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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

First Page Critique - Spirit Mage

If only he could throw a bar of lava or Fire. Even a jet of Water would do in a pinch. But he couldn’t do that. Not without certain repercussions.
Orders kept Justus Aubre on a short, thorny leash, and the strictures didn’t include using his magical talents.
A medley of reporters was stood between him and a frowning politician in an echoing chamber made of marble and suspicion. The constant clickety, click, click of cameras tightened his mouth.
“A demonstration, you say.” Justus stroked his chin as if considering the request.
Request? More like the senator was demanding he jump and say, yes sir. Right away sir. The oily expression on the Honorable Senator Kendway’s face reminded him of a ferret eyeing a meal. Unctuous to a tee.
“Yes, Mr. Aubre. A demonstration of your ‘powers’ would be nice,” Kendway said.
“You have the folder. You know what we mages can do.”
“Yes. I have your group’s previous testimony and this deposition.” Kendway stroked the closed cover of the forty-page report with one long finger. “Frankly, it seems a bit...premature to evaluate the nature of these magical powers.”
Justus rolled his shoulders. “And the news reports aren’t enough to—”
“Excuse me, ‘wizard’, I haven’t finished.” The senator sat back and crossed his arms. “You come before us, delegated by your supreme leader.”
Kendway curled his lip. “And now you believe we should take your word and some jimmied-up special effects and tricks? Without proof? You come before us with nothing and expect us to accept the rabbit-in-a hat illusion? Elephants disappearing on the stage.”
Justus frowned. “That mage in Vegas wasn’t sanctioned. We took care of it.”
“Oh, please. Don’t patronize me with silly stories. That was a sham performance.”
“Nah. It was all mage. Just not approved by the Tiarra. PETA did protest about using a live animal though.”
Kendway looked like he’d bit into a bad grape. “And yet here you are. Show me. Prove it or this masquerade ends now.”
“At this time, I am prohibited from such a display. Pity. But there it is.”
“Pity? Why is that?”
Ha! I can guess why it's a pity! A pity Justus can't turn Mr. Politician into a toad or something equally unpleasant!

Anyway...my thoughts: Having read the first two books in this series I'm already interested in what will happen next but...but that first line could be reworked to place readers better in this world, maybe by using Justus' name and his perception of where he is at the moment. For example, something like this: "Justus surveyed the crowd (or chamber or whatever) and (insert his perception here - are they all a bunch of oily politicians and ambulance chasing reporters? Is there someone else there that he might look to for support or encouragement? How is he feeling? Angry? Trapped?). If only he could throw a bar of lava or Fire. Even a jet of Water would do in a pinch. But he couldn’t do that. Not without certain repercussions."

Aside from that, I liked this first page and can't wait to read the rest :)


Misha Gericke said...

Yeah as someone who hasn't read the previous books, I agree that the opening needs more.

The wording is nice and poetic (love that, btw), but it's not putting me into the main character's shoes fast enough. And remember, not all readers have good memories, so a little prod for those who have read the book won't hurt either. :-D

Huntress said...

A sincere Thank You for all crits. It is very hard to balance how much information to give at the beginning of a book in a series. Too much and it's an info dump or backstory. Too little and confusion rules.

Again, major thanks to all.

Patchi said...

As someone who loved the first book but hasn't read the second, I was confused with the opening. More stage/character setup would be helpful.

And now I'm thoroughly curious how he gets from the end of book 1 to here... Need book 2 ASAP.

Huntress said...

Release date for Mage Revealed, the second in the series, is Oct 24th.

I don't even have a cover yet. Any ideas?