Riders (Riders #1) by Veronica Rossi
Publication Date: February 16th 2016 by Tor Teen
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy.
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
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.
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.
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?
If there’s one thing I appreciate about Veronica Rossi’s writing, it’s the fact the narrator’s voices always sound and feel authentic. Gideon Blake is an eighteen year old who’s looking to follow in his dad’s footsteps and become a U.S. Army Ranger. However, things go awry and the consequence introduces Gideon to a world where he is the embodiment of War. He is tasked with the challenge of bringing together the other horsemen to take down a formidable foe threatening to bring about a dark new world. I really loved Gideon’s voice. He was charming, sarcastic and a little bit cocky. Being told that you are one of the legendary four horsemen will undoubtedly mess with your head and Gideon’s reaction to this revelation was so hilarious and felt really authentic. On top of that, Gideon also has some personal issues that continue to haunt him and to see him grapple with these events was both sad and hopeful. I loved his character growth in the book.
However, Gideon is not alone on this journey and tasked with helping him bring the four horsemen together is Daryn. She is the definition of mysterious and it takes a while for her role in this journey to be revealed. Despite my frustration with her secrecy, I really liked her. She was basically the glue holding the team together and the voice of reason when tensions reached boiling point. There’s definitely a romantic connection between Gideon and Daryn. However, they both have a bigger task to focus on and Daryn’s reluctance to cross that line means that there’s not much of a development on that front. I’m quite excited to see how their dynamic is further explored in the sequel.
The concept of the Four Horsemen is what drew me to this book and I really loved the way it was executed. From the specific characteristics attributed to each horseman, to their abilities and the horses themselves, everything about the concept intrigued me. The horses themselves were a huge hit with me and seeing the connection and dynamic between the horses, their riders and each other was so much fun to read about.
I really enjoyed Riders but I didn’t love it. The main reason for this is because while Gideon and Daryn were both well fleshed characters, I didn’t feel like I knew the other three horsemen all that well. Sebastian was definitely the most fleshed out character out of the three but I’d still like to know more. Towards the end we got some hints about Marcus’ past but sadly Jode fell a bit flat for me. I do hope that the sequel provides a bit more insight into their past and how that shaped them to be the people they are today.
You will either love or hate the narrative method because essentially the story begins at the end and so the journey shows us how they got to this point in time. Personally I quite liked this narrative method but sometimes the breaks we got in the middle of this journey halted the pace for me. That was until the final quarter of the book. It is here that the stakes are taken to new heights and all the confusion and connections fall into place. This results in an intense, action packed and unpredictable confrontation that had me on the edge of my seat.
Riders, is nothing like the Under the Never Sky series. I am constantly impressed with Veronica Rossi’s versatility and her ability to distinguish her books from one another. Riders takes the concept of the four horsemen and provides us with a fun, tense journey with interesting character dynamics and a whole lot of questions that will hopefully be answered in the second book.