Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Grab My Heart #27

GENRE: MG Fantasy

After his mother’s death, 12-year-old Prince Agmund thinks life can't get any worse. He's wrong. When a sorcerer makes a blood-magic pact with a dead tyrant, Agmund endures racial slurs, his human father’s rejection, and his kingdom’s hatred. And if he helps others like him fight an enemy they can’t see? He could lose his life.

Prince Agmund waited while the fire’s warmth cloaked him in sweat, and an idea simmered inside his head:  he hated his father. He took a shaky breath. “What do you mean I can’t see her?”

King Ulrich sat slumped against his throne, watching the glow fade from the only windows in the room. “We don’t know much about the ellyll. There are no guarantees her…illness…is not contagious.”

 “Your healer hasn’t gotten sick.”

“He’s human, and I’m sure he is taking every precaution, as should you. You’re twelve, not a baby anymore. Think about what’s at stake.”

“It’s only a matter of time!”

King Ulrich closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. A low crackle in the fireplace broke the silence, but the king never moved. He sat that way for a long time before opening his eyes again.


“Father, didn’t you hear me?” Agmund’s voice was a muffled squeak.

“There’s no need for you to visit. All she does is sleep.”

The king kept talking, but so much heat flooded Agmund’s body, he thought his head would explode. He bit his lip. That healer might do something for her, but he'd have to figure out why she was sick in the first place. Her people drew power from nature itself. They lived for centuries unless they died in battle or were grieving. She hadn’t been sad, had she? Agmund wiped his slick palms on his tunic, hoping it stained the fabric.


  1. The conversation between the father and son is well-written, so my comments are reduced to nitpicky items. Each is quite subjective. The first ellipsis adds compelling emphasis on "illness," but the second ellipsis makes the sentence feel disjointed, especially out loud. The back to back ellipsis probably wouldn't sound well together in the audiobook version of the book.

    The fact that Agmund hates is father seems to be the hook of the opening line, but it's delayed behind less important descriptive information. It might be worth looking at ways to reorder the opening sentence.

    For the ending paragraph, since the physical effect is heat, might something along the lines of bursting into flames be a more apt thought for Agmund than thinking his head might explode?

  2. I like the atmosphere you created in this opening. Rather than reveal the prince hates his father right away, if you delete that line, it lends more suspense to the line before it, "an idea simmered inside his head." Then I want to know what this idea is.

  3. Intriguing premise. I'd be interested in reading more. A caveat: we don't know your MC yet. We haven't connected with him. We aren't emotionally invested in him. Having him think about how much he hates his father in the very first sentence of the story could alienate some readers. If readers haven't had a chance to care about him yet, they might decide reflexively that they don't like him. Your MC might have an excellent reason for hating his father, but maybe show us the father's actions first, then show us the MC's reaction. Then we can hate his father along with him.

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