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Welcome to Son of a Pitch! The fourth entry… Please save comment area for the participating authors’ feedback. I will put my thoughts at the bottom of the post. Because I can. If you don’t want to know what I think, close your eyes. If you read my opinions and agree, want to add, or completely disagree… GO FOR IT!

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Title: The Crow Queen

Category and Genre: YA Fantasy

Word Count: 84,000

Query:

 Once, no one would have dared threaten the kingdom of Rhodaire. Not when skilled warriors protected the land on the backs of massive Crows with elemental magic.

Twenty-year-old Princess Ana Cerralté trained her entire life to become one of those riders, until the Illucian Empire’s elite soldiers invaded on the night of Rhodaire’s yearly festival. With the help of traitors meant to be on guard duty, the Illucian soldiers set fire to the rookeries and hunted down any Crows that escaped the flames, leaving Ana’s kingdom vulnerable and destroying the future she worked so hard for.

Left aimless for the first time in her life, Ana falls into depression and withdraws from her kingdom, leaving her sister, the queen, to piece it together. When Illucia gathers their strength for a final assault, her sister agrees to engage Ana to the cruel Illucian prince in exchange for peace. Believing Illucia plans to forcibly place Ana and the prince on Rhodaire’s throne once the marriage is official, Ana searches desperately for an alternative. When she finds a Crow egg in the ruins of the royal rookery, she scrambles to hatch it, knowing even one Crow could level the playing field between the kingdoms – but the secret of hatching may have died with the Crows.

As Ana hunts down the last known Crow rider in hopes of learning the egg’s secrets, she discovers the Illucian prince is having her followed, and may already know about the egg. With time running out, Ana must let go of her past and depression, and find the secret to hatching the egg before her marriage becomes official, and Rhodaire crumbles under Illucia’s total control.

 

First 250 Words: 

Sometimes, all I could think about was fire. 

            I’d see it in the reflection of the sun on the gray castle walls, or in a flash of red hair flickering in the wind. Or I’d see it in the swirls of burn scars creeping up my left forearm, etched there the night the Crows were killed. I absently traced the edges where the red splotches met my brown skin, ignoring every word my sister said.

         We sat on the patio in the castle garden, the remains of the papaya and yogurt we’d had for breakfast spread out on the table. It was early, and the warble of goldfinches mixed with the song of a nearby thrush. Over the sounds of the birds, bits of Caliza’s lecture reached me.

            “You hardly talked to anyone… I know you’re still not back to normal… If you’d just try a little…” Then suddenly, her voice turned sharp. “Ana? Anadithia! Are you listening to me?”

         I looked up from my hand, blinking several times until I felt alert enough to feign interest. “Define listening.” A tiny vein in Caliza’s temple twitched, and I added, “Last I heard, you were instructing me in the ways of fluff and grandeur. At the next ball, I promise to pretend to like at least five people. Maybe even six, if you never bring it up again.”

         My biting tone was meant for her, but it ate at my insides too.

 

Here are my thoughts…take ’em or leave ’em!

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Query:

 Once, no one would have dared threaten the kingdom of Rhodaire. Not when skilled warriors protected the land on the backs of massive Crows with elemental magic. (Color me intrigued!)

Twenty-year-old Princess Ana Cerralté trained her entire life to become one of those riders, until the Illucian Empire’s elite soldiers invaded on the night of Rhodaire’s yearly festival. With the help of traitors meant to be on guard duty, (I don’t think the query needs the first part of this sentence.) the Illucian soldiers set fire to the rookeries and hunted down any Crows that escaped the flames, leaving Ana’s kingdom vulnerable and destroying the future she worked so hard for. (AH!)

Left aimless for the first time in her life, (I don’t think you need the first part of this sentence either) Ana falls into depression and withdraws from her kingdom, leaving her sister, the queen, to piece it together. When Illucia gathers their strength for a final assault, (Before Illucia can strike again? Maybe? But there’s nothing wrong with what you have) her sister agrees to engage Ana to the cruel Illucian prince in exchange for peace. (I tripped over the “agrees to engage part… reword? And maybe keep it in relation to Ana…how her sister announces the engagement and Ana’s reaction) Believing (Did she overhear something? Why does she believe it?) Illucia plans to forcibly place Ana and the prince on Rhodaire’s throne once the marriage is official, Ana searches desperately for an alternative. When she finds a Crow egg in the ruins of the royal rookery,(YES!)  she scrambles to hatch it, knowing even one Crow could level the playing field between the kingdoms – but the secret of hatching may have died with the Crows. (NO!)

As Ana hunts down the last known Crow rider in hopes of learning the egg’s secrets, she discovers the Illucian prince is having her followed, and may already know about the egg. With time running out, Ana must let go of her past and depression, and find the secret to hatching the egg before her marriage becomes official, and Rhodaire crumbles under Illucia’s total control.

Overall…it’s nice! Just one question at the end…What would it mean if Illucia gained control? How bad would life be?

First 250 Words: 

Sometimes, all I could think about was fire. (Dude. Love this opener.)

            I’d see it in the reflection of the sun on the gray castle walls, or in a flash of red hair flickering in the wind. Or I’d see it in the swirls of burn scars creeping up my left forearm, etched there the night the Crows were killed. I absently traced the edges where the red splotches met my brown skin, ignoring every word my sister said. (Beautiful!)

        We sat on the patio in the castle garden (Sunny? Trimmed hedges? Flowers? Smells?), the remains of the papaya and yogurt we’d had for breakfast spread out on the table. It was early, and the warble of goldfinches mixed with the song of a nearby thrush. Over the sounds of the birds, bits of Caliza’s lecture reached me.

            “You hardly talked to anyone… I know you’re still not back to normal… If you’d just try a little…” Then suddenly, her voice turned sharp. “Ana? Anadithia! Are you listening to me?”

         I looked up from my hand, blinking several times until I felt alert enough to feign interest. “Define listening.” A tiny vein in Caliza’s temple twitched, and I added, “Last I heard, you were instructing me in the ways of fluff and grandeur. At the next ball, I promise to pretend to like at least five people. Maybe even six, if you never bring it up again.” (Haha! Tell her!)

        My biting tone was meant for her, but it ate at my insides too.

Overall…I like this! Makes me think of Eragon, the last dragon egg…last crow egg. I am getting to know Ana and want to know more, she’s sad and quiet and has been hurt. The relationship between the sisters is clear. Writing is so pretty! I’m going to go live in those opening words.

Thanks for submitting! I hope this helps and if my thoughts are totally off base, just ignore them.

Writers unite!

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