Follow Karigan G’ladheon’s race to deliver an important message to the King in Green Rider by Kristen Britain.
I originally read this years ago in 2012, and since then the author has released more books in the series. So I thought I’d re-read books 1-5 and catch up on the new books.
I originally picked it up back then because I saw it in Waterstones and loved the gorgeous cover, and the blurb intrigued me. The story grabbed me straight away — Karigan G’ladheon has been expelled from her boarding school, and runs away to avoid facing her father. A Green Rider, one of the King’s messengers, finds her. He has been shot by two black arrows, and makes Karigan promise to deliver his message in his stead. She reluctantly agrees and mounts his horse, and begins her adventure.
Is it as good as I remember? Yes. It’s a good, solid first book. I love the world, the magic system, and the characters. I love how the Green Rider brooches work and how magic is mostly feared in this world. I loved the ghosts and spirits. It kept me interested throughout the story, despite Karigan being a bit annoying at times and the story getting a bit repetitive after a while (I felt like it could have been cut much shorter – at 570 pages it is a long read).
The characters are intriguing – both Karigan herself and the supporting cast. Karigan’s ‘I’m not a Green Rider’ stick does get a bit old and tiresome, but I like that she makes mistakes and that she is so headstrong and stubborn (I feel like I would be the same, I wouldn’t want to be cajoled into doing something!). Her relationship with her father is heartwarming too. The other characters such as Jendara, Captain Mapstone, Beryl Spencer and Alton D’Yer. I also loved ‘The Horse’, who is brave and stubborn.
Downsides to this book – it does get a little repetitive, with her journey to deliver her message being constantly fraught with danger. There’s also two scenes when female characters are almost raped by the ‘evil’ male characters and a male character who has lots of seedy thoughts about a female character. I think those sections should have been left out, they add nothing to the story – and perhaps would be, if this was being published today rather than 1998.
This reminds me a lot of some classic fantasy I’ve read previously, by authors such as Robin Hobb, Trudi Canavan and Terry Brooks. But that’s more because of the style of writing than the characters/plot itself. If you enjoyed those authors I think you would enjoy this series.
The blurb for Green Rider
Karigan G’ladheon always seemed to be getting into a fight, and today was no exception.
But as she trudged through the forest, using her long walk home to contemplate her depressing future – and the expulsion it was bound to hold – a horse burst through the woodland and charged straight for her. The rider was slumped over his mount’s neck with two arrows embedded in his back. Wherever his horse was taking him, he would be dead before they got there.
There’s nothing Karigan can do, as the young man lies dying on the road. He had sworn to carry out his mission as a Green Rider – one of the legendary messengers of the king – and he has a life or death message that must reach King Zachary. Karigan may be unable to save him, but she can deliver his message. He makes her swear to it, to keep it secret and, with his last breath, he warns her to ‘beware the shadow man …’
Pursued by an unknown assassin, following a path only her horse seems to know, and accompanied by the silent specter of the original messenger, Karigan is going to become a legendary Green Rider herself. Caught up in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand, her simple promise to deliver a letter is about to become a race against time … and a race for her life …
About the author, Kristen Britain
Kristen Britain grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, where she started her first novel – an undersea fantasy featuring herself and her friends – at the age of nine. She published her first book, a cartoon collection called, Horses and Horsepeople, at the age of thirteen. In 1987 she completed a degree in film production, with a minor in writing, at Ithaca College. After graduation, travel beckoned and she began a career as a ranger with the National Park Service, enabling her to work in a variety of natural and historical settings, from 300 feet below the surface of the Earth to 13,000 feet above sea level on the Continental Divide; and from the textile mills of the American Industrial Revolution to the homes of Americans who changed the course of history. Her first published epic fantasy novel, Green Rider, the story of a runaway school girl who finds herself in deep peril when she agrees to bear a message for a dying Green Rider (king’s messenger), was released in 1998.
She lives in the woods of Maine with two cats, and a West Highland White Terrier (who cosplays as a Hillander Terrier).