Thursday, January 12, 2012

Drop the Needle #24

Genre: YA SF

An intelligent race of cat-like predators nearly exterminates Piper’s kin. A skilled hunter herself, Piper and her partner Damien return the favor by taking them out, one-by-one. The partners have come home after a nearly disastrous hunt.

Piper tapped a fingernail on the panthera’s claw. It vibrated like crystal.

The light dimmed as Damien blocked the doorway. She adjusted her face into a smile. “How’s the ribs?”

“The Divine wrapped me up.” He lifted the corner of his loose tunic to expose a swath of bandages around his chest. “He said I almost cracked a rib, but I’m just bruised. Listen, there’s something else.”

“Let me guess. He chained Livy to her books after the stunt she pulled today?”

“No, he hasn’t found out yet.”

She struggled up to her elbows. “Lay it on me.”

“My brother’s disappeared. Your mother brought the news.”

She squinted at him. “You don’t look all fired upset about it.”

“I’m not.” He came in, took her chair and sat in it backwards, crushing the new yellow outfit. Piper didn’t object. “He told my parents he was leaving.”

“Which one is it?”

Damien ran his tongue over his front teeth. “Jabez.”


“He’s my next older brother. I’m to take his place.”

She should congratulate him. Damien wanted the responsibility of his clan’s defense, traditionally the second in line’s job. But he would go home, and she’d have to break in a new partner. “You won’t be able to hunt anymore. Just teach.”

“It’s better this way. My aunt trained me, and she’s never seen a panthera. Seconds should get experience on shield duty.”

Piper flopped back down.

Damien stretched out his fingers and considered them. “I’m not sure what you’re going to think. I know I should wait for your mother to tell you, but…”

She sat up. “What?”

“You and me. We’re betrothed.”


  1. This one is hard because the world is so different. It's hard to know what's going on with this little tidbit - which is why fantasy tends to be long. That said, the glimpse I got is interesting. I like the bit about the claw ringing like crystal.

    I would like to see more internal dialogue. There is action and dialogue but I never get a sense of how the characters are feeling. Are they in pain? Are they relieved? Worried?

    This line: He came in, took her chair and sat in it backwards, crushing the new yellow outfit.
    Did he take the chair from her? It's confusing. Later you say she flopped back down...was she up? It's also confusing.

    I liked your reveal. I'd love to see how she reacted.

  2. Great worldbuilding here. I like how this system of inheritance is so complex, and how it leads up to the revelation. It makes me want to know more about these people, what their society is like. The un-clunky style of writing is also nice, and the dialogue is realistic: short and to the point. I wish I could give some suggestions, but I really just couldn't find anything to criticize here. Good job :)

  3. The ending felt kind of abrupt, more like the revelation was an "oh, by the way" rather than a natural part of their conversation.

    I'd definitely read on to find out the main character's reaction to the news that their betrothed and how it'll change their relationship with her going on missions but him staying back.

    Like others said, it's definitely an interesting world.

  4. This felt a bit flat to me. When he tells her about his brother, he doesn't seem to care much, so I, as a reader don't care. It's obviously not that big a deal.

    And when he tells her they're betrothed, it's sort of the same. He doesn't seem to be happy to tell her, and he's not hesitant, like he's unsure whether to tell her or not. I can't tell how he feels about the situation.

    Seeing her reaction would have helped to know how to take this, but there is that word count.

  5. Whee! This sounds like something I would snag to read before my daughters and then we'd have to argue over what scene is the best. :)