|Per your review request, here are my thoughts on Chapters 1, 2, 3. The review is focused solely on polish, hook and story gap.
This is what I get from Chapter 1. A first has happened to the City and it causes concern rather than panic. I drive my car and barely avoid an accident, heck I’m panicked and praying like crazy. Isn’t there something quirky that these people do when they get scared? I get the engineers have a job to do and work is a good way to subdue panic, but there must be something that the civies do.
This is your world building Chapter. It needs more. You are only using 1500 words to layout an entire civilization. It’s an excellent effort, just needs to go farther. Each character should have at least one thing that makes me want to be friends with them. First Defender and Troyak get their military back up when there is a threat and I appreciate that. Omree goes in peaceful protector mode and that’s not enough to make me like him. And Semylyn? She is not showing any quirks. It does not have to be a physical thing, maybe a phrase that when you hear it, you think of her. For instance, when I hear “my, my, my” I think of Lt. Joe Kenda just catching the bad guy in a lie.
I get the scene as the people living in a silo under the sea. I get that they have lived there for centuries without incident. I don’t get that. How do people live together without conflict? That is a part of the world building that you might want to explore and clear up.
Punctuation is flawless. You did more showing than telling, but you could amp it up a bit. You go light on word count if you are trying to reach a younger audience, but I don’t see how you can do that if you are doing some serious world building as you lay out the premise of the story.
Let me take a stab at the basics and see if we are both on the same page.
Premise: Can youth really create the world they want to live into? And do they want to clean up the mess made by the adults around them?
Target Audience: Young adults
I did not read the intro until I completed the first chapter. I do that so that I can see if the author is on point or not. And you are, so Yea, you!
I see that you are going to have 8 youth leads in this story. Having each step to the front will be an interesting dance -- not impossible, but the cost will probably show up in the world building arena. If you stay the course, my simple request is that you give me more in world building so that I understand this new culture that you are introducing me to.
If you are getting low ratings, it is not because of your idea, story line, or writing ability. It’s because you don’t bare your soul and let us get up close and personal with your characters enough. You go there a little, just not far enough. JMO,
As always, these are my thoughts and opinions, meant to help you, not discourage you or hurt you. Take what you can use and run with it. Or toss it all together. It’s your story and you have to be true to what you envision.
Just an overall suggestion I give in all my reviews….do a general search for the words “with” or “was”. If there is a stronger, more commanding way to say it, do so. For example,
With a shiver of unease, she searched for the long, gray robe lying across the foot of her bed, donned its protective layer, and slipped her feet to the floor. Extending her arms forward, she took small steps in the direction of the door. [Try: A shiver ran the length of her body, she tentatively searched….or use your own idea, I’m just suggesting that the word “with” does not convey the deep concern/fear permeating throughout the complex.] This is just one example, I saw a dozen more places where with or was can be replaced with jacked up or a cleaner expression of what is happening.
Chapter 2 needs some work.
She watched his lips part in disbelief. [This is an example of where you pull back in letting us get to know your characters or the world they live in. We got the picture that no one at the table believes what is happening, but this reader does not yet know the significance of Omree’s declaration because the culture and complex was not laid out in Chapter 1. If I had some frame of reference via world building in what the Prime was in Chapter 1, I would have a better understanding of the desperation in the room. As it is, the only example I can draw on in my sphere of experience is a black out in NYC that will be okay in a few hours. For me this translates into no big deal and why are these people calling a council meeting over a "no big deal".]
confirming her own confusion. [unnecessary dictation of emotional state. I got her lack of understanding when she shook her head and shrugged.]
The Sun-dwellers have no idea of the Primes existence . [Prime’s]
she look toward her father [looked or looks]
I got Troyak. His defiance and emotions are so near the surface, and this reader likes that.
This chapter explains the problem the civilization is facing.
Not as polished as the first chapter, but did a much better job of laying out the situation and why two minors were at the council table seriously involved in communications beyond their years.
I am starting to care about what happens to this world and the complexity of having to work with people you blame for the problems of your home.
Love Chapter 3. Not very long, and that's probably because I had a frame of reference in my head just by the opening subtitle "New York City, USA" but I got quickly this Jag was one of the chosen, probably military Order rather quickly.
I’m in. I want to find out how the Chosen are contacted and make it to the Gathering. I’m still a skeptic on how a bunch of teens can be reined in to save the world, but it promises to be a good read.
The most excellent news is that I got through the chapters quickly. I read slowly, so it is a good thing that I could not turn away from the read. Just a few tweaks to add fuel to the fire as mentioned above.
I give you full stars for storyline/hook, and take off stars for lack of world building and polish. You are almost there. This has the potential to go to the big screen if you can clean it up a bit more. I would let my kids read this book and would probably take them to the movie.