Series: Riders #1
Published by Tor Teen on February 16th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
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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.
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?
Gideon Blake wakes up from a parachuting accident at home and mostly healed, but with a strange red cuff on his wrist. He starts to realise something is seriously wrong when people around him start getting into fights, but when a strange girl called Daryn shows up, things really start going pear-shaped. As it turns out, Gideon is an incarnation of War, horseman of the apocalypse, and he and Daryn must locate Famine, Conquest and Death with only minimal directions and a pack of demons on their tail.
I really enjoyed Veronica Rossi’s previous series, Under the Never Sky, and I couldn’t wait to get stuck into this new story. Riders is quite different, but I loved everything about it. The story is told from Gideon’s first person point of view as he is being interrogated by some unknown agents, so right from the start we know some of what will happen at the end. It makes for a very tense telling, as I was constantly reminded of Gideon’s situation in-between chapters.
Each of the horsemen have a cuff of a different colour, as well as different abilities, weapons and, of course, horses. The way the horses are described is beautiful and terrifying, even more than the demons (although they sound pretty nasty too). I really enjoyed the interactions between each of the four boys and with Daryn – sometimes sad or angry, but also hilarious and touching at times.
I think what I loved most of all was Gideon and the way he gradually worked through his problems to deal with his anger. Throughout the book he retained his wish to be a good guy, even when he was in dark places. He comes across as an honest, cards-on-the-table sort of guy, and it’s not just because he’s telling the story under the influence of drugs his captors have injected into him.
When I finished Riders I actually thought it was a stand-alone book. Everything wraps up very neatly at the end, and it works as an ending for the story. I have since found out that there is at least a sequel planned, to be called Seeker, told from Daryn’s point of view. 2017 can’t come soon enough.