Book of the Year 2011 (see all)
When Steven Erikson and Robert Jordan started writing their epic series’, I knew what I was in for; an epic series. When I read Kristen Britain’s first book – The Green Rider – I assumed I was in for a series that lasted four books at the most.
Imagine my great delight and surprise that, upon reaching the conclusion of her fourth book – Blackveil – we seemed no nearer to completing the series than when we had first begun.
Which leaves me even more excited, because Britain doesn’t write in a way that screams “epic fantasy series,” but rather, she writes in a way that is usually withheld for trilogies and the like. She is able to make books fly by, keeping you turning the pages well into the night, with lots of action and character growth, while not bogging you down in a “massive” story which, in my humble opinion, is a bit of a nice change for once.
Blackveil, as I mentioned, is the fourth in Kristen Britain’s Green Rider series, focusing on our main character, Karigan G’ladheon, and the Green Riders of the Sacoridian monarchy, and the book continues the high quality of writing you would have come to expect if you’ve read the previous three books.
Thankfully, Britain doesn’t spend much time trying to catch you up on what you’ve missed. If you’re coming into a series at the fourth book, you know you’re going to have missed out on some stuff, so any catch-up is simply to remind you of what happened in the last book.
While I was a little unimpressed with the continued presence of the bad guys getting their own perspective, the remaining perspectives left me content and happy with what I was reading. I like variety, even though I’ll get to the end of a series of chapters from one perspective and grumble and whine when it swaps. It keeps me intrigued, waiting for the return of that perspective, only to see me grumble and growl when I have to move on from the new perspective. When an author can make you care about each group of characters and leave you wanting more of each, then you know you’ve got something special.
Very few characters are sacred in Britain’s world. Death comes, not necessarily unexpectedly, but in times and at places where you aren’t expecting it, often long after you were expecting it, which I think makes for even better writing: while someone may be wearing a red shirt, they’re not necessarily going to die on your timetable.
And in the same vain, characters are rarely given exactly what they want, or even anything close to it. Just when you think that, yes, in the end they DO fall in love, they don’t, and as a result there is that bitter core of betrayal or hurt lying at the centre of the relationship. It’s a hundred times more realistic, and that is something that is infinitely more enjoyable to read, in my opinion.
Britain has written, what I think is, a series which not only compels you to keep reading, but leaves you thinking about it once you’ve finished. Characters are cherished, and reviled, depending on their actions. Everyone is flawed, but maybe more importantly is that everyone has their own morals, values, and those aspects of their personality which we can identify with; even the villains.
Kristen Britain writes so beautifully that I never want to have to put her books down. I have no doubt that you will find the same when you read her Green Rider series. Make sure you do, and soon.
Review by Joshua S Hill
8.8/10 from 1 reviews
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