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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

On her long journey home from school after a fight that will surely lead to her expulsion, Karigan G'ladheon ponders her uncertain future. As she trudges through the immense Green Cloak forest, her thoughts are interrupted by the clattering of hooves, as a galloping horse bursts from the woods. The rider is slumped over his mount's neck, impaled by two black-shafted arrows. As the young man lies dying on the road, he tells Karigan he is a Green Rider, one of the legendary messengers of the king of Sacoridia. Before he dies, he begs Karigan to deliver the “life and death” message he bears to King Zachary. When she reluctantly he agrees, he makes her swear on his sword to complete his mission, whispering with his dying breath, "Beware the shadow man...". Taking on the golden-winged horse brooch that is the symbol of the Green Riders, Karigan is swept into a world of deadly danger and complex magic, her life forever changed. Compelled by forces she cannot understand, Karigan is …

Green Rider

by Kristen Britain

Overall Book Review:

I was surprised to find that Green Rider is exactly the right length, despite being roughly 500 pages long. Although the beginning is a bit slow, the story quickly takes off and maintains excellent pacing throughout. I was eagerly flipping pages. Green Rider begins as a travel story, but about halfway through shifts into more of a sedentary adventure. As it was originally published in the 1990s this story has more of an old-school tone compared to modern YA, a style I enjoyed but which may be a turn-off for some readers. Packed with action and interesting worldbuilding, this is a great choice for fans of YA fantasy.

The only big issue with this book is the main character, Karigan. Karigan is spunky, well-liked, and great at getting out of tricky situations, but that’s all we learn about her. She rarely takes initiative, and she isn’t funny, interesting, or even particularly kind. And because we never truly get to know her, Karigan remains somewhat shallow and underdeveloped. Fortunately, this book is primarily plot-driven, so the main character didn’t ruin the book by any means. The fast pacing and level of sheer adventure make up for it, but this did make Green Rider less enjoyable for me.

Green Rider is the first in an eight-book series, with the first seven books already published.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: 6 religious exclamations; 1 mild obscenity; 1 anatomical term.

Violence/Gore: Character uses enslaved ghosts to do magic; injured character dies, brief description; characters chase another with intent to do harm; eight instances where characters threaten others with injury or death; report of fighting; character sees another who just lost a limb, brief description; character attempts to remove another character’s eyeball; story about character stealing the voices of others; report that a character has previously punished others by removing some of their limbs; about 10-page scene where character fights a monster, involves death of animals and injury to humans, some description; character is taken prisoner; characters see multiple corpses of soldiers, including human heads mounted on poles and a disemboweled corpse, some description; three page scene where a man drags a female character into the woods to rape her, she fights back and kills him unintentionally, somewhat disturbing but not graphic; three instances where a character hits another; report of character killing a bear and cubs and eating the heart raw, somewhat gory; character talks about assassinating relatives; three reports of multiple characters being killed; character kills a horse and person, some detail; six instances where a character sees one or multiple corpses that were violently killed or hung, little detail; mention of torture; seven-page fight scene where a character is attacked with a whip, a character attempts to kill a horse, a character’s hand is cut off, and a character shoots arrows at another; three instances where a character is ordered to kill or torture another; characters sword fight, one hurts another with magic; a skirmish takes place involving deaths, about 1 page scene; characters fight with magic; ghosts fight each other; characters bury the dead, no detail; a character hits a girl, implied that he wants to rape her, but another character kills him, not graphic; three instances where a character injures another, mention of blood; archers shoot civilians on command, mention of injuries; scene takes place in a morgue, mention of funeral rites involving cutting corpses open, little detail; characters travel through a communal tomb; report of a character cutting off another’s hands and the victim later committing suicide; characters frequently fight with swords; two characters purposely jump on others’ swords and die; man hits a woman; six instances where a character kills another, normally during fighting; five instances where a character uses magic to injure another; a character attacks another.

Sex/Nudity: Character finds a love letter; mention of eunuchs; mention of character having multiple wives and mistresses; a character looks at a woman and thinks he could have fathered a great son with her; a man thinks a woman is attractive; man has lustful thoughts about a woman, not graphic; character says she wants to castrate another character; a man flirts with a woman despite it clearly being unwanted; about 3-page scene of attempted rape, where a man removes his belt but no other clothing and straddles a woman but is fought off (also noted in the Violence/Gore section); two mentions of brothels; mention of a woman wearing few clothes, no detail; men looks lustfully at a woman; characters hold hands; report of rape, no detail; mention of characters who were in a romantic relationship; old man has a boy dry him off after a bath, he wishes he could make a woman do it instead; a character has a crush on another; a character makes a joke about travelling in the nude; a male character kisses a woman’s hand and touches her neck although it is clearly unwanted; a character kisses another’s hand.

Mature Subject Matter:

War; death; attempted rape; suicide; political revolt; torture; sexual harassment; murder; trauma.

Alcohol/Drug Use:

Characters drink alcohol; it is mentioned that a character is drunk.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I was homeschooled from kindergarten to grade 10, which gave me a love for reading. Growing up books were an integral part of my life, and I’ve always been able to make time to read. I’m most widely read in YA fiction, but fantasy is becoming my favorite genre. My free time not spent reading is mostly spent outdoors camping, riding a bicycle, or otherwise enjoying nature. I’m also a science nerd with a special interest in entomology.