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Kristen Britain

Kristen BritainKristen Britain worked for decades as a National Park Ranger, giving her a unique understanding of wildlife environments and imbuing her work with a realistic feel for nature replete with all its beauty and danger. She is now a full-time author. Read sample chapters of Green Rider at Kristen Britain‘s website.

Green Rider

Green Rider — (1998-2014) Publisher: Karigan G’ladheon, unjustly suspended from school for drubbing a bully, runs away instead. On the road she encounters a dying Green Rider, or king’s messenger, F’ryan Coblebay. Hunted by evildoers, and pierced by two black arrows, the Rider makes Karigan swear to deliver his vitally important message, then gives her a magic brooch that renders her all but invisible. Karigan also acquires Coblebay’s mount, The Horse, who seems to know better than she does how to find Sacor City and King Zachary. While enjoying various adventures, she’s chased by agents of Lord-governor Mirwellshe’ll eventually learn that he’s supporting the rebel Prince Amilton’s bid to seize the throne. Worse, another conspirator, a magic-powered, elf-like Eletian renegade called Shawdell, has broken the D’Yer Wall, whose spells protect Sacoridia from the evil creatures of Blackveil Forest. Finding within herself unexpected talents and survival skills, Karigan eventually reaches King Zacharybut the message she brings is worthless. Then she remembers that Coblebay also entrusted her with a love letter. Its this that contains the real message, a warning of the plot against Zachary. A fresh, well-organized fantasy debut, with a spirited heroine and a reliable supporting cast.

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Green Rider: Decent debut

Green Rider by Kristen Britain

There is much good in this first novel and, unfortunately, much that's not so good — thus the 3 star rating.

The good first: Kristen Britain writes well and creates a likeable, if not complex and well-developed, heroine who should appeal strongly to young female readers. Britain also has a nice eye for imagery, the most powerful being the gray-clad rider and his sinister pairs of black arrows. And she, on the whole, creates a clean, refreshing fantasy setting. These traits will serve her well if and when she publishes again ...

And now the bad: As can be forgiven in a first novel, the plot often becomes a mess, either bogging down or running haywire. The former occurs near the beginning with the whole, weird episode with Miss Bayberry and Miss Bunchberry, whose presence simply throws the otherwise late-medieval setting entirely out of alignment by st... Read More

Green Rider: Now on audio

Green Rider by Kristen Britain

Ride, Greenie, ride!

Karigan G'ladheon, the daughter of a wealthy merchant, has been kicked out of school because she beat up the son of a nobleman. On her way home she crosses paths with a Green Rider, one of King Zachary’s messengers. The Rider has two black arrows in his back, but before he dies he coerces Karigan into promising to take a sealed message to the king. Reluctantly, Karigan sets out to fulfill her vow. Along the way she meets allies and enemies, fights battles with creatures out of nightmare, makes friends with a horse, and learns a bit about magic, and herself, too.

For years I’ve been planning to read Kristen Britain’s Green Rider, which was first published in 1998. I finally decided to take the plunge into this big fantasy epic when Penguin released it in audio a few weeks ago. Pleased with the story and the audio performance,... Read More

Green Rider: A popcorn action fantasy

Green Rider by Kristen Britain

The trouble with Green Rider (or, well, the major trouble with Green Rider) is that it all just feels a bit silly. This may be a bit of a chuckle for some of you as, let’s face it, our entire genre could be and is regarded as rather silly what with the Halflings and dragons and so on, but the trick we demand of fantasy authors most of the time is that they either embrace that silliness in a sort of ironic, look-I’m-clever-anyway fashion or they transcend it to make what should be silly deadly serious and gripping. Kristen Britain, unfortunately, has a prose and organizational style that never lets the reader forget just how incredibly silly her narrative actually is.

This is rather unfortunate as the plot isn’t actually too bad. The style gets in the way a bit here too, and I can easily see how distracted or skimming readers could lose the nar... Read More

First Rider’s Call: High epic fantasy with a strong heroine

First Rider's Call by Kristen Britain

After impressing King Zachary with her courage in Green Rider, Karigan G'ladheon has been sent north on a diplomatic mission. When her companions make the bad decision to camp in a magical place, a dark supernatural force is inadvertently loosed upon the world. It seems to be linked to Mornhavon the Black, who used evil magic to try to conquer Sacoridia a thousand years ago. Back then he was captured and walled into the Blackveil Forest, but now he is working his way free through a breach in the wall. Karigan’s friend Alton D’Yer has been sent to the wall to try to repair it. Meanwhile the whole country is experiencing strange magical events that are frightening the people and undermining their faith in the king. The Riders are experiencing problems with magic, too — suddenly their powers have become unreliable. And, most frightening of all, there’s a secret band of Sacoridi... Read More

The High King’s Tomb: Meanders for a long time

The High King's Tomb by Kristen Britain

From early on in The High King's Tomb, alarm bells started going off in my head. It doesn't take very long, if you've read the other two books (and you should have), to realize that a "grab the reader by the throat" event is conspicuously absent from the beginning of the story. There's one in the first book, there's one in the second book, but The High King's Tomb starts out on a noticeably meandering path.

And it continues to meander, without a great deal of urgency, for a long time. A lot of events happen, some of them interesting in relation to the world Britain has created, but overall none of them seem hugely relevant to solving the tensions of the main plot arc. In fact, they just seem to add in a bunch of new tensions without solving any old ones. Uh oh.

It takes a long time for the reader to un... Read More

Blackveil: Everything Green Rider fans could hope for

Blackveil by Kristen Britain

PLOT SUMMARY: Over a millennium ago, Mornhavon the Black, heir to the Arcosian Empire, crossed the great sea hoping to replenish his depleted country by conquering the rich lands of Sacoridia. But Mornhavon underestimated the defenders of this far away land, and after years of siege, Mornhavon and his armies were vanquished — but not before Mornhavon resorted to desperate, dark magics that rendered his twisted spirit immortal. Eventually, Mornhavon was captured and imprisoned in Blackveil Forest, with Blackveil’s perimeter enclosed and protected by the magical D’Yer Wall.

For the thousand years since the end of that Long War, Blackveil Forest has been a dangerous place — corrupted by the spirit of this eternally malicious entity, its flora and fauna twisted in monstrous ways. But in the many centuries since the war’s end, knowledge of the working of magic has slowly disappeared from Sacoridia... Read More