When the death of Iron Queen Sarelin Brey fractures the realm of Elira, Lysande Prior, the palace scholar and the queen's closest friend, is appointed Councillor. Further from home, an old enemy is stirring: the magic-wielding White Queen is on the move again, and her alliance with a traitor among the royal milieu poses a danger not just to the peace of the realm, but to the survival of everything that Lysande cares about. In a world where the low-born keep their heads down, Lysande must learn to fight an enemy who wears many guises... even as she wages her own battle between ambition and restraint.
Ideal for fans of Samantha Shannon’s The Priory of the Orange Tree and R. F. Kuang’s The Poppy War, The Councillor is an ambitious Machiavellian debut following the rise of palace scholar Lysande Prior to power following the death of her closest friend, the queen ... Beaton grounds emotions in the body with her prose, a theme that parallels the emotional and physical changes taking place within Lysande as she grapples with her new position, addiction, loss, and the strange changes within her own body ... Beaton’s characters are complex, flawed, and deeply human. Each is written with empathy and an understanding of the many facets of desire, and Beaton subtly flips gender roles; in this world, women are warriors and rulers, and sexuality is stripped of the confines of homophobia, breathing new life into the fantasy setting ... Readers who enjoy political intrigue in their fantasy will find Beaton’s debut deeply satisfying.
The Councillor is an exceptional book. It was not just my connection to the protagonist that kept me immersed in this story, but the world and culture depicted by Beaton is breathtaking as it drew me in and I never wanted to leave ... The Councillor was the perfect read for me because it was focused and precise ... I loved The Councillor and it is a book I will always cherish. I am excited to read the second part of the duology and can’t wait to add this book to my home library collection. These 500 pages are packed with action, memorable characters and plot twists, that you will love. Every chapter helped me build a better picture of the world and become more immersed. The pace never faltered, and I had so many emotions, like sadness, disappointment, astonishment, respect, betrayal… I could go on. Most importantly, if you are someone who loves books and seeks knowledge, The Councillor will give you a glimpse of the influence scholars can have on the world. I personally think we need more stories like this one.
... slow moving ... This premise is typical of high fantasy, but the language, pacing, and relentless imagery—black roses, writing quills, and the colors gold and green feature prominently—are of a different order. In dense, occasionally overwritten prose, Beaton excavates Lysande’s inner life, sometimes at the expense of worldbuilding, which is maddeningly slow to cohere ... it’s a long wait. Readers will need to be patient to get to the goods.