Kristen Britain

Books: Fantasy

Green Rider (1998) 

Green Rider (1998)

Karigan G'ladheon is on her way home after getting suspended from school when a Green Rider, arrows in his back, comes across her, and begs her to carry his message satchel to the King. Meanwhile, in various spots throughout the kingdom, bad things are happening.

This is an interesting story, but I had a hard time really building up a lot of feeling for Karigan. She's a nice enough girl, and she took on a huge burden, but I just couldn't bond with her. It may have had to do with the fact that at one point I put the book down and said to Michael, "Just how many times is she going to be caught by the bad guys before she delivers the damned message?" Not that he knew the answer--he hasn't read the book yet--but I was frustrated by how Karigan seemed to be a magnet for bad guys.

The other thing that bothered me was that it was not clear to me the distances that were to be traversed. was given this all important message to take to the king, and the first thing she does is walk the horse. Then she pauses for a full day to hang out with some crazy old ladies (mind you, I really liked the crazy old ladies). Here I was, thinking time was of the essence, while the heroine is seemingly dawdling through the book. It just didn't make a lot of sense.

Especially since Mister Shadow Bad Guy seemed to move across the countryside with ease.

If it had been said--somehow--that this journey would take weeks, then I might not have been as frustrated by the delays. But instead I was expecting the journey to take only a day or two, so the delay seemed senseless. Kristen Britain put an great sense of urgency in the death of the Green Rider; the handful of words the Rider speaks to Karigan are of haste:

Fly... Rider, with great speed.

Yet half a page later:

The messenger had told her to fly, but running the horse to death would serve no purpose. She would walk him and mount up only when he seemed at least partially recovered.

So. A guy--riddled with arrows--in his dying breath tells her she must urgently get the message to the king. What does she do? She decides on a leisurely stroll. Sorry, but if someone dropped dead at my feet after telling me to rush, I think I'd manage something a little better than walking. At the very least until I was out of the vicinity of the body.

Now don't get me wrong, there were a lot of things right with this book. Karigan is a strong woman who seeks to do what is right, regardless of the personal cost to herself. She also has a strong belief in, and love for, her family, despite the whole teenager/young adult thing she had going.

And despite its flaws, the story was very interesting. What was the message she had to deliver? Why was it so important? Why were the bad guys willing to go so far to get the message stopped? Why does no one in the land trust magic anymore? There were lots of interesting things in the story that kept me intrigued despite the problems I found with the story.

I also like the fact that what she does is shown as hard work. Using magic and riding hard and being captured by bad guys are not restful activities, so it was good that she was exhausted throughout her journal. And I also liked that--for the most part--she didn't constantly faint from sheer exhaustion just as she completed whatever it was she was doing.

There is a sequel to this book. Although the main story arc is concluded, the ending wasn't especially satisfying; there were just too many threads left untied. So it was an interesting book, and I liked the story, but I wish some things about it could have been done differently.

Rating: 6/10