Oct 27, 2014

NoQS Agent Round: MASQUERADE: YA Fantasy

Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 80,000

My Main Character’s Most Fearsome Obstacle:
Jules’ most fearsome obstacle is her own grief. It overwhelms her to the point she’d rather not feel anything (conceal don’t feel…). She’s locked herself into a tiny Jules-sized hole where she plots her revenge, convinced it will bring her happiness. Because she’s been this way for years, she fears that she can’t change her ways now. She doesn’t know who she would be without the grief and the anger and the perpetual scowling.

Jules also fears: warm hugs, goat milk, and pet wolves that want their bellies rubbed.


The city of Ronan has been purged of magic. Queen Isabella likes to think so, anyway. But when Isabella murdered seven-year-old Jules’ parents, she unknowingly created a monster. Now grown, Jules has revenge on her mind and spent her life training to accomplish her murderous goal. Born of magical parents but completely ordinary, crafting herself into the perfect assassin is all she knows.

Unfortunately, when her plans go to hell on day two because of petty larceny, some swords, and a snooty prince, Jules needs to regroup. Enter Ulric, a magician, and his daughter, the larcenist. As fate would have it, they want Queen Isabella dead, too. In fact, Ulric has a whole crew of magicians ready to go into battle and take back the city. They just need Jules’ help to get themselves into fighting shape.

As Jules trains and plots alongside them, bodies are turning up at an alarming rate, only crystalizing her resolve. This has to be Isabella’s work. However, Mr. Snooty Prince doesn’t think so and as their paths continue to cross around every plague-infested corner, Jules is terrified to admit she might be falling for her target’s son. Worse, what if he’s right and the bodies don’t trace back to the castle? Jules thought she had her lines clearly defined: magic, good; queen, evil. But now she’s not so sure and in too deep, with the way out eleven years behind her.
First 250 Words:

The Wanted posters were still up.
What a homecoming, Jules thought, and such attention to detail. She tore the damned drawing from its tree, cringing at the sight of her seven-year-old toothy grin.
She kept moving, forcing the creeping feeling of familiarity into oblivion. She had not returned to Ronan for sentimental reasons. She was here for a job, though that was technically untrue as no one was paying her. But if Jules looked hard enough, she could have found several people willing to dole out a fortune for the swift murder of Queen Isabella.

Just no one dumb enough. Killing queens was a hard business and even Jules knew enough to avoid a suicide mission.

This was revenge.

The cottages seemed smaller, but she also wasn’t four feet tall anymore. Children were running barefoot, laughing and shrieking, probably to distract themselves from the rattling of their stomachs. Cruel really, when the market was just ahead and smelled as enticing as new sewage did (which was better than old sewage).

A ball landed in her path. The kids skidded to a halt.

Jules imagined she didn’t look very approachable, with a permanent scowl and numerous blades hanging off her. She straightened her spine and stepped around the villainous red orb, as if it were Isabella reborn and not a harmless plaything.

The dirt path bled into the cobblestones and then she was in the market. Her feet ached from the journey—she’d had to sell her horse halfway through—and now they were being trampled on. Joy.

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