I want to thank all of you who have shared your opinions - they are invaluable and much appreciated. While I have considered the opinions of everyone who advised to switch to one main character, fair warning, I will not - so if you suggest it going forward, be aware that it is unlikely to find its way into future revisions.
[The reason I am adamant on this is simply because in an earlier incarnation of this novel, I received a request for a full from a publisher. Upon getting their comments back, the one thing they said in their declining of the ms, was that the query (based solely on Ember) confused the reading group and they didn't understand why I was putting focus on Vashti for an equal part of the story, until they were more than half way into the book. There were other issues that also lead to their rejecting the project, which were valid and have now been resolved, but this is why I cannot and will not solely focus on one character for this specific query.]
Thank you all again for your time!
Given life by each of the elements, Ember and Vashti may be the same in composition, but they are fundamentally opposite at their core. Created by the dark, and cursed during her creation, Vashti's only purpose is to do her master's malevolent bidding, while Ember, created by the light and a champion of two worlds, is free to choose her path and whom she fights for.
I had to stop reading after this 1st paragraph to digest the concept here. It's interesting and expalined logically . . . but it's not really a hook, and just more of an explanation (as well-done as it is, mind you)
A millennium earlier, Ember sacrificed herself to seal the portal between her two worlds, ending an eons-long conflict between the factions. When her seal is undone and she wakes, Ember realizes that she can no longer feel the very elements she once held an intimate connection with. As she copes with the devastating loss, she must find a way to reconnect to the elements and regain the abilities she's lost, while coming to terms with her new identity. Accepting her new shortcomings isn't easy for Ember, but as plans to conquer humanity move forward, she must find a way, and time is quickly running out.
This is too vague to me. Even it's just backstory, using generic terms like "her two worlds" or "factions" does little to spark an interest, or highlight what's really unique about the situation. That, and I don't feel like I have boht my feet on the concrete in understanding the past history here.
Now this part sparked my interest. Here we have your first character presented with the first actual problem/conflict in her journey. Maybe you should start query at this point, and still work establishing Vashti in the hook as well?
There's definitely some interesting bits mixed in there, but there all so . . . generic? My question-sense is tingling. What abilities? What new identify? What plans about destroying humanity. These things are simply listed and taken for granted that I have an inkling of what they're referencing. Even Elements, which seems obvious on the surface), makes me wonder what it specifically is. With all those things together with no context, I just feel confused wtihout any investment or interest in Ember Ask yourself, "What's unique about Ember and these concepts?" Then show me.
When Vashti succeeds in reopening the portal, completing the task she was created for, she no longer knows quite where she belongs, and still bound to the will of her master, she secretly chafes beneath his rule. But as he moves forward with his plans of invasion, Vashti begins to question her own future and the validity of her master's goals. When he sends her through the portal, in search of the key to their victory, Vashti revels in the freedom she's been denied for so long. Despite the illusion of having her freedom, Vashti is still bound to her master's whims, and soon learns how very deep his control truly goes.
Both too generic and repetitive. I had a vague idea at the start of this paragraph (Vashti being the antagonist's pawn), but then it just dives straight into QueryShark *SPLAT* by the end. I have no idea what's going on outside my limited notions, and the ending there has zero stakes, nor does the query build any kind of linking thread that one can follow from the start of the hook straight ot the gut-punching end.
Burning Heart is an adult high-fantasy novel, complete at 115,000 words. Your profile mentioned fantasy as a current interest, and I hope that you find my manuscript to be a good match.
Thank you for your time and consideration.