Thursday, July 17, 2008

#39 SECRET AGENT Are You Hooked?

Genre: YA urban fantasy


Annoyance rose through Jonathan Clarke as he walked among the living. Visible, but unable to be touched, he lagged behind several people as they pressed through the front doors of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino. Sure enough, the glimmer of movement out of the corner of his eye confirmed his suspicions. He was being followed.

Not scared of dying—he's technically immortal—Jon still felt a flicker of uncertainty. His options were limited. He couldn't just vanish, people tend to freak out when other people simply fade into thin air. He knew from personal experience. He couldn't launch spells at the stalker. Again, panic ensued when humans saw colored spheres of plasma barrel past them. Then the explosions and the possible casualties…no, going on the offensive would not work.

Lamps lining the sidewalk came to life as the last of the sunlight faded. Jon protected himself, Claiming the magic in the water as he wandered back to the sidewalk and turned to pass in front of the fountains. The next show was about to start, and he thought maybe he could get lost in the gathering crowds, dissipate through the sewer grate, or something to get out of there.

His appointment with Diane Jenkins would have to be postponed. The anonymity of the Keeper was crucial. The other side couldn't know who she was, or worse, where she lived. As the only human connected to Jon's Shadow world, she Kept the magic that sustained his eternal existence.


  1. Yup. I'm hooked. ;)

    I do think there's room for trimming here though, e.g.:

    Again, panic ensued when humans saw colored spheres of plasma barrel past them. could easily be "Panic ensued when colored spheres of plasma barreled past." or "Humans panicked when colored spheres of plasma barreled past."

    And I think you can cut The other side couldn't know who she was, or worse, where she lived. as it is implied by the previous sentence.

    But you've definitely drawn me in here.

  2. I liked it - the concept seems to have a new twist to the paranormal approach.
    I don't know how "old" Jonathan is supposed to be, but at the Bellagio you have to be 21 to enter the casino, unless you are a registered guest with an adult. They have security that checks, in case you didn't know.

  3. Yes. I agree with the comments already said, and dspite my preference for FMC's, this MMC and the mystery surrounding him have drawn me in.

  4. You have an interesting premise here. The POV breaks bother me a little and I think you would probably want to do another quick polish and tightening before querying. With a little work this will be very good.

  5. Oh yeah! Totally HOOKED! I think it's great!

  6. Hmm, not really hooked. It feels too much of explanation and static, and while I'm mildly interested, I found all the names and concepts thrown in a bit difficult to keep straight.

    As a character, Jon doesn't actually interest me yet. Immortal and with powers is all fine and good, but it seems like we're more focused on his abilities rather than who he is, and I'd rather know him a person first and a super-powered dude second.

    Good luck,


  7. I'm hooked, but I would recommend trimming down the verbage a bit. There seems to be a lot of non-action words in here that slow down the pacing too much.

  8. Yes with notes. :) Pacing definitely a concern, and I think there may be too much defining of Jonathan's boundaries for this early (visible but unable to be touched, the delineating of why he can't go on offense could be replaced by some sort of reference to the options at his command being unsuited to crowds of mortals--we get why pretty well). I think the better element there is the annoyance--we ditch that pretty quick in favor of uncertainty, but what's that like to be annoyed with humanity and yet charged with liaising with one?

    There's something there for sure and edits above notwithstanding, I'd keep reading. (It also helps that this market is red-hot.)

  9. Not for me. There are some viewpoint and tense shifts that distracted me from the scene and a little too much technical explanation to hook me into the action. All the Capitalized Special Words also bothered me. I think it's an overused convention in High Fantasy and it feels even stranger in UF.

    With some edits, I might read more, because I tend to like UF as a whole.

  10. I found the passive sentences distracting. Also the seemingly random Capitals..

    Premise for a great story but needs editing.

  11. Maybe. Lots and lots of potential, but the POV bothers me - is it third, or omni? - and the pacing drags - too much description, not enough doing of stuff.

    I'd probably give it another couple of pages due to the shiny worldbuilding.

  12. Sorry, not hooked. I didn't like the author interjection "he's technically immortal." Kind of jarring.

  13. Not my genre, but I think it has potential. I like the setting, Jon's annoyance, the references to what powers he has, BUT it all seems too easily laid out for us.

    Here's Jon, he's in Las Vegas, he has these super cool powers, he has to meet some chick..and then we're off.

    I like the conflict you've setup immediately and am interested to know how he eventually gets out of it.

    What exactly does, "Jon protected himself, Claiming the magic in the water" mean?

  14. I loved the first sentence. I would keep reading because of that, although osme of the rest of this piece needs cleaning up to make it as good. Try not to tell us so much. Make the reader work to find things out.

  15. No, for right now.

    Needs editing - tense issues and other mistakes pushed me away.

  16. Yes, for me. I love stories like this. I do think it needs some editing and tightening, but you've got a wonderful start. Can't explain why, but this sentence "Not scared of dying—he's technically immortal" doesn't work for me-it's too spelled out

  17. I think the narrative is a bit thick, and with some trimming and streamlining, I'd be really hooked.