View Full Version : Light beta wanted for dark-ish fantasy novel

06-10-2009, 11:21 PM
I'm looking for a fresh opinion on my fantasy novel. It clocks in at 128,000 words and I'm hoping for speedy responses, so preferably I would like someone with a lot of time on their hands. Even someone who can commit to the first half only would be great. I've had three other betas so far and I'm just still not getting the feedback I need. I have some very specific questions, and I don't need a line edit.

It has horror elements and might be YA. Fair warning: If you roll your eyes at feminism and/or cringe at paganism, it's probably not for you. :o

I am happy to trade! I have a killer eye for grammar, but for that reason, I hate trying to read things with a lot of errors. I am a really nice person and I'll tell you what I like as well as what I didn't. I'd appreciate the same tone in return, but I'll settle for anyone who's not harsh.

Pitch and sample page:

Kal Yonyih is an expert at doing what's expected of her. She has spent ten years at an elite boarding school as a model student: pious and obedient, believing everything her instructors teach her, and doing everything she can to hide her origins as a pagan minority. But come graduation, Kal finds that she may have to revise that strategy if she wants to survive in the real world. When she and three of her friends are attacked by malevolent spirits that they were taught do not exist, they must go behind the backs of their school council and seek the services of an outlaw exorcist to help them. But the man has more sinister plans for them, and for Kal especially, than they realize. Before long they find themselves being drawn into an impending civil war and a twisted, four-hundred-year-old love story that was once just a lesson in their history class. Kal is forced to question the things she has always believed, and to face truths about herself -- both those she's always known deep down, and some that she would be mad to even imagine.

Chapter 1

Kal had enough to worry about in her waking hours without being disrupted whenever she tried to sleep. Nightmares woke her every day at dawn or earlier, and their images plagued her for hours afterward.

She sat with her roommate Bethany in the hall, along with Bethany's friends, while they ate breakfast. Kal herself felt too ill to eat, or to pay attention to the conversation of the girls around her. She had been awake for two hours, and yet her heart still pounded at the memory of her latest dream.

The nightmares she had of late were flimsy and vague, a series of images and feelings rather than concrete events. She had not slept well since that poor junior had been found dead in the dormitories two weeks ago, the obvious work of a demon; her lips blue and her neck marred with black marks from where the demon had pressed its fingers. The entire school had been thrown into a panic, but it seemed nobody felt the distress deeper than Kal, with her dreams full of screaming and suffering so palpable she swore she could taste it and feel the weight of it on her tongue.

Kal had tried going to one of the clerics for help, but he hadn't given any. "Nightmares are a sickness, either of the soul or of the mind," he had told her. "And you, Kalwi, are most certainly not sick in the soul. It is your own fear that is driving you to madness as you sleep." When Kal had only pursed her lips doubtfully, he continued. "All the students and instructors are troubled by what happened. You are not alone. But if you think there are actually demons attacking you in your dreams, you are mistaken. They want nothing to do with one of the Lord's most faithful servants, I assure you."

06-10-2009, 11:52 PM
I'll take a crack at beta reading this if you like. I like dark material in any genre.