Thanks for the feedback and support, guys! I'm going to go ahead and post my next draft, such as it is, even though it's mostly just tweaks. Mostly focused on a couple questions I have down below the query itself.
The Coalition comes to Lara Kavarin with a problem: the worlds are about to end.
Lara has always preferred to avoid the Coalition, despite their best attempts to recruit her in the past. They’re just too power-hungry and too authoritarian for her tastes. All Lara wants is to live her life hunting treasure across the wide expanse of worlds, with her small crew—practically her family—and her ship, Ouroboros. That option has to wait, though. Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver has gone rogue, and the Coalition needs Lara’s help to stop her.
Only a few people have the innate ability to pilot a ship through the Cipher, the void between the worlds, a realm of eldritch monsters and time warps. And before fleeing, Amerlaine slaughtered the Coalition’s pilots who could. So it’s Lara, or no one.
Amerlaine’s grudge with the Coalition wouldn’t be Lara’s problem, except for one thing: collateral damage is all part of the plan. If there are no worlds, the Coalition can’t exist. So to take down the Coalition, Amerlaine is willing to use a device that will open the Cipher to destroy all the worlds and the people in them.
If Lara wants to save her friends and the worlds, she’s going to need to embark on a covert mission to somehow stop a woman who is better trained, better equipped, and ready to do whatever it takes to win.
OUROBOROS is a 104,000-word fantasy with a heavy dose of sci-fi flavor and a hint of steam punk. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Okay, so Arcanjoe notes wanting to know a bit more about Amerlaine's motivations and points out the risks of a flat villain, which is totally fair. The thing is, Amerlaine's motivations aren't addressed until pretty much exactly at the halfway mark of the book (which is incidentally around the time that the assumption of her plan being suicidal is addressed as well). It's not a huge reveal that needs to be kept secret, but it also doesn't come up until then. But before then, it's pretty much just treated as, "it doesn't matter why, she's doing this and must be stopped". So I'm not sure that it works to fit motivations into my query (also not sure that I have the space to explain them adequately. To do that, I also need to go in depth about the Coalition and what they do). However, if people think her reasons are important, I can try to squeeze something in. I can also try to just characterize her a little bit more, although oddly enough the first adjective that comes to mind is "affable" (even though she is firmly the villain), and I feel like that might throw a wrench in things, too, especially because, without rearranging things, right now that would come out something like "Affable Coalition captain Amerlaine Silver has gone rogue", and I don't need you all to tell me that that just doesn't work. Anyway, I appreciate all the feedback I've already gotten, and I appreciate any thoughts you have on this villain portrayal. I can always too leave it as is.