The full manuscript is available on request. Good word count. To the point and with comps.
Thank you for your time. And thank you for sharing!
I think what we have here is a solid query that lacks excitement. It needs a little more voice to liven it up. The stakes are there and the plot is given clearly. But, sorry to be blunt, there are lots of stories about angels and demons. It just doesn't stand out the way it is now.
Also, use details to make us sympathise with Mihael. Figure out what qualities he has that would make us care about him. But Mihael can't let millions burn. He's a compassionate demon.
This sounds like a unique story. You've got us rooting for a demon. Good luck.