By: Veronica Rossi
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Tor Teen
A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
For eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.
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.
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?
I have been a fan of Rossi for years and was thrilled to see she was venturing into such a different type of book with Riders. From early reviews I knew this was going to be a much different reading experience and, overall, I found it to be incredibly original and interesting. I did, however, find that I was missing a level of connection to the characters that would have pushed this book into being an outstanding read.
We follow the story through Gideon’s first person point of view and watch things unfold through his experiences and memories. The approach Rossi took in telling the story, by using flash backs and an interrogation, worked for me better than I expected. I found myself captivated in finding out what exactly was happening and why.
Gideon was not what I expected for a main character though I had been warned by early reviews. His voice was so different than her other characters and he was much of a guys guy. I think this shows how great a writer Rossi is-she was completely capable of creating fully original characters in this new series. Though I respected Gideon’s character growth I never was able to really feel what he felt or connect deeply with him. I’m not sure if that was due to his character or me.
The secondary characters were well done (maybe easier for me to relate to than Gideon?) especially Daryn. I loved how mysterious her role in the story was and I really didn’t know where her storyline was going. Plus, she had great chemistry with Gideon. Each of the other members of the horsemen were pretty well developed though I favored one above the others. Plus, the horses. You can’t have horsemen without their steeds and Rossi really pulled out all the stops in describing and creating them.
Another plus in this book- the bad guys were really wonderfully evil. I was very pleased that one twist caught me completely off guard and I still don’t know exactly where things will go in the next book. This book was such a toss up of success and disconnect for me it’s rather hard to put into words. I did finish knowing that I’ll be reading the follow-up because I’m so curious to see where things will go.
The overall themes Rossi drew into the story such as, the four horsemen of the apocalypse, mythology, demons, and a few other things I’ll leave as a surprise really worked for me.
Though Riders wasn’t a complete success for me-I found myself intrigued with the storyline and how creative it was. The book was able to surprise me on at least one occasion and left me curious to what will happen in the next book.