I’ve been wanting to add something to the blog that isn’t just a daily rundown of what Scarlet and I do together. I love doing that and it is a great chronicle of what we do, but I also like the variety I see in other posts (DIY, reviews, etc) so I wanted to try something new. But I also wanted to stick with things I love. I love horses obviously. I also love reading. What I don’t get often are good horse books meant for adults. I loved the Thoroughbred series when I was a kid but it seems like every writer assumes that we readers grow out of the horse crazy phase (NEVER!) when we get older. So I wanted to try to find more horse stories that are appropriate for adult readers. I’m not sure how successful I will be but I want to try. And since I’m going to be reading them anyway, why not share on the blog to see if anyone else benefits from my reviews?
So here is the first iteration of my horse book reviews. I’m trying to find books where the horses are integral if not the main point of the book. I’m primarily sticking with books I have not read yet so I can give a first impression type review. I’m open to suggestions of books to review if anyone has one they have been interested in but didn’t want to take the plunge themselves. Also, since this is a new thing, please feel free to leave comments on what you think of this segment below.
As always, these are entirely my opinion and I’ve received zero incentives to review the books I’ve chosen.
Green Rider by Kristen Britain
Genre: Fantasy, YA more than Adult
Summary: Karigan runs away from school before being expelled due to a fight and finds a dying Green Rider – a member of the special messenger group for the crown. He pleads with her to take his message to the king. Karigan agrees and finds herself chased across the land by evil with the Green Rider’s horse and magic to help her complete the mission.
Scarlet’s horsey opinion:
My mom reads lots of books. Sometimes she shares them with me, especially if there are horses in the book. Mom tells me that a big problem with horse books is that horses don’t always act like horses. I would have asked her what she meant by not acting like horses. Every horse has its own personality. After all, I’m nothing like my paint neighbor, who sticks his nose through the fence to greet everyone. I would have asked, but my mouth was full of cookies and I didn’t want to be rude. She asked me what I thought of the horses in this book. After all, who would be better at judging a horse book than a horse?
The horse in this book, Condor, acted horse like. He wasn’t able to do anything that I can’t physically do with more exercise to build up my stamina. The major thing that Mom told me about that seemed off was how he acted. His responses (though we horses are very responsive to our humans, they like that) were more human than horse. But he lived in a world with this stuff called magic. Mom explains that it makes impossible things happen. So maybe the magic made him think and act a bit more like a human than a horse. Condor’s behavior wasn’t enough to make Mom not like the book just due to that.
However, Mom’s biggest pet peeve with horses in any media form existed in this book. She will rant every time she sees it. Horses cannot run around at top speed everywhere. Condor did that a bunch. She did say it might be that magic stuff again but really, even with magic Condor would have to get tired at some point.
Alex’s reader opinion:
I try to start off with the positive things before focusing on negative things so the positives of this book were the magic system and the world.
The magic system was quite interesting. There weren’t too many magic practitioners in this world. When the magic is limited to certain circumstances, it makes for a more solid magic system. It also makes the magic more impressive when it does happen, as it isn’t as normal as tying your shoelace. The magic mainly centered around the magic that the Green Riders possess. This magic is tied to a brooch that is their symbol of office. Each brooch has unique magic and chooses its wielder. One magic is invisibility. Another is to tell when someone is lying. Simple but useful magics overall. I thought that was very well done.
The world was very well developed. The author had specific distances in mind from place to place and those didn’t seem to vary for the sake of the story. The world had a history, a caste system and an explanation for why things happened based on historical references. World building is hard to do without getting so sucked into it that you sound Tolkien-esque. Britain did a very good just having enough information there to make the world seem completely solid without droning on about facts. Some things I didn’t like were the protagonist herself and the presence of romance in the book.
Some things I didn’t like were the protagonist herself and the presence of romance in the book.
Now, before you think that I hate romance, I really don’t. A world isn’t complete without having love in it. Love exists in everyday life so why shouldn’t it fit in books? Th problem I have is the specific romance in this book. There are two implied romantic attractions and I never saw it till the main character said it herself. I was completely surprised by this. If I’m responding with a “wtf?” and it’s not just with the character being surprised themselves, the romance has just been forced into the book for romance’s sake. Neither of the romantic interests had spent much time with Karigan. Neither of them showed any indication that they thought anything of her before it was directly stated that they liked her. There was no basis for attraction (beyond physical but that was not the attraction that was stated in the book) and I cannot stand random romances.
Karigan herself is just… flat. Everything about her falls flat. She is the protagonist but she NEVER DOES ANYTHING! Everything just happens to her and she goes along with the flow. She doesn’t really choose to start as a Green Rider, it’s forced upon her. Then she just shrugs and says okay sure why not. That first “choice” that she has at the beginning of the book is indicative of how she acts for the rest of the story. No choices, just going with the plot.
I wanted to like this book but I really just didn’t. The summary and premise really seemed good. I had bought this book a while ago and didn’t get very far in it. I then put it down for a number of years and decided to try and read it again. It was hard. I just couldn’t get engaged in Karigan and her problems. They just weren’t problems for me. Nothing that started the journey really mattered or would change her life. Later, once she was already in, the stakes rose and things matter to her life but it was too little too late. Not a terrible book, but it really wasn’t for me.