Hello! Just wanted to pop in and share my current read with you! I’m about 100 pages (so around a quarter of the way) into The Councillor by E.J. Beaton, and really enjoying it so far. I picked this one up because it is an entry for the Aurealis Awards, in the fantasy novel which I’m on the judging panel for. I do want to just note like, like always when I’m talking about Aurealis entries, I am a judge for the 2021 Aurealis Awards. This review is my personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of any judging panel, the judging coordinators, or the Aurealis Awards management team.
As part of the judging gig we get copies of all the entries – mostly ebook versions this year – but i saw the gorgeous hardback editionat the bookshop on the weekend and couldn’t resist getting it.
So far The Councillor is giving me similar vibes to Sam Hawke’s City of Lies, with some poisoning, a bit of magic, and a strong political element. Check out the synopsis below, and then let me know in the comments what you’re reading right now, or if you have a favourite fantasy novel.
The Councillor – synopsis
This political fantasy follows a scholar’s quest to choose the next ruler of her nation amidst lies, conspiracy, and assassination
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. Publically, Lysande must choose the next monarch from amongst the city-rulers vying for the throne. Privately, she seeks to discover which ruler murdered the queen, suspecting the use of magic.
Resourceful, analytical, and quiet, Lysande appears to embody the motto she was raised with: everything in its place. Yet while she hides her drug addiction from her new associates, she cannot hide her growing interest in power. She becomes locked in a game of strategy with the city-rulers – especially the erudite prince Luca Fontaine, who seems to shift between ally and rival.
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.