Review: Betrayal in the Highlands by Robert Evert

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Publisher: Diversion
Publishing Date: October 2013
ISBN: 9781626810792
Genre: Fantasy
Rating:4.3/5.0

Publisher Description: Pursued relentlessly by goblin hunters for the ancient secret he knows, Edmund the stuttering librarian fights back in the fast-paced sequel to the epic fantasy novel, Riddle in Stone. Edmund’s old, boring life is gone forever. Knowing the answer to a cryptic riddle that, if in the wrong hands, could destroy all of humanity, Edmund is hiding in a sleepy coastal town as far from the frozen mountains of the Undead King as possible. For a moment, he believes he’s finally safe. Then he learns that Molly, the woman he’s loved since childhood, is telling stories about him—stories that will get him and his friends killed. Edmund is forced to embark on a perilous journey home to confront the woman who broke his heart. If he fails, all will be lost.

Review: This is the second novel in the Riddle in Stone series. I really liked the first novel in the series that brought about solid character development and a rather sinister turn in life for our stuttering hero. I wrote to the author that I enjoyed his novel and subsequent to that conversation he promised to send me pictures of his trips to Norway. They were awesome.

I love a good adventure fantasy novel, where the action and dialogue walk together through the story-line. You get great scene development and an innate understanding of the characters as they meet stressful situations. Robert Evert has this ability in spades, much like Michael J. Sullivan’s Hadrian/Royce Ryria Revelation series. The author does a superb job at rendering elements with comedic subtlety while in the midst of hectic and violent situations that leaves you pulling for Edmund, Becky, Mr. Pond and Fatty M. I love the introduction of the spicy, beautiful and intelligent, Abby. The daughter of Borstson, chief judicial official for Havenar. She desperately desires to go adventuring and get out of this one horse town. This is a great character injection into the existing crew as she becomes Edmunds focus away from his first love, Molly (whom sux ass).

This novel has better logical progression than the first and is somewhat smoother to read. I kind of liked the stilted and scrambled variations of the first novel as it leaves you guessing about the authors end-game. Becky (his new dog) takes on more “dog” behaviors and less the intelligent watcher/helper that Thorax was in the first novel. Perhaps we can ascribe these more “feral” characteristics to the fact that she is still a puppy. Dunno. There were some minor disappointments in this novel like the killing of certain characters that you grow a bit attached to. I think it just doesn’t make sense, in some instances, to kill off relevant characters that you hope will overcome their human conditions and help our challenged hero to prevail. For that I dropped my score significantly.

The cover art is just plane ghastly crap. Really, -a dude in a red cloak in a street tunnel. I can’t recall there ever being someone wearing a huge red hoody cloak in the novel. This author is good, so grant him some cover art that reflects the work within.

This author is like finding a treasure within the multitudes that seek to be published in various venues (indie, commercial and small publishing). While there was some disappointment at where the plot lines eventually culminate, that is my own “story-line” opinion and has nothing to do with the novels veracity. I would rather have seen more magic develop within Edmund during a mini-adventure to obtain some ancient relic. Someone is always alluding to Edmunds supposed powers and his parents legacy that never bears magical fruit. Perhaps all will be answered or developed in round three of the Riddle in Stone series.

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One thought on “Review: Betrayal in the Highlands by Robert Evert

  1. Crap! I didn’t send you pictures?? Sorry about that, K! I’ll send them in a few minutes.

    Thanks for your wonderful review! You’ll be happy to know that, in the third book (Blood in Stone), there’s far more about magic.

    In that story (due out in six months) Edmund runs into another magic user…Vin…who’s magic ability involves (of all things) making beer and wine, a skill he uses to save Edmund.

    Also, Edmund begins to learn more about his parents and magical abilities as he attempts to rally all magic users in an attempt to save them from Inhalation.

    Hopefully you’ll enjoy the third story as well!

    Pictures to follow!

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