Thanks for all the feedback. I appreciate it.
Ihad stripped this query down to absolute basics to keep the word-count low. Here's a more detailed version. (And yes, I am kinda married to Gamesy-Thronesy.)
Three hundred years ago, religious schism plunged the Kingdom into endless war. Today, the teenage bodyguard of a perverse and treacherous prince holds the only hope for peace in her uncertain hands. This is a good hook; I don't think we need the lead off sentence though, since it's mostly background. Or if you want to include it, maybe just move it so that you're starting with the much more dramatic second line?
Vix was only five when she was taken from her family to learn the Shadow Way. Trained and abused for a decade by men who hated her copper skin and desert eyes, she is about to attempt the Mystery—a ritual test of strategy, combat skills, and Sense, the unholy power of the mind. Succeed, and she will become a Shadowdancer, an elite royal bodyguard isn't she already a royal bodyguard after the first paragraph? I know you're setting up the stakes and going back into time here, but it might confuse people at first glance. Fail, and Vix will likely die.
The Sainted King’s second son, Prince Silviel needs the best bodyguard he can find. An unknown enemy wants him dead.
After Vix triumphs in the Mystery (This seems a little like plot synopsis, and it kind of takes away from the tension you created earlier with her life being on the line), the other survivors attack Silviel. Saving his life almost costs Vix hers, and they set out together for the distant safety of the royal court.
Pursued at every turn, Silviel knows he can’t survive without Vix, but fears she will forsake him when her growing Sense exposes the sick desires deep within his mind. this is really cool. it does, however, make it seem like the story really starts at this point; is the trials a huge part of the book? If not, could you cut it out entirely in the query?
Approaching the capital, Vix has an impossible decision to make. If Silviel survives, his lusts and demons will destroy hundreds of young lives. But if his plan to seize the throne succeeds, he might end three hundred years of war and the slavery of her nomadic people. Sounds like a pretty dark choice - I think we need a bit more info on silviel to sell us on the fact that he could be capable of both murdering a ton of kids but also bringing peace and ending slavery
Can Vix sacrifice herself for the greater good, taking the blood oath that will bind her life to hisshe wouldn't actually be sacrificing herself in this case then, correct? sacrificing her ideals?, or will she abandon him to his enemies to guarantee the safety of the few probably more powerful if related as the safety of those who are most vulnerable
The future of the Broken Kingdom hangs upon her choice.
A Gamesy-Thronesy fantasy with series potential, MYSTERY is complete at 84,000 words. I'd second removing or at least restating the game of thrones bit, since it comes off as a little playful when your query is pretty serious in nature, but if you're set on it, more power to you. I would actually maybe add a bit either way; how is it like game of thrones? is it epic in scope? is it told from a ton of perspectives? does it put a premium on world-building and the interplay between relationships? Otherwise it might just sound like you're comparing your story to it because GOT is so wildly successful.
one last minor thing, and I doubt this would ever be an issue, but I actually avoided looking at your query at first because of the title; not because I didn't like it, but because I assumed it was going to be a mystery, which is a genre i know nothing about. I guess the book would be shelved in the scifi/fantasy section rendering this a moot point. just some rambling food for thought, I guess.
Would it be possible to restructure this a bit to not give so much away? I don't know how early she finishes the trials, but the order could go something like...
1. if MC passes the trials, she becomes a shadowhunter. if not, she dies, and the world falls with her.
2. even if she succeeds, the prince she'll guard has a dark past of his own. while he could free her people and bring peace to a warring land, he could also throw the land into a deeper darkness.
3. it's up to MC to determine if saving his life is worth it; is the devil you know truly better than the devil you don't?
I'd also be a little careful with the wording here regarding the prince; while I like the general angle of not knowing what he's totally capable of, the combination of him being perverting and threatening tons of young lives does come off as a bit darker than you might want, especially if he's an MC whose perspective we're going to be following.
Seems like a pretty cool story! I like the mind reading tension you've got here; another book that uses that is Graceling, but it mostly explores the ramifications of that power between love interests. might be worth a read - lots of bloody fighting too. Hope that was helpful. If you've got a minute, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query here: http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php?/topic/37414-the-many-small-deaths-of-oz-post-apoc-ya-revised/