Guess the Plot
1. Evil Queen Merylan's head goon Schultz wants a vacation. But he's the only guardsman who's survived every hero, champion, and assassin whose come after her. Hijinks ensue when the temp he hires attempts a coup d'etat.
2. Corey's twin dies at birth, leaving Corey as the sole heir to the magical Huraff kingdom. When dark forces unite to defeat him and steal the throne, Corey's ghost twin is there as his silent invisible defender. But who will protect Corey from his defender when he decides he wants the throne for himself?
3. What do you do when you're a new superhero in need of a cool name? You go to the Justice League, The Avengers, and even the X-Men to get some advice. But they're all busy with their lame missions, so Ralph is stuck with . . . Defender.
5. When squeaky-clean Public Defender Brett Sarkesian is found dead in the bedroom of notorious Hollywood Madam Linda Cappelli, homicide detective Zack Martinez knows two things. One, he was shot somewhere else, because there's almost no blood; and two, it's a good thing he's at Cappelli's house on business, because otherwise he'd play Hell trying to explain this one to his wife.
6. When Defense Attorney Amy Sterling is taken to the world of Argonatia, she must defend Prince Cosmos, accused of a heinous crime. How could someone so attractive be guilty? she wonders. And how can she save him when in Argonatia "legal defense" means trial by combat?
7. Caden has always longed for the day he'd be a knight, defending the kingdom from the monsters that wander the countryside. But now that he's sixteen, and old enough to start training, aptitude tests show he's a healer, not a fighter. Well screw that! That's women's work!
8. The A.I. security system "Defender" reaches the logical conclusion that the only way to protect humanity from itself is to take over the world. In an unexpected twist it turns out it was right, and absolutely nothing goes wrong.
9. In a reckless attempt by insurance companies to rig auto rates, fenders everywhere are disappearing. The insured band together to defend against The De-fender, never seen, only heard as a faint dropping of screws.
10. Varick has defended the keep, the maiden, and his honorable lord. Now if only he could convince them that what he was really doing was attacking them.
Sixteen-year-old Caden believed he'd become a knight, like the legends he adored as a boy. Like all others growing up, he saw half his village killed from [by] predatory creatures wandering the countryside. [Villages get destroyed; villagers get killed.] [Who do you mean by "all others growing up"? Are you saying everyone saw half their village destroyed? Or are you just talking about Caden's village?] The kingdom trains fighters with innate magic then deploys deploy them across the continent, killing the monsters. But the academy tests demonstrate Caden is a healer, a job usually reserved for women and a talent too valuable to risk in combat. [Ah, a world in which women's work is considered more valuable than mens'. Way to cater to the gender of most readers.]
Determined to correct this joke of fate (he's a boy, dang it--he wants to inflict wounds, not patch them!), he'd risk expulsion [rather] than spend the rest of his life on the sidelines babysitting the careless. [In a world where healers are too valuable to risk in combat and men are expendable, you'd think a male would be proud to achieve the coveted title of healer instead of whining that it's women's work. If tests showed I would make a better elementary school teacher than sewage worker, I wouldn't complain about being transferred.] But the headmasters refuse to hear his appeals. When he tries to join the after-school club for knights, the teacher overpowers and humiliates him. When he defends his dorrmmates' [dormmates'] honor after a prank goes wrong, the school punishes him for fighting.
Then he discovers an underground dueling club. At first, this looks like the way to prove himself, but the club is a pretense [front?] for a cabal thought wiped out after starting a civil war within the kingdom. Their blood rituals summon demoniac [demonic] behemoths, and the duelers have spilled a lot of blood.
But Caden can't link the clues before the monster is summoned. [Clues to what? Which monster?] Now with the school threatened and a second civil war on the horizon, Caden is faced with a choice: follow the path laid out and become an instrument of the kingdom or break free of his destiny and become something more. [If you mean become a highly valuable healer or an expendable knight, it's not clear why he suddenly has this choice. I'm better at blogging than at golf; I'm pretty sure if a war breaks out I won't be invited to join the PGA tour.] [Also, he's an instrument of the kingdom whether he's a knight or a healer. Is he considering a third option?]
DEFENDER is a 91,000 word YA fantasy with series potential. I have been previously published in "Electric Spec", "Stupefying Stories", and received an honorable mention in the 2010 "Writers of the Future" contest. My first novel MERM-8 was published by Musa in Fall 2014.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
I don't get the impression that the message of the story is that women are useful too, which Caden learns after choosing knighthood and getting wounded and patched up by a woman. So I don't see the need for "a job usually reserved for women" and "he's a boy, dang it." Can't he want to be a knight just because he always wanted it, without giving him a sexist attitude about it?
The first two paragraphs are all setup. Condense them to something like:
Sixteen-year-old Caden has always aspired to knighthood, but academy tests have revealed his aptitude lies in healing, not fighting. The last thing this fearsome warrior wants is to spend the rest of his life patching wounds instead of inflicting them.
Then Paragraph 2 is where he joins a dueling club to prove himself, only to find it's a front for a cabal looking to start a civil war within the kingdom. Add something about the clues he finds and what he plans to do about his findings.
Then a paragraph about his choice. Who grants him this choice that he didn't have before? You've made it clear he would choose knight over healer. Does he now see a downside to that choice?