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HALFWAY TO HELL -- YA Fantasy/Supernatural


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#1 mindy24601

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 03:07 PM

Draft #3: Trying a different angle, hopefully this reads better? 

Mindy

 

 

Years before the legends ever address her as Señora Muerte, sarcastic daredevil Luz is Purgatorio’s charity case, plucked from her job as Hell’s sewer-scraper to escort wayward souls to their penance-filled Afterlife. But taking the girl out of Hell is easier than taking Hell out of the girl, and, when Luz’s pranks accidentally cost one of her coworkers his chance at Heaven, she’s given an ultimatum: shape up, or get shipped back to Hell.

Permanently.

But Luz’s plight sheds light on a bigger scheme: someone is cheating Heaven out of its souls, threatening the hierarchy of the three-tiered Afterlife. Luz’s penchant for mischief makes her a prime suspect, but she’s unwilling to accept an eternity of scrubbing Satan’s sewers without a fair fight. Especially when she knows just who is to blame.   

However, a successful counterattack will require Luz to recruit the expertise of souls from all three realms of the Afterlife, including a starry-eyed Hellboy and a rainbow-loving buffoon who doesn’t quite match anyone’s idea of an Angel. But the underdogs’ power will force the revelation of secrets that should have remained hidden, secrets which, having fallen into the wrong hands, will threaten the entire concept of the Afterlife as they know it.  

LADY OF DEATH is an 80,000-word YA fantasy novel that will appeal to readers who prefer the dark, grittier stories of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir. A Hispanic-inspired take on the Divine Comedy, it combines the TV show Supernatural with Latino folklore to bring forth an original backstory of La Calavera Catrina, the personification of death, as she evolves from a vengeful teenage spirit into the legendary Señora Muerte.



#2 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 18 January 2019 - 03:37 PM

Esteemed AGENTAlways try to address the agent by name. It helps a lot. I'm just making sure you know that.

 

Rash, A sarcastic daredevil named Luz is Purgatorio’s (Wait. Are you using the Italian name for Purgatory?) charity case, plucked from her job as Hell’s sewer-scraper to escort wayward souls to an afterlife of penance. But taking the girl out of Hell is easier than taking the Hell out of the girl. and, When Luz’s escapades (???) costs her coworker his chance at Heaven (Her coworker from Hell? How would he have a chance at Heaven?), she’s given a choice: shape up, (Maybe "straighten up" instead. That is heard more often than "shape up".) or get shipped back to Hell permanently.  

 

But someone is cheating Heaven out of its souls, redirecting the traffic so that all of Purgatorio’s penitent end up in Hell. Coupled with a mutinous plot (What plot?) that threatens the wings of Heaven’s finest (Just because they're not getting souls? How is it hurting Heaven?), the scheme (What scheme? Just redirecting the souls?) is enough to throw the entire three-tiered afterlife into a tailspin. -- with all The clues for why casting blame on Luz. (How?) Unwilling to accept an afterlife of scrubbing Satan’s sewers without a fight, Luz attempts to find answers. her own search, but the untimely arrival of a naive girl from beyond the Islands and a gorgeous, chocolate-haired hunk-muffin will force all of them on a race to both Heaven and Hell to search for the real culprits. (The part I put in blue just confused me. Is there any other way you can clear it up?) However, even with help of the starry-eyed Hellboy (Who? When did he come into play? I wouldn't introduce new characters at the end.) may not be enough to stop the well-intentioned mutiny from destruction of the Afterlife as they know it.

 

HALFWAY TO HELL is an 80,000-word YA fantasy that will appeal to readers who prefer the darker, grittier stories of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir (Makes sure the agent your querying knows those writers.). My novel is a modern take on the Divine Comedy (That sounds interesting. So, all 3 books into this one book or are you going to make three books?) it combined with the TV show Supernatural and Disney’s Coco (Coco? How? I didn't see that one at all.) to bring forth relevant themes relevant to the modern reader.

 

Outside writing, I am a [profession] and have had a number of publications in [profession] [journals]. (I would just mention your previous publications. Literary agents aren't really interested in your job.)

 

Major question: Why is only one the the tiers in Italian? Why not also use paradiso and inferno? Like Italian is one of my favorite languages of all time and this is supposed to be a spin of the Divine Comedy, so why not Italian for all three?

 

Overall, your query was good until about the second paragraph. I'd rather you take out the last two sentences and just go more into detail. You hint at a lot of stuff there, but you don't fully explain it. The story sounds interesting though. I'd love to read it.

 

I hope this helps! Good luck!

 

If you have the time, please return the favor: http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/



#3 W.P.

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 11:09 AM

Rash, sarcastic daredevil Luz is Purgatorio’s charity case. She's plucked from her job as Hell’s sewer-scraper to escort wayward souls to an afterlife of penance. But taking the girl out of Hell is easier than taking Hell out of the girl. She's a rash, sarcastic daredevil, and, when Luz’s her escapades costs her coworker his chance at Heaven, she’s given an ultimatum: shape up, or get shipped back to Hell. Permanently.  ((great stuff! but I do think the sentences can get too long and messy. It's best to keep them shorter and with more of a punch))

 

But someone is cheating Heaven out of its souls, redirecting traffic so that all of Purgatorio’s penitent end up in Hell. Coupled with a mutinous plot that threatens the wings of Heaven’s finest, the scheme is enough to throw the entire three-tiered afterlife into a tailspin. And all clues casting blame on Luz. Unwilling to accept an Afterlife of scrubbing Satan’s sewers without a fight, Luz attempts her own search, but the untimely arrival of a naive girl from beyond the Islands and a gorgeous, chocolate-haired hunk-muffin will force all of them on a race to both Heaven and Hell to search for the real culprits. ((you lost me here. who is this girl and how is she relevant? and why is she forcing all of "them" (them who?) on a race?)) However, even the help of the starry-eyed Hellboy ((who? I thought the hunk.muffin was the girl. I found it a bit of an odd description for a girl but no name was attached to it, so I assumed it was her.))may not be enough to stop the well-intentioned mutiny from destroying the Afterlife as they know it.  ((I don't think this last sentence works or sets the stakes well enough.))

 

HALFWAY TO HELL is an 80,000-word YA fantasy that will appeal to readers who prefer the darker, grittier stories of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir. A modern take on the Divine Comedy, it combines the TV show Supernatural with Disney’s Coco to bring forth themes relevant to the modern reader. 

 

Outside writing, I am a [profession] and have had a number of publications in [profession] [journals].

 

 

this honestly, sounds like a very interesting story. I love the first paragraph, and I think the second one starts well but then becomes a bit vague and confusing. Not sure why the naive girl is relevant. The hellboy seems to be because he'll become the love interest. 

 

I hope this helps. :) 

 

If you have time, please take a look at my query as well. Link: http://agentquerycon...tique/?p=359880



#4 Joseph Isaacs

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Posted 27 January 2019 - 12:53 PM

Any advice/criticism is appreciated! Draft 1 of (I assume) many! 

 

Esteemed AGENT: 

 

Rash, sarcastic daredevil Luz is Purgatorio’s charity case, plucked from her job as Hell’s sewer-scraper what is that? like a janitor? to escort wayward souls to an afterlife of penance. nice But taking the girl out of Hell is easier than taking Hell out of the girl good and, punctuation feels off here  when Luz’s escapades costs her coworker his chance at Heaven, she’s given an ultimatum: shape up, or get shipped back to Hell. Permanently. good 

But someone is  something is off here, not sure what was intended, revisit this sentence cheating Heaven out of its souls, redirecting traffic so that all of Purgatorio’s penitent end up in Hell. lost me with this last sentence no idea what you were trying to say Coupled with a mutinous plot that threatens the wings of Heaven’s finest, the scheme is enough to throw the entire three-tiered afterlife into a tailspin -- with all clues casting blame on Luz. Unwilling to accept an Afterlife of scrubbing Satan’s sewers without a fight, the way this is written it sounds like she'd be okay with cleaning the sewers as long as its with a fight :-)  Luz attempts her own search, but the untimely arrival of a naive girl from beyond the Islands and a gorgeous, chocolate-haired sounds delicious, but a bit odd. hunk-muffin will force all of them on a race to both Heaven and Hell to search for the real culprits. However, even the help of the starry-eyed Hellboy who is the hell boy chocolate hair? may not be enough to stop the well-intentioned mutiny from destroying the Afterlife as they know it.

HALFWAY TO HELL is an 80,000-word YA fantasy that will appeal to readers who prefer the darker, grittier stories of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir. A modern take on the Divine Comedy, it combines the TV show Supernatural with Disney’s Coco to bring forth themes relevant to the modern reader.

Outside writing, I am a [profession] and have had a number of publications in [profession] [journals].

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Mindy Maxwell



#5 kathleenq

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 06:36 PM

Rash, sarcastic daredevil Luz is Purgatorio’s charity case, plucked from her job as Hell’s sewer-scraper to escort wayward souls to an afterlife of penance. But taking the girl out of Hell is easier than taking Hell out of the girl and, when Luz’s escapades costs her coworker his chance at Heaven (how? if they're working together escorting souls, I don't see how he would be going to Heaven anyway? Or is Luz also working in Purgatory to eventually go to Heaven?), she’s given an ultimatum: shape up, or get shipped back to Hell. Permanently.  

 

But someone is cheating Heaven out of its souls, redirecting traffic so that all of Purgatorio’s penitent end up in Hell. Coupled with a mutinous plot (by who?) that threatens the wings of Heaven’s finest, the scheme is enough to throw the entire three-tiered afterlife into a tailspin -- with all clues casting blame on Luz. Unwilling to accept an Afterlife of scrubbing Satan’s sewers without a fight, Luz attempts her own search (search for what? clues? the culprit?), but the untimely arrival of a naive girl from beyond the Islands and a gorgeous, chocolate-haired hunk-muffin will force all of them on a race to both Heaven and Hell to search for the real culprits (how does the arrival of these two affect her and their relationship to purgatory? I'm not sure you really need to detail these two if they're just playing Luz's sidekicks). However, even the help of the starry-eyed Hellboy (what's his relationship to Luz? Why is he helping her?) may not be enough to stop the well-intentioned mutiny from destroying the Afterlife as they know it.

 

I'm a bit confused as to what's going on. The first paragraph is good, but so many characters are introduced at once in the second paragraph that I don't know their relevance to the story or how everything is going to come together. It sounds interesting, but there's not enough to really move the plot and too many characters to keep it focused. Hope this helps!


Query: Glass Domes


#6 Caligulas

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 02:57 PM

Any advice/criticism is appreciated! Draft 1 of (I assume) many! 

 

Esteemed AGENT: (If this isn't a jokey thing just for here, please don't do this "Dear Ms./Mr. BlahBlah,")

 

Rash, sarcastic daredevil Luz is Purgatorio’s charity case, plucked from her job as Hell’s sewer-scraper to escort wayward souls to an afterlife of penance. But taking the girl out of Hell is easier than taking Hell out of the girl and, when Luz’s escapades costs her coworker his chance at Heaven, she’s given an ultimatum: shape up, or get shipped back to Hell. Permanently. (Now this has got to punch! I like it!)

 

But someone is cheating Heaven out of its souls, redirecting traffic so that all of Purgatorio’s penitent end up in Hell. Coupled with a mutinous plot that threatens the wings of Heaven’s finest, the scheme is enough to throw the entire three-tiered afterlife into a tailspin -- with all clues casting blame on Luz. Unwilling to accept an Afterlife of scrubbing Satan’s sewers without a fight, Luz attempts her own search, but the untimely arrival of a naive girl from beyond the Islands (The three tiers are on islands? Can you make that clear beforehand, this tripped me up) and a gorgeous, chocolate-haired hunk-muffin will force all of them on a race to both Heaven and Hell to search for the real culprits. However, even the help of the starry-eyed Hellboy may not be enough to stop the well-intentioned mutiny from destroying the Afterlife as they know it. ( I like it! I think it's missing just a LITTLE bit more detail on the specifics of the antagonist. What exactly is MC up against?)

HALFWAY TO HELL is an 80,000-word YA fantasy that will appeal to readers who prefer the darker, grittier stories of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir. A modern take on the Divine Comedy, it combines the TV show Supernatural with Disney’s Coco to bring forth themes relevant to the modern reader.

Outside writing, I am a [profession] and have had a number of publications in [profession] [journals].

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Mindy Maxwell

 

Pretty damn good IMO! Hope my tiny suggestion helps lol. I would LOVE IT SO MUCH if you could give your insight on my newest query. http://agentquerycon...-back/?p=360155



#7 Joseph Isaacs

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 10:37 AM

Any advice/criticism is appreciated! Draft 1 of (I assume) many! 

Hi mine is Soul Hosts if you would be so kind as to return the crit

 

Esteemed AGENT: 

 

Rash, sarcastic, one more comma daredevil Luz is Purgatorio’s  who is Purgatorio charity case what do you mean by charity case? Literally? , plucked from her job as Hell’s sewer-scraper to escort wayward souls to an afterlife of penance. completely lost at sentence one, what who where? can you break this down a bit But taking the girl out of Hell is easier than taking Hell out of the girl  still confused and, when Luz’s escapades costs her coworker his chance at Heaven, she’s given an ultimatum: shape up, or get shipped back to Hell. Permanently.  slow this down a bit and clarify things imho

But someone is cheating Heaven out of its souls, redirecting traffic so that all of Purgatorio’s penitent end up in Hell. okay now this I get, cool  Coupled with a mutinous plot that threatens the wings of Heaven’s finest, okay so you have a tendency to use a lot of lingo that you think should be clear but to me it isn't. you lost me again here. threatening the wings of heavens finest? I don't know what this means the scheme is enough to throw the entire three-tiered afterlife sounds cool into a tailspin -- with all clues casting blame on Luz. Oh no! Not Luz. Wait who is Luz again? Can you give us a little more about the characters, more than just their names. why should we care about Luz? I know you can't put a lot but you have to get us to care. that's why queries are the true Hell. Unwilling to accept an Afterlife of scrubbing Satan’s sewers without a fight, Luz attempts her own search, but the untimely arrival of a naive girl from beyond the Islands and a gorgeous, chocolate-haired hunk-muffin oh god I hate him already, what is he a cookie? i am probably not your demographic though so see if others like it will force all of them on a race to both Heaven and Hell to search for the real culprits. However, even the help of the starry-eyed Hellboy may not be enough to stop the well-intentioned mutiny from destroying the Afterlife as they know it.

HALFWAY TO HELL is an 80,000-word YA fantasy that will appeal to readers who prefer the darker, grittier stories of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir. A modern take on the Divine Comedy, it combines the TV show Supernatural with Disney’s Coco to bring forth themes relevant to the modern reader.

Outside writing, I am a [profession] and have had a number of publications in [profession] [journals]. if its not fiction I would leave this out, your articles in the New England Journal of Medicine won't count

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Mindy Maxwell



#8 mindy24601

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Posted 01 May 2019 - 07:24 AM

Updated Query in Post #1!!!!



#9 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 02 May 2019 - 07:19 PM

Rash, s Sarcastic daredevil Luz is Purgatorio’s charity case by being plucked from her job as Hell’s sewer-scraper to escort wayward souls to an Afterlife of penance (Maybe "a penance afterlife". -- A tad confusing at the end.). But taking the girl out of Hell is easier than taking Hell out of the girl. (Great sentence)  and,  When Luz’s shenanigans accidentally cost a one of her coworker his chance of getting into Heaven, she’s given an ultimatum: shape up, or get shipped back to Hell. Permanently.

 

But mutiny murmurs of mutiny encasing Purgatorio shed light on a bigger scheme: someone is cheating Heaven out of its souls, threatening the three-tiered Afterlife hierarchy of the three-tiered Afterlife. Luz’s penchant for mischief makes her a prime suspect, but she’s unwilling to accept an eternity of scrubbing Satan’s sewers without a fair fight. (Is there no trial for this? Like do they have other suspects too?)

 

However, a successful counterattack will require Luz to recruit help from all three realms of the Afterlife (Why?), including a starry-eyed Hellboy and a rainbow-loving bleeding heart who doesn’t quite match Luz’s idea of an Angel (The description of the angel sounds weird.). But will the underdog power of the underdogs be enough to stop the schemes of a vengeful soul who aims to destroy the Afterlife as they know it?

 

"As they know it" is kind of a clique. Besides that, my major thing is you use "of" a lot. It's similar and easier to read if you switch it around. That and explain more at the end.

 

BITING BULLETS  (Don't have to use italics.) is an 80,000-word YA fantasy novel that will appeal to readers who prefer the dark, grittier stories from Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir. As a Hispanic-inspired take on the Divine Comedy, this book combines the TV show Supernatural with Latino folklore to bring forth themes relevant to the modern reader.

 

(Cool that it has Latino folklore, but I didn't see any reference of it within the query. Maybe try to put a bit in? Don't have to though.) Overall, good job!



#10 lnloft

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Posted 04 May 2019 - 09:43 PM

Draft #2: Sorry for the delay. 

I'm still experimenting with titles -- would appreciate feedback.

As always, any thoughts are appreciated!!!!!!

 

Rash, sarcastic daredevil Luz is Purgatorio’s charity case, plucked from her job as Hell’s sewer-scraper to escort wayward souls to an Afterlife of penance. There is a lot going on in this sentence. I first thought Rash was the name of a character, for instance. And is Purgatorio a person or another name for Purgatory? And even beyond that it's just a long, bulky sentence that takes a bit to unpack. Once you unpack it, things definitely sound interesting, so the idea is there, but the execution is still a bit off. But taking the girl out of Hell Oh, I thought she was still in Hell, just with a cushier job than before. is easier than taking Hell out of the girl, and, when Luz’s shenanigans Can you be a bit more specific? accidentally cost one of her coworkers his chance at Heaven, she’s given an ultimatum: shape up, or get shipped back to Hell.

 

Permanently.

 

But the murmurs of mutiny What murmurs of mutiny? The "but" makes it seem like we should already know about these murmurs. encasing Purgatorio shed light on a bigger scheme: someone is cheating Heaven out of its souls, threatening the hierarchy of the three-tiered Afterlife. Luz’s penchant for mischief makes her a prime suspect, but she’s unwilling to accept an eternity of scrubbing Satan’s sewers without a fair fight.

 

However, a successful counterattack will require Luz to recruit help from all three realms of the Afterlife, including a starry-eyed Hellboy and a rainbow-loving bleeding heart who doesn’t quite match Luz’s idea of an Angel. But will the power of the underdogs be enough to stop the schemes of a vengeful soul who aims to destroy the Afterlife as they know it? Absolutely avoid rhetorical questions in queries. And for this paragraph, I'd be a bit more specific on what they have to do. Doesn't have to be much, but just to give an idea of what they're up against. Something like, "To track down the vengeful soul who aims to destroy the Afterlife as they know it, they'll have to break into the darkest pits of Hell."

 

BITING BULLETS Just based off the query, I like HALFWAY TO HELL as the better of the two potential titles. Feels more relevant. But remember that you don't have to be married to any title, because publishers can quite often have their own idea of what titles books should have. is an 80,000-word young adult fantasy novel that will appeal to readers who prefer the dark, grittier stories of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir. A Hispanic-inspired take on the Divine Comedy, it combines the TV show Supernatural Look, I adore Supernatural. But when you're doing comps, you want to use other books, not TV shows or movies or other media. with Latino folklore to bring forth themes relevant to the modern reader.

 

 

 

Any advice/criticism is appreciated! Draft 1 of (I assume) many! 

 

Esteemed AGENT: 

 

Rash, sarcastic daredevil Luz is Purgatorio’s charity case, plucked from her job as Hell’s sewer-scraper to escort wayward souls to an afterlife of penance. But taking the girl out of Hell is easier than taking Hell out of the girl and, when Luz’s escapades costs her coworker his chance at Heaven, she’s given an ultimatum: shape up, or get shipped back to Hell. Permanently.  

But someone is cheating Heaven out of its souls, redirecting traffic so that all of Purgatorio’s penitent end up in Hell. Coupled with a mutinous plot that threatens the wings of Heaven’s finest, the scheme is enough to throw the entire three-tiered afterlife into a tailspin -- with all clues casting blame on Luz. Unwilling to accept an Afterlife of scrubbing Satan’s sewers without a fight, Luz attempts her own search, but the untimely arrival of a naive girl from beyond the Islands and a gorgeous, chocolate-haired hunk-muffin will force all of them on a race to both Heaven and Hell to search for the real culprits. However, even the help of the starry-eyed Hellboy may not be enough to stop the well-intentioned mutiny from destroying the Afterlife as they know it.

HALFWAY TO HELL is an 80,000-word YA fantasy that will appeal to readers who prefer the darker, grittier stories of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir. A modern take on the Divine Comedy, it combines the TV show Supernatural with Disney’s Coco to bring forth themes relevant to the modern reader.

Outside writing, I am a [profession] and have had a number of publications in [profession] [journals].

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Mindy Maxwell

Your story sounds like a fun romp. But the query still needs some tightening up. The writing could use a bit of simplifying for clarity, and you can clear up a few details on the plot. But you're off in the right direction. Good luck.


Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.

 

I've got 250 words I'd love your feedback on: Untitled fantasy project


#11 mindy24601

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Posted 05 May 2019 - 10:09 AM

Update in Post #1!



#12 London C

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 02:40 PM

Draft #3: Trying a different angle, hopefully this reads better? 

Mindy

 

 

Years before the legends ever address her as Señora Muerte, sarcastic daredevil Luz is Purgatorio’s charity case, plucked from her job as Hell’s sewer-scraper to escort wayward souls to their penance-filled Afterlife. But taking the girl out of Hell is easier than taking Hell out of the girl, and, when Luz’s pranks accidentally cost one of her coworkers his chance at Heaven, she’s given an ultimatum: shape up, or get shipped back to Hell. This is a fantastic opening. 

Permanently.

But Luz’s plight sheds light on a bigger scheme: someone is cheating Heaven out of its souls, threatening the hierarchy of the three-tiered Afterlife. Luz’s penchant for mischief makes her a prime suspect, but she’s unwilling to accept an eternity of scrubbing Satan’s sewers without a fair fight. Especially when she knows just who is to blame.   

However, a successful counterattack will require Luz to recruit the expertise of souls from all three realms of the Afterlife, including a starry-eyed Hellboy and a rainbow-loving buffoon who doesn’t quite match anyone’s idea of an Angel. But the underdogs’ power will force the revelation of secrets that should have remained hidden, secrets which, having fallen into the wrong hands, will threaten the entire concept of the Afterlife as they know it.  

LADY OF DEATH is an 80,000-word YA fantasy novel that will appeal to readers who prefer the dark, grittier stories of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir. A Hispanic-inspired take on the Divine Comedy, it combines the TV show Supernatural with Latino folklore to bring forth an original backstory of La Calavera Catrina, the personification of death, as she evolves from a vengeful teenage spirit into the legendary Señora Muerte.

 

Wow, this is fantastic. Other than getting rid of the However + But in one paragraph, I can't think of any way to improve this. The voice is compelling, the plot and stakes are clear, and the whole thing feels original and perfectly placed for today's market.


——————

My latest query is here. I appreciate reciprocal critiques





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