Book Review: The Green Rider

Book Review: The Green RiderGreen Rider (Green Rider, #1) by Kristen Britain
Published by DAW Books on April 1st 2000
Genres: Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 471
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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.

Every now and then I come across a book that I wholeheartedly wish I had written—The Green Rider, with its sprawling fantasy world, magic broaches, intelligent horses, strong heroine, and chilling evil villains—is one of these.


When we first meet main character Karrigan G’ladheon, she has just been kicked out of school for winning a fight against a spoiled noble classmate. Unable to face her father, she runs away with only the clothes on her back and a few precious items. But when a king’s messenger bursts onto the scene, she learns that getting kicked out of school is the very least of her problems. With two black arrows in his back, the dying messenger implores her to take up his mantle as a Green Rider and deliver the message to the king. Despite his chilling warning to “beware the shadow man,” Karrigan reluctantly swears an oath to deliver the message and sets off on his horse, which seems to know more about the mission than she does. Hunted by humans and by the reemergence of an old evil, Karrigan learns that the world itself and everything she holds dear is dependent on the delivery of this mysterious letter.


I could not put this book down. Like Karrigan, I was on a mission—the only difference was that my race against time was to finish this book. To me, author Kristen Britain created a fantasy world as rich as The Lord of the Rings with a more relatable Katniss Everdeen at its helm. Not bogged down by a frustrating love triangle a la The Hunger Games, the reader was able to watch Karrigan navigate impossible odds and come into her own. I could easily picture myself in her shoes and I can’t wait to see how much more she grows in the future installments.


Posted July 17, 2015 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Favorite Books

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