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Frustrated with an unfair expulsion from school, Karigan leaves to journey home. What she never expected to find was a dying man with two arrows protruding from his back. In F’ryan Coblebay's last moments, he asks Karigan to deliver his message to the king. It is a matter of life and death. Reluctantly she accepts his mission and in return receives a golden winged horse brooch. As she pins the brooch upon herself and rides off with F’ryan’s horse, Karigan unknowingly changes her life forever.
Karigan will not only become mixed up in the politics of the world, but she will cross paths with an old evil as well. I love how such a simple concept of delivering a message to the king was able to expand into a world filled with magic and intrigue. And the politics do not overshadow the plot, if anything they accent the characters' actions and stay well in the background. The main focus remains on Karigan’s journey and all the difficulties she endures.
I quite enjoyed how Green Rider layered past events for all the characters. Instead of overloading the reader with information, certain events would trigger characters to reflect back on their actions and reveal the deeper history. The world-building was so subtly woven into the story, that it slowly drew me in without even realizing it. And the use of magic in the world wasn’t overpowering. Similar to how the politics helped propel the story forward, the magic wasn’t heavily relied on. Characters who used it had to know how to survive on their own without magic as well. It truly was a tool to aid each person, instead of being their main source of skill or power.
As for characters, the Bayberry sisters were a delight. They were the integral piece needed to explain how magic worked in the world. And their personalities more than made up for the times they regaled Karigan with tales of their father’s magical research and his unfortunate mishaps. Listening to the audiobook, the voice actor made me laugh at their antics and I could just picture their body language and pose through their voices. It was a delight to take a moment from the main adventure and delve into the world of magic a bit more. And they were just the support Karigan needed at the start of her quest.
Now keep in mind Karigan is entirely new to the world of danger green riders endure. And while she has been taught how to defend herself, she has never had to apply the lessons in real life. Day in and day out as she is hunted by numerous assailants. This leads to Karigan making foolish decisions, and being unable to truly defend herself. Quite often she ends up with aid coincidentally showing up such as the Bayberry sisters. But each hard knock Karigan takes isn’t forgotten. She learns from her mistakes and by the end of the story, she is an entirely new person than she was at the start. And frankly, I can’t wait to see how else she develops in the next book.
Kristen Britain brings to life a world of magical messengers and ancient evil. There is so much left to uncover in the Green Rider series. By the end of this book, I found myself needing to know more about the evil that is breaking free, and just how Karigan is going to go about pursuing her life now. Once a green rider, always a rider. If you are a fan of high fantasy novels that scale down the politics and focus more on character development, this is the series for you.
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