Mai Gao Fen by Tia Kalla
Iskandar said the world would be in danger if the artifacts weren’t collected. Dei wasn’t so concerned with that. The fact that he’d gotten one of those artifacts embedded in her body, to her, was more of a pressing problem. But even though it might do who-knows-what, both it and Iskandar left her questions she couldn’t answer. Finding those answers was worth some small risk.
Iskandar’s quest takes Dei and her sister across the Shoumin Empire they live in and its surrounding territories: the towering pagodas, the complex gearwork, the gowns and suits on the cutting edge of fashion. Dei’s genius with clerical magic (and her sister’s kleptomania) acquire them more of the artifacts, and new friends across the continent.
But there are things about himself that Iskandar hasn’t told her. And there are things his superiors haven’t told him about the items he’s seeking. And she’s not too eager to tell them that their precious artifact is camping in her abdomen.
Knowledge used to be the only thing Dei was interested in. Then she found people she was interested in. Now the knowledge she loves may ruin the people she’s come to care about.
MAI GAO FEN is an Asian steampunk fantasy novel in progress.
The Book Doctors:
We love that the artifact is “camping in her abdomen”. That is a very intriguing image and one we want to know more about. But we think this pitch has a problem with how it introduces the characters. Because these names are unknown to us, We don’t know whether they’re male or female. Then there’s a sister thrown in who seems to be quite a comic character but doesn’t have a name. So we quickly become confused. If you give physical descriptions of these characters, we can see them and relate to them better. And since you’re creating a world, we need to see more of that as well. We got the towering pagodas (cool!), but we don’t quite see the complex gear work, we don’t exactly know what “the cutting edge of fashion” means in this context. Part of the cool thing about steam punk fantasy is the imagination gets to run wild. But you have not displayed to us at that your imagination is going to show me things we have never seen before.