Ah…but I finally picked up Green Rider, and I'm happy to say my friend wasn't wrong. It's pretty fab. There is still that teenage geek in me that lives in a land of magic and strange creatures, maps to forbidden places, and a clearly cut good and evil. Probably a few unicorns tossed in there, as well. Whenever I find myself restless in my reading, I reach for a fantasy book. So many today are urban fantasy (which I do like); but sometimes a good old fantasy novel is the only thing that will do. Horses! Evil! Castles! Secret Messages! Magic! Yep. Love them all.
Green Rider is the first in the series aptly named The Green Rider Series. It features a strong-willed smart young lady who runs away from school and gets herself into a bit of a situation. Karigan G'ladheon was suspended from school following a fight (in which she humiliated the bully of the school) and decides she's going to walk home to her father's house. It's not down the block, but a few days journey. While walking in the woods, she is overtaken by a rider barely hanging onto his horse. He's a green rider, one of the messengers for the King. And he's been shot with two black arrows, and only has moments to live. He implores Karigan to take his horse and ride to the city of Sacor to deliver a very important message to King Zachary. Giving her his brooch, his green cloak, and the horse, he dies on the side of the road. Karigan is torn between the promise she makes the green rider, and her desire to chuck it all and just keep walking home. The choice is taken out of her hands by approaching badness, and Kerigan's journey to Sacor begins. And a whole lot of crap, too. Poor girl. She certainly finds out what she's made of--and that being a green rider is more than just riding a horse. There's magic in that brooch and the horse, Condor, is no ordinary horse.
There's so much to tell you, and I just won't do it! Suffice it to say, black magic, supernatural badness, ghostly riders, and evil men bent on domination are all part of the mix. It is a true battle of good vs. evil.
This is a great start to a series. I will be diving into the rest this summer. Teens will like this novel, especially the honorable and incredibly smart Kerigan.
She is an admirable figure; not perfect, but certainly one who finds incredible strength in herself when she needs it. And no sex in this, either. I have no problem with sex, but I have to say it was refreshing to read something where sex was a complete non-event. Definitely recommend this to youngsters who are beyond Harry Potter and don't find teen reads to be terribly interesting. And anyone who likes a great adventure will certainly want to pick this up. Weary of the shenanigans in Game of Thrones? Try this novel. Not nearly as blood thirsty (and I had a friend say "No incest? Yes!") or seething with such dripping darkness. Just a good, solid fantasy read.
Rating: 8/10 for a solid start to a series. Karigan is a strong character, and her adventures are only beginning.
Available in mass market, e-book, and audio.