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Review: ‘Green Rider’ by Kristen Britain

January 27, 2011

Karigan G’ladheon left school in a rush to run home, hoping to reach her father before the letter from school did.  She had been suspended because she started a fight with a noble’s son–and merchant girls should not humiliate the sons of powerful nobles.  Carrying pain and regret, Karigan left school and headed for home.

But not far from school she was nearly run over by a Green Rider, one of the king’s messengers.  Except this Rider had two arrows in his back.  With his final breath, F’ryan Cobblebay gave his mission over to a young girl on the road.  Karigan took his message satchel, horse, and Rider brooch and promised the dying man she would complete the mission.

If only she could have known what that promise would hold in store for her.  F’ryan was chased by a mysterious man and his agents, known only as the Shadow Man, who wanted the message she now carried.  Somehow Karigan eludes the chasers and the Shadow Man, discovering her own magical gift in the process.  Trekking across the country to reach Sacoridia’s capital, Karigan is chased by the Shadow Man, mercenaries, and even other Green Riders and her father.    Faced with capture, death, and horrible torture if caught, Karigan pushes to complete her mission at all costs, learning about herself in the process.

But the contents of her message isn’t the only intrigue Karigan will have to face…

My Thoughts: A really good start to the series, Green Rider essentially has it all: adventure, magic, a bit of romance, and political intrigue.  Karigan is a great character to follow, even though I don’t much care for the name (personal preference).  Most of the time I was caught up in the story, unwilling to put the book down so I could find out what happened next.  Britain does a great job of weaving together multiple subplots and setting up the next book.

Back to the characters: Karigan G’ladheon is a wonderful heroine.  She is terrified through most of her journey, and is definitely the reluctant hero.  She has her flaws, which is all to the good as flawless heroes are boring.  Her main motivations are the fact that she gave her word to a dying man and the desire to not only keep that promise but help her country in the process.  And stay alive, of course! All in all, I like her a great deal, and thoroughly enjoy reading about Karigan.

Captain Mapstone figures less in the novel than Karigan, only coming into play in the second half.  When I think of the Captain, the word that comes to mind for me is “majestic”, though I’m not entirely sure why.  As the captain of the Green Riders and advisor to the king, Laren Mapstone has a great deal of responsibility and authority, and this lends her an aura of strength and character that comes across even in print.  But she isn’t a flawless character either, she herself makes mistakes, and one of the subplots that develops around Laren is that of leadership and the effect of mistakes when one is in a position of power.

King Zachary is young, intelligent, subtle, and powerful.  If Karigan is a reluctant hero, then Zachary is a reluctant king.  Never expecting to have the throne, he is sort of learning on the job.  However, he rises to the occasion, and is a wise and kind ruler.  Britain hints of deeper feelings on Zachary’s part toward a certain Green Rider, but so far they are only hints, which only deepened my interest in the story.  As far as kings go, I like Zachary, who is a good king who learns from the mistakes he makes and genuinely cares for his people.

So with this glowing praise, how has the book only earned 4 stars?  I thought places of the story were slow.  Sometimes too much detail was given, and I felt that some parts of Karigan’s journey could have been shortened a little bit to get us to the main action a little faster.  That was really the only drawback, but it was enough for me to knock it down a star.  Take that as you will.

Regardless, I will still be willing to read this book again, many times, and certainly will be reading more of this series!

Buy from Amazon * Author Info * GoodReads

Book info: published 1998, 471 pages, ISBN 0886778581

Copy is from personal library

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