Next up: “Green Rider”, “First Rider’s Call”, “The High King’s Tomb”, “Blackveil”, and “Mirror Sight” by Kristen Britain.
High fantasy, nice thick books. Unfortunately, there are long stretches between releases. The worst was between “Blackveil” and “Mirror Sight” because the former ended on a cruel cliff-hanger. On-going series, no set timeline for publishing, though apparently the sixth book (“Firebrand”) is currently slated for 2017 (woohoo!).
The series is high fantasy, so that gives some information about what it’s like. It definitely takes from Tolkien’s play-book. The world has a knights-and-kings setting, of course, and there is an elven race that bears some semblance to Tolkien’s. The story is its own, though.
“Green Rider” starts of with the main character, Karigan G’ladheon, running away from boarding school after laying the smack-down on a rich-kid jerk. She runs into a Green Rider– one of the King’s special messengers/soldiers– dying of two black arrows in his back. He gives her his coat, his brooch, his horse, and the urgent message he carries, extracting an oath from her that she will bring it to the King. Thus Karigan becomes a de facto Green Rider, with all the magic and danger that entails. She rides across the kingdom toward the King’s city, pursued by the assassin who had shot the Green Rider. She thinks she’s just honoring a promise to a dying man, but it quickly becomes more than that, as enemies to the kingdom begin stirring.
The sequels all build upon Karigan’s evolving duties and her awakening magic talent, spinning a great tale with a little of everything: action, magic, mystery, romance, drama…
I like Karigan’s magic talent. It makes for really fun stories, and I’m really interested to find out where future books will take it. There are a lot of story threads that I really want to know how they develop and resolve. Britain does a good job creating a very real world– Sacoridia has a very interesting history, which impacts a lot of events in the story.
There are quite a few characters in the series that I really liked, but Britain is not afraid of making them suffer, which gives me anxiety. I live in fear of nobody getting through this unscathed. As it stands, though, I really want to see more of these people, this world. There are some tropes that make appearances– some more skillfully executed than others. There’s an arranged marriage trope which becomes a little… weird and awkward and I was really disappointed with how that was handled. Karigan has a sort of reverse harem, though she remains mostly oblivious to her suitors’ affections. There’s a typical “I’m a fighter, don’t try to put me in a dress” bit.
“Mirror Sight” in general seemed strange, and I’m still not really sure how much it does for the story as a whole. Right now it feels like filler, of a sort, but this may change when “Firebrand” is published. Perhaps the events in “Mirror Sight” will seem more impactful when we see the consequences of them. I’m willing right now to give it the benefit of the doubt.
The whole arranged marriage weirdness, which I believe happens in “Blackveil” has some… well… weird consent issues.