Entry Nickname: Mini Mutants
Title: Hunted Souls
Word Count: 65k
Genre: YA high fantasy with sci-fi elements
When eighteen-year-old Bixby codes in a hospital, his soul takes a detour to Centerra, a world where giants hunt humans for magic, harvesting it from their blood to gain temporary super powers. Prisoners are kept as specimens for experimentation, as giants seek to make magic permanent, since the gods stripped it from them as part of an ancient Punishment. If humans in Centerra, all eighteen and under, rescue any of their friends, giants retaliate by killing another prisoner. They call it "insurance."
A band of teens and kids adopt Bixby into their system of underground forts, so long as he follows rule number one: Don't be a hero. His choice is to hide below the forest floor when giants' hunting parties pass through, doing nothing for those who get captured, or risk expulsion from the group. The art of fitting in will determine his survival, and he's already an odd one out given he can't seem to discover his own power. His hopefully soon-to-be-girlfriend, Otsu, shares his powerless anomaly, so he swallows his pride, obeying his overprotective leader and ignoring taunts.
But love makes one do stupid things. His house mate, Sacheen, shared a hospital floor with him on Earth, where he watched her suffer and die. When the giants take her, he knows he can't live with himself if he does nothing. Otsu agrees, but insists on rescuing everyone; saving only Sacheen would result in another's death. They travel towards the giants' developed territory, and when they reach the castle, they hear rumors of four humans who will possess powers capable of destroying the giants' race. These four will be identified by a delayed manifestation of specific abilities, so by entering the castle before discovering their hidden strengths, Bixby and Otsu have just given the giants a key to their survival.
First 250 Words:
Bixby stared at the world through a fish tank. His body clenched in pain while delirium hazed his senses. The bed shook passing over an elevator crack, flooding his throat with nausea. Doctors pressed his abdomen.
"What's your pain score?"
Meh, a one. His sarcasm gurgled into a groan. At eighteen, he refused to forfeit his battle against cancer.
A chill ran through his right forearm, and he watched white bubbles form beneath the skin. Perfect timing for you to blow, IV. I don't need drugs. A nurse dug a needle in his left wrist, failing to find a good vein. Please, take your time. He mentally told her off with a slew of words that would send his mother running for soap. Mom. She here? He sunk deeper into the aquarium, pain clogging his ears and eyes. His mother kissed his cheek, rubbing her hand on his bare head, tears spilling over his face. The deep tugged at his chest. Don't leave her. Damn it, fight!
Bixby’s eyes blinked open, his brain struggling through the fog of deep sea dreaming. A forest of maroon oaks cloaked in purple mist blurred into view. The scent of fresh soil filled his nose. Something tapped his forehead. A small creature with spiky, black hair and velvet moth wings hovered before his nose. Her fingers poked at his skull.
"Wake up! Giants are here!"
Alarmed, he sat up. The fairy fluttered to a sleeping girl with milky skin, slanted eyes, and pink lips.
Entry Nickname: BingBamBoomBFF
Title: Sucker Punching Magic
Word count: 75,000
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Title: Sucker Punching Magic
Word count: 75,000
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
The first time Luz Bangor inadvertently triggered her innate magic, it compelled her grandma to elope with a long-distance trucker, forcing Luz’s brilliant younger brother Eric to quit high school to support the family. The magical mishap, her floundering GPA and her attention deficit disorder slapped a ginormous loser L on Luz’s forehead, which she doesn't expect to peel off anytime soon. Not when she keeps toying with magic she doesn't know how to use. And not when everyone compares her to Eric. Then he goes missing. Desperate to save him and redeem herself, Luz turns to her unpredictable magic. But her spell backfires, putting her straight into the path of her brother’s powerful enemies, the Fairy Syndicate.
Home-schooled Jude Kozlowski, whose allergy to light causes him to shift into a troll, wants the world to accept him as a decent guy, not the “who’s that tramping over my bridge” stereotype. But his huge frame and pistachio skin scare normal humans and his shyness keeps him from meeting anyone else. Even his part-time paper-pushing job has him working alone. Fitting in seems hopeless.
That is, until Luz crashes into his cubicle at First Metro Finance, thugs on her heels. Smitten and presented with the unexpected chance to be a hero, Jude vows to help Luz rescue her brother. When the villains snatch Luz, Jude pursues. He braves neighborhood vigilantes, a spoiled poodle and a troll biker gang to track Luz to Underhill, the fairy fortress. There, the unlikely pair must square off with the evil Fairy Godmother or lose Eric—and each other—forever.
First 250 Words:
Jude Kozlowski jerked his head up. He could blame a lot of things on The Fairy Tale Effect, but missing the bus wasn’t one of them. He’d been at the stop, nose deep in calculus homework when the Number Ten shot by, ruffling his hair.
At 4:35 in the afternoon, on a clear day in downtown Milwaukee, 6’2” Jude made a big target. Hard to believe the bus driver hadn't spotted him. Yet the guy hadn't even slowed.
Jude leaped to his feet. Book, paper and pencil in hand, he barreled down the sidewalk in pursuit.
He needed his job. The order and routine. The chance to be normal.
If he waited for the next bus, he’d be late. His heart racing the pounding of his feet, he dodged the parking meters and the guys who cradled cheap wine in paper bags outside the military surplus store.
Down the block, the bus’s brakes shrieked. Its axles groaned. The side doors disgorged a bearded dwarf in a trench coat. Jude bounded over the dwarf and reached the curb as a woman wearing a Hamburger Heaven uniform hurried through the bus’s front doors.
Jude followed, but before his foot touched the step, the gnome at the wheel flinched. Eyes wide, he hastily cranked the Plexiglas doors closed. The reflection of Jude’s lumpy, pistachio green skin played over the window.
“I need a ride.” Going for friendly, Jude grinned. Wrong move. In the glass, his smile appeared strained—too full, a baring of teeth.
Judges, reply here with your comment and vote.ReplyDelete
Mini Mutants: Your query is clearer and easier to follow than the previous iteration, although it's still pretty long - can you edit it down a bit and make it snappier? And the fact that Sacheen is dead and is in the same place as Bixby makes me wonder if he's dead too, and if this place is some kind of afterlife? So I'm a bit confused as to what exactly is going on with the setting.Delete
Your first page is much smoother now, you've done a good job of getting rid of much of the purple prose you had before, so well done. It makes your writing shine more. I still think we leave behind the hospital too quickly, though, I'd like more real life and to get to know your MC better before we head to this other world.
BingBamBoomBFF: This sounds like such a fun story. So many entertaining details - I laughed at the grandma eloping with a trucker - and you've already made me root for Luz and Jude, so nice work. I do think it could be a touch shorter and read slightly more smoothly. More importantly - I want to know whose POV we're going to be in. Alternating Luz's and Jude's? Omniscient? And then having read your first page, I was a bit thrown - I thought this was set in the real world and Jude being a troll and Luz having magic were things that were hidden - but from your first page I can see that's not the case and this is some kind of fairy tale world, or at least a world where fairy tale folk live openly with humans. So I think you need to clarify your setting in your query.
Your opening page is fantastic - pacy and fun, I'm already rooting for Jude, and I love how mundane things like missing the bus are intertwined with gnomes and trolls. Really, really well done, I'd love to read more of this. My only suggestion is the phrase 'His heart racing the pounding of his feet', which I had to reread a few times to see what you meant, so I'd reword.
VICTORY TO BINGBAMBOOMBFF.
I think you've done a good job reworking this query, but it still needs some query love. It's wordy and long.
The good news is, I think starts in the right place now and I clearly know what Bixby wants. So good job there. I think the second sentence in the first paragraph can disappear without anyone noticing. I recommend that you only keep the first sentence in paragraph two and add one more that brings in Otsu. Something like "When he meets Otsu, who shares his anomaly of an undiscovered power, Bixby thinks he might be able to go along to get along." We don't need any of the rest. In the last paragraph cut out all the stuff about the prophecy starting with "They travel" Instead, do a single sharp wrap up sentence along the lines of "Bixby's afraid the only ones who will die is them, but the discovery of a secret prophecy might hold the key to saving them all."
I think you did a nice job editing your first 250. I agree with the judge above, though, keep us in the hospital longer. Let us get to know Bixby and his struggle before you whisk us away.
You have what a lot of queries I've been reading are missing - great voice. That seems to be hard for a lot of writers to get into a query, but yours has that covered. You couple it with clear stakes. Nice job.
But I'm struggling with two big issues here. One, like the previous judge, I'm hugely confused on POV. I think it's an easy fix, so fix it. Don't leave an agent scratching their head. My second issue is I don't understand why grandma running off with a trucker ='s big brother quitting high school. Also, if he's a high school drop out, why does he have big enemies? This seems central to the plot, so I think you have to make it clearer some how.
The whole first paragraph is a bit wordy. Maybe a paragraph break before "Then he goes missing"
Your opening is terrific. Nice job. Depending on what your answer to POV is, you might consider changing your query to reflect that Jude comes first. I think a simple flip of the paragraphs in the query would accomplish that.
Victory to BINGBAMBOOMBFF
HUNTED SOULS --Delete
This needs an overhaul. It reads totally like a synopsis to me (and a wordy synopsis at that). Start with Bixby -- who is he, what is his conflict, what does he want? Simplify, simplify, simplify. I imagine your story, being high fantasy, is complex, but the query can't be so dense. My eyes simply glazed over -- there's too much going on and too many names. Your story sounds intriguing, but I think the query needs a major revision.
First 250 Words --
This is definitely more engaging than the query. Much more voice, and I liked the sensory qualities you included. Not quite sure about the aquarium reference -- is he under an oxygen mask? You might want to clarify that. The imagery is great, but I kept wondering why he felt he was under water. A brief mention of him fighting the oxygen mask might suffice here.
SUCKER PUNCHING MAGIC --
This is pretty good, you've got the voice part down, but -- like others -- I am confused about the POV. If the book is told via dual POV, there's nothing wrong with briefly stating that at the end of the query. ("Told by Luz and Jude in alternating POV's....) Also, I wondered what world we were in -- is this our world, with "hidden" or unexpected magic (urban fantasy) or a fairytale world (straight up fantasy)?
First 250 Words:
I thought this was strong, but was confused when Jude was the POV in the first 250 since you started the query with Luz (and her family). Maybe just rework the query so there's a better match? Also, since you are referencing The Fairytale Effect -- what is that? It raises a lot of questions before we even know where we are (Current reality, altered? Another world? Or?) Maybe leave that to a little later. The mention of dwarves and gnomes tells me that this is fantasy (urban or not) so I think you can wait to drop in the reference to some special effect/event when you can detail a bit more about it). JMHO.
Both very interesting, and both have good starts with their 250 words, but I have to go with the one whose query was stronger, so --
VICTORY TO SUCKER PUNCHING MAGIC
NOTE: Since I focused on queries in round 1, this time I'm focusing on the first 250 words.Delete
Intriguing opening lines. I want to know what's going on with Bixby.
"At eighteen, he refused..." - The way this is worded now feels forced, telling rather than showing.
"The fairy fluttered..." - He's not at all surprised to see a fairy? Has he been to this place before?
"Alarmed, he sat..." - What's he alarmed about? The fairy? The world? The giants? I'm having trouble getting into his head.
SUCKER PUNCHING MAGIC
I'd like a little more context with the first sentence... even just changing it to "jerked his head up as the bus rumbled by" or something like that.
"If he waited..." - Nitpicky, but I'd have placed this in the paragraph above and start the next paragraph with "His heart racing, the pounding..."
Love how you introduced the magical elements, the Milwaukee-that-isn't-really-Milwaukee, and a bit about the main character. I'd keep reading!
Victory to BINGBAMBOOMBFF
I don't get what "codes in hospital" means. How did he end up in another world?
I don't think we need to know so much details about the giants, just that they kidnap people to take their magic. Only tell us what we NEED to know for the query. This includes they "insurance" policy (lol). We don't need to know that in order to understand why his friend would want to save everyone.
I also don't get the bit about his old friend dying and then being captured. I think I'm missing some big part of this story. Is this an after life world? I don't get it
I love the troll bit but you tell us way too much backstory about the girl. We don't need to know her past life in detail. Just that she's had magic mess ups in the past and now her brother is missing so she's going after him.
Victory to BingBamBoomBFF
I like the premise, the query gets it across well, albeit with much more detail than needed. The query is long and probably needs a trimming, lest you risk people losing interest before reading it completely. For example, I don’t think the following line adds much and could easily be deleted “since the gods stripped it from them as part of an ancient Punishment.” Perhaps you also give away a little bit too much of the plot in the last few lines. Maybe you could cut it some to make it shorter and also to up the readers’ curiosity. Maybe something like “As they make their way to the giants' castle, rumors of humans capable of destroying their enemies’ race reach their ears, rumors that suggest Bixby and Otsu’s delayed powers might be the key to setting humans free.” You can probably do better than that, but just to give you an idea.
I found the first 250 confusing and had to re-read in a few places.
“Bixby stared at the world through a fish tank” -->This made me think his whole body was inside of some protective barrier. Then when “Doctors pressed his abdomen,” I thought . . . but he’s inside a fish tank??!! How?! (And, btw “Doctors” in the plural?? All of them pressing his stomach?)
“he watched white bubbles form beneath the skin” --> This was not a good visual for me. Made me think he was breaking out in blisters not goose bumps.
I think both query and first 250 could use a little tightening.
I like the changes you’ve made from the last round. The first paragraph in the query really packs a punch and flows much better. Now we can really see how key it is for Luz to use her unruly magic to help Eric. What other choice does she have? Brilliant! Your opening 250 were good to begin with, and I still like them!
VICTORY TO . . . BINGBAMBOOMBFF
Query: I think this query has a bunch of potential. The concept is unique and like nothing I’ve ever read before and I think it manages to lay out a lot of information in a few short sentences. However, I think a lot of extra wordage can be cut from the second paragraph. Spending one sentence on the fact that Bixby can’t set by and let people be captured would be sufficient, especially since the most important part of this query seems to be that Bixby and Osha might be two of the four teens that can bring an end to the giant’s reign. I’d like to see most of the focus on that. Again, I’m really interested in this and with a bit more focus, I think this query could really sing.
First 250: I love the opening with the imagery of water in both sections. I understand that everything is happening fast in the hospital but I think it might be a little too fast. We don’t have time to root ourselves in the story before we are thrown into another story. Spending more time with the character will allow us to know what he is losing by dying and will help us root for him later on. My suggestion would be to slow down just a little and give the hospital scene more time. However, I think the writing is solid and I’d read on to see where this was going!
Query: This is certainly interesting! I wasn’t expecting the addition of the troll but I think it is an awesome twist. The first paragraph read a little long to me so it might be worth trimming some of the extra words. The first sentence is where I see it the most. Otherwise, this sounds like a crazy awesome adventure and I’d love to where it is going.
First 250: I like this opening but I was a little bit confused. I thought Jude was waiting for the bus to go to school but in the query it mentions he’s home-schooled so I couldn’t figure out what’s going on. It’s just something to be aware of. I think the writing is smooth and I can see everything so clearly. I’d definitely keep reading to find out what was happening next.
VICTORY TO BINGBAMBOOMBFF
Strapped for time, voting, will offer feedback afterwards.Delete
Victory to BingBamBoomBFF
Mini Mutants: Your 250 was attention-grabbing and had plenty of voice. I learned a lot about your main character's personality in just one page: he's sarcastic, he's a fighter, he cares about his mom. I have some minor issues--I'm not sure I like the usage of "hazed" in "Delirium hazed his senses," and I was skeptical that in his current condition Bixby would really be able to see the white bubbles forming beneath his skin. But in general, the 250 worked for me. The query didn't work so well. I think you crammed a lot of information in there at the expense of voice and character. The first paragraph has unnecessary world-building details. I don't need to know, in a query, that ancient gods stripped giants of magic powers to punish them. The second and third paragraphs have unnecessary plot details. Sentences like "These four will be identified by a delayed manifestation of specific abilities, so by entering the castle before discovering their hidden strengths, Bixby and Otsu have just given the giants a key to their survival" are too complicated and need to be pared down. Simplify what you've got, and then use some of the space you create to give your reader more of a sense of Bixby's personality. Try to get some of that voice in your 250 into your query.ReplyDelete
BingBamBoomBFF: I was intrigued by the first line of your query, although I wasn't sure how grandma eloping would force Eric to quit school. But I thought Luz sounded like an interesting character in an interesting situation. The second paragraph threw me for a loop. I was expecting to hear more about the Fairy Syndicate, but instead, I was introduced to someone who sounded like a new protagonist. Does your story follow Luz and Jude equally? Since Jude is the one you introduce first in your book, would it make more sense to also start with Jude in the query? Without reading the rest of your story it's hard to know what to recommend, but I do think the transition between paragraph 1 and paragraph 2 needs to be smoother. I thought your 250 was good, though I was confused about The Fairy Tale Effect. I'm assuming it would be explained fairly soon if I could keep reading.
Good luck to both of you!
Query: Man, I'm sorry but I got really confused here. Firstly, I don't know what "codes" means. I thought it meant "writing computer code" since in my social circle that's what the word means. Secondly, I don't understand Centurra. What is it? A planet? Purgatory? You don't need to spell it out, but I do need more hints. It seems like this is a kind of afterlife, but one that only accepts teenagers? The word "detour" is part of what's confusing me. It makes me think he wasn't supposed to go there, which raises more questions.
I think this query is a case of the wrong details. Making it clearer is going to be as much about cutting facts as adding them. I don't actually need to know that the giants kill other prisoners when some are rescued; rescuing a prisoner is always dangerous and often has consequences for those who remain, so I don't need further elaboration on why Bixby is discouraged from the attempt. Since that detail is mentioned several times, removing it will make the query much shorter, giving you space.
The last sentence threw me. I'm not clear on what "their" means. The giants' survival, or the humans'? The fact that I can't tell should also show you how confused I am by the whole concept.
I'm sorry, I wish I had better news, but I am hella confused.
250: Much, much better! Bixby's state is described in shudderingly visceral imagery. We learn a lot about him in a short time. Great work.
The fairy confused me at first because "creature" is a word I normally associate with animals or monsters, not humanoid fairies. So, spiky hair and moth wings gave me a mental image of something akin to a flying hedgehog, until you told me it was a fairy.
I feel like Bixby's state of mind is a bit understated. He should be utterly shocked. He just died, and now he woke up someplace else, with a fairy, and no longer in pain. "Alarmed" doesn't begin to cover it.
Query: I think the first paragraph has too many details. Though the first paragraph is amusing, I think it raises more questions than it answers, not least because I don't see why the YOUNGER brother has to quit school to support her. Luz comes off as a loser, not because of circumstance but because of her choices. To let her little brother sacrifice his education for her, to use her magic over and over when she can't control it, and to piss off the fairy mafia.
The second and third paragraphs are better. I love Jude!
But after he comes on the scene, we hear no more from Luz. If this is a dual POV book, I want to see how Luz feels about Jude, not just how Jude feels about Luz.
Also: "evil" fairy godmother makes me sad. I think you can do better than to just slap the E-word on someone to tell us she's the antagonist.
250: Lots of fun! Everyone says "start with action and conflict" and so many people interpret this as "start with a fight" but here you have instead presented us with a very real and relatable problem: transit issues making you late for something important. We've all been there. Using the missed bus as an opportunity to illustrate the prejudice Jude deals with is deftly done.
Only one minor nitpick: "his heart racing the pounding of his feet" confused me because "racing" in the context of a heart normally just means "beating fast" rather than implying a contest of any kind. I thought at first that this was an editing artifact (a mistake).
Too much world building in the query. Focus on Bixby, his goals, his external and internal conflict. Then give only enough information for it to make sense.
Who's the protagonist in this story? I'm hoping it's Jude, because I love the paragraphs about him in the query, love his premise, and the 250 start with him. Luz, though, I wonder about. Her inadvertent magic that causes her grandmother to elope? Funny. But why would that make her YOUNGER brother quit school to support the family? Why doesn't she quit school, since she's the one with less potential?
I got distracted in the query wondering why there are no adults in this world. I don't think that necessarily needs to be part of the query if you aren't going to tell us where all the grown-ups went. Also - isn't everyone in this world already dead? Why does it matter if Sacheen dies again? What happens? Those are relatively easy fixes, though.
This seems nit-picky, but I don't really like the word "nausea" in the beginning. I'd use something more concrete, like bile or a specific taste rather than a general sick feeling. Otherwise, the first 250 are really good. I've heard agents say not to start with the MC's death, though, so I wonder if it would be better to give us more of this strange world (which is very intriguing) and flash back to his death later, if that's necessary.
I had the same questions in the query mentioned above - why isn't the older sister who created the problem and is less good at school the one quitting school to help support the family? As a younger child, you're immediately making me resent her a little.
I really like the first 250, but the query is set up to introduce Luz as the main protagonist. That means that it was confusing to me to start with Jude's point of view. The scene works, though, so the solution may be to adjust the query to introduce Jude first. Something to think about.
This is a really tough match-up. Both great entries.
Query - A lot about this query confused me, starting with the word "code." I don't know much about medical terms, but does this mean Bixby is dead? If it's just his soul making a detour to another world (a parallel world?), then how can giants harvest his blood? There's also more than I need to know here about the giants losing their magic (at this point, I'm not interested in them). The second paragraph is much better, because it shows the tough situation Bixby faces and his status as an outsider in this new world. However, in the third paragraph, I became confused again, with the last sentence. It needs to be broken up and better explained if it's going to be the closing hook. Overall, I think the query could be pared down and simplified.
First 250 - The writing here was much stronger than in the query. Bixby's physical responses are strong and make me emphathize with him. And it's immediately apparent when he wakes up that he's "gone" somewhere else, especially with the maroon trees and purple mist. Great job!
Query - Overall, I liked this query. It made me think a little of Shrek, in which the scary-looking ogre/troll turns out to be the hero. I also loved the concept of a Fairy Syndicate, which I imagine to be like the mob, but with magic. However, I felt like the first paragraph, which sets up Luz's situation, was overly long. The part about the grandma eloping with the trucker was cute, but then it leads to other questions, such as: what about Luz and Eric's parents? why did Eric have to drop out of school if he's the younger one? I might lead off the query with the main incident -- Eric going missing. Then you can say that Luz tries to save him, and work in how unpredictable her magic is. The second and third paragraph were great; I love the line "Fitting in seems hopeless."
First 250 - Really great job! I got a clear sense of Jude and what he's going through. Some great description here, like the "guys who cradled cheap wine in paper bags" and "a bearded dwarf in a trench coat." I could clearly see the scene as it played out and I wanted to keep reading.
VICTORY to BINGBAMBOOM BFF
MINI MUTANTS: I love your premise, that this boy is on death's door and he keeps going to this magical, maybe dream place. I think you set things up well in the query, but it's pretty dense. I wonder if you need to explain all the details of the magic and the background with the gods, giants, etc. Maybe just a bit of this, indicate that there's danger from creatures who want to harvest his blood, and what he stands to lose if he gets caught? At any rate, you have good bones here, so I think it's just a matter of decluttering. First 250 is great, I loved that line where he said his pain was level one. I also loved the introduction of the fantasy world, the fairy, and the sleeping girl, gave me kind of a shiver. Lovely.ReplyDelete
BINGBANGBOOMBFF: This looks like such a fun read! I can tell just from the query that your story and world are super imaginative and vivid. As mentioned above, I was unsure if this is dual POV, and I think maybe a line at the bottom saying it's dual POV would help. Following from such a standout query, your first 250 don't disappoint. I love that you mixed great fantastical elements with something as mundane as missing the bus. This isn't really my genre, but I'd totally read it.
Best of luck to you both!
Query: While the premise of the query really shines, the story told is very lengthy, with so many details to keep track of that, by the end, my mind is trying to make sense of it all. It’s not confusing, as in it makes sense if I take my time and go paragraph by paragraph to digest what’s written, there’s just so much in such a short space that it’s a bit overwhelming. The first sentence in the first paragraph sets up the world beautifully, no explanation beyond that is really needed. We don’t need to know the reason behind the reason the giants do what they do, at least not in the query, just that they do it. To gain magic power is why, all of that stuff about the Punishment and insurance is a reason behind the reason, and unnecessary at this point. The second and third paragraph give a sort of play-by-play of the plot, save that for the synopsis, telling us so much instead of giving hint enough to hook us, and there are so many character names that I’m having trouble keeping track of who is who aside from Bixby. I’m drowning in information here, information that would be great for a synopsis, not so much a query.
250: This starts out beautifully, I love the description, the incorporation of the senses, Bixby’s voice. The transition to the new world is incredibly abrupt, especially since we haven’t had time to get to know Bixby in the regular world. We have very little to compare to when things get weird. We need a little bit of normalcy to form an attachment to him before we’re tossed onto an adventure with him. No need for chapters upon chapters or anything, but more than half a page.
Query: The only thing that’s throwing me in this query, the story sounds like a blast btw, is the urban to fantasy setting shift that doesn’t seem like a shift but there is talk of truckers and school, followed by fairy fortresses in a place called Underhill, and troll bikers. I’m not sure what to make of the setting. Do they travel back and forth between worlds, or is this some sort of urban supernatural underbelly? A sentence will clear that right up.
250: I think it should be Jude leapt to his feet, but I could be wrong. The same thing that threw me in the query throws me here, I don’t have a good feel for the setting, so the mix of modern and magically is somewhat disorienting. Again, a sentence or two can fix that.