The Councillor Review

The Councillor by E.J. Beaton is the first book in The Councillor series and is a debut of the author. Being hailed as a political fantasy thriller filled with conspiracy theories and assassinations, this book immediately got my attention. Throw in the added bonus of the main protagonist having to rule and change the world around her with just her quill and scholarly brains, say no more. I quickly made this my next read. Unfortunately, I came away disappointed.

“A girl with a quill might yet have a place in the business of war.”

Lysannde Prior

We start the story right off with having Sarelin Brey, queen and best friend of Lysannde Prior, assassinated. Lysannde, the scholar, is all of a sudden thrown into a very difficult and strange position of having to choose the next ruler. She obviously has other things in mind such as finding out who assassinated her best friend and whatnot but from then on, Lysannde’s life is quite literally thrown upside down. She went from being a quiet and reserved individually who likes to study history of the realm to being a public figure and having to work with the other prince and rulers of the other cities whom as you guessed it want nothing to do with each other. To summarize this in very blunt and simple terms, The Councillor has committed sin #1 on my list of a bad story and that is almost every single character in it is completely boring and forgettable. Memorable characters in a poorly executed story can still be somewhat salvaged but that’s very hard to do when you clearly have not one ounce of care for any one of them.

One of the main head scratchers at least for me is that while Lysannde is a bisexual, I was quite irritated at the fact that the author made her think so hard and long on guessing the relationship between Delgereth and Jale. It stands to reason that if she is able to love another woman, it’s not that difficult to presume that a man can also fall in love with another man. I’m sure the readers got the hint the very first time it was dropped. I had wanted to like some characters but the author made it so hard. Every time Lysannde and Luca gets together, we’re reminded constantly of how much she aches to touch his neck and soft skin.

It occurred to her that all the descriptions of battles in books had made no mention of all the desperate shoving that was involved.

Lysannde Prior

Publishing a debut novel I’m sure is not an easy task and a lot of work has been put in. I just think that my standards are so high nowadays that I’m just able to more easily spot things that I like and dislike immediately. The Councillor does seem to try and please the crowd. Lysannde is a bisexual if that matters to you. There are magic and fighting involved. There are sexual scenes although not graphically detailed. There are some politics involved. However, I still came away disappointed and I just can’t help but blame the bland and uninteresting characters. Count me out of this series going forward but I do congratulate the author on her debut.


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