I stumbled upon Riddle in Stone during my wanderings on Goodreads and when I saw the cover, I just could not resist. Yes, I am ashamed to admit I still choose a book for its cover and I could never ignore a hooded cloak. And it is as well, Riddle in Stone is a fantastic debut book.
Edmund is an unlikely hero. He is not an Adonis with a six pack and smouldering eyes but a fat, middle aged and stammering ordinary man. He likes be referred as a scholar, not a librarian.
When one day, after being publicly humiliated due to his stammer, he decides he has enough of being downtrodden, ignored and used. After debating with himself, he knows it is time to go for an adventure, before it is too late, otherwise, he will regret the rest of his life. On his way, he finds an edit from the current king to search for the lost star of Iliandor, a king of old. So, Edmund starts his quest. He will brave many dangers, will experience sorrow and losses at the hand of the Undead King, the Goblin King, but he will plod on.
We find here that the goblins hate being called goblins because the name has evil vibes. They also have a dry sense of humour and are educated. The two that captured Edmund, Kravel and Gurding, are very well spoken and their feelings get hurt when Edmund does not appreciate their seemingly good nature. In fact, they remind me of the FBI ''good cop, bad cop'' routine.
Riddle in Stone is a long quest but it is also the arduous journey of one's discovery. Edmund, a bit pedantic and a coward at the beginning of the story, slowly changes as his adventure develops. He loses weight, obviously, but this is not the most important change. He becomes less selfish, even brave. He does things that terrifies him but he does them nonetheless because if he does not, then he will die. He realises that he has a strength of character that he never dreamt of. This change enables him to save Pond Scum from the mine pits and develop a strong friendship with him, thing he would not have done before his departure from Rood. I think he used to use his stammer to prevent him from doing things and have it as an excuse, but once he was out of his comfort zone, he did not lose the stammer but he could no longer hide behind it.
All along the book, Edmund talks to himself in his head. It is a different kind of narration, but one that I have enjoyed, because I am sure I would do the same, if I was going on an adventure on my own and had to make choices. Indecision, indecision and arguing in my head, just like Edmund. It was quite fun and well done.
My only criticism is that even though the story is set in another time and another realm, it does not have this feel of mystery and quest of old. It is possible that the language is too modern. There are some gory scenes too, so, be aware if you are of delicate composition. But the story is so good that this can be overlooked.
If you like fantasy, then get Riddle in Stone. It is not a stand alone book, there is a second one coming, and I will get it as soon as it comes out. After all, the quest is not yet finished.
Riddle in Stone is the debut novel by Robert Evert. And what a way to make a debut! This is one of the best fantasy adventures I have ever read, and if the word fantasy puts you off, don't let it. Fantasy is not my genre of choice. But then we're not talking whimsical faeries and chipper little elves here.
Edmund is our anti-hero, overweight, balding, with a nervous stammer, and a love of books, he's never going to be anyone's first choice as an adventurer. The only adventure Edmund has ever been on has been through the pages of his beloved story books. However, striking a win for academics and readers the world over, when Edmund learns about a quest in the name of the king, he realises all those tomes he's read though the years have furnished him with the knowledge he needs to fulfil the quest. And in doing so Edmund hopes that the king's reward will help him win the heart and hand of Molly, the unrequited love of his life.
Setting out on his journey, Edmund has little thought for what he's leaving behind and even less awareness of what he's about to get himself into. Making some of the most memorable friends along the way, including Thorax, the bravest dog ever to have lived, and Pond Scum a prisoner with the sunniest outlook on life that you could ever hope to have, there are plenty of characters to root for. But don't settle back into the comfort of your armchair just yet! Edmund's adventure also brings you face to face with a monstrous troll, some rather devious and wicked goblins, and plenty of terrifying scenarios that will have you on the edge of your seat.
This totally absorbing and fast paced adventure is right up there with the likes of Tolkien's `The Hobbit`. It will make you happy, make you sad, make you laugh, make you cry and once or twice it might make you wince.
By the time you reach the end of the story everything has changed, especially Edmund, and while it's not a `happy ever after' scenario it certainly leaves you in a good place and utterly satisfied with what you've read. And' if like me, finishing a good books feels like losing a limb, don't be downhearted... In the Kindle version of this story there's a sneaky peak at the sequel: Betrayal in the Highlands.
Read and enjoy!
on 26 July 2013
An unusual hero, totally believable whose decision to leave his village has a domino effect of devastating consequences.
There's a wonderful mix of of goblins, trolls and elves with a definitive dark undertone having a flavour of the Brother Grimm Fairy Tales of old, I loved it.
I was standing by Edmund all the way, even though he tended to argue with himself before making a decision it was like his old self arguing with the emerging new Edmund.
Relished the cacophony of individual characters I especially enjoying the nefarious Goblins and the realm they lived in.
A wonderful début, can't wait till the next instalment, on my automatic reading list..
A must for fantasy fans who like it dark and epic.
on 29 September 2013
There are a lot of fantasy books out there where the main character is highly skilled, charismatic etc. That is not so in this book. It's the first thing that sets it apart from others in the genre.
Edmund, the main character, is a librarian and someone with a stutter. Very much someone that others take advantage of and mock. It is this mocking that leads to him finally deciding to up and leave in search of adventure, because he thinks it might help him win the hand of the woman he loves.
And so he begins his journey with the goal of finding an object that the king seeks.
However, as with most spur of the moment choices, he hadn't thought it through. He's been reading books for most of his life and he learns that the world is not really how his precious books portrayed it to be. He is also totally unprepared for the dangers that he will inevitably face.
That's the beginning of the book. What sets into motion his adventure. I won't say more, but I do want to talk about other aspects.
First of all, the characters are rather good. Goblins for instance. They are not how you'd picture them being. Sure, they're nasty, but they're not stereotypical and two of them make for rather nice villains. This extends to other elements of the book as well, as Edmund finds that life and the world in general is not really how it's portrayed in the tales.
Then there's the character development. Edmund grows quite a lot as the story progresses. When you first meet him, you probably doubt that he could turn into a hero. Sure, he'll never be the stereo-typical hero, but he learns and grows, becoming quite heroic in the process. So, it was quite nice to watch him develop as a character.
Now, this bit could be a negative for some people, but the book does get dark and grim in places. But I'd ask people to try and not let that bother them. Without spoiling what happens later, the darkness and grim nature of certain situations is a necessary part of the book, because if the darkness and grim nature of some scenes weren't present, then those scenes as a whole wouldn't really work. Therefore, the story wouldn't work as well as it does, because it serves to highlight what Edmund goes through throughout the novel. And if you can handle that aspect of the book, then the sequel, I'm told, is less grim and dark. So, for me, the dark and grim nature of some scenes in the book is a plus. It may not be for everyone.
Finally, this brings me to a negative point. The editing wasn't as good as it could be when it comes to spelling and such. But I want to make it clear that the errors didn't distract from the story for me, because it was good and an enjoyable read. Also, a lot of readers may overlook the errors and it's possible that the errors I encountered may be fixed in the version now available, as I bought the book near release, I think.
So, I would really recommend the book to readers. Just be aware that some scenes can be grim/dark/brutal and what I just mentioned above. Those are really the only two potential negatives I can think of.
on 22 July 2014
Could be classed as a fantasy or an adventure story. More for men maybe because of the blood and guts but a well written exciting and interesting story with an unlikely hero. More fighting than magic but with enough to feel like a fantasy novel. Really enjoyed this book as a whole, some areas are a bit slow but you want to keep reading to find out what is going to happen next. Would recommend this book and look forward to reading the next one. Would like to give it 5 stars but I think and hope the next one maybe even better. Jacejs.
on 22 June 2014
At 77p, I think this book is really really good value for money. The main character is quite likeable and real, and it's very easy to believe the story of a nobody turning into something resembling a hero. I'd happily buy it for typical retail paperback prices of £5 - £6.
on 19 November 2013
Brilliant. I read it is in nearly one sitting. Ok, why not 5 stars then? it is because there are some very dark scenes in it and I think some were unnecessary. Nevertheless, Riddle in stone is a deceptively good book. You think it is easy to read but is not. I don't want to go over the plot again, other readers have done it beautifully.
I will get the second instalment. I think it is out now.
on 27 July 2014
What a brilliant book, I absolutely adored it. This is the first book of three in the series (ps Robert Evert, please, don't leave us hanging!!). The main character has a genuinely huge heart, and the more I read the more I felt I knew him. By the end of the first chapter I was firmly rooting for him, by the end of the book I felt like he was family. And now I've finished book three, I miss all of the characters, good, evil, somewhere in the middle...... All in all a great story. Anyone who regularly argues with themselves in their head will relate! *or will they?? What a ridiculous thing to write!* *oh well, I'm putting it anyway!* Many thanks Mr.Evert!
on 1 September 2014
I loved this book as it was a real change in style for me. I hardly have time to read new authors as I am normally trying to keep up with my favorite ones but I can say I will be adding Robert Evert to my list. Have purchased all three in the series now. They are an easy read in a great writing style without being overly complex in the plot which sometimes makes a contrast from some who have a million characters and half a dozen sub plots. Would recommend to any fantasy reader looking to explore something different.
on 28 November 2013
Book - Riddle in Stone (Riddle in Stone #1)
Author - Robert Evert
Star rating - ★★★★★
Would I read it again - Yes
Plot - imaginative, intriguing, exciting
Characters - unique, realistic, relatable, funny
Movie Potential - ★★★★★
Ease of reading - very easy to read.
** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **
After opening up this book with high expectations (I love Dark Fantasy books), I was pleasantly surprised. I had expected something different, something unusual and a little dark, and what I found was the equivalent of a fishing hook grabbing my poor little flipper and dragging me into the depth of the sea. I totally fell into the story from page one. I was, for want of a better word, hooked from the first line. The storyteller had me intrigued and I instantly fell in love with Edmund, our MC - Main Character.
Edmund's internal dialogue was cute. Adorable. He's a complete charmer. And I'm sure he'd probably hate all the words I'm associating with his internal feelings, but I'm afraid there's no better way to say it. I really feel for him, especially when it comes to Molly, the love of his life who he can't even speak to without sparking off his most hated difficulty - his stutter.
Edmund is the not-so-typical hero. In fact, he's downright original and refreshing. Because he's ordinary. He's a normal human being you'd see walking down the street any day of the week. Short, fat, balding, with a stutter and a love of books. Could you image a more anti-hero than that? Yet it works.
I really have to say this one thing - by the end of Chapter 2, I'm like a little schoolgirl with a crush. I'm so excited about this 'adventuring' that I hated to turn off my Kindle. (But it was 1am and I was exhausted, so it really had to be done). So far, the story reminds me, in atmosphere only, of a cross between Lord of the Rings, Willow and Robin Hobb's Fareer Trilogy, with the lovely Fitz. Edmund really reminds me of Willow (from Willow duh!) and Samwise (LOTR). He's completely lovable and I also kind of liked Norb as well. He was an interesting character.
I really like the way we get to see Edmund travelling to his quest. A lot of the time, unless there's a huge event or a disaster in store, we rarely ever see people travelling to their destination. I loved the inclusion of the dog, too, Thorax. I had a little giggle over that. If this were a shape shifter story (though it might be and I just don't know it yet) I would wager that the dog was Molly or a potential friend/love interest for Edmund in the future. At the moment, I'll just have to wait and see. Lol. What I really love about Edmund and Thorax' new friendship is the companionship that Edmund's never had and his grudging acceptance of it in the beginning, and then the total reliance and comfortable feeling between them later. And do you notice how, with Thorax, his stutter isn't so bad? ;) I think that means something important. I'll keep an eye out for that later.
I absolutely agree with Edmund. On what? Well...what about the ugly princesses? They never get stories told about them. And "the Battle of Daisy Meadow"? I've never heard that one yet.
I have to admit that I'm really taking a liking to Kravel and Mr Gurding. They're funny and intriguing and nice characters to really lighten the mood. I also like Pond Scum (No, I'm not making that up) and Crazy Bastard. They're really interesting people and I have a feeling they will both be important later (I'm only at 40% at the moment) I want to find out what happens to them, as well as Edmund's new friend Vorn. I really think I've solved the riddle, but I can't be sure until I find out what it really means. Only time will tell. If Edmund just stopped being so stubborn (though I do understand why he is stubborn about it) then he's realise how simple it could be for his brain.
It's a real shame about the 'eye' incident. (I'm not giving away spoilers here.) But I have to say that the 'rat cage' is by far an excellent use of medieval torture. I've seen medieval torture used in books before, but few have the impact this one did on me. I was literally cringing, not wanting to read more. Very nicely done.
Just after halfway through, I feel like I've been transported from Lord of the Rings to the 13th Warrior (awesome film with Antonio Banderas). Edmund is getting leaner and smarter and he's at that stage where he's learning that it's kill or be killed with the goblins. I also really like that the whole 'mines' situation isn't a flash in the pan attempt to create excitement and danger; it's a real crux of the story, driving the characters forward. I hate when characters get dropped into situations that could be amazing and the idea doesn't get followed through on. So this story is a gold mine for that alone. (excuse the pun.)
I'm so glad that Pond Scum comes back into the story later. Though it's a shame Ed had to lose Vorn, Pond more than makes up for his loss. He's at least optimistic and really lightens the mood when Ed gets down. My only real question about this part of the story though (say 60-70% way through) is:
WHO IS POND? I have a feeling, possibly wrong, that he's going to be really important. He doesn't want to talk much about who he was before the goblins captured him, but he gives enough hints that I'm interested. Even if he turns out to be a regular Joe, I'm intrigued by his story. I'm also very sad about Thorax, though I won't say why. Not what I thought, but a nice addition to the story.
I loved Edith. She was so smart and a little sassy when we last saw her. I think she'll be a bigger part of Book 2. I hope. :)
I'm really impressed by Edmund. After the whole 'eye' incident, he really found his courage, even if he did falter a few times. And although I loved fat, stuttering Ed in the beginning, I also like the emaciated, barely stuttering Ed too. He never lost that charm and charisma he had, even though all he'd suffered. It's just a shame about Molly. I won't give away spoilers, but I had to say that I saw this coming. It could never have ended well but I didn't care. I wasn't annoyed or disappointed with the ending, or that it leaves the story wide open for more. (I know there is a Book 2 anyway) I look forward to getting Book 2 and having some time to read it.
Overall an excellent read. It has everything you could ever want in a good story: fantasy, torture, love, adversity, suffering, courage, mines, goblins, elves, riddles...I could go on. It's a long book, but it is well worth the read. Trust me, if you pick it up and start reading, you will find yourself sitting for hours, getting engrossed in the story, no matter what your plans are.