The author of the book featured in Face-Lift 1351 would like your opinion of the following revision:
Dear Evil Editor,
After murdering his abusive parents, Victor’s taken to a manor for mentally ill and paranormally infected teens. If you meet the requirements—crazy, not human, and dangerous—attendance is mandatory. Along with three others, Victor must train to join the rumor detectives, a police force charged with keeping the world’s weird creatures in line. [If you mean attendance is mandatory at rumor police training classes you should mention the rumor police before mentioning attendance (basically, by switching sentences 2 and 3). If you mean attendance is mandatory in the manor, we pretty much assume that from the fact he was taken there after committing murder.] He wants to be a good rumor detective. But sometimes Victor thinks he’s more villain than hero. [Based on the requirements, I feel like everyone in this place is more villain than hero. Why are people who are crazy and dangerous chosen to train as rumor police?]
When Victor discovers that he and his friends have a strange Tarot card disease, it’s more proof his life is rife with oddness. Brands appear on their bodies, marking [each of] them as one of the Major Arcana—which card depends on their personalities and pasts. Victor is branded the Tower, the card of disaster and revelation. Though he gains the ability to create thunderstorms and hear lies, the magic is draining and difficult to control.
The White Man, a murderer branded the Devil, calls them the End of the World. [Is the White Man already a rumor detective? If not, is he training? Does he live in the manor?] Whether the world is destroyed or its reality altered for the better depends on if they can defeat him, but the biggest threat isn’t always who it seems.
Victor believes Hugo, whose card gives him the ability to bend reality to his will, plays a large part in the White Man’s plans. As a rumor detective, he knows he should eliminate Hugo before he becomes a pawn in their enemy’s games. [Wouldn't it be better to eliminate their enemy than his pawn?] But his feelings for the boy cloud his judgement—just like the memories of killing his parents.
A YA urban fantasy, THE ALL MADS takes place in Prague. It is complete at 120,000 words.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
When you say Victor and his friends have been branded, and later say the White Man is branded, I'm not sure it's clear that the White Man isn't a member of Victor's team. This can be avoided either by naming Victor's friends (instead of "along with three others" say "along with his friends Hugo, Sebastian and Caroline." and/or by mentioning somewhere that Victor's team call themselves the All-Mads, so that you can later say the White Man calls the All Mads the End of the World, instead of he calls "them" the End of the World.
It's an improvement, but I still feel we spend too much time on the situation, and too little on what happens. Perhaps opening with something like this:
. . . and following with a paragraph about the White Man--who is he, what has he done that convinced them he was their enemy, what's his goal, what happens if he succeeds?
Finally, a paragraph telling us how the All Mads plan to stop the White Man, what goes wrong, what decision they must get right to succeed.
You should be able to squeeze some specifics about the Tarot cards into those paragraphs.
This eliminates the awkward situation of having to explain why dangerous crazy teens are given such authority.