Wednesday, January 23, 2019

January Secret Agent #21

GENRE: YA Fantasy

If it wasn’t my job to protect the princess, I would have strangled her by now. The journey to Varta was only a day or two, but it felt much longer. We had just spent the last six months training with Princess Amyrion, and none of it prepared us for this ride. 

Four Vatari guards and one stuffy princess crammed into a carriage felt like some sort of cruel punishment. The carriage was so loud and slow, it practically yelled our location. This close to the Meridian border was risky enough. The king hadn't even bothered to send a troop of soldiers with us. Not like we needed it. I could only imagine how useless they would feel around Vatari. 

I stared at Princess Amyrion’s hands as she popped her knuckles for the seventeenth time since I started counting. When she ran out of bones to pop, she fidgeted with the headpiece wrapped around her hairline. Her fingernails reached underneath the headpiece and scratched her scalp. My hands slipped underneath my thighs and balled into fists.

When the princess was satisfied, she sat back and stared at the ceiling of the cab. For a moment, there was sweet respite from her ticks. I didn’t hold my breath. A minute later, she clicked her tongue as she held a small mirror up to her face. She examined the red makeup that ran in a thick line across her crimson eyes. Surely, she was trying to personally torture me.

I thought of ways I could antagonize her when a sharp scraping sound grabbed my attention.


  1. I love this!!! What a hooky first line. And i know so much about the character dynamic already.

    Even I'm annoyed by the princess!!!

  2. Oh my gosh that first line!! Love it!
    I would totally want to read on, I love the dynamic already.

  3. Haha, GREAT first line! And then the last sentence, I just wanna keep reading and see what made the sound!!

  4. Oh my goodness that is one annoying princess!

    I’m intrigued by the Vatari and why the king’s soldiers would feel useless around them.

    Maybe say ‘could be considered a form of cruel punishment,’ instead of ‘felt like’

  5. I hate to sound like a broken record, but it's true, your first line is a killer! So good. I love that I can literally feel your MC's irritation seeping through your words. I'd love to read more.

  6. Strong writing, I’m hooked! This sounds like a very unique premise!

  7. NO! I NEED TO READ MORE!!!! That first line is perfect! Great opening :)

  8. I have no critique on this one. All I can say is that I love it and would read it for sure. Very fun read!

  9. This does sound like it will be a fun read, but you may want to look at a few things.

    Parg 1 implies the ride already happenen and the NC is now telling us about it. If so, wouldn't he know if the ride took one day or two?

    Why are the guards riding inside the carriage? Wouldn't they be outside so they could see trouble coming? If they were surrounded by enemies, how would they ever get their weapons out to fight?

    The MC complains that the king sent no soldiers with them. Are guards and soldiers two different things?

    Immediatly after complaining about the lack of soldiers, he says they don't need soldiers, as they're pretty much useless.

    I don't know if you're going for humorous or slapstick, or if the above things are intentional or not. Just letting you know they're there.

  10. I love the first line, the tone - all of it sounds perfect and totally voicey. I'm irritated by the princess, I want to hear more of the narrator/learn about them as the book continues. I was slightly confused by the guards/soldiers thing, but my assumption is that the Vatari are like... special/magical in some way, so it's no big deal, I'd keep reading to figure out what's up with them (and if the narrator is one of them or someone else entirely). Nice job!

  11. As others have said, I love that first line and the voice of your narrator!

    These 250 words left me with several questions, but that's not a bad thing. It makes me want to read. I'm currently wondering what's up with the Vatari and why they're more frightening than soldiers. I also want to know how old the princess is and how old the MC is. (I also don't know the MC's gender. I'm secretly rooting for a female guard, but that's just person preference.) Finally, I really want to know where they're traveling and why.
    Basically, I want more.

  12. You do such a good job getting the princess on the page and I love the first line! I have a lot of questions about the MC but I do want to read on to get them answered. So nice job!

  13. Spent the last six months training with Princess… as in she has participated in the training too? It led me to believe she’s also a fighter. I think I’d just delete that sentence entirely.
    It does seem like they are the special soldiers sent to protect her. Is it unusual that the king didn’t send more? If they don’t need additional troops, then why comment on it to begin with?
    This is nitpicky, but how can you ball your hands into fists if they’re under your thighs. I just laughed a bit trying to imagine this image.
    Would he really try to antagonize her? Given that she’s still the princess? I’d love just a subtle hint as to where we’re going on this journey. Something to convey the tone, as in, he can’t believe the princess clearly has no clue what she’s getting herself into, or clearly she’s anxious (not necessarily telling us the Where/Why, but giving us a hint as to how we should be feeling). The presence of guards makes me think that this transport must be unusual or important in some way, but maybe that’s not the case? Nevertheless, an intriguing start.

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