“Green Rider” by Kristen Britain

I started another series with my buddy-reader in several fantasy things, Emily of Embuhleeliest, and I’ve quickly fallen for it too. This is the type of fantasy I enjoy reading: one with sword fighting, magic, and a chosen one who… doesn’t want to be the chosen one.




Green Rider, book 1



Goodreads summary

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. (Goodreads)

My thoughts (minor spoilers)

I’ve often seen Kristen Britain’s books in stores and have been wanting to read one for some time now, so I was elated when Emily presented the idea of buddy-reading this series. I was quickly hooked.

It’s sword-and-sorcery fantasy about a girl from the merchant class named Karigan who ditches her boarding school after a fight with a noble’s son. Shortly after beginning her journey home, Karigan runs into a dying Green Rider, messengers for the crown, who urgently asks her to complete his task and carry the very important message he bears to King Zachary, but not read it herself.

Karigan agrees to do so. On her quest to deliver the message, she has several dangerous adventures that test her mettle, encounter terrifying creatures and awful human beings, and is pursued by a gray-cloaked figure as well as the minions of the Governor of Mirwell, who wants to stop the message from being delivered, believing it may contain details of his plans to gain power and land through his treasonous plotting with the outcasted Prince Amilton, older brother to the king.

But Karigan also makes great friends along the way, such as the Berry sisters and the stubborn horse who’s her only companion for much of her quest, and she learns a lot about the Green Riders — and even more about herself and her aptitude.

This was a wonderful read for me. It’s exactly the type of fantasy story I like. I love a female protagonist in a story like this, and I love a story that takes its time to develop (no fast pace here) yet keeps my interest without being too flashy (and by flashy I mean stories — especially these days — that begin with a bang (battle scene or some other fight, or something else to IMMEDIATELY grab the reader’s attention) and then quickly peter out to nothing). Sometimes it made me think of Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness YA fantasy series, probably because it focuses on a female character trying to prove herself. But that reminder simply made me wish I’d encountered this story earlier in life, like right after completing Pierce’s books when I was younger, because this was exactly the type of story I wanted to read after completing those books but was unable to locate, so I reread Pierce’s books instead. Anyway…

I quickly liked Karigan, and the Horse, and also the Berry sisters, who I hope she’ll meet again and visit their house of invisible servants to play Intrigue (a strategy game that’s like chess, I guess) once more. I liked Karigan’s father too, the proud, prosperous merchant Stevic G’ladheon, who I didn’t expect to meet, and the leader of the Green Rider was interesting as well (I forgot her name). I hope these characters appear again in the next book and that we learn more about them.

As for the world, I think it’s slowly unfolding to me, and I’m totally fine with that. What I’ve learned so far is interesting, though. The story takes place in a kingdom called Sacoridia that’s protected along one side (I forgot where) by a weakening physical wall that’s bolstered by magic. The wall keeps out creatures and malignant influences from Kanmorhan Vane, or the Blackveil Forest. However the gray-cloaked figure who’s also after Karigan breached the wall, allowing some of those creatures in, some which Karigan encounters on her journey.

To me, there are some Tolkien influences, as one of the characters reminded me of Tom Bombadil, although he didn’t sing any songs (I guess he could just be a “green man” inspiration too, but Bombadil came to mind first). There’s also Karigan being able to become invisible when she touches the Green Rider brooch (like Frodo and the Ring), but maybe I’m reaching there and I saw these similarities because Lord of the Rings was on my mind at the time. So yeah, there’s magic — and there are also elves, but they’re called Eletians and didn’t stick around long enough when they popped up, so I hop they’ll stick around a while longer in the next book.

Much as I enjoyed reading this, I do have a few complaints, but they are minor. One, of course, is that I don’t like that the story seems to be hinting at a love triangle involving Karigan, King Zachary, and Anton D’Ayer (I think that’s his name), a noble who’s also a newbie Green Rider. It seems that those two guys may be romantically interested in Karigan, but so far Karigan hasn’t expressed similar feelings (probably because she’s stressed and possibly has some PTSD from the crazy adventure she was thrusted in). It just seems to me that the potential romance thing is a bit sudden and forced. And a love triangle is not needed, but I’m biased here because I hate them.

I also think that help comes in the nick of time a bit too often to aid Karigan in sticky situations, but I’m split on this because part of me loves that this happens (lol). And I was a bit annoyed that we got a quick wrap-up of what becomes of Anton at the end. By then I was a bit more invested in his character and wanted more interaction between him and Karigan to see how/if their relationship had grown due to the major events leading to the story’s end.

Overall: ★★★★☆ ½

This rating reflects how much I enjoyed reading this book. I look forward to starting the second one soonish.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass


18 thoughts on ““Green Rider” by Kristen Britain

    1. I think you’re the second person I’ve come across who’s said that of the books. In that case, I’ll need that good luck. I’m holding out hope that I’ll like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Kristen Britain is one of those authors I’ve wondered about/picked-up-but-never-read – but your thoughts here make me think I’d love this. So thank you! 🙂


  2. Awesome, very glad to see you really enjoyed this one. It appears you and I had similar reactions. I was almost instantly engaged, just the sort of fantasy I enjoy and can become fully immersed in. I loved the characters and enjoyed the world building, possibly because it had a Tolkien-esque, or classic fantasy, feel. I didn’t think there was necessarily anything incredibly new or groundbreaking but I thought it was really well written and just the sort of story I enjoy, one of those I can go to when I’m feeling stressed or down and need to get lost in a world. I look forward to reading your thoughts on the future books. I’m not up to date on the series but I have read the first four books.


  3. I wad quite curious about this one, so I am happy you enjoyed it! After reading your review I can safely put it on my TBR! I am not the biggest fan of love triangles but all the rest sounds good!


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