Robert Evert is a professor. His latest novel, Quests of the Kings, is a young adult fantasy.
Natalie is a 16-year-old peasant girl who works every job she can find to support her mother and her siblings, but options are limited for girls in her society. Natalie is determined to make a better life for her family, and dreams of the exciting life of an adventurer. But Natalie runs afoul of Brago, one of the most famous adventurers, and finds her life in danger.
While on the run, Natalie seeks help from Sir Edris and his squire, the only ones powerful enough to go up against Brago. She joins the kings’ quest for a golden harp, and starts to feel safe with her new friends. But Brago isn’t about to let Natalie—or those she loves—off that easily.
Quests of Kings had potential. A brave young woman, working to support her family in a culture that places little value on women in general: there’s a lot of potential there. Except Natalie comes across as being needlessly defiant, thoughtless, manipulative, and a liar. There’s a lot of action in the book, but it’s mainly due to Natalie’s thoughtlessness. When people put their lives in danger for her, she just takes advantage of them and treats them however she wants. She is not a likeable protagonist, being almost as cruel as Brago—albeit just out of carelessness and thoughtlessness than sheer evil.
(Galley provided by Diversion books via NetGalley.)