12.16.2006

HH Com 52

In the Kingdom of Cruor, magic ensures that each Queen gives birth to twins: an heir and a spare. Simply by existing, the spare is believed to protect their sibling and over the past centuries has always died first, whether by illness, violence or some other misfortune.

But myth is about to be challenged: the current heir dies on a frosty mountain-side, throwing Cruor into upheaval. The young spare - who has never been spoken to, educated, or loved - is thrust into the public eye. His father, the King, resents him for living in place of his brother and society thinks he's an unfortunate freak.

Then the royal mage discovers the spare's hidden powers. Other citizens bleed from the palm when they magic. The spare can do it invisibly - and now malevolent politicians want to use him as an assassin...


this is a hook.
I don't read enough science fiction to know if it's over used or cliche or been done to death, but this is a hook.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting to me!

Gerri said...

Not overdone. It's a nice twist on the twins concept. Would love to read it.

Kat said...

I read pretty much fantasy, and this isn't overdone. I'd read it in a heartbeat. :)

Inkwolf said...

This sounds interesting to me! :)

KingM said...

This was intriguing to me, as well. However, I felt that the story lost focus here:

Then the royal mage discovers the spare's hidden powers. Other citizens bleed from the palm when they magic. The spare can do it invisibly - and now malevolent politicians want to use him as an assassin...

It was a let-down from the strong setup. Also, I feel that your family dynamics are not as strong as they could be given your intriguing premise.

Anonymous said...

Nice. Very nice. As a reader of fantasy, I'd pick it up.

As a copyeditor, I'd suggest getting someone else to proofread your query before you send it out, but if it were a book I knew was headed my way for work, I'd be happy.

Anonymous said...

I read SF, pretty cool twist of "Man in the Iron Mask" meets magic. I'll buy the book. Good luck buddy.

Anonymous said...

Are you calling this character Spare or does he have a real name? I've never seen the word magic used as a verb. What do I know, but it's either very interesting or quite odd. Is this in the sci fi/ fantasy realm?

Anonymous said...

I like the writing, but as good as heir and spare sounds together it evokes an image of a spare tire for me..which completely ruins the immersion for me.

Sonarbabe said...

I don't know if it's over used either, but I like it.

Anonymous said...

So, umm, this one is a winner, right? Even though Miss Snark isn't into the fantasy genre, the author still gets to send in 750 words, right?

I'm not the author, by the way, I'm just chewing my fingernails, while waiting for my own fantasy hook to be shreaded.

BernardL said...

I have read a lot of Sci-Fi, and do not recognize any clich├ęd plot strains. It hooked me, although that fact and four dollars will buy you a Starbuck’s coffee. :)

Beth said...

Intriguing premise and conflict. Could be good.

Anonymous said...

So, is it in? I'm a bit slow.

Inkwolf said...

Awww, let 'em in , Miss Snaprk! It sounds better than some of the published fantasy I've been reading lately!

resurrectedwarrior said...

Wow. I read lots of fantasy and this sounds pretty freaking cool to me.

Anonymous said...

I don't usually read fantasy or sci fi, but I would read this.

Anonymous said...

I agree with klingm -- you had up to there where I felt waffly. Spec fic's my scene and I'm jadded & picky with all the crap that's out there, but I'd pick this up, flip a few, and if it delivered something nice on page one, you'd have my money.

Anonymous said...

Good idea. Unique. The "Heir and a Spare" comment leaves me thinking of something along the lines of Piers Anthony.

HawkOwl said...

Like a lot of attempted fantasy, it's all concept and no story.

Adinda said...

Let him in! This sounds really great. I read a lot of fantasy, and this one sounds very interesting.

katiesandwich said...

I'm with kingm in that I thought this was great, but don't really like this whole assassin thing. I mean, not the way it's told here, because I have no idea why, logically, the corrupt politicians would of course want him to be an assassin just because his hand doesn't bleed. If you could make me understand why this is important, well, that's a different story. All in all, sounds interesting!

Cathy in AK said...

It does sound interesting, but I have one question. If this kid is the 'spare' wouldn't it make sense that he's given some kind of education in case he's needed like he is? I can understand him being emotionally removed from his family, but he'll need to know what's happening in his world.

jeanjeanie said...

I had the same thought as cathy in ak. Isn't the whole point of having a spare is so that s/he'll be a ready replacement in case anything happens to the original? You'd have to sell me on this point and provide a good explanation as to why they don't bother educating and socializing the emergency backup to the throne. Other than that, though, I think it's a cool premise.

Anonymous said...

Two things. If he's called a spare, why isn't he treated like one? Spare seems to imply that he's meant as an emergency backup. No education makes no sense. Second thing, how are mere politicians going to make the heir to the thrown do whatever they want? Princes and future kings are rarely assassins. They're kinda higher than that on the food chain.

Wonderwood said...

I'm with cathy and jeanie. When the hook said no education, my thought was "What the hell kind of a spare is he, then?" A body double? It sounds interesting but that point lost me. BTW, I don't read much fantasy.

mistri said...

Thanks for the comments all :)

(the spare has always died first in past centuries, so they don't see the point in spending much affection/education on him - they're wrong to have done this, of course)

I am a nitwit though - I can't tell whether I'm supposed to send pages or not!

Anonymous said...

Looks like other people had my same thought--isn't a spare supposed to be available to replace the prince? Therefore, shouldn't he be prepared to take the job? I find it really weird that they've never needed the spares before, and that the spares are always the ones dying--unless people who knew about the spares' special powers keep taking them out of commission. I have a lot of questions about the logic of this world that aren't readily answered.

KingM said...

I could be wrong, but I think Miss Snark makes a specific request when she wants pages. (Wait, is that the sound of the clue gun cocking just behind my ear?)

Mistri, one final comment. You've got a great premise, as I think the comments show. But what I think you're lacking is a full follow-through on the ramifications of your premise. Consider every possibility as to what might happen after your heir dies unexpectedly. Then choose the most interesting possibility. Make your spare's character the most interesting one to deal with same. There's your story.

I don't think the assassin one is right. But you're getting warm...

Good luck.

xiqay said...

I liked this. fwiw.

And Miss Snark says "this is a hook" so you should be congratulating yourself all over the place.

And I don't see the "bingo" or "winner" or "send pages" languages Miss Snark has used in the past, but if "this is a hook" doesn't mean send pages, that would be a shame.

Kate Nepveu said...

I do read a lot of fantasy and I am intrigued, though the assassin thing struck me as a bit out of left field.

Also, I got why the spare hasn't been educated, but I can see why others had trouble with that.

Miri said...

I also read (and write) fantasy, and this has me intrigued. A lot. The assassin thing I can completely see - given what I've read about royal courts in general, it's the kind of thing backstabbing political types would do. The thing that made me cringe slightly was the spare having hidden powers...though the magic system is creative as well, and at least he's not OMGALLPOWERFUL. I hope.

Somebody call me if this book is ever available for public consumption, because it sounds awfully tasty.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all of the above.

Anonymous said...

Nice hook. I despise fantasy, but this...intrigues me.

Katastrophy said...

I read alot of fantasy, and this would get me to buy the book. Although I do think the bit about being used as an assassin is a bit odd and completely out of the blue. I did get why he hasn't been educated though.

And this is also the first hook that got me interested enough to post.

wonderer said...

I'm with kingm as well - the twin concept sounds quite original, and I'm an SF/F reader. You can certainly play with magic, but I'm not sure that what you've described in the last paragraph is the best way to do it (possibly a failing of the hook rather than the novel). Still, I'd definitely pick this up in a bookstore and at least flip. Good luck!

Virginia Miss said...

Nice job author!

Anonymous said...

I'm an avid fantasy reader, and this didn't sound cliched or hackneyed to me; I didn't have any trouble with the spare not being educated or loved either, given what you've said. Good job, author, and I hope it comes out soon because I wanna read it.

Anonymous said...

Add me to the chorus of "I would read this and I don't read fantasy." Cool.

Sariah S. Wilson said...

The no education thing made sense to me - the author specifically pointed out that in the past the spares have ALWAYS died first. They've never once been needed, which is why they're ignored and neglected. Her book is the first time the heir has died and I would think part of the conflict is this totally unprepared and shunned spare suddenly being the king.

I don't think you have to change the education thing, because I do think you explained it in your hook.

jamiehall said...

I also thought the lack of education was well explained. This culture regards the very existence of a spare as magical protection for the true heir. I got that, and even though it's stupid to not educate the heir, in real life people do stupid things when they have every reason to believe they can get away with it. So, that's realistic.

~Nancy said...

I liked this a lot (I mostly read fantasy).

I, too, understood the entire "not educating the spare" thingy.

Good luck!

~JerseyGirl

Anonymous said...

I read lots of fantasy, and I'd read this if I picked it off the shelf.

j h woodyatt said...

Not science-fiction. Fantasy.

This is a twist on a conventional trope: protagonist is unexpected heir to a crown and manipulated by evil courtiers. I'd put it down as soon as I saw it, because I've had just about as much protagonistic primogeniture as I's can stands. The market seems to disagree with me about that, though...

Mig said...

I can ignore the no education thing, but one of the key requirements for any story with magic is that the use of magic must have consequence; some price must be paid by the spare for his use of magic. He doesn't bleed, so what is his cost?

Is the MC the spare or the royal mage? The last paragraph threw me off on that point. Might be better if theis was rewritten with a better sence that the story is about the spare, give him a name to start with and a reason we should care for him. As for whether we should expect to root for the spare, kids who aren't loved don't usually turn out very nice. What's this unloved kid like?