Updated: May 26
This week's book is an old favorite of mine. Long before I discovered the genre of Clean Fantasy, I haunted the shelves at Barnes & Noble searching for books that might fit what I was looking for: not a bodice ripper, full of mystery, big on adventure, and follows a female lead. What did I pick up? A book with a horse on the cover of course! I was a kid and I LOVED horses (still do). No matter why I originally chose this book, the story does fulfill all of the criteria listed above. The Book Blurb for "Green Rider" is below.
Magic, danger, and adventure abound for messenger Karigan G'ladheon in author Kristen Britain's New York Times-bestselling Green Rider fantasy series • "First-rate fantasy." —Library Journal
On her long journey home from school after a fight that will surely lead to her expulsion, Karigan G'ladheon ponders her uncertain future. As she trudges through the immense Green Cloak forest, her thoughts are interrupted by the clattering of hooves, as a galloping horse bursts from the woods.
The rider is slumped over his mount's neck, impaled by two black-shafted arrows. As the young man lies dying on the road, he tells Karigan he is a Green Rider, one of the legendary messengers of the king of Sacoridia.
Before he dies, he begs Karigan to deliver the “life and death” message he bears to King Zachary. When she reluctantly agrees, he makes her swear on his sword to complete his mission, whispering with his dying breath, "Beware the shadow man...".
Taking on the golden-winged horse brooch that is the symbol of the Green Riders, Karigan is swept into a world of deadly danger and complex magic, her life forever changed. Compelled by forces she cannot understand, Karigan is accompanied by the silent specter of the fallen messenger and hounded by dark beings bent on seeing that the message, and its reluctant carrier, never reach their destination.
Kristen Britain is a methodical and thorough writer. She lets you, the reader, see every jumbled piece of the puzzle she has created in a messy pile that could not possibly come together to form a cohesive picture, and then...it does.
If you are prone to fainting, you will faint. If you are prone to gasping, you will gasp. Even the starting action is a scene that will cause you to pale. Britain takes me right up to the point where I am about to say "to much" and backs off. There are a couple of pretty intense scenes that made me wince, but she stops just shy of where I would be tossing the book in the Salvation Army pile. In a way, I respect her for this (especially as a secular author), but if you are not an action buff your sensitivities might me offended.
In a world both familiar and foreign, the author builds a believable reflection of the medieval realm that existed in our time. She has the reader galloping (literally) all over the countryside. The variety of viewpoints as well as locales gives the book a fast pace while also being a solid 480 pages. You will not want for adventure with this book.
Romance is almost non-existent in this book. There is a slight amount of half-hearted love triangle, but if you are looking for a book with a couple to "-ship" this is not your cup of tea.
This is where some of you will have issue. The belief system in this book is COMPLETELY made up. The religion is just as complex as the world and the characters, but it is definitely not based on anything Christ honoring or Christian. You have to understand, I grew up in public school and even though I was raised in a Christian home, I did not have any idea there was such a thing as Christian Fantasy Fiction until the last decade (of which I am 3 and 3). One of the main reasons that I am writing this blog is to bring attention to books that could be enjoyed without sacrificing morals. I almost did not include this book because of the made-up religion, but I reasoned that there may be others out there, like myself, who can separate fact from fantasy. Thus allowing us to enjoy a good clean fiction read without worrying about whether or not it is Biblical (end explanation). You can put on your big kid pants and decide for yourself what to read.
This book is #2 when it comes to my top five books of all time. All of the characters in this book are strong in their own way. Though the main character gets more focus, I would happily follow along any one of these character's stories. THAT is what makes this book so high on my list. The characters and world are so well crafted that you would swear that they were REAL. This quality in the writing makes all of the other events in the book so much more powerful. Are you prepared for a dark ride into danger and mystery? Count me in!
P.S. I cannot vouch for the cleanliness of the rest of the books in the Green Rider Series. "Mirrorsight" in particular is way past a DB (You must DOUBLE BLINK to clear your eyes from being contaminated.) and I would not recommend it in any way. I believe that "Green Rider" can safely stand alone. I can say that this is the only one of Kristen Britain's books that does not end in a cliffhanger. You have been warned.
Are you interested in Kristen Britain and her books? Links Below!
Kristen Britain (www.kristenbritain.com)
Disclaimer: The above book links are affiliate links. I read these books BEFORE setting up my online bookstore: Sunset Valley Books . If you choose to purchase a paperback through my affiliate links the books are printed and delivered by Ingram Sparks at no extra cost to you. I do get a commission if you use the paperback links above. This has not in any way affected my honest personal review. If you want an Ebook copy of these titles, feel free to pop over to Amazon and look them up!
Author & Illustrator
Amy Lynn McConahy
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Rating System in Order of Intensity
N - NOTHING to worry about. Read this to your infant with a clean conscience.
A - Showing some ANKLE. Perfect book for the Puritan in your life.
P - Clutch your PEARLS. Grandma may raise an eyebrow, but keep on reading.
G - Will make you GASP. Both eyebrows will be involved in reading this book.
B - This is the full BLUSH people! If you are prone to fainting you will need a fan.
DB - You must DOUBLE BLINK to clear your eyes from being contaminated. None of the books I share here should reach this rating...Thank Goodness!