Rec’d!: This book was recommended via Aquilla’s truly amazing review and is definitely one that I would never have run into myself. It’s the perfect example of why book reviews are so great, and finding a circle of reviewers with whom you connect is so amazing.
SO this book. To quickly recap: the queen of a collection of four city-states/duchies(?) and one capital city has died without an heir, and as such a Councillor has been appointed to pick a new monarch from the rulers of the four city-states, each of which specializes in a different area and none of whom are truly friends. Two additional wrinkles: the first is that the queen didn’t just die–she was murdered–and her killer might very well be one of the four vying for the throne. The second is that the threat of invasion from the kingdom’s old foe hangs over all–an equally ruthless queen who has in her army elementals, people who can control air / fire / water (sorry Earth Kingdom), who have been brutally stamped out since the last invasion was successfully repelled.
I didn’t actually think I’d be very into this book at first, and the beginning was a bit slow going as the various pieces were set in play. There’s a lot of necessary world building and grieving that our main character Lysande goes through at the outset, which is somewhat confusing for the reader. Having finished this book, I feel like that might even have been on purpose, to keep the reader as confused as Lys as she tries to get her feet underneath her.
While this does also end in a way that makes it clear that there will be a second book (it’s #1 in The Councillor after all), it also has a nice resolution that won’t make you antsy to read the next book–a genuine rarity!