Riders: Book One
Written by Veronica Rossi
Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Published February 16th 2016 by Tor Teen
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Nothing but death can keep eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.Gideon Blake is your average eighteen year old set on becoming a Army Ranger, much like his father. The day after he graduates high school he leaves for training. Everything is swell, he's exceeding in his tasks and finding where he belongs. That is until a month or so later, Gideon is in a fatal accident and just so happens to die — but comes back to life with a peculiar red cuff around his wrist. It's in the following days that Gideon realizes he's not the same kid who died that day. He can now heal faster than any human alive, and appears to be able to quite literally enrage people.
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 horsemen 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.
They fail. Now—bound, bloodied, and drugged—Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a 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 all of humankind—he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.But will anyone believe him?
When Gideon goes to a college party, it's there he discovers a girl by the name of Daryn. It's then that Gideon is told that he is War, the second of the four horsemen. Daryn is essentially the guide to the four horsemen—a Seeker. Together, she and Gideon must traverse across the world to round up the other three horsemen in order to protect a key that could open up a hellish realm that could bring humanity to its knees if it were to land into the wrong hands.
AHHH. This was definitely one of my most anticipated reads of 2016. The cover, and the synopsis had me from the start. Initially I had my doubts due to a few meh reviews I read that were coming out, but alas I rode on and picked this pretty up. I'm so happy I did. While I didn't loooove it, I did thoroughly enjoy it. For one, I have always been obsessed with mythology - so the four horsemen of the apocalypse really had me going. The concept of this novel is so fresh and new that I couldn't help but appreciate how different the story was from other books I've read.
When it came down to the way Riders was written I found that I was always hooked. I think that's in part due to how the story was written in such a manner that it's a story within a story. You know how when you tell your friends a story and usually it's only the very best parts, not extremely descriptive but just enough to get a colorful picture? That's really how Rossi went about writing Riders which I was initially skeptical about but it really ended up working for me! It made for a quick and fast read for sure. I just really enjoyed the new and unique style. Also, it's awesome to see more male POV's make their way into YA, I think it's something any guy could read and love.
I was so engrossed with the plot, and seeing how Veronica would mold the four horsemen mythology to make it her own. I was not disappointed whatsoever. The plot was exciting especially because there's a lot of action. That's not to say it's all action, there are some amazingly written soft and tender moments between our characters which I WAS ALL FOR. But for the most part, the plot was interesting as it was told in two parts: the actual story, and Gideon being interrogated.
I think my only complaint about Riders is that I felt disconnected from the characters. Admittedly, I wasn't a huge fan of Gideon. I found him overly aggressive (duh he's War, no shit he's aggressive) but regardless, I've never been a fan of angry people so it's really just a personal conflict. I can't wait to see his character growth in book two, I already saw a hint of it near the end! Oh my, but I did love Sebastian! (aka Famine) He was adorable and sweet and basically the groups mom. He's a special one for sure. As for the other two horsemen, we don't get to see much of them really so I feel unable to comment on them yet - I have faith we'll grow a bond in book two. Daryn is also really mysterious - I am so excited to learn more about her! I'm definitely a Dareon shipper :p
“Texas tips his chin, already smiling at what he’s going to say. “There’s gonna be horses soon, right? I can’t wait. My family trains cuttin’ horses. Best in North Texas. I’m guessin’ they wouldn’t stack up to War’s horse.”
Last but not least: THE HORSES WERE BAD ASS. I loved them all so much. I won't spoil the details of them, but I will applaud Veronica Rossi on making them so rich and imaginative. I'll be 100% honest - I'd probably be more devastated to see one of these horses die than I would one of the human characters. The horses truly are characters themselves, AHHHH I want one so bad.
Riders was a thrilling and heart pounding ride. I enjoyed the world and mythology that Veronica Rossi was so capable of building upon. She really made the story both fun, scary and new. I also want to add that I just adored the fact that the characters in Riders were on the older spectrum of their teenage years which is rare from what I've come across. If you want something original and distinct from any other work I highly recommend Riders. The ending gave me a similar sensation as this:
Kynndra is just crawiling out of her blogging/reading slump so bare with her if this review is rather rusty.