Bewildering Stories

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Book Review:
Kristen Britain, First Rider's Call

by Jerry Wright

First Rider's Call
Author: Kristen Britain
Publisher: DAW Books
Hardcover: 639 Pages
ISBN: 0-88677-861-1
Price: $24.95

So... Once again I find a book that is a sequel to a novel I've never read, or even heard of. Too bad. That's the way my life goes. First Rider's Call is a sequel to a book called Green Rider and has been "in the making" for five years. I see that it actually came out in 2003, but that's okay, it will give you something to look for, like you didn't have enough in the "To Be Read" pile already.

First Rider's Call could be construed as "High Fantasy". Medievaloid setting, Elves, or the equivalent thereof, Good against Evil, with Evil sneakily decimating the Good Guys. The Riders... (no not of Rohan.) The horses of FRC's universe aren't quite Mercedes Lackey's Companions, but they are definitely fey, and smarter than your average horse.

The book starts out in the night hours of Karigan G'ladheon, asleep, but being called by something, someone. She doesn't want to answer, but finally is worn down, and wakes up on her horse, miles away, still in her nightwear. Karigan has been called to be a Green Rider, but she would prefer to stay with her family, and be a sub-chief of her Merchant clan.

Although the book was well written, the characters interesting, and the story well-conceived, there were some problems for me, in that Kerigan spends most of the book reacting, rather than acting. I wanted her to DO SOMETHING. However, everything comes together in the end.

One of the very interesting things that Britain does is break up the narrative with journal entries from long ago by Hadriax el Fex, who was the right-hand man of a character called "Mornhavon", who is now somehow the source of evil scourging the countryside. The essence of Mornhavon is supposed to be trapped behind a mystic barrier called the D'Yer Wall.

All the pieces come together at the end, and the story, and history, make sense, and create a tremendous amount of enjoyment for the reader.

I'll be looking for Green Rider, but trust me, familiarity with Book One is not required for enjoyment of First Rider's Call.

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