First Line Friday #9 – Political Fantasy, Anyone?

Hi everyone! First Line Friday is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. As someone who rarely judges books by their covers but who loooooves choosing their next book by reading the first lines, of course I want to join!

So… Let’s go! Read the first lines below and try to guess what book it is!

“The shape of a crown stood out in the emerald wax of the seal, and Lysande glanced at it once before looking away, staring at anything but that envelope.
She raised her vial and drank.
Gold tinged the room, spreading from the corners, glossing the piles of manuscripts and slipping accross the bedsheets; she felt it transmute her insides, moving from her chest to her abdomen.”

This Machiavellian fantasy follows a scholar’s quest to choose the next ruler of her kingdom 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.

Why this book?

I’ve started this book a couple of days ago and so far I’m loving it! Set in a queernorm world, we follow Lysande, our bisexual main character, while she navigates between powerful allies and maybe traitors. For some reason I often forget that political fantasy novels can be so fun to read, especially Machiavellian ones like The Councillor is. The manipulations inherent of the genre make for the most unpredictable books when done well, and even though I’m only 30% in, I have great hope for this one in that regard!

Content Warnings (so far, I’ll update when I’m done with it) : drug use and addiction, death of a loved one, graphic violence, mention of torture

Have you read it? What did you think?

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