In Pursuit of Vengeance
Sixteen-year-old Malia fulfills the normal duties of a princess: observing ladylike manners, obeying her father’s wishes, and secretly plotting to avenge her mother’s murder. Well, truth be told, she doesn’t focus much on the first two. Instead, she practices archery and teaches herself ancient languages, all in the hope of one day returning the favor the tyrant Armoth did to her mother.
That day, however, arrives sooner than she expects after Armoth destroys her city.
With her life in ashes, Malia seeks out seventeen-year-old Vardin to aid in her vengeful quest. After all, Armoth murdered his parents too. Their instant bond blossoms into mutual love as they brave the world’s toughest security system, which includes Armoth’s magical sandstorms and whirlwinds. Malia’s many hours spent in the palace library prove useful as she plots their route and deciphers ancient symbols at the edge of a canyon. These symbols tell them only a company of four can defeat Armoth. Neither Malia’s meticulous plans nor Vardin’s passionate anger will suffice.
In the next city, they encounter two sights they never expected: an enormous monster and Armoth himself. The tyrant makes them an offer. If Malia and Vardin abandon their quest for vengeance, Armoth will leave the city untouched. If not, they’ll bear responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of innocent people. Well, provided the monster doesn’t destroy the city first.
IN PURSUIT OF VENGEANCE is a YA fantasy novel, complete at 85,000 words.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
I think this version is MUCH clearer than the previous ones. Focusing on a single character has really helped to focus the story. And it's helped to add some much-needed voice to the query, too.
I do have some concerns, but I think if you keep this basic structure and clean up the issues, which have more to do with the plot points you've presented, you should be good.
I'm not clear how ancient languages figure in her plot to avenge Mom. That skill does, of course, come into play later, but it feels like a contrivance as written into the query now. If I want to take down a murderer, learning ancient Greek is not generally going to be on my to-do list to get there. If you can keep the idea of teaching herself languages in P1 but not tie it to part of the vengeance plot, that would be good, I think.
In P3, blossoms and brave are both a bit cliche. Perhaps rephrase a bit? I think we need to know that M and V are having to travel a ways to find Armoth so we understand better what you mean by toughest security system.
In P4, I think they never expected is unnecessary, as is next city. I'm a little confused about the relationship between Armoth and the monster. At first, I'm thinking Armoth is using the monster to destroy the city and maybe that's how he destroyed Malia's city in the first place. But then the last sentence seems to indicate the monster isn't under Armoth's control but is acting independently.
The biggest issue for me between P3 and P4, though, comes back to the whole prophecy of 4 thing. I think spelling it out in the query in this case may not be the best way to go. If they clearly aren't powerful enough to defeat Armoth, why would he strike a deal with them? And even so, why would a murdering tyrant capable of destroying cities bargain with two teens in the first place? It feels like a major plot hole here.
There needs to be some indication in the query, I think, as to why Armoth fears them, and we need some hope that they can defeat him. Something like:
Malia’s many hours spent in the palace library prove useful as she plots their route and deciphers ancient symbols of a prophecy that hint at a way they can defeat Armoth. But it's going to take more than Malia’s meticulous plans and Vardin’s passionate anger to do it.
When they find Armoth, he's about to raze another city. Sensing the [power] they don't even know is in them, Armoth makes them an offer. If Malia and Vardin abandon their quest for vengeance, Armoth will leave the city untouched. If not, they’ll bear responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of innocent people. Well, provided the enormous monster hanging around outside the gates doesn’t destroy the city first.
Title-wise, I'm not in love with all the prepositions. The Temper of Revenge or some such, maybe? (Disclaimer: That's the title of one of my fav filk songs that's 20+ years old, but titles aren't copyrightable...)
Monday, April 4, 2011
Query 68: Redux 2
In Pursuit of Vengeance