Thanks again, Rosie!
I like your suggestions for the opening like. How about a compromise on word choice and punctuation? "Ariel Hawk believes in the Fae, but wishes she didn't; it might have spared her from the notice of Prince Fiachra."
(I'd delete this backstory - it raises more questions than it answers.) Agreed. Done. :)
approval (different word here - "approval" sounds a little passive. Is he actively instrumental in Ariel's abduction?) He isn't. The passive word choice is intentional. I think I'll cut him out of the query entirely, to keep the focus on Ariel, her dad, and Fiachra.
(Midwinter's?) Midwinter reads fine to me. IMO, it's like "Christmas Eve", which doesn't need an apostrophe.
(This is all good but I'm left wondering, why her?) Ariel's aforementioned belief in the Fae is the deciding factor here. Secondary to that is the fact that he thinks she's beautiful. Why a human, you may ask? Because he's such a douchebag no Fae woman will have him.
(Why? How? I think something as simple as, "Ariel's dad, who has his own history with the Fae, might be able to save her" MAY be enough) I'll edit that in.
(Good examples - I'd just reword them to sound less like a list - "She's too busy causing self-inflicted pain to get out of enchanted feasts and dancing.") I like that. Much more succinct. ^^
(Right now I don't think this paragraph does anything for you. You've got a friend who's far away, trying to help but not sounding very successful - and she's a friend you don't mention again. Plus, saying that Ariel makes a lot of friends there lowers the stakes and sense of danger.) Agreed. *wields scissors* Out it goes.
(this is telling, not showing) Yeah, I figured it was kinda cliché.
(I'd leave it with Ariel's life on the line - she's the MC. Right now I couldn't care less about King Madoc - in fact, it seems like the fewer Fae royals around, the better chance Ariel has of escape.) Heheh, pretty much. I'll trim those two sentences and merge them. "And when she finds out why Fiachra really wanted her, her life ends up on the line."
What happened to her dad?1 Does he ever show up?2 Make sure you're focusing on the characters who really matter, and explain why they matter. Does Meabh play any more important role?3 Does Madoc?4 Right now I don't have a good sense of who the antagonist is, besides Fiachra.5
1 - His side of the story forms the subplot, as he teams up with his brother to brave Faerie's dangers in search of Ariel. I've been thinking about adding a paragraph about that to the query, but I'm not sure if it's advisable.
2 - See 1.
3 - Yes, she eventually finds Ariel's dad and uncle, and takes them to the castle where Ariel is held.
4 - He's quite important to the climax, but I'm not sure I want to spoil that in the query.
5 - Fiachra is the primary antagonist; everyone else who would seem to act against Ariel, like her friends who want her to marry Fiachra, is more of an anti-villain at best. Madoc might seem to be a villain, but he's secondary to Fiachra. Other antagonistic Fae show up in the subplot, but they're not really related to Fiachra's plot.
Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's back to work I go. :D