Thursday, August 16, 2012

Green Rider (Books)

Hover Horse is hovering.
A lot of older authors seem to vividly recall reading The Lord of the Rings as a kid. I read it in my teens after watching the movie, and actually hated it. The story was incredibly dry and boring, no matter how much I wanted to enjoy it.

Maybe because I read Green Rider by Kristen Britan first.

I'd say Green Rider is an old book, but that's like saying a song from a year ago is old. It's really a matter of comparison. Green Rider was published in late 1998, so I was either 10 or 11 when I first read it.

It was my favorite book from the very start.

The story is about a girl who, after getting kicked out of the medieval equivalent of school, comes across a dying messenger, begging her to take his message to the king. She agrees, and suddenly finds herself swept up in adventure as people are trying to kill her for the mysterious message. She has no training as a fighter, so must rely on her wits and the messenger's golden winged horse brooch, which can make her invisible.

It was the second book I ever had that wasn't your typical kid's book (the first one I will talk about next week), and it wasn't until I had reread it years  later that I realized it was basically a ripoff of The Lord of the Rings. Still, it has graced my bookshelf the entire time.

There have been several sequels to it but it manages to stand on its own. In fact, I recall not particularly liking the others, and the author has taken a long time to get around to writing and/or publishing them. First Rider's Call, book 2, was released in 2003; The High King's Tomb, book 3, was released in 2007; and Blackveil, book 4, was released just last year in 2011.

There's something quite frustrating to wait 5 years, then 4, then another 4, for each book to come out, especially when you're a bright-eyed little girl. There was a particularly fascinating place in the world, too, that the books just barely hinted at, called Blackveil, and when it takes 13 years for the author to finally get it it you're not shouting "Finally!" anymore, you're glancing up from another book saying "Are you still here?"

Still, it was kind of magical to me. It was a story with all of this cool stuff: a smart horse, a plucky young heroine, all kinds of badguys trying to kill her, magic. When I was surrounded by The Boxcar Children, Ramona books, and Hank the Cowdog, Green Rider came along and I was sucked right in because it was Serious Business, and I loved it.

It's not the most original story, but it's a good, solid fantasy book that you can bet you will enjoy and not have to worry about picking up the rest of the series for any unanswered questions. I still see new copies of it in bookstores, so check it out.

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