I've made some final tweaks, particularly to make the stakes more clear in the third paragraph. I'm going to try it out. Thanks for the help!
I still haven't included a first paragraph, but in the real query, this will of course include a greeting and personalization when applicable.
okay, so NEW DRAFT:
Seventeen-year-old Haruka plans to eliminate the Emperor and install herself as Tsuhon’s new leader. But Kage, her assassin, would rather read than kill.
The Emperor stole Haruka’s mother and banished the rest of her family ten years ago, and she’s hungry for revenge. To take his throne, she makes a Kagani, a being who can merge with shadows. But her Kagani, Kage, isn’t the cold-hearted killer she envisioned; he is sweet in a way she wishes she could hate.
Her plans further unravel when the Emperor unexpectedly summons her to the capital. As she continues to plot the demise of the man who has welcomed her into the castle, Kage urges her to question the narrative she’s believed her whole life: the Emperor as a monster, herself as a hero. But while Kage thinks the Emperor is well-intentioned, Haruka is certain that he is the monster she’s always imagined. And if she doesn’t act quickly, it could be her life that is lost.
Complete at 92,000 words, THE CROWN’S SHADOW is a YA Fantasy told from two perspectives: Haruka’s and Kage’s. It will appeal to fans of the twists in Renee Ahdieh’s A FLAME IN THE MIST and the rich magical system in Garth Nix’s CLARIEL.
OLD DRAFT: Haruka wants two things: revenge and the throne. She loves plans, and she has one that will accomplish both goals. Assassinate the Emperor—who stole her mother and banished the rest of her family ten years ago—and install herself as Tsuhon’s new leader. She just needs the right assassin, so she makes a Kagani, a being who can merge with shadows.
But Kage, her Kagani, isn’t the ideal assassin she imagined. He would rather read than kill, and he is sweet in a way she wishes she could hate. If she orders Kage to take the Emperor’s life, she might lose Kage in the process.
Yet abandoning her plans would mean plunging into the unknown and following a new, uncertain path. One that could lead to its own rewards. Maybe even love. Things that Haruka has never admitted she wants. But old hatreds die hard. And when the Emperor unexpectedly summons her to the capital, she must act quickly, or it could be her own life that is lost.
The CROWN'S SHADOW follows both Haruka and Kage’s points of view. It is complete at 92,000 words.