Several years ago in 2003 when I didn’t have a full time job, I would often walk over to the local library branch and browse the collection, looking for something new to read. Sometimes I’d choose to drive to the main branch because something I wanted was on shelf, and then I’d wander around, browsing. This is how my eye first fell upon Green Rider by Kristen Britain. To my delight, I also found book two, First Rider’s Call, on shelf that same day. I promptly scurried home with my finds.
Now, the library’s copies were paperback for Green Rider and hardcover for First Rider’s Call. These things happen, libraries buy books at varying times. But it turned out that First Rider’s Call was so very new at the time that it hadn’t yet been released in paperback. I know it was 2003 because I so enjoyed these books that I immediately bought copies of my own and began waiting for book three. Let me tell you, my (old) public library rocked as far as having books I liked. I haven’t even begun to investigate the new library’s potential, but I’m cautiously hopeful.
Back to the book. Green Rider begins the tale of Karigan G’ladheon, a young student who has run away from school and into a whole mess of trouble. She lives in the country of Sacoridia, which is bordered on the south by the D’Yer Wall, which prevents egress to and from Blackveil Forest. Long ago, the evil brought upon the land by Mornhavon the Black was sealed away in that forest. Since then, magic has faded from the world and become generally reviled, the Sacor Clans have become more civilized, and time has progressed as it usually does. However, it seems that the old legends are waking up and revealing themselves to be less mythical than people might prefer. And Karigan’s in the middle of it all.
Green Riders are the King’s messengers. They are loyal to land and ruler, and each of them has a small talent for magic, though this is not widely advertised. They ride across the breadth of Sacoridia bringing tidings of all sorts. They also keep their eyes and ears open on behalf of the King. It’s not a post that can be volunteered for, each Rider is called to the task by the magic. They’re a varied lot, the Riders, though we don’t meet very many of those individuals in this first novel.
The deeper I read into the series, the more I can spot foreshadowing and setup in the earlier books, and it impresses me with how much Britain had planned out from the start. It makes me wonder if she had laid out the entire series ahead of time in some vague form – and I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case.
Green Rider is a good, somewhat standard series opener. We are introduced to the world in a book that can stand alone if it must, but can equally well serve as a springboard to the depths of the series. The main plot of the book is self-contained, but prepares the reader for a bigger, more extensive plot that will encompass several books in the end. Oh sure, each will still be a complete novel, but the big bad threat is still not resolved at the end of book five, and I would wager that book six isn’t the end of the series either.