The author of the book featured in Face-Lift 1375 would like feedback on the following revision:
I am seeking representation for Hamilton Boggs, a 91,000 word YA fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of writers as diverse as Diana Wynne Jones, Philip Pullman, and Diane Duane.
When orphaned 13-year-old Hamilton Boggs comes home to find his apartment destroyed and his grandmother mortally wounded, he learns he is a young wizard with a price on his head. [Who tells him this? Does he just figure it out?] After barely escaping capture by the chimera Ruzgar, the right-hand monster of the mysterious Yellow King, Hamilton travels to Savannah, Georgia, one of the last neutral cities in the war-torn wizarding world. There, he is given refuge at Westley House, a southern manor converted into a school for magic for the refugee children pouring into the city.
But Savannah, Hamilton soon learns, is anything but safe. It is crawling with spies and mercenaries, all of them looking for a secretive monster and the terrible weapon it is said to possess. [Usually we don't think of monsters as having weapons other than their jaws and claws and laser vision and fire breath.] Befriended by Daisy Blue, the only daughter of the manor-turned-school’s
scions, and Ozzie DeLillo, Savannah’s young magical genius, Hamilton begins to his own search for the monster, intent on doing what he can to fight the Yellow King and avenge the death of his grandmother. Aided by a series of unlikely allies (including a Bartleby Cat, a bad omen dealer, a Voodoo prince and the last king of the Dalwyn, a magical race banned and persecuted in previous centuries), Hamilton, Daisy and Ozzie work to find the monster before its weapon can fall into the wrong hands.
Along the way, they unearth the duplicitous scheming of Savannah’s Mayor Wallace, discovering the lengths [how far] he will go to profit off the misfortune of the refugees. As asylum seekers continue to flood into the city, ghettoized in a camp on the outskirts of town and vilified by the mayor and his followers, Hamilton and his friends must race to secure the weapon before Wallace’s secret pact with the Yellow King can be concluded [Do they know about this secret pact? If so, it's not really secret. Also, if there's a pact, why isn't it "concluded"? They haven't signed the paperwork yet?] and the Savannah they know destroyed forever. [Why would the mayor of Savannah want Savannah destroyed forever? He's already the top dog in the city. What more does he want?]
Though originally from Boulder, Colorado, I currently live in Istanbul, Turkey, where I teach and do freelance writing and advertising work for several magazines and companies. I am a member of SCBWI.
Hamilton's goal is to find the monster who has a secret weapon. Which is pretty much stated three times:
P3, S3: Hamilton begins his own search for the monster,
P3, S4: Hamilton, Daisy and Ozzie work to find the monster before its weapon can fall into the wrong hands
P4, S2: Hamilton and his friends must race to secure the weapon
The stakes, apparently, are that if they fail, the Savannah they know will be destroyed forever. Still not clear how Savannah is described as neutral if there's a war of sorts in progress there.
Characters mentioned in query: Hamilton, Daisy, Ozzie, Yellow King, Ruzgar, monster, grandmother, Mayor Wallace, Voodoo prince, Dalwyn King, bad omen dealer, Bartlelby cat. (Not to mention spies, mercenaries, refugees, and mayor's followers). Too many. We can do without the four unlikely allies, and if you start when Hamilton arrives in Savannah, we won't need grandma or Ruzgar.
How do these kids plan to get the monster's terrible weapon when all the spies and mercenaries in town can't do it? With their great magical powers? Hamilton has progressed from not even knowing he was a wizard to being a really powerful one pretty fast. In between their goal and what happens if they fail, we need to know their plan, what goes wrong, what they do about it.
Is the monster working with the Yellow King, or are they on opposite sides? If you don't tell us how they're connected, maybe you should limit the query to one villain. We can assume the mayor and Yellow King are working together as one villain. But I'm not clear on what the two (or more) sides in this war are fighting for.