Hey, sorry for the wait, I had a really long week.
I read what you wrote and I really liked it! It is engaging, tense, and makes me excited to read more!
There were a few things that took me out of the story a little bit. First – and this really could just be a ‘me’ thing – introducing a fantasy setting and then a modern setting felt more confusing than introducing it as a modern setting first with fantasy elements. The first three paragraphs very much set it up as a fantasy setting and then suddenly there is a Jeep right over there, lol, it made my brain do a little bit of a double-take. You could easily mention something like a broken wrist watch, blood on a pair of jeans etc, that informs the readers what we can expect while also introducing the fantasy elements (this scene was a great way to do that, by the way 🙂 ). Again, this could be more of a me thing, so keep that in mind.
I would also dial down the use of proper nouns or setting specific lingo just a touch. This opening is engaging, and I want to know more, and hearing a proper noun or something setting specific when I don’t know what it is takes me out of the scene a little. For example, the sentence: “The asarlaithe were all lying in crumpled, broken heaps, as if they had been struck down like dominos.” doesn’t tell me what I am actually seeing through the characters eyes, are they people? are they creatures of some kind? If I see physically what he sees, it draws me in and will make me more excited to hear more later, but right now I just want to be with him in what ever the hell the just happened, lol.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to slow down the scene a little. A paragraph or two in the beginning describing the general layout of the scene or the environment beyond the ritual spot would be awesome. Is it a warm summers night alongside a dirt road in the middle of nowhere? Is it in some trash-strewn back ally in the worst part of town? What does the ritual circle look like? Your writing is already engaging, describing these things will only add to the immersion and the tension.
I hope my criticisms aren’t too harsh or overwhelming, it can be hard to convey tone over text. Because, like I said, I do really like it. This kind of scene is a great setup the tone of the book, for the magic that will play a pivotal part in the part in the story, and it makes me really excited to watch the setting unfold. Um… yeah, can’t wait to read more 🙂