Green Rider by Kristen Britain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
On her long journey home from school after a fight which will surely lead to her expulsion, Karigan G'ladheon ponders her future as she trudges through the immense forest called Green Cloak. But her thoughts are interrupted by the clattering of hooves as a galloping horse bursts from the woods, the rider slumped over his mount's neck, impaled by two black-shafted arrows. As the young man lies dying on the road, he tells Karigan that he is a Green Rider, one of the legendary messengers of the king, and that he bears a "life and death" message for King Zachary. He begs Karigan to carry his message, warning her not to read it, and when she reluctantly agrees, he makes her swear on his sword to complete his mission "for love of country." As he bestows upon her the golden winged-horse brooch which is the symbol of his office, he whispers on his dying breath, "Beware the shadow man..."
This was excellent! High fantasy is probably my favorite type of reading and Green Rider doesn't disappoint. I Can't wait to read the whole series.
First Rider's Call by Kristen Britain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is quickly turning into a favorite series. Sometimes I get very emotionally invested in the characters I read about. Parts of this book near the end had me tearing up. I can't wait to read what happens in the next one!
The High King's Tomb by Kristen Britain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The High king’s Tomb was another great addition to the series that I had a hard time putting down. The new character Amberhill was interesting and I'm wondering how he will factor into the story later on. I also loved revisiting Miss Bunch and Miss Bay. They make me giggle. I also found Damian Frost and his wife Lady fun and interesting characters.
My only complaints were that I really wanted to read more things from King Zachary's point of view. I was dying to know what he was thinking through some of it. Unfortunately that didn't happen until the end of the book. And the forbidden love aspect of this series is rather torturous. I keep telling myself to get over it because it doesn't look like anything will come of it, which is disappointing. I've also become very annoyed with Captain Mapstone and her meddling.
Blackveil by Kristen Britain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm developing a love/hate relationship with Kristen Britain. While I thoroughly enjoyed this book, some of the things that happened in it were agonizing.
At the end we are left with a cliffhanger, which I don't necessarily dislike in general, but it looks like there are 3 to 4 years between the publishing of the last two books. It will be pure torture to wait that long for the next book. I am beginning to think Kristen Britain likes to torture her readers along with the main character in her books.
Mirror Sight by Kristen Britain
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Where to begin...
I was extremely happy to be reading Mirror Sight. I've waited for 3 years for it to be released. There were major cliffhangers and plot threads just waiting to be resolved or to be moved forward even just a little. Unfortunately none of that happened in this book, well with the exception that we find out where Karigan ended up at the end of Blackveil, and we find out what happens with Amberhill. But then again it is nullified at the end of the book because it hasn't happened yet and likely will all change. So with a few small exceptions, this book is mostly irrelevant to the rest of the series. This was like one of those TV episodes where one of the characters finds themselves stuck in an alternate time or place and makes a life for themselves there only to have to leave and go back to reality. It's a well used trope in TV and books and I wasn't crazy about it being used here.
My biggest problem besides no real plot progression for the overall series is that I'm not even sure who I was reading about in this book. Karigan was so out of character throughout the whole thing. I had already figured out that she would most likely be thrown forward in time from the ending of Blackveil, but what I didn't expect was for her to stay there throughout the whole book and be so un-Karigan like. Where was the feisty Karigan? Sure she had her moments, but not enough. This resulted in a very unsatisfying read.
Also, so many of the regular characters were absent. We got very little of Zachary, nothing of many others. It was just a huge let down after waiting so long. The characters we did get in the future world were ok, but I never really cared about any of them. Cade was an alright guy, but the relationship that developed there felt forced.
There was also a lack of action in this book that made it very dull. It does finally pick up a little in that aspect, but the tone and world of this novel is so different from the others in the series it was too little too late.
I will say that despite my disappointment the book deserves 3 stars because the world building and the writing were excellent, even if it did feel out of place in the Green Rider series. Had they been characters from another series I probably would have liked the characters and the adventure and would have had no complaints.
I will still be reading more of this series because I'm convinced this was just one of those times where the author got sidetracked by subplots. Robert Jordan comes to mind. By the way this ended, I think the next book will be back on track...hopefully!
Firebrand by Kristen Britain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"Zachary Davriel Hillander, High King of Sacoridia, rues how much he has had to give up for his realm, including the freedom to live and love as he chooses."
I feel for you Zachary. I really do...
The Green Rider series is one of my favorites and I've been anxiously waiting to read this book. I had high hopes for Firebrand, especially after Mirror Sight was a bit of a disappointment, and I'm happy to say that it lived up to them! We are back to the present in this book and I couldn't be happier with the direction it has taken.
The book starts out pretty much right after Karigan gets back and she is on leave recuperating from her experiences in the previous book. Meanwhile Grandmother is up to her usual evil tricks, and she unleashes a powerful elemental who comes after King Zachary, and becomes fixated on the beautiful Queen Estora, who is now expecting twins. There is quite a lot of Estora in the first part of this book and pretty much all I can ever think of while I'm reading about her is "Die, Estora, Die!" But unfortunately I know she isn't going to die any time soon. At least not before King Zachary's heirs are born. Her parts of the book were a bit of a drag for me. So let's get back to Grandmother, who I think deserves much more mention here than Estora. I just love the concept of the evil, knitting Granny. She is truly a scary person and she is a formidable enemy and she doesn't disappoint in this book. What happens with her character in the end though is priceless! [ I did find it very satisfying that the very thing grandmother summons to kill the king ends up being the thing that kills her in the end (hide spoiler)]
Much happens in the book that I don't want to spoil so I will just say that Zachary and Karigan end up in the same place for a good part of the book and their interactions and the time spent with Zachary made the book worth reading. We get to spend a good chunk of the book reading Zachary's point of view and I absolutely loved it! At one point after Karigan has been gravely injured and feeling broken he is there at her side...
"If I could change it all for you, if it were in my power to spare you, I would do so. If I could trade places with you, I would. But I can only be here with you, and I will tell you this: you are not broken, and every inch of you is dear to me and whole."
There was some heart fluttering going on while I read this part of the book. Zachary may be heading toward being added to my literary dream guys list. This book was a lot about Zachary, thus the title Firebrand, which is what the Eletians call him. I felt like he was truly in his element here as the king and leader of his people. How refreshing to see him in the middle of the fight. There are so many sides to him that I really love.
Other things that I really loved were the gryphons disguised as house cats. Even though they did seem to appear at some really convenient times to help save the day, I enjoyed their presence in the story. And as usual I loved the horses. A book that has cats and horses in it can't go wrong with me!
There are some things that I found to be holes in the story, like Westrion and why he needs an avatar. It's not explained real well and I'm not clear on why he can't protect the seal himself. And the wall is greatly ignored in this book with only small glimpses of what Alton is doing. And it seemed like Karigan bounced back too easily when it came to losing the use of her eye. I'm no sword fighter but I would assume that the loss of vision on one side would be a hindrance and I felt like it was very glossed over and not even noticed by Karigan, but in the overall scheme of things those were minor issues for me.
A bigger issue for me was that I felt that Karigan mourned the loss of Cade too much and for too long (throughout most of the book). Cade is largely a character that I never really got attached to and so can't really see the attachment Karigan had to him. That may be because as a reader I feel like I barely knew the guy. I mean after all, he was only in one book. The other relationships in the series have gone on for much longer and so I care about those people way more.
It seems like things may be starting to move forward now plot wise, and after the side trip that was the last book, that is a very good thing. On the forbidden romance front, there was a small amount of movement there, but of course, nothing that could be resolved. I do think at some point Estora will have to die. The most predictable way is while delivering the twins. Whether Kristen Britain goes the predictable route remains to be seen, but Estora's death would help to fix the forbidden romance problem, because Zachary would have heirs and wouldn't have to marry again, at least not for the good of the kingdom.
I had so many feelings when I got to the end of this book and it was hard to actually write a review. Why is it so hard to write reviews for the books I love the most? Karigan once again was really abused in this book and I hope that things will be a little easier for her in the next one because it gets increasingly harder to read about these things happening to her. Please let some good things happen to her in the next book without all the terrible things!
This is my second favorite book in the series so far, right behind First Rider's Call. I wish it wouldn't take three plus years to get the next book, because as usual the wait will be torture.
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