Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October Secret Agent #14

TITLE: Heritage Blade
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

Killing was one of those things that grew easier with time, that and tight rope walking. While one didn’t have anything to do with the other, at fifteen, Jay had grown skilled at both. Balanced on the balls of his feet, he raced along the length of a power line, pivoted when he reached a pole, and leapt to a nearby building. Light from the autumn moon split the darkness blanketing the roof, as if to aid him in the search for signs of his prey.

He shoved strands of white hair from his face, tightened his grip on the sword at his hip, and stalked forward. The wind lashed out with bitter cold, cutting through the leather he wore from head to toe. October in Chicago—arctic. His boots crunched against loose gravel. No point in trying to be quiet, he wasn’t the one hiding.


Something moved in the shadow of a ventilation shaft. He locked gazes with a pair of yellow, pupil-less eyes.

Gotcha, he smirked.

Caught, the howling bounded toward the end of the building. Jay took off after it. His steps thudded against the concrete, mirroring the pounding of his heart. Ahead, claws flashed and raked against the roof, kicking up loose bits of stone. The creature panted hard and heavy around a warning growl as it threw a glare over its shoulder, baring a mouth full of gleaming fangs.

A shiver chased a thrill the length of Jay’s spine.


  1. I like that this has some action right away. The first two sentences read a little awkward to me. I'm not sure about your character though. I don't get a sense of him and why he's doing what he's doing. The voice doesn't really stand out for me. I do like the setting too, nice and vivid.

  2. I was intrigued by your first sentence, but I don't think you need 'While one didn't have anything to do with the other' at the start of the second. I mean, we know that :-) I think it would create more of a hook if you left the reader wondering how the two things intersect in Jay's life.

    The action is good, fast-paced and it drew me in. I like the combination of the sword and Chicago - juxtaposing the familiar and the strange.

    A few little things: one of my pet hates is when a POV character refers to his/her own appearance ('he shoved strands of white hair from his face'). If Jay is in the middle of a hunt, he's not going to be thinking about the colour of his hair. I also don't think you need 'he smirked' after 'Gotcha', and the term 'howling' threw me - I assume it's the name of the creature, but to start with I read it as referring to a sound (as in 'the howling of wolves').

    Aside from these minor points, though, I think this is a good start. I'd read more.

  3. The same things bothered me that AFE Smith mentioned...'he smirked', and the term 'howling'. But otherwise I think this is an intriguing start. The first few lines definitely drew me in. Good job.

  4. I thought this worked overall.

    I would have liked a bit of description as to what the howling looked like, and it's introduction read awkward because I read howling as an adjective.

    Perhaps say - While 'usually' one had nothing to do with the other . . . because in his case, they do have a connection.

    I wonder if he can smirk a Gotcha, or if you need a period after the Gotcha.

    I'm interested in learning when the 15 year old MC began killing and why.

  5. We like the comparison between killing and tightrope walking, since it’s so unexpected. But we were a bit confused by the opening sentence. We thought it meant that the main character was a killer of humans, but after reading on, we think he’s killing beasts of some kind. This does create good curiosity and suspense, but is confusing. We worry that the rest might be just as confusing.