Review: Green Rider by Kristen Britain

Green Rider by Kristen Britain
Green Rider by Kristen Britain


Green Rider
by Kristen Britain
Series: Green Rider, Book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by DAW, 1998
E-book, Purchased
471 pages
Grade: B-
Synopsis: On her long journey home from school after a fight which will surely lead to her expulsion, Karigan G’ladheon ponders her future as she trudges through the immense forest called Green Cloak. But her thoughts are interrupted by the clattering of hooves as a galloping horse bursts from the woods, the rider slumped over his mount’s neck, impaled by two black-shafted arrows. As the young man lies dying on the road, he tells Karigan that he is a Green Rider, one of the legendary messengers of the king, and that he bears a “life and death” message for King Zachary. He begs Karigan to carry his message, warning her not to read it, and when she reluctantly agrees, he makes her swear on his sword to complete his mission “for love of country.” As he bestows upon her the golden winged-horse brooch which is the symbol of his office, he whispers on his dying breath, “Beware the shadow man…”

Karigan’s promise changes her life forever. Pursued by unknown assassins, following a path only her horse seems to know, and accompanied by the silent specter of the original messenger, she herself becomes a legendary Green Rider. Caught up in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand, Karigan is hounded by dark beings bent on seeing that the message, and its reluctant carrier, never reach their destination.

“You’re a stubborn, ill-trained horse.” she said.

The horse snorted and walked towards the North Road of his own volition.

“Hey!” Karigan pulled back on the reins. “Whoa. Who do you think is in charge here?”


  • I enjoy fantasies with good and evil well-defined.
  • I like many of the characters–Capt. Mapstone, for example. Even Jendara is an interesting character, but I didn’t find Karigan that interesting.
  • I like the horse and the way he takes control sometimes.


  • I think the book is too long.
  • Karigan has luck more than anything else during her journey and she’s naive at times.
  • I didn’t understand King Zachery and his feelings toward Karigan. That didn’t make sense to me.
  • The story is a pretty typical fantasy. The book adds nothing really new.

And a few thoughts

  • I thought this book read a like a MG book. I think I went into the book with high expectations. I might have enjoyed it more if I’d realized going in that it’s a simple, light fantasy probably for young readers.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

I’m participating in the following reading challenges for this book:

  • The 2014 New Author Reading Challenge hosted at the Literary Escapism blog.
  • The Book Bingo Challenge.

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

8 thoughts on “Review: Green Rider by Kristen Britain”

  1. It is disappointing when we go into a book with high expectations and the book doesn’t live up to them. I do like the idea of the horse taking control! That sounds like it could be pretty funny. I will have to keep an eye out for this one at the library when I’m in the mood for middle grade fiction but I will keep my expectations in check!


    1. This edition had a forward by the author and she stated she’d received many letters from readers about how inspirational the book was for them. I was expecting more, but now I realize those writers must have been younger. Also since the book was written a while ago having a female heroine might have seemed inspirational at that time.


  2. I read this ages ago – back when it was first published probably! – and wasn’t sold.

    I was tempted to pick up this up when I saw its e-release to see if I’d have a different opinion now, but based on your review, I’m glad I restrained myself.


  3. I liked Green Rider — enough to continue to the next book — but agree that it felt a bit too long. And while I don’t see it as a light MG read (mainly due to the length!), it did feel a bit first-book-ish. That said, the second book felt a little more original. I’ve gotten enough from them to be interested in continuing the series — but I do usually need to have another book going at the same time, because they are so long. Normally I have no objection to long if the action is moving along, but for some reason, these FEEL long. So… like you, mixed feelings.


  4. Okay, good to know, Lark. Not sure I will continue on since I have so many books to get to and that I really want to read!


  5. This was a summer read for me way back when (published in 98, wow it’s been a while), and while I liked some aspects of it, I agree it’s too long and a little generic. I never got around to the sequels so I guess it didn’t make that big an impression. It’s definetly a light fantasy, i don’t need “realistic” all the time but this felt a little too unrealistic I guess.


    1. I agree, Greg…I don’t always need realistic or even for things to make sense if I enjoy the characters and the book. That just didn’t happen as much with this book.


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