by Kristen Britain
Series: Green Rider, Book 1
Published by DAW, 1998
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.