It isn't Karigan G'ladheon's day -- on her way home in disgrace after being expelled from her school for troublemaking, she comes across a dying Green Rider, who entrusts her to finish his perilous mission, to deliver his last message. Soon she finds herself on a horse with a mind of its own, pursued by mercenaries, murderous Shadow Riders, and weird evil creatures from legend. She just wants to deliver the message and go home to safety. But nothing is ever that easy.
This is certainly action packed, as Karigan careers from one crisis to the next. It's good to see a protagonist who isn't all-powerful, but suffers everyday misfortunes (like when she has to chase her sleeping blanket, caught by a gust of wind). But she's not incompetent either, and manages to struggle through her various trials, growing into her new role. There are a lot of standard fantasy tropes (evil black-blooded creatures from the Dark Wood, elvenesque creatures, and I'm sure I caught a hint of light sabres at one point), leavened with some less-common scenes: the Revolutionary Republicans make an interesting change (but are rather under used), and the economics of the various regions of the Kingdom seem to make more sense than in many fantasies (although there seems to be a terrible dearth of roads). The writing is a little uneven in places (this is a first novel), but there is plenty of everything: characters, plot, variety, and action. There is a good conclusion, but obviously with potential for a sequel. I for one would like to see what happens to Karigan next.
Karigan G'ladheon is now officially a Green Rider, even if she doesn't really want to be. And as events that started in the first book begin to spiral out of control, she finds herself at the centre of the action again -- with a bit of ghostly time travelling thrown in for good measure as a way of introducing the historical backstory.
This is another great action-packed adventure. The plot is suitably complex, as various characters career through space (and occasionally time), rarely doing the expected thing. (In the intervening years, I have actually forgotten most of the details of what happens in the first book, but that doesn't matter.) A few threads do get tied up satisfactorily, but there is clearly a sequel, since the danger is merely banished, not defeated. Rather irritatingly, some of the loose ends for said sequel get started towards the end of this, leaving not so much an unfinished as a just started flavour.
But rather than finding death, and peace, Karigan wakes to a darkness deeper than night. The explosion has transported her somewhere – and into a sealed stone sarcophagus – and now she must escape, somehow, before the thinning air runs out and her mysterious tomb becomes her grave.
Where is she? Does a trap, laid by Mornhavon, lie beyond her prison? And if she can escape, will she find the world beyond the same – or has the magic taken her out of reach of her friends, home and King forever…?