PW #364: Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy: OF SERPENTS AND STARS

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Judi Lauren

Mentee Name: Alexandria Rogers


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

Word Count: 91,000 words


Dancing for the vile French Troll King’s masquerade balls is all seventeen-year-old Azea knows until Luc, a charismatic stranger, arrives with a secret: there’s a way to defeat the King. To free those who dance in chains, Azea must burn the remnants of her haunted past and embrace the part of herself she’s always feared, or risk losing Luc—and herself—forever.


Deep in the night, in nothing but gossamer silk and a mask of diamonds, I was simply a body. Hands twirling, hips swaying, chiffon careening around my calves.

Sweat, slick, heady, drunk, dancing, dancing, dancing.

Chandeliers dripping with crystallized moonlight glittered in the Court’s ballroom. It was so grand, so opulent, it could swallow me whole. I barely saw the far walls as I pirouetted across the gilded marble floor, my toes screaming with each impact.

Hundreds of girls moved alongside me, their faces concealed by the intricate masks we wore every night.

But I knew each and every one of them.

Their thoughts, their breaths, were real. We were real, a secret we kept to ourselves, because we were Les Dames Masquées of Trolleaux, the Troll Court just south of Paris. Forced to dance for the King’s masquerade balls every night, we moved until our feet blistered, our toes broke, and all that was left was a pile of limbs.

I had seen them. Shattered limbs. Bodies. Stacked. Dancers piled high once we fractured and could no longer move. Some trolls had skin as bronze as mine, almost human save for its unearthly glow, but it didn’t matter. We all spilled the same black blood in the end.

We didn’t speak to each other. Didn’t acknowledge any love or friendship to give King Mathieu reason to notice us.

Especially not tonight.

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