Riders - Book Review
Book #1 in Riders
UK Publisher: Tor Teen
Nothing but death can keep eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake form achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.
While recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horseman of the apocalypse.
Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen—Conquest, Famine, and Death—are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.
Now—Bound, bloodied and drugged—Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in the battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for—not to mention al of humankind—he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.
But will anyone believe him?
Having really enjoyed Veronica Rossi’s “Through the Ever Night” trilogy, I was really excited to pick up RIDERS—and it didn't disappoint. Action packed with an intriguing storyline, this book was a really great read.
After surviving a death-defying accident, eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake awakes in hospital to find his wounds miraculously healed, his temper high, and a strange cuff attached to his wrist. And now, he has a strange but pretty girl telling him he is War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
Soon joined by his three other brethren, Famine, Conquest and Death, the four of the them now have the heavenly task of protecting a sacred key from demons. But when the horsemen fail and are taken captive by the government, everything now rests on Gideon being smart enough to convince his captors that the world is in great danger—and that he, and the rest of the apocalyptic horsemen—are actually the good guys. But will they believe him in time..?
It’s been ages since I read a book with a male protagonist— and I thought Veronica Rossi pulled it off very well. Combined with military, magical, and pure boyish elements, I thought RIDERS was a quite a refreshing read.
Gideon was a really likeable hero, very macho and real in his reactions to the fantastical. I liked the simple direction his thoughts went in, and since the story is all from his view point, the military style run-downs describing people and scenery were direct and to the point. It also made following the action scenes very easy.
In terms of the other characters, I’m really hoping to see more character building in the next book. I felt that we didn't get to know most of the other characters properly, especially Death and Conquest, both of whom didn't come into the story until nearly midway. I’m also hoping book two will have some much needed, bro-bonding time.
But the horses… I loved the horses! Actually the whole package of manifesting weapons, armour and shadowy/dusty/fiery/star-blinding mares and stallions was spectacularly done. Also I was moved by the fact that it was Riot, Gideon’s horse, who really broke through Gideon’s shell of grief and anger.
In terms of plot the story felt very mission like. The characters always had an objective, were always on the run from bad guys, and everything was very much go, go, go. However I think having the story from Gideon’s perspective really helped slow the action down, giving it a perfect pacing as he sort to rationalise and justify everything before taking action.
My only criticism is that I never felt the URGENCY that was clearly fuelling the characters along. While I really enjoyed the story, I didn't feel the characters really cared about protecting the key from the bad guys —partly because everyone seemed to withhold important information. Rather, all the action seemed to be based around the four of them staying alive. The all important key more or less took a back seat until the end of the story.
I think that’s why it took me so long to read this book—I found it easy to put down—however it was also a nice book to come back to. But it took me nearly 3 months to read this story since I would only read a couple of chapters here and there, usually in-between reading other things. It wasn't until the last third of the book that my attention was truly hooked and I managed to finish it.
But I most definitely will be reading the second book, and despite taking a while to finish, I did enjoy this story. It was something a little new and different. All in all, 3.5 stars!