Blurb feedback

Here’s the blurb for the first book in my Reclaim the Lost series - Burn To The Ground. I have multiple versions of it, and this is the latest which I do like, but I’m looking for feedback, because I know I’ve definitely overlooked something. I also think it’s a little too long…

Summary

THE WAY OF KINGS x RED QUEEN


Regina’s crown prince allies with his betrothed to find his mother’s murderer and save their engagement.


Tristan’s life as a strong king leading a stable nation was set before it even began. But a plan decades in the making threatens to upend all of that, starting with an assassination, the target - Regina’s Queen, his mother. Her death had once sent him spiraling out of control, almost ruining himself and his nation, but discovering it was engineered by the crown’s enemies makes him determined to get revenge, even if it’s against his father’s wishes.

Avery has always known she’s meant to marry her best friend and Regina’s crown prince, despite all he’s done to her in their youth. But with the war looming, stability is an ever important message, and their rushed engagement is meant to cement the monarchy, whether she’s ready for it or not. As she finds closure, the king threatens to break their engagement for a political alliance that’s more favorable - an engagement with the leader of the opposition, and Avery scrambles to save their love by proving the kingdom cannot fall to a traitor.

With the drum beats of war on their ears, Tristan searches for the truth and Avery spies for lies, both attempting to prevent as much bloodshed as possible. But angry, ancient powers are stirring after centuries, and their arrival may mean the end of the world. Can the two bring the nation together before the rise? Or will the world burn?

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i think the first thing is the logline you give us mentions nothing of the ancient powers that are threatening to destroy their world. Is that antagonist important enough to be mentioned in the blurb or should it be removed from the summary?

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Hm… The thing is, this major antagonist is actually a sort of by product of the war, and that plotline doesn’t pick up until book two. Like, it’s mysterious happenings in book one and then the big antagonist reveal at the end, as this is a series.
Maybe I could just have mysterious happenings instead of ancient power, then, because they don’t yet know what it is…

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Is it woven throughout the whole plot of more a cliffhanger reveal at the end of book one? if it’s the laster I’d not bring it up at all and focus on tightening and spicing up the main conflict summary

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It’s there, but it isn’t a main focus… Like Avery hears the opposition speaking about summoning stuff and all, but that conversation isn’t very important to her. So it’s a heavily foreshadowed thing with some events happening, but not really a major concern for the MCs.

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Bop
Still looking for feedback!

Sorry! Got busy with work heh

I’d def say cut it out then. If it’s not something really addressed in this book then I’d wouldn’t keep it.

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Alright. What if I cut that para out and instead had:
‘Will they unite the nation? Or will their separate goals be their downfall?’

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I think that’d def be heading in the right direction

I’ll read it over more tomorrow and gage it better

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HELLO I AM SORRY THIS TOOK LONG AND IS LONG BUT I DID BLOW BY BLOW ANALYSIS IF I SAID SOMETHING HARSH I DIDN"T MEAN TO AND CALL ME OUT


Okay so I was looking over this again as promised, and I agree with your assessment that it is a little long. I admittedly don’t have the longest attention span but I found myself skimming through the blurb.

This doesn’t tell us anything about him, how he feels about this. Does he want to be a king, or does he rebel against it? SOmething small like “was set against his will before it even began” or “To be a strong king leading a stable nation was the life Tristan craved, etc.” would give something for your readers to connect to about this character.

But a plan decades in the making threatens to upend all of that.

Not knowing how Tristan feels about this life set out for him leaves the reader wondering if they should glad or upset that this is happening. ALso this is breaking out of he pov of Tristan, idk if that was the goal or if it matters but just pointing it out.

starting with an assassination, the target - Regina’s Queen, his mother.

Maybe try something like? “But his perfectly (or hated idk how he feels) ordered life is upended when his own mother is assassinated in a dark plot years in the making.”

Her death had once sent him spiraling out of control, almost ruining himself and his nation, but discovering it was engineered by the crown’s enemies makes him determined to get revenge, even if it’s against his father’s wishes.

this is a little confusing bc you start off telling the reader “hey she was killed in a plot and it upended his life” and then its’ “by the way he actually didn’t know that so this is what happens.” The emotional impact is muddled a bit and it sounds repetituous at first, even though it is giving emotional context.

what i’d suggest is this:

"But his (ADJECTIVE) ordered life is upended when his own mother, the queen, is brutally murdered, driving him and the nation to the edge of ruin. But this tragedy was merely the first step in a dark plot years in the making, and Tristan is set upon revenge, regardless of his father’s wishes."

Obvs you don’t have to do exactly this, or even this at all. Do you see where the reader is now learning the sad backstory is part of a plot at the same time as the MC, so they can connect his emotional response in the same breath?

so this gives us a little more of an instant view in to the charcter’s feelings, which is good! But “all he did in her youth” is very vague. I understand keeping it short, but how grave are these things he did? Is this like “teasing her through school” stuff or “murdered her pets one by one” stuff? if there is any way to indicate how serious the bad blood is between them will increase the reader’s investment.

But with the war looming, stability is an ever important message, and their rushed engagement is meant to cement the monarchy, whether she’s ready for it or not.

so she doesn’t want it?

As she finds closure, the king threatens to break their engagement for a political alliance that’s more favorable

this is good right? she doesnt want it so the reader should be glad?

– an engagement with the leader of the opposition,

Isn’t the forced engagement rushed because it was needed to save the alliance?

and Avery scrambles to save their love by proving the kingdom cannot fall to a traitor.

So she does want it? I thought she didn’t want to marry Tristan, cus it was “rushed”, “whether or not she was ready,” and she was “finding closure” to it.

In the previous sentence the reader was told that she was being forced into an engagment she didn’t want to save the monarchy and it was super important. Now the reader is being told the exact opposite, that she does want it, the engagmlent actually is not just unimportant but not want they want her to do. I’m sure it makes sense in the story, but the way it’s written here it feels confusing which will make it hard to reader to know what exactly the stakes are and what they’re rooting for

why are they both doing the opposite? I understand why Tristan is looking for the truth-- he wants answers about his mom. But why is Avery sus? That hasnt been indicated through what we know about her. Are they doing good cop bad cop or tag team? Are they working separately but happen to be on the same path?

both attempting to prevent as much bloodshed as possible. But angry, ancient powers are stirring after centuries, and their arrival may mean the end of the world. Can the two bring the nation together before the rise? Or will the world burn?

So, the first paragraph being up the nefarious plot set in motion by the crown prince’s enemies and then we heard about trying to marry Avery off to another prince which is presumably linked to the queen killers… now we;re being told bout ancient powers being awoken. It feels like the threat of the conspiracy falls off a little bit. SInce you say teh ancient powers is more a book two thing, maybe try and focus on the espionage/ decades long plan in this blurb as teh antagonist?

Also another thing: Avery’s motive for doing stuff seems to be keeping the kingdom together but also “scrambling to save their love.” Does Trisatn love Avery? Is their relationship a serious stake/threat in the story or just a motive for Avery and Tristan doesn’t care? That may be something to establish in the blurb, is there romantic tension going on as teh two are trying to solve their distinct cases that converge?

I’m sorry this is essay length and a bit rambly but i really hope it helps. I think you have a great start for sure!

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OKay, so this is some really really helpful stuff. The thing is, the problems you pointed out are really complicated plot wise and I want that nuance to show in the blurb which is why this blurb is being so hard on me.

Plot (spoilers) - really long explanation

The queen died after two years of being sick when Avery was 15 and Tristan was 16. Avery loved Tristan at this time and knew they were gonna get married. When the queen died, Tristan had dad issues, and he had a huge falling out with his dad, and wanted to do everything to anger his dad (because that seemed to be the only way to get his attention). He saw Avery as the crux of this - the expectations that were placed on him, and his father’s will. So he gave her really really mixed signals (because they have always been best friends), and at times he seemed to like her company and at others he would loathe her and be rude to her.
WIthout the rest of the court knowing, he was also seeing another noble lady because she helped him work through his emotions and tried to understand him (a halfling - her mother was baseborn and her father was a duke). To spite his father, he almost eloped with her. But Avery caught them, and the three of them (technically just Avery and Tristan - the other woman is very mature for her age, for reasons) had a very emotional talk, and Avery managed to talk him out of it. And although that ended his rebellious phase, it left Avery with a deep wound.
In the present, Tristan loves Avery, Avery loves him back, but she’s still very hurt. The other court woman is seen by Avery as a rival. Now, Tristan is 21 and Avery is 20, and they found out that the queen was posioned slowly to death with an obsure, rare flower’s poison.
The civil war basically makes them get engaged as a show of strength and they go on an engagement tour. Slowly, Avery comes to accept their engagement and her love for Tristan. (engagement in Regina is basically marriage - marriage itself is a very deep and taxing ritual that most people choose not to undergo. It’s an ultimate test of love and trust) Then, around the start of the tour, when Avery has made the desicion to forgive him and lets herself love him again, the king announces in a council meeting that he will break this engagement if the situation doesn’t improve near the end of the tour. Avery now joins the intelligence service to try and find all the holes in the story that the opposite side’s heads are giving (searching for lies).
Tristan, meanwhile searches for that rare flower and for the person who administered it to his mother, hoping it will bring him closure over his youth.
And all this is just the basic premise-

I’ll look at other ways I could clarify this information, but if you get any ideas, please let me know!

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That’s all fair :joy: BUt this a blurb, not a synopsis, it’s to give the reader an overall idea of what the plot is about. You don’t have to list all the plot twists and nuances in it because that wouldn’t be possible. I’d recommend trying to keep together the conflicts that are thematically similar or directly contrasting. Putting every single plot twist in it makes it confusing to read.

Let’s start with the Avery para for example:

I’d cut out “despite all he’s done to her in her youth,” because it sounds like the worst thing was pushing her away and mixed signals. Idk about other readers, but my mind went into much darker, more abusive trains of thought. So i’d def remove that.

You can indicate the struggle over the engagement with it “being rushed” and her being worried.
I think a bit of it is just trimming down details. The reader doesn’t need to be told that stability is important, and the rest of the blurb tells us how there’s a war coming.

I tried to give an example of restructuring. Once again, use it however or as little as you like.

I can’t do any more right now, and I want to make sure i"m giving advice that’s relevant to your situation. BUt just confirming - the queen being sick and died, that is by the badguys right? cuz that’s the impression you give in your original blurb.

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Ooh that makes sense. Thanks for helping with that.
Yup, the queen did die due to poison, but they didn’t find out until years after the death.

Thanks for your help with the blurb!

I have chosen to discontinue this series, so I currently don’t need more help with this blurb, but thank you so much for your insights!

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