Let me count the ways I like this latest offering from Elizabeth Schechter!
Counsel of the Wicked (Rebel Mage: Book 1) is an exciting, fast-paced, genre-bending m/m romantic adventure; distinctively imaginative, sexy, thought-provoking, heart-warming, compulsively page-turning, and one heck of a cracking good read. Of course, all this is what her fans have come to expect from Schechter, a bona fide mistress of the storyteller’s craft with a hyperactively wide-ranging imagination, and a no-lesss impressively puissant intellect coupled with a preternaturally acute sense of focus.
Counsel of the Wicked is the story of Matthias, a young man living as an outcast on the fringe of a post-apocolyptic religious community under the rigid patriarchal control of an outwardly pious elder. But when the elder’s son falls in love with Matthias, the old man sees to it that the pariah is summarily packed off to a notorious correctional facility known as The School. Suffice to say, everything Matthias thought he knew about his world and the people who govern it--not to mention himself-- turns out to be a lie.
It’s probably not wise to offer too much more of the plot, lest spoilers be revealed. But oh! What wonders (and horrors!) there are to be discovered. And Schechter has hardly begun to explore this vast and intriguing magical paracosm of hers. (I understand that a pair of sequels is in the works—a wise move, since this first installment is bound to leave fans hungry for more.)
This is genre entertainment with a brain! Above all, it’s the consistent quality of Schechter’s writing, along with the deep love she possesses for her characters that sets Counsel of the Wicked apart.