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Kristen Britain

Author of Green Rider

21+ Works 8,812 Members 191 Reviews 43 Favorited

About the Author

Image credit: Photo credit: Czerneda Photography. Kristen Britain's Official Site


Works by Kristen Britain

Green Rider (1998) — Author — 3,297 copies
First Rider's Call (2003) — Author — 2,145 copies
The High King’s Tomb (2009) — Author — 1,402 copies
Blackveil (2011) — Author — 811 copies
Mirror Sight (2014) — Author — 507 copies
Firebrand (2017) — Author — 298 copies
The Dream Gatherer (2018) — Artwork — 162 copies
Winterlight (2021) 124 copies
Unbound II (2022) 16 copies
Avalonia 2 copies

Associated Works

DAW 30th Anniversary Fantasy Anthology (2002) — Collaborator — 304 copies
Misspelled (2008) — Contributor — 107 copies
Unbound (2015) — Contributor — 103 copies
Imaginary Friends (2008) — Contributor — 54 copies
Fantastic Companions (2005) — Introduction, some editions — 34 copies


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Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Britain, Kristen
New York, USA
Places of residence
Maine, USA
New York, USA
Ithaca College (Film Production,1987)
park ranger
Short biography
Kristen Britain grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, where she started her first novel - an undersea fantasy featuring herself and her friends - at the age of nine. She published her first book, a cartoon collection called Horses and Horsepeople, at the age of thirteen. After completing her degree in film production at Ithaca College in 1987 she made the logical (?!) leap from cinema to the National Park Service. Her many years as a park ranger enabled her to work in a variety of natural and historical settings, from 300 feet below the surface of the Earth to 13,000 feet above sea level on the Continental Divide; and from the textile mills of the American Industrial Revolution to the homes of Americans who changed the course of history.

Currently she lives in a log cabin in Maine where she writes full time and pursues interests reading, guitar playing, and cartoon illustration, supervised by a cat and a dog. She enjoys exploring the magical places around her and can often be found paddling a canoe in stillwater, ambling through the woods to mountain summits, or sitting along the rocky shore listening, watching, and daydreaming. This is her fantasy, at least.



3.5 stars for Winterlight

The Green Rider novels have always been exciting for me because of the story telling. Even though there are fantasy tropes plainly written in several of the novels, I have consistently felt that the writing of Kristen Britain made up for any shortcomings with the exception of book 5 which was tragic. In book 6, the writing style was still captivating for the most part.

However, with Winterlight, I started to fall out of love with the story even though I wanted to keep loving the characters. It feels as though we have reached a climax in the story and instead of pursuing it, we are running after side quests in perpetuity. The best example of this is the failure of this book to significantly advance the plot of major villains (Morhavon and/or Amberhill). In prior reviews I have discussed my own disinterest in the Amberhill plot line and the viewpoint changes to accompany it and that stance has not changed. However, since it's already been written circa book 5, it would be nice to keep it moving.

Instead, much of Winterlight focuses on the Darrow Raiders. We know about them because they were mentioned in passing in previous novels. It's not entirely unexpected that they would make an appearance now, but it is strange how disconnected from the main plot they seem to be. Spoilers - In the book, several riders are kidnapped by the raiders and they eventually lure out and kidnap Colonel Mapstone (their old enemy) whom they sell to a random (plot necessitated) foreign prince effectively removing her from the story for now. The raiders are slowly defeated through the remaining actions and developments.

For Karigan's part, she escapes the confinement and makes it to the army and Zachery who are prepared for their confrontation with the Second Empire. Karigan has always been a loveable protagonist for me until this book when I started to become bored with her. This occurred for two main reasons. The first is the continuation of her inability to cope with past trauma - I don't personally need this level of realism in my escapist fantasy. I can appreciate it, but I don't want it to consume the protagonists every action for an extended duration. The second reason is that she apparently lost her spine somewhere between novels. In Colonel Mapstone's absence, Captain Connly is in charge of the green riders stationed with the army. He repeatedly treats Karigan like hot garbage stuck to the bottom of his shoe. The character Karigan that was introduced in books 1-6 would have put him in his place. The Karigan of this book did nothing. In fact, it didn't seem as though she had any feelings about her treatment which is pretty strange.

Perhaps a third reason that Karigan is no longer appealing as a character is the way in which her romance with Zachery continues in this book. I don't think she needs him to be likeable and relatable. Obviously, I don't know where the author hopes the two characters will end up but she has positioned them in such a way in this novel that I would not expect both of them to survive the coming conflict. Hopefully I'm wrong.

The remaining plot was sufficient and entertaining to read.
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tnemurtsni | 2 other reviews | Mar 3, 2024 |
I'm thinking that this may be a 2.5 more than 3 stars for me even though I pushed onto the next book. The situations seem a bit...simple. And I'm finding the conflict to be slightly childish. I can't put my finger on it and wish I had read on my Kindle instead of audio so I could take better notes.

Unfortunately, this is one of those series that I'll probably read when I'm between books. (I'm between books)
jazzbird61 | 75 other reviews | Feb 29, 2024 |
**Some light Spoilers**
Recap - In the 5th book of the series (Mirror Sight) Karigan wakes up in a future time where the realm has lost to the empire. The entire book, while entertaining and well written, had numerous flaws that made it the worst book so far. Not the least of which was its irrelevance to the story and plot. However, Karigan experiences great loss when she loses her lover (who came out of nowhere) and that loss and Karigan's inability to recover feature heavily in the 6th book.

In Firebrand, Karigan's losses just continue. The book is a little darker but has many positive attributes. Karigan has returned to the Sacoridia of her time and we are again immersed in the characters we know and some new characters like Anna Ash. Karigan, her friend Estral, and an Eletian named Enver journey north to attempt to establish contact with the lost race of the p'ehdrose in anticipation of the escalating fights with the second empire. I enjoyed the opportunity to continue Estral's part of this story but was rather disappointed with its conclusion or lack thereof.

In Sacor city, we are introduced to Anna Ash, a maid/servant who shows bravery and seems to have a future tied to the green riders. She manages to protect the Queen during several attacks by elements etc. Meanwhile, Zachery is kidnapped first by an elemental creature and then by the second empire when he escapes the elementals clutches.

Instead of finding the P'ehdrose, Karigan and Estral find themselves captured by the second empire as well. Karigan endures extreme torture during their captivity. Through the aid of her friends and others she escapes and they manage to save the king. A final confrontation ensues where losses occur on both sides. The torture that Karigan was subjected to becomes a main focal point of the series as it grows introspective and adds realistic elements of trauma. Karigan was already weakened by her losses and continued focus on them before the torture and now grows even more withdrawn and depressed. This continues (annoyingly) for quite some time and takes up a significant focus of the next book. For those that enjoy a grungier more realistic take on trauma, this might be a good portrayal.

Overall, I'm happy to at least be back in the main storyline and in a novel where the plot progresses (barely). However, this book introduces us to many new facets of the world and magic that seem to come out of nowhere and while they are entertaining, it seems like lazy writing and just a continuation of the ongoing filler material. Examples include the P'ehdrose, some weird plot line with Eletion unfoldings, Cats that are not cats, and personified elementals holding millennia-old captives.
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tnemurtsni | 10 other reviews | Feb 29, 2024 |
Spoilers ahead. 1.5 stars for an entertaining story that has absolutely no place in this series.
This is the 5th book in the Green Rider series which up until now has been an entertaining and well written, story-driven fantasy complete with its semi-historic fictional setting, magic, and adventure. In this book, the protagonist is thrust forward in time and the entire book takes place in a distant steampunk future which is ultimately irrelevant because she escapes back to her own time in the end which changes the future. Thus all those characters are meaningless and the story and trauma is pointless.

The good - In the steampunk future where an empire has overthrown sacoridia and magic is all but extinct, Karigan finds herself lost and alone. She makes friends blah blah blah none of it matters because it essentially didn't happen. However, the story is entertaining if you can somehow forget that you're supposed to be reading a fantasy novel about a strong headed woman with magic and a destiny.

The bad - I could not forget that I was supposed to be reading a fantasy novel about a strong headed woman with magic and a destiny. Admittedly, I have no interest in steampunk fantasy so this was DOA for me. First, a few critiques of the storyline and writing. In this book Karigan is not herself, she is a weak, boring protagonist that doesn't drive the story so much as she is just along for the ride. This book has elements of political writing and realism as Britain creates a future society dependent on slavery and a society in which women are second class citizens to be seen and not heard. I appreciate the desire to write about these topics. In another book, it would make sense. However, in the middle of an established series with characters that have already been defined and are beloved by the readers, this book is nonsensical and out of place. The story line of the Green rider series has not been moved forward at all. You could safely assume this entire book is "filler" material and from what I have read, although the story returns to the green rider universe in the remaining novels, the addition of filler material to stretch out the series is an ongoing problem.

I think my advice for anyone that wants to stick with the series is to skim this book. There were whole pages that I skipped when it was apparent that they were absolutely useless. Maybe even skip the book and read a review?
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tnemurtsni | 14 other reviews | Feb 25, 2024 |



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