Green Rider by Kristen Britain
Karigen is suspended from school and running home when a Green Rider dies on her path and forces her to swear an oath to deliver an important message to the king.
Karigen rides to the palace stopping at a magical house, confronting a dark creature, and sneaking through a hostile town while being chased, kidnapped, and eventually escaping those who would stop the message from being delivered.
My rating: 4.5 stars
First, I’ve been on an epic journey kind of mood recently. (See my reviews on Kings of the Wyld, Wraith, and The Dwarves.) I’ve been enjoying these stories a lot. This one hit all the things I wanted in an epic journey. The hero starts at a low point, being suspended from school for starting a fight. She encounters strange new people, including magical sisters in a disappearing house, horses that are more than normal, bards, and tomb keepers. She battles a strange beast, and her skills for battle progress, particularly after being inhabited by a sword master ghost who helps her defeat a kidnapper. There are multiple story lines running in tangent; the political intrigue of two brothers fighting for the crown, the intrigue of a feudal lord who wants to be the power behind the crown, her father who is trying to find his lost daughter, the green riders who are trying to stop war, and a elven man trying to control it all.
Second, this is a book in a series, but it truly ends. I was completely satisfied. The battle for the crown was settled. Her father found her. She delivered her message. The issue of her being suspended concluded.
I took a half star because the story focuses on a board game similar to chess and stratego called intrigue. The game has three factions: two who battle each other directly and a third who acts as an unpredictable force. Karigan plays the game three times in the book. She acknowledges that she never wins the game. She doesn’t like the game. She clearly does not view the game as the actions of the other people in the story until the final game play. She misses the significance of the game in her own life and as representation of the political intrigues happening. Her lack of insight on this game made Karigan come across as slow and a bit dimwitted when she is touted as being clever. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes a bit each time the game board came up.
I would recommend this one though. I enjoyed it.