Abusive father, crushing poverty, soldiers with automatic weapons, and the literal darkness that ended the world. X isn’t sure what’s worse, but he’s running from them all. - I saw some discussion on this: it totally works for me. World-ending darkness might be worse than hunger on a blackboard, but tell that to someone who's starving. As for opening with a fragment and starting with a list, I'd chalk it up to artistic license but it's a slight yellow flag.
A scavenger by necessity, X is one of the few to travel beyond Haven’s towering walls and return alive; relics from the long-dead world his only means of scraping by. Inside the city isn’t much safer though, and when an encounter with a member of Haven’s self-entitled upper-class costs him a valuable find, and almost his life, he’s left with nothing. - Yellow flag darkening. Your opening sentence is two independent clauses, both leading with the predicate. It's similar to your first paragraph. Now starting to wonder if the whole manuscript will read like it was written by Yoda I am.
It's still probably in artistic license territory, but I'd like it better if one of those thoughts read in proper order, something along the lines of "Relics from the long-dead world beyond Haven's towering walls are X's only means of scraping by...etc"
Empty handed, X slinks home, and right into another merciless beating at the fists of his drunken father. But the shockingly violent end to their confrontation leaves X with a whole new set of problems. And not a lot of options. - Cool.
Now, with a body on his hands, X will need to make a choice – try to reason with guards who end their sentences with broken bones, and accept their judgement, or risk it all for freedom in the world outside Haven’s walls. A world where, with each setting sun, bloodthirsty creatures of absolute shadow rule the night. - Cool
WORTHLESS is a near-future, dystopian fantasy, complete at approximately 110,000 words, with series potential. It will appeal to readers who enjoy stories like ‘The Demon Cycle’ series or ‘Attack on Titan’.
This is a pretty strong query. I get a good sense of what's happening and what I'm in for. Only my two cents but for me this is really close to sending out.