Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September Secret Agent #48

TITLE: Child of Fire
GENRE: YA Fantasy

She had always known pain.

Born in the depths of Firehold, to a broken and enslaved people, she had only one memory that was without pain.

It was her first memory, which was of fire, and she loved it. Like every Child of Fire, she was given to the flame at birth.

Any who burned were left, unwanted, but she laughed and played with the fire, and her mother, the Queen, was pleased.

"She plays with the fire as though she were one of us," spoke one of the Demons in attendance, with not a little bit of awe.

"Of course she does!" exclaimed the Queen, and the Demon who had spoken shrank back.

"I would expect nothing less from my child, the child of the Unspeakable One, King of Demons Himself!"

She turned to look at the child in the flames, an inhuman smile lighting her too-beautiful features.

"My Katthal-a'vrin-n'zov. She shall be greater than all of you," she murmured.

The Demons exchanged glances.

They had wondered who the once-human Queen had allowed to sire her child; and though none had thought it possible for a Demon to produce offspring with a human, they really couldn't bring themselves to be surprised.

Queen Luura-n'vrin's desire for power knew no bounds, though they themselves only obeyed and called her Queen because their own King commanded it thus.

The child continued to play with the fire as it licked and danced around her.

It whispered to her, and she liked it.


  1. I liked this set up - we already get a sense of the uniqueness of the little girl and the possible power struggle(s) to come. Not sure who's POV we're in though. If it's ominscient, that's fine, esp if this is a teaser/prologue and we get more in-depth into the protag's mind later on. Since prologues are out of vogue right now, you may want to decide how essential it is you start your book here. Some people may appreciate jumping into the main character's head right away.

  2. There definitely seemed to be a bit of waivering POV in this, so maybe it's supposed to be omniscient. I'd keep reading, but I got a little lost early on because it seemed to be taking place in the present, but then you mentioned her first memory and what follows, I presume, is her first memory.

  3. I agree with the question of POV. I think part of that is the transition of from the first couple of sentences to the memory part.
    The POV question impacts a few of the "She" references, not exactly sure who "she" is, I think it's the queen.

    Also, this is kind of backstory, so not sure how should be included here,

    Other than that, nice set up. I'd read more, but it would have to get to the story pretty quick.

  4. I liked the mood and tone you set. It definitely has an eerie, otherworldly feel to it. I loved - It whispered to her, and she liked it.

    On the flip side, there is definitely a problem with the POV. The flashback is told from the Mom's POV and then shifts to your MC at the end. And you start out with her always feeling pain, like that is going to be the issue here, but we never learn why she was always in pain, or what causes that pain. The focus is on her abilities with fire, so maybe you don't won't to start with the pain thing? It doesn't relate to these 250 words at all.

    Still, it held my interest and I'd read a few more pages to see where it went.

  5. Love the idea of the child of fire, and the formerly human queen producing here with a demon. My recommendations would be to cut out the first part, with the pain, because it seems like the story heads in a different direction. Maybe start with the child's birth with all that neat imagery, and then shift into the part where she always knew pain.

  6. For me this shifted around too much in POV, and I think the parts coming from our Fire Girl make me want to be vested in her, so I would suggest writing from her POV strictly. I did like the eeriness of this setting, but wonder if it could be interwoven into the story as it goes along vs a prologue sort of feeling. This may help with the POV shifts, too.
    I'd keep reading because due to that hooky line:

    It whispered to her, and she liked it.

  7. I'm not hooked. It may just be personal preference, I really don't like prologues. I prefer to jump right in without backstory. There's some odd wording "their own King ordered it thus". The POV switches are odd as well.

    I do like the idea of a slightly sinister main character. The first and last lines are great.

  8. I'm trying to read these as if I'm a harried agent, instead of a harried writer (and this week, copyeditor), and from this outlook, the first paragraphs don't grab me. My interest isn't piqued until the last two lines, and I probably wouldn't have gotten there if I had a stack of partials in front of me.

  9. This didn't grab me, though the concept of the fire child sounds intriguing. I'm guessing it's a prologue. I hope it's a prologue because I'm getting a feeling we aren't going to get into the mc's head anytime soon. Also, there's nothing wrong with the word "said." We get that the Queen exclaimed that sentence because you used the exclammation mark.

    I might read a little further, or skip to the end to see if it was a prologue and that we're going to pop into the mc's head in the next chapter.

    Good luck!

  10. Though this sounds like an intriguing concept, everything here reads like backstory to the main events of the book. Don't lead with backstory. Lead with events.

  11. Author here - sorry about the weird formatting, there's not meant to be a hard return every sentence, I promise! I don't know what I did wrong, but my apologies!

  12. Not my sort of thing at all, but I felt there was way too much telling going on here and I was a bit bored.

  13. I’m intrigued by the twist in the first few sentences. She’s grown up in pain, but not from the fire, which was my first thought. The last line confirms this.

    However, we don’t learn why her life has been full of pain. This section also covers a lot of information in a short amount of time, lining up the major characters and potential conflict, but the amount of information is a little overwhelming. The majority of this is back story and might be better included along with action.

    I might continue reading, but I would need to get into the main action of the story very quickly.

  14. I like the premise and the tone. However, the first few lines did nothing to pull me in. Too much history without really knowing who "she" is.

    I would also consider using names. The She in "she had always known pain." and the She in "She turned to look at the child" are two different people, but I didn't realize that with the first read.

  15. I like the premise and some of the lines you have here, but the POV issues kinda pull me out of the story.

    I'd keep reading though.