Title: Green Rider
Author: Kristen Britain
What it's about: Karigan G'ladheon is just a normal schoolgirl. Okay, maybe normal's not the best word for someone who runs away from school after getting suspended, but still, Karigan certainly never expected what happened next. A dying Green Rider, one of the king of Sacoridia's messengers, encounters Karigan and gets her to continue his message errand, one that is of vital importance to the safety of the country. Karigan's swept up into a dangerous adventure that brings her face-to-face with ancient monsters, traitorous soldiers, and the mysterious Grey One who plots the downfall of Sacoridia.
What I thought: Love this book. Seriously. This novel made me realize that epic fantasy stories could have a sense of humor to them and be more than Tolkien ripoffs. (Or rather, what I imagine Tolkien ripoffs to be, having never been able to make it through any of the man's books.) I really love how developed the culture and history of Sacordia are, and all the detail we get isn't explained in boring info-dumps but in natural places in the narrative that add flavor to the story. The characters are great, too. Timas Mirwell is a very interesting antagonist; he might be a bad guy, but his chapters make you respect his way of thinking and his cunning. Karigan herself is likeable. She's got a sense of humor and she's a pretty admirable heroine, but she's also not perfect, which just makes her more relatable. The way that romance is barely even touched on in this first book is also something that I find refreshing. I mean, I like me a good romance as much as the next girl, but this story didn't need any more than the foreshadowing it had. After all, there are three books by now and the series isn't even finished yet. Plenty of time for romance to develop slowly. As for the plot itself, it is pretty good. Green Rider can almost work as a stand-alone book, as the plot with delivering the message and stopping the Grey One is resolved mostly neatly by the end of the book. The plot of this book isn't anything hugely spectacularly innovative, but it really sets up the world and the characters for the more intricate plots of the following two books.
Overall: I'm a fan.
Review of the second book in the series, First Rider's Call, is coming up soon, but the third book was reviewed back in, I wanna say, May, for future reference, folks.