Audience: Young adult.
Genre: Arcanepunk fantasy
Length: 42k - working on expanding it.
Title is still WIP - do you like it?
Logline: In an unfortunate accident, Merlin loses his memories and ends up being a suspect in his own missing case. He seeks help from a reclusive boy, but by disturbing his peace, he exposes his protector to the dangers of a bigoted society.
Old Summary - don't read
Merlin, a famous magus inventor who brought an age of prosperity to the city of Glass Gardens, drops a bombshell of an announcement - he is a cambion (a half-demon). No one guessed as he didn’t have visible demonic traits and humans did not think that cambions were capable of skills like his. Before the news could fully sink in, he gets into his brand new time machine with a plan to change the past.
Something goes wrong and Merlin emerges from the time machine as a teenage boy, unable to remember who he is and what he’s doing there. He’s caught by his own apprentice who doesn’t recognize him.
Merlin runs away and encounters a rare winged cambion boy, Seri, who helps him and gives him a name - Ruby. Soon, they both learn that he was caught in Merlin’s house, who was now officially declared as missing - foul play suspected due to his recent controversial announcement. Ruby convinces Seri to trust his innocence and to help hide him. While spending time with Seri, he learns the secrets the boy is harboring. Seri was born in the Nether, the demon realm, and lives in Glass Gardens illegally.
In the meantime, tension builds - human residents of Glass Gardens are prejudiced against cambions, some to the point of violent extremism. The city cambions have taken Merlin’s announcement as a call to action and when he disappears, they band together, forming an organization called The Merlinians, determined to continue a movement he started. Without Merlin there to control them, they diverge from his original message. Ruby and Seri witness their secret meeting and while Seri agrees with their agenda, Ruby worries the direction they’re headed in.
Determined it’s the only way to find clues to Ruby’s past, they break into Merlin’s house where it all began and are caught by Merlin’s apprentice, Tristine and Carnelia - her rebel friend they recognize from Merlinians’ meeting. Ruby’s interrogated at gunpoint, but Tristine knows what they don’t - she read Merlin’s journals and found his plans to go back in time. She figures out what happened to him and that the boy in front of her is her mentor.
As they plan to recalibrate Merlin’s time machine to return him to normal, Seri steps out of the house and his worst fear comes true - he’s discovered by the cops Tristine had called earlier when she thought burglars had broke in.
As luck has it, these cops are the very extremists Seri had been avoiding his whole life. They capture him and bring him to their glass church with a plan to sacrifice him and use his wings as a warning sign to display to demons that might desire to enter their city.
When Ruby/Merlin and the others figure out what happened, they go on a mission to rescue Seri. A fight breaks out in the glass church out of which our cambion heroes come out victorious but not without drama.
While they get away, now they are all fugitives on the run from the law. Seri decides that it is about time he crossed over to the Nether to find his family. The rest decide to go with him. Ruby chooses his new life to the one he doesn’t remember.
Notes or unique things to highlight: This story explores the myth of Merlin, the son of Incubus. It’s a world where magic is used to power technology and where travel between realms is possible. A world where demons are feared by most and angels are revered. Hints of bxb romance. Merlin’s vision-impaired - spends most of the book without glasses (prompt for some hilarity). Possibility of a series - book 2 to take place in the Nether (native to demons), book 3 to take place in the Eather (native to angels).
Not sure how to mention it in the summary or if I should at all: The reason why Merlin wanted to go back in time is never stated in this book, though a few very subtle hints are dropped: Ruby gets flashes of visions of a violent battle (visions are not a normal thing in this world so he doesn’t understand what they are). The book ends without an explanation of the visions.
Background info that’s not revealed (blurred so you can make an initial judgment without knowing this detail):
When you read the summary above, did it bother you that the need for time travel wasn’t explained?
Reasons: Merlin is not an ordinary cambion, and unlike others of his kind, he can see the future. He saw a vision of what would happen now that he made his announcement (that’s he’s half-demon), and saw the creation of the Merlinians who turned against humans in a very violent revolution. Thinking he made a mistake and should never have made that announcement, he gets into his time machine, wanting to stop himself from making that speech and continue pretending that he’s human. But he doesn’t understand that traveling BACK in time is not possible.
Question: since we’ve got delicious irony here (by trying to stop the Merlinians, Merlin disappears, prompting the Merlinians to form - self-fulfilling prophecy at its best), should I let the readers know that this was what happened, what his motivation was?
I don’t think I would want it in the beginning. I’m considering writing an epilogue which would be an expanded version of the first scene (Merlin gets into the time machine) which would answer this question.
If I did that - how do I say this in a summary?