Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Kristen Britain - Green Rider and First Rider's Call

    First Rider's Call by Kristen Britain is the second book in the Green Rider fantasy series.  I read the first book, Green Rider, in July 2011, but did not review it.  I'm not sure why, I think it is because I was not in a writing mood at the time.  I wish I had, as ever since, I've been recommending Green Rider to everyone I know who reads fantasy and hasn't read this series yet. I am really enjoying this series. So, to make up for this oversight, here is my review of Green Rider, and following, First Rider's Call.

The world of Green Rider is developed well, set in the land of Sacoridia. Karigan G'ladheon is the heroine, a merchant's daughter, who is expelled from her school, and on her way home, discovers a man dying on the road.  He has been shot with two black arrows, and begs her to deliver the message he carries in his messenger back, to the king, for him.  She agrees, and he dies, and off she goes.  That is not the end of him, however, as the black arrows are poisoning his spirit, and drawing him to the evil that lurks over the wall dividing the land from where ancient evil resides.

   Karigan is young, and some readers might be put off by this, but this is not a young adult fantasy.  There are adult themes in this series, and Karigan has to grow up in a hurry.  Karigan hears the call of the Horn, that calls people from all over Sacoridia to answer, to come be a Green Rider and carry messages for the King to the provinces and their leaders, all over the land. She has a horse, Condor, and discovers that she has her own talents as well. It's a thrilling ride, with ghosts, evil spirits, and a background of war from a thousand years ago, and Karigan discovers that the legacy of that war lives on in the world around her, in a continuing fight of good vs evil.  The other Riders are all different ages and from different nationalities, there are different provinces under the king, that have very different origins.

Unfortunately, I have lent my copy of Green Rider to a friend so she could try the series, so I can't refer to the book for my review. I remember how much I enjoyed it, and wondered why it had taken me so long to read it.   Here is a link to the book reviews.   I know that after I read it, I went out and bought the second one shortly after.
 This past weekend, I picked up my copy of  First Rider's Call,  and I read it in 2 days.  I just could not put it down.  I stayed up late, and read until my eyes were blurry the next day and I had to take a break.  There is something about her writing and the pacing of this series that makes it hard to put down. There is a breathless quality that is wonderful and refreshing.  I enjoyed the adventures, the different storylines, and the exploration of the magical gift or talent that each rider gets when they accept to be a rider.   We get to know more about some of the characters around Karigan as well. First Rider's Call opens a year after the events in Green Rider.  Karigan has gone home, rejecting her role of Green Rider, but the Riders aren't finished with her yet. When she returns to court at long last, she finds that the riders are feeling weakened and diminished, as is her own magical talent - something is changing how the magic works for the Green Riders. And at the wall that divides Sacoridia from the Black Forest, something is stirring when the wall breaks at one point.  An old evil, from back in Sacoridia's history.  One that threatens the land if it breaks free.

The title also refers to the legendary creator of the Green Riders, Lil Ambriodhe, the First Rider, who plays a fairly large role as a ghost  in this book, still trying to round up her Riders for the fight to come.  Karigan has a link with her through the brooch she wears,which turns out to have been Lil's brooch when she was a Rider. Each brooch is handed down, choosing the rider each time, and then when the rider dies or leaves the Green Riders, the brooch goes back into a chest until the next rider for it comes along.  There are a few hundred brooches, so it's not like Karigan only had a few to choose from.  The magic of the brooches is one of the fantasy elements I enjoy in this series.

     It's a delightful series, and I am really enjoying it.  It's solid high fantasy, with a well-developed world and history, with all kinds of fun stuff in it.  And deadly danger.  In both books I ended up crying because someone died.  Being a Green Rider is a serious business, and dangerous as well.  I highly recommend this for anyone who is looking for pure escapist fun fantasy to read.  It has an engaging style and a fast pace, and I do like Karigan very much.  She is an interesting heroine.

So fun that when I received my mother's Day gift card for books, I promptly went out and bought book three, The High King's Tomb, with it.   I am now happily reading it tonight.  Book 4, The Black Veil,  is also  in my birthday box I am busy filling for my birthday next week.

I read First Rider's Call for Once Upon A Time 7.  And The High King's Tomb will be, too.

New Books in the house update:  

Yes, the spending spree continues!  I am making up for the read your own books challenge, most certainly.   I have been buying books for my birthday, though I will save those for next week when I can officially open the box.  In the meantime, I received a lovely Mother's Day book giftcard from my family, and I have spent it already:
High King's Tomb - Kristen Britain (reading already!)
The Last Policeman - Ben Winters (amazon linked)  - I am really excited to find The Last Policeman.  I had heard about it last year.   It's an end of the world dystopian fiction. If the world was going to end in 6 months, what would you do?  What's the point of solving murders if we are all going to die?  Hank Palace is the only cop who cares......

and just because I've been wanting to re-read it for some time now, I bought tonight:
Salem's Lot - Stephen King  - I can hardly wait to re-read this one.  Certain scenes in here are powerful and haunting for me, and lots of vampire deaths.

Other reviews of Green Rider:
Errant Dreams

First Rider's Call:
Errant Dreams
SF Site

and here is an interview with Kristen Britain from 2007, just before Book 3, The High King's Tomb was released, over at Fantasy Book Critic.

If you have reviewed either novel, let me know and I'll link to it.

Book Reviews......

I have so many books from my reading this year to review.  I have read some wonderful fantasy books for Once Upon a Time, and some excellent mysteries through the year so far.  I will be doing these as I can, as I do want to get back into at least putting my thoughts on what I've been reading, down here.


Cath said...

I'm not sure why I haven't gobbled up this 2nd. book yet either. I think I'll try to fit it in before the end of OYaT. Obviously it's pretty good and I really did love that first one.

Yay for new books! I got some for my birthday too, but there are more to come apparently so I can't do a post just yet.

Susan said...

Cath: It took me a little while to get ready for Book 2. Her writing does get better, as do her character development, I'm finding, which is helping with the pace of the book.

I will post about my birthday books after I get to open the box on MOnday! I can hardly wait for your post, you do get some wonderful books too :-) that I end up wanting too!

Anonymous said...

I read Green Rider at Christmas, and I really enjoyed it; but I'd bought it as a stand alone, and I didn't really want another series. Thanks for the reminder, though, sounds like something I should pick up again!

Susan said...

musings from the sofa: I'm sorry I'm so slow at responding to you, Becky! Green Rider is very good. There are now four more books out, I've read the next three. The review of High King's Tomb is to come. The 5th book is still in hardcover, so I have to wait for it.

I find the series intriguing, and easy to read, and like the characters. I know what you mean about series, though!

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