Thursday, May 17, 2012

Team Mónica #8 -- BREAK FREE


BREAK FREE
YA fantasy
86,000 words


Query:

Seventeen-year-old courier Kiel Reaux has one goal: pay off the debt chaining him to the Baron of Old Town and earn his freedom. Otherwise his chains may become a noose. One last job, the Baron tells him, but it goes balls up and lands Kiel in the hands of slavers.

Kiel is sold to Izzy, a young priestess naïve enough to trust him. On the run from her own problems, Izzy needs to travel through the Wild, a jungle of untamed magic where trees can kill and flowers can resurrect the dead. What’s more, she’s decided Kiel will be her guide and promises him freedom, only if he helps her.

Assassins trail Izzy’s every step, which is almost enough to make Kiel forget about the Baron, even if the Baron hasn’t forgotten about him. But while Kiel keeps everything under control, he fails to guard himself against the most dangerous power yet: Izzy herself. Her beauty and kind nature chain Kiel so tightly he starts to forget about his freedom. Now Kiel has a choice: forget Izzy and save face with the Baron, or trust in Izzy and her promise. Because unless Kiel can find a way to protect them both, he won’t have to worry about his liberty. He can’t enjoy freedom if he’s dead.



First page:


I lost the package.
It should’ve been my final job for the Baron. The last delivery, and then I’d be done with him forever. But a stop to take a leak resulted in a vanished package and here I found myself, empty-handed, back at the Baron’s ready to beg forgiveness. To ask for a final chance to pay off my debt – a final chance to be free.
I hesitated in front of the wrought-iron gates and scratched the stubble on my jaw. The Baron’s white manor gleamed in the sun. It almost looked pretty. It always looked rich.
My stomach twisted and dropped into my groin. What was that feeling called? Dread? Yeah… definitely dread.
The setting sun turned the dust from the road red, stretching our two shadows before us. The kid, Jal, stepped beside me and stared at me out of the corner of his eye. He brushed a lock of brown hair off his forehead. “Why’d we stop?”
I shook myself and contained my worry. “No reason. Just thought maybe you needed a rest.”
His face flushed and his eyes widened. “Shut up, Kiel! You’re just saying that to make me mad.”
 “Prove it, Kid.” I shrugged. “Now come on. I want to get through this as fast as possible.”
“You’re the one who stopped in the first place,” the kid mumbled. I ignored him. When Jal sulked, he looked even younger than his thirteen years. Too young and he’d attract the Baron’s attention, something I’d managed to prevent for a long time.

20 comments:

  1. "Trees that kill and flowers that resurrect the dead." Amazing. I have no words. It's brilliant. Go Team Monica!!!

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  2. How can you not love a story that uses the phrase, "but it goes balls up"? I mean, come on :) It's great, good job!

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  3. "It almost looked pretty. It always looked rich."

    I love those lines! Go Team Monica!

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  4. "magic where trees can kill and flowers can resurrect the dead" WOW. Very cool. Ha. I just noticed Kimberly said the same thing! Great writing too!!

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    Replies
    1. Great use of description in your query--I love the stakes that you set. I want to know: freedom or Izzy?!

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  5. This is awesome. Talk about conflict! Good luck

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  6. Yours is one of my favorites! Definitely sounds hooking! Good luck!

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  7. Love this! Fantastic query, and the opening immediately sets up the stakes and the MC's personality. Fantastic!

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  8. A jungle of untamed magic? ASSASSINS? Yes please! sounds awesome - good luck!

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  9. Excellent! A very compelling first page and an intriguing query. Loved it!

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  10. What gets me with this entry is that wry humor in the excerpt - I just love it.

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  11. Love the voice here. Good luck!

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  12. You had me at "balls up!" Good luck!

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  13. Great conflict. An interesting MC.

    Good luck!

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  14. I remember this from the preliminary round - still really enjoy it. I really like your first two paragraphs in your opening scene. Good luck to you!

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  15. Um, LOVE: Her beauty and kind nature chain Kiel so tightly he starts to forget about his freedom. I would pick this off a shelf, read the book cover and take it home. Love, love, love this idea. It's nice to read a male MC in YA that would interest girls!

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  16. Very unique and interesting concept! You first line is perfect--throws us right into the conflict and action. I haven't read much in the way of fantasy, but I'd pick this up. Good luck!

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  17. I vote for you!

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  18. I vote for you -- really liked the query and would like to see if the next few pages meets the voice of the query.

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  19. #8 BREAK FREE

    Query:

    You certainly set the stakes high in this query. My only hang-up is that I don’t feel like I get a strong sense of Kiel as a character. In the first paragraph, he seems like a victim of the Baron, but then in the second it’s implied that Izzy (and therefore the reader) shouldn’t trust him. What makes him untrustworthy? Was it criminal activity that put him in the Baron’s debt? If he’s not completely innocent, you may want to hint at that when you introduce him, rather than just tell us he’s a courier.

    First page:

    I really like the zippy, slightly humorous tone you’ve established here. It seems to promise a good, rollicking adventure. I love “It almost looked pretty. It always looked rich.” And you leave us hanging on a great note.

    In the first paragraph, stick a comma after “vanished package.”

    Assuming you stick with this tone throughout, I wonder if “BREAK FREE” is the best title for this book. Something a little quirkier might be a better fit.

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