Title: Green Rider
Author: Kristen Britain
Publication Date: April 1st 2011 by Gollancz
I received a review copy from the publisher Gollancz. This does not affect my opinion in any way.
Karigan G’ladheon, running away from school, is traveling through a deep forest when a galloping horse pounds up to her, its rider impaled by two black-shafted arrows. With his dying breath, he tells her he is a Green Rider, one of the magical messengers of the King. Before he dies, he makes Karigan swear to deliver the message he’s carrying, and gives her his green coat, with the symbolic brooch of his office. Pursued by unknown assassins, following a path only her horse seems to know, Karigan becomes a legendary Green Rider for when given to the right person, a Rider’s brooch awakens the magic inside.
I liked some things and disliked others. The story itself is interesting enough but I found it to be quite formulaic. It had all of the elements I usually like but felt like it didn’t quite rise above average. I liked that there was magic in this world and elves and other fantastical creatures . The idea of the Green Riders, messengers for the kingdom with ‘gift’s was also really cool. I liked the world-building and the political intrigue and I’m really curious to see which side comes out on top.
I didn’t really like the main character, Kerrigan that much at first. She seemed like a bit of a spoilt brat with a good heart. She just seemed to fall into situations and then go from there without much thought or planning and somehow manages to get out of all manner of scrapes without much harm. I also couldn’t stand how she kept protesting that she wasn’t really a Green Rider yet never really made an effort to just leave it all behind and get back to her normal life. By the end she had grown on me with her sense of chivalry and doing things just because they were the right thing to do.
I also liked the whole impending evil feel which is a well used trope in fantasy and gave me Tolkien-esque feels but if done right is still interesting. I hope to see more of this in the sequels and I’m invested enough in the story to want to continue. I feel like this is a series that gets better as it progresses; at least I hope so because these covers are beautiful.
This has a very classical fantasy feel and I like the simplicity of it. If you are looking for something slightly different than the usual YA fantasy fare but without the complexity of an adult epic fantasy, you should definitely give this is a try. Also, if you just need a break from the more complex fantasy worlds, this is just what you need. I will definitely be continuing this series because I’m curious to see if the potential in this novel is going to be realised in the sequels.