Thanks for your feedback, here's mine:
No one in the world knows Jacob. No one knows where to find him, how to break him, or how he stole the souls of twenty million men.<soul stealing doesn't really feature later in the query, so mentioning it here doesn't seem to add anything. All they know is his name. But Jacob knows the world; he rules it with an iron fist.<might help to add how he rules it (political dictatorship? dark magic? etc?) this would build the world earlier on.
stratified empire thrives like a weed, suffocating everyone in its grasp.<not sure if this is literal The Northern Rebellion has risen to assassinate the ruinous Jacob, but without information, they must settle for (maybe insert a word her like "fruitless" or "desperate" to indicate their lack of success) infiltrations and raids. When their leader Star is kidnapped by Jacob, she finds herself imprisoned inside his mansion, in a jail simulating the wilderness. There, Star is confronted by the impassive, moral king who can read her every thought – and proves most of them wrong<I assume these are the thoughts about Jacob vs the rebellion. if so, could be a little clearer.. By engaging Jacob in conversations, Star hunts for flaws in his shell to report to the rebellion. Yet hours alone with his cold charisma rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob … and not so she can defeat him.<if this is a hint at romance, it's not very strong, since it gets completely left behind in the next sentences. When he offers the truth< maybe "the truth about..." to make it a little less vague? in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice. She can stick by an ineffective but seemingly? virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge curiosity by joining an unbreakable, persuasive tyrant.<maybe also include something about Star and what makes her special enough that Jacob would want her to join him, rather than just kill her. The decision, unbeknownst to her, will shatter or reincarnate the earth.
PUREST BLACK (120,000 words), a young adult magical realism novel, possesses the style and structure of “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance”, but with higher stakes and pace, as well as thematic cores similar to those in “The Picture of Dorian Gray”.
Really good so far. The story sounds very intriguing. There are just some minor things in the text to clarify which I've mentioned.
But now on to the bigger issues:
1 What kind of world is this set in? You categorize it as magical realism. But the vibe from this query is that its more of a future magical dystopia cross sci-fi type thing (complex!). Without much to go on, I visualized this query being set in a not-too-distant future world akin to the unseen future portion of the movie "Looper" (also because of the mysterious tyrant element). However, with mentions of "the Northern Rebellion" I get a high/epic fantasy feel. And "magical-realism" tries to convince me its roughly current day, with urban elements. I'm not saying any of this is wrong, or that blurring genres are bad (see genre comment below), but I feel you need to guide me a little more to ensure the world you've created is infact the world I'm imagining. As it stands, its a little hazy.
2 I can't help but wonder how this query would feel if it started with and focused on Star instead (it certainly feels like Star is the MC, so a little strange for the hook to be solely about Jacob).
Re: genre, I think you're in the same boat as me. Creating new genres, or mixing genres seems to be perceived as "trying too hard to be original" or "not knowing the established market". It's an unfortunate predicament to be in. For the sake of simplicity, I've classed mine as "YA fantasy", though it could easily be classified as urban fantasy (minus romance), science fantasy, magical realism, or paranormal/supernatural. It has elements of all those genres (and more), but to call it any of them would be at best 60% accurate. Ideally, I'd love to call it "preternatural" but unfortunately that's not a genre, and has been strongly advised against. Simple "fantasy" seems to be the best option for me, purely through vagueness. Although I've not really offered any advice here, I hope it guides you a little to find what genre to query your story as.