Young heroine Karigan hardly has time to regret being expelled from school (for dueling) before finding herself committed to the desperate errand of a murdered Green Rider. The Riders are an elite messenger corps using both horses and magic; the message is a terrible warning. Bad things from bad places are invading this fantasyland, their presence being only part of a devious, sorcery-aided human struggle for the throne. Karigan’s wild ride is beset by a variety of enemies, but aided by her own developing talents plus certain strange allies. These include the tormented ghost of the dead Green Rider himself–still pierced by and trying to resist the chief villain’s black arrows that ensnare the soul. Delivering the message to a suspicious court is only half Karigan’s job: can it be interpreted in time?
Wow. I’m not sure there’s much else to say that can sum up my feelings as well as that.
Green Rider is the first book in an amazing (and super frustrating) high fantasy series by Kristen Britain. It is so easy to fall into this book series. The protagonist, Karigan, is a spunky girl who opens up the book trying to get home quick to plead her case. She was expelled from school because she stood up to a bully who then used his family influence to get back at her for beating him in a sword fight. Then she comes to help a dying man. One thing leads to another and suddenly she’s in the service of the king, trying to stop evil usurpers, and maybe get home safe and sound.
It’s always the ones who don’t go look for greatness that seem to find it. And that’s the sort of character Karigan is. Then you have the gorgeous king, who may have a connection to Karigan on a “please let’s be in love forever” kind of way. (But of course not that overt considering he’s the king.) Karigan’s father is also no slouch in the character department. He’s an understanding guy who made his fortune through hard work. What really made me love him was how he wasn’t the type to just go marry his daughter off for political alliances, or demand that she stop being awesome and be a “lady” by their society’s standards. And, the best character ever? Condor, the horse. (Or Horse, as Karigan originally calls him.) He’s such a smart, intuitive creature. It’s easy to see how such a division like the Green Riders, the king’s messenger service, can exist and be so much more than just mere messengers.
There’s so many characters introduced, but it’s easy to keep track of. And the plot keeps moving right along at this steady pace, taking the reader with it. As someone who doesn’t read very many high fantasy novels, this was one that blew me away. I recommend this for anyone who’s looking for a grand adventure, doesn’t mind a strong female protagonist, and enjoys a good high fantasy. (Warning: the romantic subplot will frustrate certain readers in future books. But don’t let that deter you from the awesome!)
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