You're taught very early on that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Sometimes though, it totally works for you, as happened for me when I saw the cover to Kristen Britain's 'Green Rider.'
My girlfriend decided to send me into this book with some preconceptions of her own, but I've never been duly affected by others opinions. That being said, I was left feeling a little as if the diligence put into the creation of the world and the languages was a little pretentious in light of the apparent juvenility of the writing.
That soon changed though, as I actively saw Kristen Britain's writing grow as the story went on, and by the time I was a quarter of the way through her writing had filled out and become something much more mature and intelligent. There are still times when her writing reverts to a sort of Rowling-ish childishness, with uninspired word and phrase choices and story turns, but on the whole Britain writes very well.
Britain knows her languages, I think, because she uses them to great extent throughout this book, and well into the second (which I am nearly finished). Linkages throughout history are portrayed through characters surnames, and a rich depth is exuded when you read of characters with names like Karigan G'ladheon and F'Ryan Cobblebay, mixes of the traditional with atypical naming structures that really add further polish to an already captivating story.
I admit a certain bias whenever I read a story that centres around a female of late-teenage/early-twenty years, who is not incompetent or perpetually scared. They are my favourite story to read, and Green Rider has continued in that vein.
The story being wrought here is fascinating, with ties reaching back a thousand years, all brought together in the “present” around our main character, Karigan, and those that she meets. Karigan actually spends the first half of this book on her own, with no one following her more than a few chapters. You are left with the impression of a young woman running for her life, which is exactly the mood I imagine Britain wanted to portray.
But it is when Karigan reaches her destination and meets those that she will befriend that the story really draws you in, adding more and more characters to whom you are attached.
The story also continues to grow as the second half of the book continues, expanding what we know and hinting at much more. There is very little of the hated “he knows something but is too afraid to tell everyone and therefore the missing piece is still missing” trope, for which I am eternally grateful. Information is relatively free flowing, as is the story, if a little stroppy at times, with a few contrivances extending the storyline just long enough for the long-awaited confrontation to take place.
In the end, we are left with a very good, and somewhat contained, story, but a story that has a lot more to tell if you want it to, which definitely starts apace in book two. I really loved this book, and read through it in under a day, ploughing straight into the second book. Putting the beautiful cover aside, this is a book that you would want on your shelf, as it is a story that is both captivating, intelligent, and excellently wrought in the telling.
Review by Joshua S Hill
8.4/10 from 1 reviews
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