The boogeyman doesn’t typically come in the shape of a nineteen-year-old with a penchant for manipulating emotions. But what a fitting name for a monster who kills with fear.
Personally, this hook isn't doing it for me. In particular, I really don't like the second line and the way it comes across.
the an age-old war between flesh-eating ghuls and psychic sentinels, Aleksandra “Shura” Naryshkina is a terror—in every sense of the word. She’s one of a select few sentinels with the ability to instill enemies with crushing fear , which can turn the tide in battles.
You can combine and condense here. Get rid of generalities like saying she's a "terror."
Countless ghuls want her dead [for what reason?]. So when a coalition of them threatens the town [in what way?] where her brother attends school, it’s almost certainly a lure to trap her.
The last part is leaving Aleksandra's POV. It's better to say she assumes it's a trap. I like how the inciting incident is presented here. The ghuls can't get to her, so they'll go after the person she loves most. However, "threatens the town" gives me nothing. What is the specific threat?
Also, what is the setting, by the way? I think that's a fair question, given this is UF. A paragraph ago, we were introduced to an epic war between ghuls and sentinels--is this war taking place in this town or a different world?
But she doesn’t care what happens to her. She’d destroy the town and every sentinel in it to protect her brother. Maybe that’s what the ghuls want.
OK, there are sentinels in this town, and the MC is probably anti-heroic. Aleksandra's voice also comes through well here.
I think at this point in your query, I don't want to know what the ghuls want but what Aleksandra wants. I think you did a great job of illustrating what she wants (protecting her brother) and how far she's willing to go to achieve it. However, I'm missing the stakes. What will happen to her brother if she fails to protect him?
The only way the ghuls can defeat
to beat the boogeyman , after all, is to make her work for you them.
Let me take a moment to tell you how much I fell in love with this line. In a short sentence, you've encapsulated your MC's struggle against the ghuls. With some tweaking, I actually think this could serve as a much better hook to lead with.
I’m Afraid Not [put in all caps instead of italics] (84,000 words)
is my first novel. It works as is a standalone novel with series potential , but can expand into a series.
You don't need to mention it's a debut. "Standalone with series potential" is standard.
The world and characters are informed by my degree in anthropology, with a focus in Central Asian mythoi, cultures, history, and warfare.
As Inloft mentioned, the query is a bit lacking. Don't skimp out on plot points that help us understand your MC's situation. Details are necessary and important. The important thing is striking the correct balance. Say more with less. Keep working at it. I'd be happy to look at an expanded version.