From the author of the Riddle in Stone books comes a thrilling new series for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Kristin Cashore.
Across the realms, the kings’ quests captivate the imaginations of nobles and commoners alike. These dangerous competitions pit the most daring adventurers against each other as they compete for riches and glory for their kingdoms.
Plain and ordinary Natalie, a sixteen-year-old peasant girl, loves listening to stories about famous adventurers, but the thrilling action of the kings’ quests seems far removed from her everyday life of mucking out stables and working every odd job she can find to support her siblings and disabled mother. However, after a violent run-in with Brago, a ruthless adventurer who believes Natalie is a threat to his mission, she is dragged unwillingly into the latest contest.
On the run from Brago, Natalie seeks refuge with a rival adventurer, the legendary Sir Edris, and his squire, Reg. As they toil together to find the object all of the kings desire―an ancient golden harp―Natalie starts to feel safe with the fatherly knight. Yet, despite Edris’s protection, Brago is never far behind. When one of Brago’s cruel plots separates Natalie from her protectors, she must become as strong and cunning as the adventurers of old to save her friends and stay alive.
I have to admit, this was a hard book to read as a woman because of the sheer violence and attitudes towards women in this book even if it was part of the culture/history of a certain age. Thankfully the main female character is portrayed to be strong, independent and with a high sense of self-esteem so there was some ‘balance’ to the vehement antagonistic attitudes that permeated the story line. She had to be strong because she was ferociously beaten up multiple times and would not have survived such ravage violence otherwise. At least the author did a poignant job in allowing the character to talk about the sense of violation a woman would feel at being damaged this way and unable to get help simply because she’s a woman.
The author did a great job in character development and creation because I very much was made to hate the bad guys, want to root for the good guys and I could feel what was being done to Natalie as if I was there including being proud when she picked herself up to fight back.
The scenes were detailed so I could get a sense of what our characters were seeing, touching and hearing. The plot line was well thought out and realistic, too realistic at times according to the tears falling down my face for Natalie.
I thought the treasure hunt part was interesting as they sought out clues along a quest so you get to explore more of the world Evert created.
I can’t blame the author for using a piece of history that actually occurred, and still does even in 2017 in some parts of the world. It doesn’t make it any easier knowing he didn’t make this stuff up for his book but the fact he got me so emotional over fictional characters is a testament to his writing skill.
Knowing this is a first in the series has me curious what more will come if only to see how far Natalie can go in a world decidedly against her gender. What I did appreciate is that as much as the author laid the groundwork for a story that says women are less than second class citizens he still created a character to shatter those stereotypes and find a place in this world where she can succeed on her terms.
Thank you to Netgalley and Diversion Publishing for allowing me to review this book.
Buy on Amazon: http://a.co/eiXEccr
*synopsis and pic from amazon.com