The Double Phoenix

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Archive for the ‘Green Rider’ Category

Blackveil

Posted by spragujs on February 17, 2011

Blackveil cover artKristen Britain’s fourth Green Rider novel, Blackveil, came out February 1.  Having now read through it I am extremely happy to have gotten a new novel.  Before I get started though, a blurb:

Viewings at a masquerade ball celebration before the King’s wedding give us glimpses of events that may have a huge impact on Sacoridia.  Karigan gets sent to Blackveil on a joint Eletian and Sacoridian expedition.  Alton meets Karigan’s best friend and minstrel, Estral, and they start making progress on fixing the D’Yer wall.  Meanwhile, the Second Empire’s leaders continue to do their utmost to bring about the downfall of Sacoridia.

The High King’s Tomb also introduced Lord Amberhill to us, and he plays an interesting, almost bit part in this novel.  I have a feeling he’s going to turn out a big part of this story in the end, but I don’t currently know just how big.  He also makes some rather unfortunate decisions in his stint throughout these couple novels.

I also feel I’ve got a bit of a handle on Karigan.  She’s bad at relationships.  Just about any of them.  I can think of only two times when her bad assumptions are not her fault.  And she’s decidedly selfish when it comes to some of these things.  I know she’s a stubborn girl, but seriously, when you already know you’re lonely, why in the world would you push away your closest friends?  That loneliness is part of why I think she makes those bad decisions, but I guess if she made all the right ones all the time, she’d be a less interesting character.  I do wish she’d make better decisions at least on occasion!  At least she and Stevic made up at the beginning of this one!  😀  Also, Stevic was finally back in the book!  😉

Another thing I’ve noticed is that Karigan herself seems to be the deus ex machina of these books.  I think most of the things she’s done as such have been explained (which I suppose makes her not much of an actual deus ex machina), but I wish we could see more of her out of the box thinking and skills saving the day instead of who she is being the Big Thing.

And the ending.  I don’t know if it’s come across in my collection of posts, but endings really help make a book for me.  They’re extremely important in making a book feel like a finished product, in particular when the author only comes out with a book once every 4 years or so.  (Seriously, 1998, 2003, 2007, and now 2011.)  This is the first time I’ve been disappointed.  Matter of fact, I very much liked the way the other books ended.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s an ending, and even a good one for some of the characters (with high hopes and potential drama insinuated for the next book in those endings), but the very end of Blackveil, with the likelihood of it being another 4 years till the next book definitely leaves something to be desired.

All that being said, I really enjoyed this book!  So many things happen (Estora gets to be a badass), and it seems that the world might start being a somewhat less dark place than it seemed in the last couple, though I’m sure there are still many dire straights left in store for our favorite Sacoridians, and I can’t wait until I get to read of their continued exploits!  (Please, please let it be less than 4 years.)

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Posted in Green Rider, Reading | 3 Comments »

The High King’s Tomb

Posted by spragujs on February 14, 2011

The High King's Tomb cover art

I have to admit The High King’s Tomb, book 3 of Kristen Britain’s Green Rider series, is not my favorite of the three I’ve read so far.  For example, again with only the mentions with Stevic G’ladheon.  Also, Karigan actually gets a bit whiny in the first half of this book, where as I specifically mentioned she doesn’t get there for me in the other books.  However, as usual she’s too busy to be whiny in most of the second half!  😉

The blurb:

Karigan and a Green Rider trainee are sent on what seem to be mundane errands for the king of Sacoridia and Captain Mapstone, and which end up being anything but.  Attempts to mend the breach in the D’Yer Wall continue.  And the Second Empire continues its no longer secret attempts to overthrow Sacoridia for their ancient leader, Mornhavon the Black.  Britain keeps the excitement high from beginning to end, balancing epic magical craziness with the humor and camaraderie of Karigan and her fellow riders.

This novel starts out much more sedately than the first two books, which is actually something I quite like.  I like to read about “normal” in these long series.  The first couple books were separated by two years, but it wasn’t something that the reader actually gets to experience.

I think I’ve figured out why this novel isn’t sitting the same with me as the first two.  The villainess introduced in this book has a mission.  She also has a side mission.  A huge, horrible side mission that potentially affects the universe, but still only feels like a side project and unimportant to the story.  Maybe as the series goes along this side mission will be shown to have had more impact on the story than I could see.

And just a couple of random comments to add:  I’ve read reviews that mention how Britain likes to use all the fantasy tropes you can think of, and I can’t disagree with that.  However, a lot of them seemed pretty fresh uses to me.  There are also definite parallels with Tolkien’s work, beyond the very black and white nature of the characters, but that’s almost hard to not do these days.  I would definitely have to agree that Green Rider’s parallels are stronger than those I’ve read in other novels lately.  On the other hand, it’s a bit like coming home in that sense. 

And apparently my blog has been found at least once by people searching to see if you can read the Green Rider novels out of order.  In this case, it’s something I’d definitely not recommend.  I may be biased however.  Even with series that aren’t necessarily connected (Terry Brooks, Brian Jacques, L.E. Modesitt, Jr.) I like to read them in order.  On the other hand, thinking about it, the stories are fairly self contained.  I just can’t say personally whether they work out of order, since I’ve never read them that way.  One would definitely be missing out on detailed background info as a person might assume.

And now for the most recent installment, which you can still comment to win over at Waiting for Fairies, Blackveil!

Posted in Green Rider, Reading | 5 Comments »

First Rider’s Call

Posted by spragujs on February 7, 2011

First Rider's Call cover art

The blurb:

Karigan, who took on the mantle of king’s messenger after chancing upon a dying Green Rider, has returned to her everyday life. She has put the thrills and perils of being caught up in great events apparently behind her. But few may evade their destiny, and Karigan is soon to face even greater dangers…  Blackveil Forest is stirring, its tainted powers seeping through the breach in the D’Yer wall.  While havoc sweeps the countryside, a Green Rider and scion of the stoneworkers who created the wall, attempts to mend the breach.  Summoned to duty by the call of the First Rider, Karigan must help the Riders, and face the truth about her own savage heritage.  Sought by undead warriors and caught in the machinations of the mysterious Eletians, Karigan must confront an ancient enemy in the rotten heart of Blackveil.

First Rider’s Call, the second book in Kristen Britain’s Green Rider series, can be summed up with one word.  Betrayal.  I’m not the most sopisticated reader ever.  I tend to read only for enjoyment, but this one I actually caught the thread in.  I’m not even sure I can count the number of different betrayals (or seeming betrayals) that occurred in this story; I certainly can’t do it on only one hand.

For the record, I should mention that in no way did I, as the reader, feel betrayed.  Quite the opposite actually, this novel provides so much quality, character insights, and exciting happenings that I can’t even describe how happy it makes me.  Or how sad I was when I finished (sort of, the ending was fantastic, which is fortunate for those unfortunate souls who had to wait years for the next book)!  Fortunately for me, I had the next one on hand to start reading once I finished this one!  😉

The funny thing about betrayal is that it can often lead to hope and happiness and lots of other great things.  Sounds weird, I know, but if you read this novel, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

And that Karigan.  She’s impulsive surely, but as Captain Mapstone once thinks, leaders of the Green Riders need to have flexibility in their thinking.  And Karigan’s got that in spades.  She thinks out of the box and takes advantage of crazy things without thinking twice.  This is the second time I read this book and I was completely surprised by her solution for the second time.  Totally didn’t see it coming.  (Of course, it doesn’t help that I hadn’t remembered how it finished since it’s been so long since that first read through!)

My only disappointment is that Karigan’s dad didn’t play a direct role in this novel.  He’s mentioned, but that’s not the same at all.  Oh well, I’m sure I’ll get over it.  😉

So there’s that!  On to The High King’s Tomb!

Posted in Green Rider, Reading | 2 Comments »

Kiaras Festivus

Posted by spragujs on February 1, 2011

To help my friend Melissa, author and blogger over at www.waitingforfairies.com, to celebrate her second year of Kiaras Festivus, I’m going to be cross posting my Green Rider series reviews over at WFF.  In addition, since the celebration includes giving stuff away to her readers (and potentially one or more of you!), I’m going to be giving away the slightly used copy of Blackveil that I’m going to be needing to buy from my “local” bookstore since my matching copy doesn’t sound like it’s going to get here in time.  So, without further adieu, please go read my slightly updated review of Green Rider over at WFF and get all the details if you’re interested in winning this copy of Blackveil.  To keep it simple for both Melissa and I, we’re only counting comments on WFF, so please leave your comments there and I hope you enjoy this month of Kiarus Festivus!  😀

Posted in Green Rider, Reading | 2 Comments »

Green Rider

Posted by spragujs on January 28, 2011

Green Rider cover artI’ve finally gotten around to rereading Kristen Britain’s Green Rider series in preparation for Blackveil (book 4) coming out Feb 1.  Finished Green Rider last night.  I find that these keep me interested enough to ignore watching TV while I eat, which is my usual method, hence the quick turn around time on this one.  The blurb:

Karigan G’ladahon has fled from school following a fight which would surely lead to her expulsion. As she makes her way through the deep forest, a galloping horse pounds up to her, its rider impaled by two black-shafted arrows. With his dying breath, he tells her he is a Green Rider, one of the legendary magical messengers of the King, and makes Karigan swear to deliver the message he’s carrying, giving her his green coat, with its symbolic brooch of office. This promise given to a dying man changes Karigan’s life forever. Pursued by unknown assassins, following a path only her horse seems to know, she unwittingly finds herself in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I wish more of my friends had read these books.  I remembered the stories very vaguely as feeling very otherworldly, which was pretty funny to me after reading an article about the upcoming release party for Blackveil, that “while the stories are fantasies, the characters and settings are not fantastical or otherworldly.  There is an appealing familiarity about them, and they are so convincingly drawn that they could be real.”  I agree, but at the same time still stand by my statement.  The world is extremely vivid and easily imagined.  I think it’s the layer of magic that blankets everything combined with the very easily imagined setting that gives me the otherworldly feeling.  It should feel extremely familiar, but the magic makes it very different.

Green Rider introduces the reader to the world of Sacoridia and its surrounds, to the characters of the story, and to the idea that there’s a very big story arc coming up in this series.  The characters are great, and even if they do tend to fall to the black and white, they’re still individuals with their own strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.

I also think that Karigan may be one of the few protagonists I’ve run into that I can remember that wasn’t whiny.  Yes, of course she complains about a few things and makes wishes about others, but not to the point where I’d describe it as whiny.  Just in case that’s a pet peeve for any interested readers out there!  😉

I got started on First Rider’s Call last night!  Woot!

Posted in Green Rider, Reading | Leave a Comment »

Random Reading Thoughts

Posted by spragujs on January 7, 2011

Kitty Takes a Holiday cover artFirst, I just finished listening to the third Kitty Norville novel, Kitty Takes a Holiday.  I don’t know what it is about these books, but I’m having to restrain myself and set limits so that I don’t just listen to the next one all through work today instead of working…

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The books are pretty short by fantasy novel standards (especially today’s).  They’re only slightly longer than Agatha Christie’s audiobooks (~7-8 hrs, give or take).  But man, do they pack a punch!  So short and yet so full of things-that-happen, and pretty unusual things too, if you ask me!  It’s terrific!  The endings are quite good as well; there’s just enough so that you know the story goes on, but if for some horrible reason it didn’t (thank goodness it has so far up to a turned in 10th book!), it still works as an end and you can imagine whatever future you like for Kitty and her cohorts.

Secondly, I’m going through a bit of withdrawal since I haven’t been reading OR listening to any of Mrs. Christie’s novels.  Randomly I get these ideas that I’m missing out on something and should go start up my audiobook or check my novel, and then realize that it’d have to be a new one!  And I don’t know when I’m going to go back to them, especially since I’m addicted to the Kitty novels at the moment.  (Maybe not going back right away is a good thing at this point.)  Which leads me to my third thought…

Having put the stuff I’m looking forward to over on the left, I realized that I have very little time to prepare (since I’m just over halfway through Imager’s Challenge and intend to read Imager’s Intrigue before moving on) at least for Blackveil (especially since I intend to reread the first 3 books of that series), not to mention The Wise Man’s Fear.  (I’ve never read The Name of the Wind, I’ve just had it on my shelf for ages based on some friends’ recommendations and reading the author’s blog.  I decided to wait on it till I knew the next book was coming out since my TBR shelf is actually more than one bookcase.)

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So, there you have it.  I’ll be reading Imager novels for a while, and probably Green Rider books after that, which will probably mean I’ll be getting to Blackveil later than I’d like.  But I’ll get there eventually!

Posted in Classics, Green Rider, Kitty Norville, Reading | 2 Comments »

Reading Meme Day 2

Posted by spragujs on December 14, 2010

Ok, I’m stealing a meme from a couple of friends of mine, who I believe stole it originally from somewhere else, which may have been taken from somewhere else still!  Ah, the internet. 

The intention, I’m sure, is to do them in order, one per day for 30 days in a row.  I’m unfortunately not that dedicated, so I’m just going to do them as I’m inspired to.  I’m also really horrible at choosing favorites, and with a not so great memory just trying to run through them wouldn’t be that interesting either, so… 

I’ve decided to start with the day 2 post, which is to tell of a book you wish more people had read.  I’m not sure the one(s) I’ve picked count, as they’re currently in print and there’s a new book in the series coming out (i.e. the series hasn’t been cancelled).  I guess I should qualify the statement with – I wish more of my friends had read it.  Then there’d be more people to enjoy it with.  Also, “it” is technically a series.  (See, told you I’m horrible at this.)  With no further adieu: 

Green Rider by Kristen Britain Cover ArtGreen Rider is the first novel in the Green Rider series by Kristen Britain.  I’m not sure it’s technically counted as young adult literature, but from what I remember, it could certainly be read by younger adults and still be appropriate.  The first three books at the very least.  The blurb for the first, since I haven’t read these books since at least 2007 when the last book came out:

Karigan G’ladahon has fled from school following a fight which would surely lead to her expulsion.  As she makes her way through the deep forest, a galloping horse pounds up to her, its rider impaled by two black-shafted arrows.  With his dying breath, he tells her he is a Green Rider, one of the legendary magical messengers of the King, and makes Karigan swear to deliver the message he’s carrying, giving her his green coat, with its symbolic brooch of office.  This promise given to a dying man changes Karigan’s life forever.  Pursued by unknown assassins, following a path only her horse seems to know, she unwittingly finds herself in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand.

At the moment I’m not sure I could adequately describe why I enjoy this series so much.  I definitely remember that somehow, in spite of following many typical fantasy tropes, it still feels somehow different to me.  The atmosphere, the world, etc.  Somehow, this human world (admittedly with magic) still has managed to come across in my mind as more otherworldly than most locations that are actually supposed to be otherworldly.  That might be possible to take the wrong way, but I’m hoping you won’t take it that way.  It makes the stories so much more useful to escape with (for me, of course).  As that’s the strongest impression from these books that I can give at the moment, that’s what I’ll emphasize here.  Also, Karigan has to be the coolest girl name ever, and if I were to ever have a daughter, that would totally be her name.  😉  And, I definitely remember enjoying many (if not most) of the characters. 

I’m sure that lots of people would find these stories very black and white.  I don’t think I can try to deny that in this case as I may have in the past, but it works for these books in my opinion. 

Hopefully, I’ll have more detail or impressions when I reread the books (because I’ll definitely need to) before Blackveil (book 4) comes out February 1, 2011.

Below are the remaining memes that I have covered and will someday cover:
Day 01 – Your favourite series of books (with more than 3 in the series)
Day 02 – A book that you wish more people had read
Day 03 – Your favorite recent book
Day 04 – Your favorite book ever
Day 05 – A book you hate
Day 06 – Your favourite writer
Day 07 – A writer you don’t like
Day 08 – Your favourite work in translation
Day 09 – Best scene ever
Day 10 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 11 – A book that disappointed you
Day 12 – An book you’ve read more than twice
Day 13 – Favorite childhood book
Day 14 – Favorite male character
Day 15 – Favorite female character
Day 16 – Your guilty pleasure book
Day 17 – Favorite trilogy or tetralogy
Day 18 – Favorite book cover
Day 19 – Best ensemble of characters in a book
Day 20 – Favorite kiss or love scene
Day 21 – Favorite fictional romantic relationship
Day 22 – Favorite ending/climax
Day 23 – Most annoying character
Day 24 – Best quote
Day 25 – A book you plan on reading
Day 26 – OMG WTF? plot
Day 27 – Favourite non-mainstream writer
Day 28 – First book obsession
Day 29 – Current book obsession
Day 30 – Saddest character death

Posted in Green Rider, Meme, Reading | 3 Comments »