Entry 2: Dance of Ice and Steel
Seventeen-year-old[BM1] Sophia Altus is resolute: she must find her mother’s murderer and kill them. No one harms her family and lives[KJ1][CR1].
Sophia is an Elementale with control[MH1] over ice[CW1]. Her extensive training to defend the mortal world against hellbeasts[CR2] means she’s well-versed in the art of killing
anyway[CM2][CW2]. In fact, it might be the thing she’s best at. Except she couldn’t even dispatch that godforsaken creature before it tore through her mother. The designated Stupidest Thing on Earth[CR3][CW3] shouldn’t have been able to get into the palace in the first place, much less kill the Queen[CR4]. Which means there’s an Elementale involved and oh[CW4] would Sophia like to get her hands on them[KJ2][BM3][CW5].
She only plans to ask two things when she does: why, and how would you like to die[CR5]?
Except when she finds him, she almost wishes she hadn’t[CR6]. Because finding him means learning that her mother’s death was just a means to an end. That end is her - the last key in his seriously deranged plan to destroy the mortal world[CW6]. Finding him means discovering that some monstrous part of her is intertwined with him[BM4].
Sophia must decide between surrendering herself to his plan and setting the end of the world in motion or refusing and signing the death warrant on everyone she loves – both her old family and the new one she’s found along the way[KJ3][CR7][BM5][MH2][CW7].
DANCE OF ICE AND STEEL[BM6] (95,000 words) is a fantasy[KJ4] novel for fans of Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education and Margaret Rogerson’s Sorcery of Thorns
who will enjoy similar fantasy elements and a strong female protagonist[CW8].
I am currently pursuing a degree in creative writing in New York. This will be my debut novel.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Hilary's comments: None
First 250 Words
Sophia danced among the clang of swords and the glint of daggers, cornsilk-blonde hair[BM7] flying around her like a pale halo. She was holding a baselard sword in each hand, the silver of the short blade flashing as she whirled and parried a strike with one sword, the other slashing up[CW9].
“Ow!” she[KJ5] heard a yell and drew back to see Samantha rubbing her arm ruefully, glaring at Sophia. “That hurt,” she
said, accusing accused [BM8].
Sophia sighed, letting her swords drop and looked at her friend. “It’s a training blade, Sam. And you’re wearing a combat suit.” It was partly true. Samantha only wore the combat top, the traditional Elementale gear out of sorts with her plain leggings[MH3][CW10].
They were in one of the Ice Palace’s training rooms, a place that was quickly becoming Sophia’s second home. It smelled the way it always did[BM9]: a little musty, the air mixed with the metallic scent of weapons and the salty[KJ6] tinge of sweat. The walls were clear, made of glass and ice. Beyond, Sophia could make out the entire skyline of Velçare, capital city of the Ice Kingdom. And beyond that, Asteri.
The Elementale world, consisting of seven kingdoms representing the elements[CW11], was as familiar to Sophia as the back of her hand (not that she spent too much time staring at the back of her hand)[CW12]. She was an Ice Elementale, born and raised in the Ice Palace. Her mother was the Ice Queen, Bayleigh Altus[KJ7][CR8][BM10][MH4][CW13].
Hilary's comments: Overall here the query lacked the kind of clarity I look for when reviewing projects. I had a hard time sussing out the central plot of the story and felt things jumped around a little too much. You have great comp titles, but ultimately I didn’t fall in love with the writing.
Results: [If you receive a "Pages!", click on the agent's name here or at the top of this post for submission instructions.]