Roxana possesses the ability to transform emotions into weapons. (Roxana possesses the abilitity to manipulate others' emotions? I'm not sure transform is the perfect word here- I actually pictured weapons at first, which is probably silly on my part, but still something to think about)
She wields guilt to force confessions out of thieves and calms unrest with a twitch of her fingers I don't mind this line, but I wonder if you could do without it if your first line explained the magic more concretely. But to Roxana, hHer gift s is more of are a curse one that ; a gilded cage that holds her captive binds to the Persian empire.
so you can read that better: Roxana possesses the ability to manipulate others' emotions. But her gift is more of a curse- one that binds her to the Persian empire.
And I get where youre going with gilded, but if the first thing we hear about the abilities is that she considers them a curse, gilded softens the blow. It's still a cage, after all, but better a gilded one (that implies luxury) than a regular cage.
Consider: Roxana has a great power (interesting) but she thinks it's a curse (more interesting) but there are some benefits to it but overall it's a huge con (less interesting/empathy-worthy). Your example is nowhere near that cut and dry, but I hope that example illustrates my point.
As an unwilling soldier in Persia's elite army, Roxana knows
no other only a life than a world of violence. Her lack of physical combat skills makes her a target of ridicule by the entire army. While others go off to war, Roxana desires only to elude the general’s wrath and guard the streets of Susa, the city of spices and gold. this reads as: "while others act, Roxana dreams" but given her life of violence, I'm assuming she's dragged along with them?
The unwilling part would get at the captor bit without restating it, and would link the first two paragraphs
When the general’s son attacks Roxana, her abilities backfire and nearly kill him. Roxana receives one last mission to prove her worth. She must guard Thessalus, the lead Macedonian diplomat, who hopes to prevent war through a Persian marriage alliance.
Nothing goes as planned, not even the course of her own heart. you're already showing us this with the following lines, though I think we could use an extra detail on Thess/how he makes her see the good in herself etc To Roxana’s surprise, she becomes more valuable to Thessalus than a hired sword and shield. As Roxana’s affections for Thesslaus grow, so does her trust in her own strength.
Except the line between
duty and love love and duty (probably just personal preference) blurs when Roxana uncovers Thessalus’ secret which could turn the tide of war in Persia’s favor. She must decide if becoming the savior of her country is greater than betraying her own heart.
THE IMMORTAL GUARD, completed at 98,000 words is a YA historical fantasy
and my debut novel. implied by lack of pubs It is a re-imagining of Roxana’s life before she becomes the wife of Alexander the Great. The events in this novel are loosely based on real incidents and people. You can cut this, because you've already said it's historical My novel will appeal to fans of Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and Renee Ahdieh’s A WRATH AND THE DAWN series.
Overall this is a really strong query! It's concise, and I know exactly what role the MC finds herself in and what she'll have to do. If you do go with the cuts I've suggested, I'd consider using the extra space to elaborate a bit more on the relationship- what makes it so special that she can't give it up? It's love, which works, but the more we feel like she can't go back to a life without him, the higher the stakes will seem.
I'll also confirm that we need a bit more on the secret- it's a fine line to walk here, but we do need a push in the right direction.
Website ate my original critique; if something in here makes no sense whatsoever, please let me know- maybe I've left half a suggestion in there somewhere. Hope that was helpful!