After a noble in the nearby kingdom of Aberagan is hanged for the crime of witchcraft, 20-year-old Mable is nearly murdered, barely escaping by chance.
- I think that if you're going to use this for your hook, you need to reverse the order a bit. I was given the advice not to introduce your MC so late in the hook, and I believe the same advice stands here. '20-yeard-old Mabel is nearly murdered, only escaping by chance, as the hanging of witches begins again.' (or something like that...)
A few other innocents from Mable’s hidden village are killed by emboldened purists who make no distinction between healers and witches. She, and others, start to fear these purists will uncover their best-kept secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them. For now, their safety lies only in the illusion their cursed village casts. - Like others, this paragraph confuses me a bit. Mainly because you talk about villagers from the village being killed. It sounds like it's not so hidden, and that the 'bad guys' know the magic is gone. I know you explained out in a previous post...but if you need to explain it...then it's not clear enough in your query. You don't get a chance with an agent to say 'Well, this is what I mean...'
Despite all risk, - Despite the risk? The all seems out of place for me. Mable continues rescuing healers trapped within Aberagan’s walls as she once was. - '...as she always has.' ? I don't think you mentioned that she ever stopped doing it, so the past tense doesn't fit. The kingdom is dying of illness and injury now more than ever, but Aberaganians seem to fear magic more than death - I like this, but when I stop to think about it, I wonder 'why?' Maybe it doesn't need to be answered in the query though, and can wait for the book. In the aftermath of the execution, however, a rumor is floating through the kingdom that some highborn nobles are finally beginning to see the consequences of persecuting their healers. - Ah! I figured out why this sentence bugs me! How long have they been persecuting healers? I thought that just started with the hanging a few sentences earlier?
The village leaders advise Mable to stop her travels. But the lingering rumor sparks a hope in her that she could help her village gain a powerful, highborn ally who would keep them safe. Somehow Mable will have to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy. - By starting the sentence with 'somehow', you're taking the punch out of it. It's like you don't even know how she's going to do it. 'Mable will have to infiltrate the kingdom's court...' or something along those lines. Tell us what she's going to do to try to succeed.
THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word standalone fantasy novel with series potential.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Hope some of this helps. Sorry if I sound direct, but I think you've got a lot of it right, so it's at the point where you can focus on the few things that will bring your query to the top.