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Green Rider #1

Green Rider

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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.

471 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published November 1, 1998

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About the author

Kristen Britain

23 books2,869 followers
Kristen Britain grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, where she started her first novel - an undersea fantasy featuring herself and her friends - at the age of nine. She published her first book, a cartoon collection called Horses and Horsepeople, at the age of thirteen. After completing her degree in film production at Ithaca College in 1987 she made the logical (?!) leap from cinema to the National Park Service. Her many years as a park ranger enabled her to work in a variety of natural and historical settings, from 300 feet below the surface of the Earth to 13,000 feet above sea level on the Continental Divide; and from the textile mills of the American Industrial Revolution to the homes of Americans who changed the course of history.

Currently she lives in a log cabin in Maine where she writes full time and pursues interests reading, guitar playing, and cartoon illustration, supervised by a cat and a dog. She enjoys exploring the magical places around her and can often be found paddling a canoe in stillwater, ambling through the woods to mountain summits, or sitting along the rocky shore listening, watching, and daydreaming. This is her fantasy, at least.

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5 stars
15,169 (40%)
4 stars
13,026 (35%)
3 stars
6,511 (17%)
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753 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,155 reviews
Profile Image for Robin Hobb.
Author 294 books98.9k followers
February 26, 2017
Here is the story of how I didn't read Green Rider for years.
I received an ARC of Green Rider from the publisher when it first came out, asking if I could blurb it. I set it on the corner of my desk. My younger daughter had recently run out of Tamora Pierce books. She asked if she could try Green Rider and I said, "Sure, let me know what you think of it, and then I'll read it."
So off she went with it. And it went to camp with her, as her read. Then it went to school with her and was passed around to her friends. Her love and theirs for this book was so extreme, I could never get my hands on it. Eventually, I resigned myself to that, and tried to be content with the rest of my looming 'to read' pile.
Well, here we are, in 2017 and Kristen Britain is coming to town for Emerald City Comic Con. And I thought, I really need to read her book! So I got a copy and took it on a flight with me.
And my daughter was right. This is an excellent book, with a strong heroine and compelling adventure. Best of all, it's convincing. There is no 'poof, you are now a warrior!' She remains a youngster, one with her own plans for what her life should be. And that is as close to a spoiler as I'm going to get. Get Green Rider, and read it first. Before you let even your daughter borrow it!
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,534 reviews9,935 followers
August 11, 2017
Re-read on audio. Great narrator. I still felt like it's a 4 star! 😊 Now hopefully I can keep going before I forget most of this one again!

****Old Review****

I really did like this book and I look forward to seeing what happens in the other books in the series.

There will be some mild **SPOILERS**

Karigan G'ladheon is a wonderful character. Sometimes she made me mad with the choices she made but they always turned out for the best.

She is running away after being expelled from school for something that really wasn't her fault. On the way down the road she runs into F'ryan Coblebay who is a Green Rider, he has been shot with arrows and is dying. He gives her a request to take a message to King Zachary. Karigan decides she will do this, she puts on his pendant and cloak and gets on his horse, which has a mind of his own. I love that horse. He's almost human! Accepting this request takes her on a hell of a journey hiding from mercenaries, being caught by mercenaries, being attacked by crazy, evil insects. There is just so much going on it's a wonder she even survives anything.

I loved the part when she comes to the Berry sisters house in the middle of the woods. Sounds Hansel and Gretelish but it's not :) The Berry sisters are really cool and have a lot of magical stuff in their house. They have these poor servants that are invisible and you can't hear them speak. Their father put a curse on them years ago before his death and could never find an incantation to correct it. Although, it's a cool thought to always have someone around you, they could just watch you while you do anything, plus it's sad for them.

The pendant of the Green Rider has magic as well and Karigan can make herself and the horse invisible! That is so cool and this is one of the reasons she makes me mad at times when she doesn't use it. But I digress. It does sap her energy so there is that. Oh, and the sisters gave her a moonstone that will help keep her warm and light her way, as it chose her. They gave her some other little things that came in handy.

This is a really good book with a lot of evilness, fighting, magic, creatures, and sneaky little jerks all over the place.

I think anyone that likes these kind of high fantasy novels would like this book.


Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
736 reviews1,257 followers
September 20, 2017
I’ve had this series on my shelves for YEARS. It was one of the few I was incredibly excited to start, which makes it all the more disappointing that I didn’t like it. My 2-star “it was just okay” rating sums it up perfectly: it was just okay. The first chapter started off with the bang, then it proceeded to meander through one inconsequential event after another, and I could feel my enthusiasm dropping with every page. At one point, I was more than halfway through the book and still couldn’t see any purpose behind the scenes and kept wanting the story to get back to the inciting moment at the beginning. I’m really bummed I didn’t like Green Rider, especially since my cousins really loved it. I’m unfortunately abandoning the series from here.

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.NikiHawkes.com

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The Thief's Gamble (The Tales of Einarinn #1) by Juliet E. McKenna Through Wolf's Eyes (Firekeeper Saga, #1) by Jane Lindskold The Outstretched Shadow (Obsidian Mountain, #1) by Mercedes Lackey The Soprano Sorceress (Spellsong Cycle #1) by L.E. Modesitt Jr. The Wizard Hunters (The Fall of Ile-Rien, #1) by Martha Wells
Profile Image for Paxnirvana.
121 reviews15 followers
June 11, 2008
Not good. Mary Sue main. EVERYTHING revolves around this girl. Which can be okay as a device if the author handles it right. This one didn't. *sigh*

The overall story also suffers from a common problem in fantasy world-building: TOO MUCH. If magic horses and riders aren't enough for the tired old the-throne-is-threatened-oh-no-must-save-it! trope, add bad elves, ancient magics, rich men who mysteriously fall for the heroine, shadowy bad guys, Disney-esque old ladies in isolated magical mansions and too-helpful ghosts to the mix.

Has Horse though. Liked The Horse. Not enough to keep reading it, but The Horse was cool.
Profile Image for Ian.
1,364 reviews188 followers
August 7, 2017
Every now and then a book comes along that changes your life.
That isn't this book.
But sometimes while you're waiting for that book, you come across a book that was entertaining and really good fun.
That's this book.
Profile Image for Solseit.
350 reviews81 followers
January 26, 2021
A 4 stars book - if you want a Tolkien feeling, a young and mature female strong lead (and plenty other interesting characters), a lonely quest leading to an epic conclusion of the book.
I could not have had a better time reading through this book!
361 reviews7 followers
October 27, 2007
When I read the back of this book, I thought wow; sounds like the Heralds of Valdemar, and if you point out some generalities, it sounds even more so. Young heroine, special horses, magical abilities, messengers for the king. Wow, sounds familiar--Talia--young heroine, special horses--companions, magical abilities--mind magic, messengers for the king--heralds act as messengers. But that's where the similarities end unless you want to add good writing, characterization, and plot to the mix.

The world is interesting. The magic isn't prevalent. In fact, the common person doesn't believe that magic exists or else believes it is only used for ill. The main character has run away from school, and she finds a Green Rider (the messengers) dying who asks her to take on his mission. So, she does. The writing is so good that eventually the main character's suspension from school is tied into the main plot. The main plot of course is that her message is vital to the security of the realm or is it? You'll have to read the book to find out.

Other interesting things: the author creates her own game called Intrigue and uses it as an extended metaphor throughout the book (kudos as far as I'm concerned as a lit geek). Also, the king's guards--the Weapons are fascinating, and her use of the supernatural is fairly unique as well.

If you like Lackey, you'll like this book (and its sequel). If you like high fantasy, you'll like it. If you like fantasy with strong female leads, you'll like it.
Profile Image for Eon ♒Windrunner♒  .
435 reviews481 followers
June 23, 2015
I was not sure what to expect from this book, as the author was new to me and the title didn't quite grab my attention, even though it reminded me of those very old fantasy books which are normally solid bets. I only decide to read it due to the recommendations of friends, and I am glad that I did. In a way, I guess that I wasn't wrong about the old school feeling, as this is a very classic fantasy story and gave off a Tolkienesque vibe.

So, classic fantasy - you know what to expect then. One thing that definitely stood out though, is that Kristen Britain has a way with words. She managed to describe scenes beautifully and with excellent detail without ever falling into the 'too much info' trap. Character-wise there is the expected divide between good and evil with a couple of fantasy staples (elves!) making appearances. They were well written though and I enjoyed them all, although I once again think my favorite was an animal - Condor AKA "The Horse".

Overall a satisfying read and once again a very good debut book. The next book is on my TBR list!

Profile Image for Laura ❀.
60 reviews76 followers
March 10, 2021
“I swear...I'll deliver the message for the love of my country.”

Green Riders are apart of King Zachary's messenger service and are entrusted in delivering the most important messages. Their journeys are difficult and they often die young, especially if they're carrying a message with information regarding a threat to the King.
This is what happens to F'ryan Coblebay who ends up entrusting his message to the expelled school girl he encounters on the road: Karigan G'ladheon.
Left only with an essential message that must be delivered to the king and a stubborn horse, Karigan has no choice but to complete the mission but the dying Green Rider leaves her with a warning "Beware the shadow man...".

Ahhh this was such an epic adventure story - I loved every page!!

I understand why this book has been compared to Lord of the Rings, in that it features an unaware heroine who ends up on an incredibly difficult journey, travelling where she has never gone before. The world building was amazing and I loved the addition of new unique characters throughout the plot. You could constantly make links back to characters that Karigan had previously encountered and understand their importance in her journey more significantly as the book continued. Each Green Rider had their own unique ability as well and I loved discovering what sort of ability each of them had as more were introduced.

Karigan made such a great lead character. She was unaware of the great possibilities magic could hold at the beginning of her journey and it was so great to see her learn and develop her own abilities. Honestly, she went through so much it was shocking at some points - it was like she had the worst luck in the world but she still managed to pull through.

I loved how there were female characters in strong positions within the government as well. For example, Captain Laren Mapstone who is in charge of the Green Riders. Laren is an amazing character and I loved every appearance she made.

The only thing I felt a bit meh about was the proposed romance (there is no romance but it's kinda implied there will be in later books). As someone who loves romance I really did not feel like this book needed it (which is so weird to say because I usually always need some kind of romantic plotline). I just loved how independent all the female characters were and I just felt that this romantic prospect that was hinted at was just put there for the sake of it, rather than to actually develop the story.

Despite that it does get a 5 star from me! I wish I had read this around the time I first read Lord of the Rings when I was younger because I feel like it would've filled the gap for me and also given me a great female character to look up too! Also, the fact this book featured horses A LOT just made me love it even more!

Thank you so much Emma for the recommendation!<3
6 reviews1 follower
June 10, 2007
So, I really feel like The Green Rider demonstrates what a fantasy novel should really be. Just enough world building to pique the interest, with a lot of the usual fantasy tropes bobbing to the surface (ancient wars, forgotten magic, elite bodyguards, aloof faeries/elves hidden in the forests, etc) but other details that make it uniquely its own. The world building is not so overwhelming that is swamps the action or waters down the characters too much.
The pacing kept quick and exciting, as Karigan actively explores a world that's not only new to us, but also new to her. The plot that she must foil is wonderfully real: it deals with real people trying to advance their own agendas, and there is only brief mentions of some kind of ancient evil lurking on the fringes of humanity. The other characters are sympathetic and well constructed, with only a light patina of cliche. Overall, this is a wonderful book that is a fast, entrancing read, and showcases what can be done with fantasy when writers decide to crawl out from the vast, echoing cave of traditional "epic" fantasy.
Profile Image for Mean Jane.
34 reviews2 followers
May 12, 2012
Listened to around 8 chapters on audiobook format.

This book started out wonderfully (well okay, I've never been a big fan of watching the bad guy rub his hands gleefully while doing evil deeds as a prologue, but the magic was interesting!). We get thrown into the action almost from the word go with the main character, Karigan, runs across the path of a dying messenger and taking up his mission. What followed was a exciting chase scene and more interesting magic.

Then the Berry sisters showed up and the plot ground to a screeching halt.

I really hope the sisters were actually put in for a reason -- no, actually I don't. They were insufferable. They take Karigan in to their incredibly decedent house, feed her up with a feast sprung out of nowhere, practically bash the reader over the head with 'quaintness and charm' and their library where EVERY detail and nuance of every object had to be described... and it just went on and on and ON for chapters.

I was hoping that there was a point to all of this. The Berry sisters (Bunch and Bay Berry, and if you think that's funny, try listening to that pun 50 times in four chapters...) had to be evil. They were just too good, too sweet and kind and matronly. But nope.

Finally, FINALLY they send Karigan on her way and I think, "Yay! The plot has arrived again!" But then we're thrown into more eeeevil plotting by the bad guys. Okay whatever.

Then we return to Karigan! And she runs across a crab thing! And the horse puts its life on the line to protect her! And Karigan... runs off and leaves the horse to fend for itself. What? Then she gets caught in a spider web and expects the horse to save her AGAIN and... I couldn't take it any more. I hate this main character. I hate her little side trips into nowhere, and I am not spending one more minute on this book.

Also, as a side note, the voice acting with the faux English accent was terrible.
Profile Image for Gavin.
883 reviews397 followers
June 13, 2015
This was a fairly typical YA fantasy. It stands out only because it was well written and has a strong female lead character.

Karigan G'ladheon is fleeing from her school, where she has just been suspended, to her home, but along the way she encounters a dying Green Rider. The man has been shoot with two black arrows. The Green Riders are the King's elite messenger service and with his dying breath the man manages to convince Karigan that she must complete his mission and deliver the message he is carrying to the King. She agrees and is soon fleeing the very assassins that shot the Green Rider.

The world was a fairly interesting one as Karigan's own mission is set in the backdrop of political unrest in the kingdom of Sacoridia. A situation that is complicated even further by the fact that an evil mage has just damaged the magical wall that has protected the humans from the evil creatures that lurk in the Blackveil Forest.

This was nothing special or original, but it was a decent enough read. Karigan was a likable and easy to root for and the story was engaging enough to keep my interest.

Rating: 3 stars.

Audio Note: Ellen Archer did an excellent job with the audio.
Profile Image for Eric Allen.
Author 3 books740 followers
June 27, 2014
An Opinionated Look At:

Kristen Britain's Green Rider

By Eric Allen

I'm a proud member of the Science Fiction Book Club, and I have been for many years. I have bought and read the featured selections, two books that the club is really excited about and send to every member each month unless they indicate otherwise, almost every single month since I joined. Yes, I am that big of a geek. So sue me. If I remember correctly, both Green Rider and A Game of Thrones came out the same month. Now THAT was an epic pairing for featured selections. I remember reading Green Rider back then, and loving it, but I somehow managed to miss the book's four sequels. Shame on me, I know, but that is a problem I plan to rectify right now. So, welcome to my new retrospective series on Green Rider.

After being suspended from school Karigan G'ladheon, heir to the G'ladheon Merchant Clan, runs away, deciding to make her way home alone, with thoughts that it might be an adventure. But along the way she happens upon a dying man, a Green Rider, one of the king's messengers. The man makes her swear to deliver his message to the king for him before dying. Karigan takes up the message and his quest to get it to the king, becoming a Green Rider herself. Chased by mercenaries, dark creatures of old, black magic, and a mysterious Gray Rider (Not black, because all of the Black Riders got lost on the way to the Shire by way of the Two Rivers) with dark powers, she finds herself at the center of a plot to assassinate the king and place his brother on the throne.

The Good? Britain has created a very interesting world with a long and deep history that she never goes over the edge into infodumping to describe to us. She does an excellent job of working the history, and the different factions within the kingdom, character relationships, and little tidbits of lore into the story as it progresses rather than lecturing us for pages on it in a wall of text--I'm looking at YOU, Goodkind!!!--giving just enough here and there to paint a beautiful picture, rather than overdoing it and making it boring instead. This is a skill that many writers try to employ, but never really succeed very well at.

Britain is very good with creating a dark and creepy atmosphere through most of Karigan's adventures, and has a clever eye for irony. She does very well with building up tension and drama within the story, and getting the emotions of the characters across to the reader. Again, something many writers try to do, but that few really succeed at. The book is very well written, especially considering that it is Britain's first published novel. (And no, I'm not counting the children's book she published when she was a teen.) If only all authors would be so skilled when publishing their first book.

The Bad? There's really only one thing that I can complain about in this book, and that's that the main character, Karigan, is kind of useless throughout most of the book. Now, I'm not saying that I don't like her personality, I found it quite entertaining. What I'm saying is that Karigan is a character type often called either a Blank Slate, or an Every(wo)man. This type of character is used in one of two situations, when the writer simply wishes to create a stand in for the reader, or to make it easier for the reader to identify with the character. This type of character usually comes from a humble background, is naive in the ways of the world, and usually must be mentored in some way by another character to teach him/her what they will need to know to complete their quest. A good example of this type of character would be Frodo from Lord of the Rings. He must carry the ring to Mordor because literally every other character has told him that they are too important to be corrupted by its power, and he, the unimportant one, must carry it for them. Frodo is able to bear its burden so long because he has absolutely nothing that the ring can use to tempt him. He's a blank slate. He exists as a stand in for the reader.

Now, this type of character can be used well. I'm not saying that it can't. However, the problem arises when you remove all intelligence and capability from the character. You see, Frodo wasn't just a complete nobody with no knowledge or skills whatsoever. He was rather intelligent, able to see and recognize danger and the significance of important events where no other Hobbit could. He was able to think or talk his way out of a lot of bad situations, and he had his friend Sam there to lean on when things got rough and he needed a helping hand. Karigan on the other hand, has absolutely nothing. She comes off as rather dull-witted, having to be told how to do EVERYTHING by people she meets along her journey. I can think of one single instance where she did something on her own initiative, and that's in the climax. And even then she did it with a magic sword given to her by someone else. Every other time she got into trouble, some other character showed up to bail her out of it. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Random characters pop up all over the place to give her aid. To give her knowledge that she lacks. To give her magical items that she can use. It seems almost as though the writer plays a lot of fantasy video games where you go to town A to find NPC B and obtain Item C to be able to cross section D of the dark and dreary forest. Rinse and repeat as necessary. Karigan has almost zero common sense, and extraordinarily little knowledge of the world around her, especially for someone who has been in training to be a merchant in the area for as long as she can remember. Don't you think she should be at least passingly familiar with the land in which she grew up and plans to do business in? She is traveling the land between her home and her school. Land that she has traveled before. And she has no idea where to go, what to do, where anything is, what direction she needs to go to get to the king, and any other number of things that she, as a character who lives in, often travels, and does business in this place, should already know. She literally cannot do ANYTHING on her own, all the way up to the end. Every single time she is in danger, some other character does all the work for her, because she is just so incapable and dumbed down in order to make her more identifiable to the readers. At many times her HORSE is more capable than she is. Which was something of a rather entertaining running gag in the story.

I would really have liked Karigan to have been a little more capable, and a little more knowledgeable. There's naive and in need of guidance, and then there is someone who basically needs to be carried by other characters throughout the entire story. The protagonist of a story should be able to do things for herself, and by doing, learn something vital about herself or her enemy that helps her to triumph in the end. Karigan didn't. She basically got lucky in the end the one time she decided to do something on her own. It's all right for her to be naive, and to need help from time to time. Everyone needs a helping hand at one time or another. But this is kind of ridiculous. There comes a certain point where a character just starts to look too dumb to tie her own shoes, and Karigan passed over that point frequently. I mean, who wants to read the adventures of a character who has no idea what she's doing, no idea where she's going, and never once figures anything out on her own, instead relying on others to show her the entire way, and to come rescue her when her incapability gets her in trouble? Those aren't really HER adventures. They're the adventures of the ones who did all the work for her. I mean, the character is clearly not an idiot, but the writer keeps treating her as if she is, stripping her of all the knowledge and skills that she should have as a person who lives, works and travels often in this area in the name of making her relatable to the reader, and having an excuse to explain aspects of the story and the world to us. Fish out of water stories are fine, but when the fish is actually in waters she knows well and acts like she isn't just to fulfill a need in the story, maybe things need to be rethought just a bit. This is the HERO of the story, and it's other people who do all of the heroic things for her while she stands by and watches, completely clueless. The hero and the dumbass in distress are not supposed to be the same person.

In conclusion, this book is a great read. It's exciting, and tense, with a very good creepy atmosphere that hangs over most of the story. Though the main protagonist relies far too much upon the strength and knowledge of others to squeak by, and the Deus Ex Machina is turned up to eleven throughout the majority of the book, she is still a rather entertaining character. The quality of the writing, and the wonderfully crafted world in which it all takes place more than makes up for the deficiencies in the main character. It's a fun little fantasy novel that many people may have missed or overlooked at the time of its release, but it is well worth the time to read.

Check out my other reviews.
Profile Image for Sabrina.
429 reviews16 followers
June 22, 2019
The story of a spoiled, bratty, idiotic, judgmental, hypocritical teenager who has little patience and even smaller self-preservation skills but who happens to be such a special little snowflake that no matter what she does (or doesn't do) is fated to be THE ONE who will save the kingdom.

Karigan has been suspended from school due to politics and the fact that she does not play well with others. In a fit she runs away. While on the road she has a run in with a dying green rider, one of the kingdoms messengers. He makes her swear to carry on his mission and she accepts. From there she is pursued on her drawn out journey to the king who the message is for. She manages to make allies and get captured and almost eaten by monsters before finally reaching her destination by magical means. (Why her allies didn't help her this way, or even help the dead green rider, long before this moment is a mystery. She has been wondering about with a 'direly important life or death' message for what is about 2 or more weeks almost dying at least twice before they step in and go oh! you are about to die and need to get the message to the king asap! We'll take you there in minutes!)

Once at court her behavior is that of a bratty 12 year old who is oblivious to what is going on around her. All she can think is to go home. But every time she tries to go trouble happens and she gets sucked in, or inserts herself even if she will be causing half the danger by insisting on being involved. The bad guys try their evil plot and she is there to save the day (only not really because she just steps in it every time and has to be saved because she can't take advise, orders or has any common sense or self-preservation skills). But she is THE ONE so whatever she does works in the end and she doesn't die (even though she should have like three times over) and all is well. Oh and just cause she's the special one she has to fall in love with the king who has to like her back just cause it sounds good for the plot not because they actually have chemistry or like the same things or even spent any time together. But since the kingdom is saved and all that jazz it's back home she goes, and forget about finishing school, who needs that it's off to work after she gets home. The end.

The pacing of this story sucked. It starts and stops starts and stops. There is a great chase scene, danger is happening then bam! Everything stops when our MC decides it's time to take a break and the plot goes off on a heavy info (that's not all that relevant) dump tangent. Then it's back to meandering along, the chase picks up and....another screeching halt when she needs another break filled with irrelevant descriptions. Rinse and repeat.

The characters are all shallow ideas that are never fully fleshed out. Karigan is the only one we get to know and she has very little depth and no real character growth. And she is an unlikeable idiot but she is the MC and she is just so special you just have to like her...not. The villains are of the old fashion hand wringing mustache twirling type, you laugh at them more than anything else. The whole first chapter should have just been removed by the editor as completely unnecessary.

The plot is nothing new or special and fills out a check list for a basic fantasy story. Main MC who was just a normal person going about their business but gets sucked into a dangerous quest and finds out they are something really special. Their is magic that is never really explained or has rules or logic that is usually regarded as evil if it's old. A religion or belief system that is a mish mash of lots of religions/beliefs just for kicks. Elves are a must. Monsters and/or large sentient creatures to hinder and aid our MC. Mysterious allies that give you lots of info about the world/politics/powers/situation to which the MC doesn't listen to. Loyal allies/sidekick(s) that stick with you through all the shit you put them through or no matter how stupid their leaders are. A kingdom in peril from it's wealthier power hungry citizens or the kingdom next door you slighted or have taken in our unwanted slighted relatives. The evil villain that is more laughable then cringe-able. A love triangle of some kind. This book had them all. One thing that confused me is why everyone who is so gung ho about the king in danger is because he is a great king. Really? Because I didn't see it. We aren't told/shown why he is a great king. He didn't do anything special and besides be kinda nice to our MC he seems pretty shitty to the rest of his subjects.
Profile Image for Kogiopsis.
772 reviews1,496 followers
April 17, 2022
Re-read as part of my ongoing shelf audit. Verdict: when I first read this I thought I'd pursue the whole series, but now I don't really have much interest. This is fantasy of a particular era, and there's nothing wrong with that, it's just that I feel like the genre/market has moved considerably beyond it, and since I don't have a nostalgic or emotional connection to this story, it no longer hooks me.

(I am increasingly expecting to feel this way when I finally get around to re-reading Valdemar as well.)

This book is an early work, and it shows - in awkward phrasing, in trying a little too hard to make Riders seem cool by having secondary characters expound on how cool they totally are, in the fairly basic fantasy worldbuilding and lack of depth in the conflict.

The antagonists are largely evil because they're just... assholes (Amilton, the Gray One, Mirwell), or they have inexplicable loyalty to one of the assholes, and feel flat despite the fact that several of them get third-person-limited POV chapters. The protagonists are good because they're not assholes, and while there's an interesting choice to include anti-monarchy activists in the background, ultimately their actual ideas aren't really explored or important. Maybe this comes up later, but having read the descriptions of the other books in the series, I doubt it.

Ultimately, I feel that fantasy writing has moved beyond this book, as have I as a reader.
Profile Image for Nicole.
749 reviews1,932 followers
July 12, 2022
This book took me months to read. It was first ok but then I was immensely bored reading it. I considered dropping it several times and I wish I did because I was forcing myself to read whilst I could've been reading something I enjoy.
Its target is a very young audience but at the same time, the writing style is old school so I would say this book did not age well.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,144 reviews1,847 followers
October 6, 2014
This is a good beginning to a good trilogy*(Update...the "trilogy" has gone 4 volumes now, oh well). This is a mainly character driven book. The "courier" is in fact an interesting historical character in "his or her" own right. Traditionally given special consideration (passing through enemy lines in battle, traveling enemy territory allowing communication between hostile powers etc.) they are fascinating. Of course what I mention above is the "ideal" in reality a lot of messengers didn't actually manage to make it to their assigned destination....

Placed in a fantasy world and given a more pivotal role in the operation and indeed the survival of the kingdom an absorbing story emerges.

Leaving "school" in "disgrace" after besting an aristocrat (apparently shamed by her expulsion) Karigan G'ladheon travels into Green Cloak Forest and encounters dying Green Rider (an elite messenger in the King's service). Shot with a pair of black arrows he lays the "duty" (as she loves her Kingdom) making her swear to deliver a message directly into the hands of Laren, the Captain of the Green Riders or the King himself.

Thus the adventure starts, and it's a good one. Enjoy.
February 13, 2013
I usually like adventure fantasies, but this book was just all over the damn place. There are plenty of books in which this is well done, I didn't feel like this was one of them. The adventures felt forced, and I didn't enjoy reading any of them. I finished the book, but I skimmed through most of it because I just wanted to know what happened in the end. I kind of want to read the subsequent novels, but this is not a good start.
Profile Image for Talltree.
2,081 reviews25 followers
April 3, 2017
Author borrows from Tolkien and maybe other HF authors but her imagination is limited. I skimmed quite a bit esp. in the second half and won't be continuing the series.

Rating: A higher 3, say 3.65 stars.
Profile Image for Susan.
1,584 reviews91 followers
February 2, 2018
Another of those "I picked it up because of the cover" (lovely artwork by the late Keith Parkinson!) that was a reward for adventurousness -- Enjoyed this book I've had to buy 4 copies because I need to spread the wealth :-)

I tend to send books to my sister and niece, plus I've been known to waylay strangers in the bookstore if they venture down the F/SF aisle (or the horror aisle).

re-read 8/18/2003
Profile Image for Jerry.
4,693 reviews62 followers
August 27, 2020
Fantasy can be a tough genre. Though there are some true classics in that genre--such as Tolkien's Middle-Earth saga, C. S. Lewis' Narnia books, and Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet--some suffer from shoddy writing, inane plots, and especially objectionable content. So, when I first saw a Kristen Britain book at a garage sale, I wasn't sure if I would like it or not; however, I decided to take a gamble and buy it.

It actually wasn't this book; when I researched it online, it turned out that I had bought the sequel. (Did the seller have the first book, and it already got bought, or was she just selling the second one? I'll probably never know.) Still, I was able to get the first book from the local library; I remember reading it and enjoying it.

However, that was years ago, and I didn't remember much about the story. Recently coming across another book by the same author made me want to try the series again, so, I found this book and it sequel in the paperback sci-fi/fantasy section of my local 'berry...and I enjoyed it this time, too! Now, I need to check out the sequels...of which I hear there are several.
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,562 reviews2,940 followers
July 12, 2021
Dnf @ Pg 130.
I just found this one didn't work for me as it was pretty slow and predictable and wasn't offering anything new to me. I wanted to like the girl on a rebellious quest for the king as a Green Rider, but I found her attitude wasn't for me and ultimately she wasn't captivating. The two ladies she meets early on were of more interest to me and Horse is a fun character, but overall it felt slow and like it was using tactics I've seen before.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
1,334 reviews29 followers
February 27, 2016
Medieval epic fantasy told in 3rd person POV, mainly from the perspective of the heroine, but also from a villain's POV. I enjoyed this book, but didn't totally love it. Excellent narration, though! Superb performance by Archer. Family safe, too. No sex or swearing. There is a map on the Web, but it's blurry.

Lots of survival scenes, battle scenes, travel scenes. On her clever horse, Karigan must deliver a message, but first she has to deal with deadly creatures of black magic, sorcerery, soul-stealing arrows, and relentless sword-masters. Thankfully, she's been given a few magical artifacts and (some) special training to help her overcome tremendously painful battles. Yes, I did think of LotR and Harry Potter, but so what?

Karigan, a young woman in her first year at university, was a reluctant but dutiful heroine. I liked her well enough, despite some whining (with cause) and some carping about aristocrats. I grew tired of her denial: “I’m NOT a Green Rider!" Hopefully, that inner-struggle won't continue for long in book 2.

Karigan as heroine wasn't quite a Mary Sue. She suffered. Was captured. Nearly gave up. Her learning curve was steep, but John Flanagan does a better job portraying a developing skill set. Having said that, I liked how Karigan learned to wield a sword like a master, with help from an unexpected source (but her transformation occurred perhaps too quickly).

Many of the scenes in the first half of the book would have been more heartfelt if Karigan had a comrade at her side (and not just a ghost). Too often, she alone won the battles and she journeyed alone, with some exceptions. For example, I liked her visit with the Berry sisters, Bay and Bunch, and with the ancient gigantic forester, Abram.

Good secondary characters: Jendara the female sword-master mercenary. Captain Laren Mapstone the scarred Green Rider who leads the entire organization. King Zachary, young, betrayed, but brave and wise. Also the ghosts, with arrows in their backs. I felt for them, including F'ryan, the Green Rider who charged Karigan to complete his delivery, just before he died.

It bugged me that the Green Riders universally received minimal respect. Not even from the king's guards. I compare this with the solid respect the King's Rangers (similar to Green Riders) receive in Flanagan's series, beginning with The Ruins of Gorlan.

I see that the sequels are quite long, upwards of 650 pages. Not sure if I'm invested in the characters or the plot enough. Long books tend to annoy me — flaws acceptable in shorter books begin to stand out. Often times, lengthy books meander and contain filler. They frequently suffer from wordiness, too, and excessive internal dialogue.
Profile Image for Becky.
52 reviews13 followers
December 19, 2008
I picked up this book because of an eye-catching cover followed by a few good reviews I ran across while browsing around. I'm glad I did!

This is a fairly standard fantasy work in a lot of ways: Karigan is practically shoved into the role of heroine when circumstances lead her to come across a man, dying with two black arrows in his back, who pleads with her to carry his urgent message to the king. She is quickly thrust into life-or-death situations, meeting all sorts of strange people along her way, narrowly escaping trouble - especially as she evades the mysterious Shadow Man. Her race to the King is aided by The Horse, who was the steed of the dying messenger... and who seems to know just the right way to go, or when something bad is approaching. She discovers that the use of magic is alive and well in the world, both good and evil, while most people have thought it long gone. She encounters evil people and terrible creatures, and she stretches herself to the limit, using what few resources she has, finding friends where she can, and thinking on her toes. Karigan's growth as a person is apparent by the end.

A lot of elements in this story seem very familiar (I could draw a lot of Tolkien similarities, if I wanted to), but the writing style and strong feminine protagonist make the story feel fresh. There's just enough world background/history included to make the story feel rich without being overwhelming. There's political intrigue to complicate matters. There's enough foreshadowing that a second read would be well worth my while, to see what elements I may have missed or glanced over the first time through. I was happily impressed by the number of strong women characters included in the story, in a genre where men usually take the dangerous, action-packed roles.

My bottom line is that it was a very engaging fantasy, an entertaining read, and just enough of the right elements to make it a good story. While the first book in a series, the plot of this story is self-contained and makes this book stand on its own, if the reader wants to stop there. Myself, I'll be checking out the second book soon.
Profile Image for wishforagiraffe.
222 reviews49 followers
February 2, 2016
Green Rider starts out rough. For starters, it has a blurb from Terry Goodkind on the cover and an acknowledgement to him. Back in 1998 when this book was first published, I'm sure it seemed like a great marketing decision. Now maybe not so much.

In the first half of the book, Karigan, the protagonist, is really irritating. Granted, she's a teenager and it's established that she's something of a rebel, and I imagine that if most of us were thrown into a fantasy adventure, we'd probably complain too. But it's rough to read about someone whining all the time. Thankfully, she gets her shit together, figuratively speaking, and the plot coalesces and Karigan becomes likable. Green Rider stands on its own quite well, but it's worth continuing the series because the books get much better.
Profile Image for Emily.
214 reviews8 followers
May 31, 2017
Green Rider by Kristen Britain

I was kind of disappointed by the book this time around. I've evolved as a reader. While the second half of the book was pretty good, the first half was basically a huge info dump while the protagonist made her way to the real story. Since this was her first book, I'm inclined to be generous with my rating, but I truly had trouble getting through the book this time.

Karigan is a head strong main character and it's basically her spunk and the few friends she makes along the way that get to the capital city and to the king in order to save his life. The concept behind the book is fun and the world is interesting enough though poorly developed at first (all by info dump). I'm confident that the other books will get better as the authours writing improves.

*second read through (original) review*

I first read this book years ago when it was first published. I remembered that I really liked it. I actually thought it was a stand alone book, so when the sequel came out I didn't bother to pick it up. However when I found out that there were four books out in the series I figured I should try it again.
The second time around it was just as fun. There aren't any great revelations or major plot twists, this is a simple book which was great fun to read. I was glad I did finally pick it up again. The world that Ms. Britain created is simple yet believable. As this was only the first book I was sure there would be more adventure to come in the following books, and I was right.
Green rider is a great first book to a very good series.
Profile Image for Jim.
Author 7 books2,041 followers
April 24, 2017
I got about 1/6 of the way through & couldn't take it any more. The narration was good & I liked the horse, but other than that it was pretty awful. Too many details were poorly done, obviously for the convenience of the story. (Her wrists are burned but not her hands, clothes, or any other part?) The dialogue was awful & the characterization childish.
Profile Image for Stephen Robert Collins.
581 reviews50 followers
March 7, 2018
Wow! is really coming up to to 20th anniversary of this book.It is one best American fantasy's that I have read.I awarded it The Tolkien Award an award that I do NOT give out very often this so, so,good about postal service.Sounds boreing but it isnt
Profile Image for Tracy.
639 reviews24 followers
February 1, 2019
3 1/2 stars. I read this years ago and still find it very enjoyable, but exhausting. Karigan endures so many trials and always comes out on top which I found a bit ridiculous after a while. That said I really loved so many of the secondary characters: the Berry sisters (Bunch and Bay), Captain Mapstone, Amun Rust, Melry and Karigan’s father Stevic in particular, also Condor the horse was wonderful and I loved him. The author was working as a Park Ranger in Maine when she was writing this and her descriptions of the woods, stones and water along Karigan’s route at e wonderfully written. The villains are very villainous, I found Mirwell to be the most clearly written of the three main villains and the most interesting to read. Amilton and Shadwell were more one dimensional and really just evil. I think Karigan has a lot of potential but I felt that she fought so many battles and came out on top of all of them and it just didn’t feel believable. She is supposed to be very young, I’m guessing about seventeen and she has skills that only a much older person would have. In the first chapter she comes across as a spoiled brat, and she so quickly changes from her first meeting withF’ryan Cobblebay to a very resourceful and skilled Green rider with the skills of a master swordsman too quickly. Mind you when you meet her father you can see where the resourcefulness comes from for sure. I did like Karigan though and I will reread the next book as well.
Profile Image for Chelsie.
87 reviews2 followers
April 2, 2008
Looking through a bookstore one day I was immediately attracted by the cover. Upon reading the book I was rather pleased with the result. A nice novel with adventure, magic, and intrigue it remains a book I read over and over again.

The story begins with Karigan running away from school. She won in a fight with a rich kid and wants to tell her father her end of the story. However, she runs into a dying Green Rider with a life and death message for the King. As she swears to deliver the message, he warns her to beware the Shadow Rider.

In a world with kings, elves, and monstrous creatures emerging from a breach in the Wall, this book manages to step outside of the typical cliche fantasy without losing it's heritage. All in all, it was a great read.

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