At long last, Firebrand has arrived. The Green Rider series is a series I adore. It’s also a series I’ve been reading since high school, and I’m now in my early 30s. Britain has been writing the series for almost 20 years (the first book came out in 1998), and the waits for new installments can run anywhere from 3-5 years, which is somewhat frustrating when the books occasionally end in cliffhangers (but almost always exciting and satisfying when the next book is released). The good news is, if you’ve never read Green Rider, now is a good time to start as you’ll have 6 somewhat lengthy tomes to keep you occupied as we wait another few years for #7. Reviewing this book without being spoiler-y will be tricksy, but I really want to review it well…and perhaps lure new fans to start reading from book #1 (which is pretty necessary to fully understand the series).
The series follows Karigan G’ladheon. At the beginning of the series, Karigan is a teenaged schoolgirl headed home to her father after being expelled for hitting a noble student at her school. On her way, she encounters a Green Rider, part of the king’s messenger service, who is dying and tasks her with bringing his message to the king. By agreeing, Karigan is swept up in a whirlwind of magic and mythology and adventure…and her life is never the same. Firebrand is the newest addition to Karigan’s adventures, and we’re now several years removed from her entrance to the Rider service. Here, threats to the kingdom abound from an ancient civilization, Karigan is tasked with a diplomatic mission, the king is kidnapped…and many other strange and wonderful things happen.
Firebrand is my new favorite book in the series. I always inhale the increasingly longer books in the series…and I finished the 784 pages in under a week, and the last 50% or so in one day. I was a little skeptical going in about how I’d feel about it, given that book #5 was my least favorite in the series so far (it wasn’t a bad book, but I get hung up on my OTPs). I’m glad, however, to say this book was pleasantly satisfying. First, I enjoy the use of multiple viewpoints, though at times it’s frustrating because you just want EVERYONE to know everything you know, but alas, that’s part of the fun. The viewpoints are also really varied here, from royal servants to an ice monster to Karigan and King Zachary. So much about the series and its characters is shrouded in mystery and mythology and those were both at play full-force here as well. I love that the series has built such a rich mythology over its course, and I look forward to seeing it continue to develop.
The pacing was also really well done. Even chapters that aren’t full of suspense don’t feel wasted. There’s plenty of combat and action…but there’s also politics and quiet moments of love and tenderness, and I didn’t want to miss any of it. It was interesting to see Karigan working through so much inner turmoil, even as she had to hold it all together in the face of what’s happening in her kingdom. I felt like I knew Karigan before, but I know her on a deeper level now. She’s a very strong-willed character, and got some more depth that was needed and much appreciated. I also appreciated the development of King Zachary’s character throughout the book. I feel like this is the most readers have ever gotten from his point of view and I have an even deeper love for him now. I mean, I knew I liked him before…but now I love him, along with many other characters I’ve come to enjoy. Also, the world expanded even more and gave me new characters to get to know and love.
I will admit I was a fan of how the love triangle developed in this one, though it’s still not completely satisfying. I was, however, dreading another book where my OTP dreams were completely thwarted, and was glad to see this was not the case. Britain has managed to create a love triangle over the course of the series in which you can feel for everyone, …however, I’m still kind of heartless and have very strong opinions about how this one should go, and progress has been painstakingly slow. See, the author made a mistake of a very interesting vision in the first book…and I have clung to that vision throughout the series, feeling like someday all my dreams for my OTP would come to fruition…and they’re now closer than ever before…and yet still so far away. Obviously, this series is near and dear to my heart if it can instill so many feelings.
Finally, I loved that this book felt both a closure to previous adventures, but a new beginning too. There was enough closure on previous storylines to make the wait for #7 bearable…but the closure was not complete. There’s still danger hanging over the kingdom and my beloved characters, but it still feels like there’s hope. There’s hope for healing from lots of traumatic events, and hope for new things blooming, but also an edge of danger. There’s so much magic in this world, and I can’t wait to revisit again.
I kind of feel like this review is all over the place. I just have so many feels and it’s very hard to communicate them as I just finished the book. What it boils down to is this: if you’re a fantasy fan and haven’t read the Green Rider series, you’re missing out. Start with #1 and enjoy. If you’re a loyal fan of the series, pick this up ASAP. You will enjoy it. It is satisfying, and will remind you of why you loved this world and these characters and their stories in the first place.
So..have I made you a Green Rider fan yet? Are you already a fan? Thoughts?? Let me know below!
Note: I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars