Saturday, 18 June 2016

Is the Apocalypse coming? | Riders

Riders (Riders #1) by Veronica Rossi

Published: February 16th 2016 by Tor Teen
Genre: young adult, fantasy

Goodreads summary: Riders. A new fantasy adventure from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Veronica Rossi.
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.
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?

Going into Riders, I was a bit anxious, because I had seen mixed reviews about it. If you’ve read Under the Never Sky (if you didn’t, you should!), don’t expect a similar book, because it definitely wasn’t. In my opinion, Riders was pretty unique and I loved that the author choose to include the lore around the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

For 75% of the book, Gideon, the main character, was describing what had happened to him, because he found himself in a tricky situation in the first page of the book. I think that it was really interesting that Rossi chose to tell the story this way, because it almost felt like it was a report. Riders felt like a standalone, because overall, almost everything was resolved in the span of this one book, the sequel will be more Daryn’s point of view. Indeed, the beginning of the book was more about finding the others Horsemen and then get through with their quest. It was a lot to process at times, but at the same time it was a bit slow and repetitive during some part of the book.

This book was set in different locations all around the world, it wasn’t just about the U.S. – which I’m kind of sick of, these days – but also set in Italy and Norway. You could find this same diversity in the cast of characters, which I wasn’t expecting. Out of the four horsemen, two were typical Caucasian males, when the two others weren’t (but no spoilers!). I really enjoyed that aspect, because as an incarnation of the four horsemen, the boys were chosen and it showed that they were equals. The ending was definitely crazy, with a plot twist I wasn’t expecting (I was pretty naïve on that one, apparently). The author wasn’t scared to hurt her characters, which I totally respected, because they were fighting demons/fallen angels, after all.

I was thrown off a little in the beginning, because I’m not used to read books with only a male’s point of view, but I got used to it quickly. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Gideon’s character in the beginning, because he was macho (ugh), but he went through many character development during the book, which felt realistic. Nevertheless, I loved that his character was so realistic, trying to find ways to cope with what happened to him a year before, which still made him likeable. Moreover, I learnt a lot about the army reading this book, because Gideon had been training to become a Ranger before the accident happened, which was a bit outside of my comfort zone, as I avoid books about the military most of the time.

Out of the rest of the boys, Bas was definitely my favourite. Rossi managed to give us fleshed-out characters, even when she had five main characters. Daryn’s character wasn’t as developed as the others though, but I think it’s because the sequel will focus on her. She was still a pretty tough character and I loved how she was still the leader of the team, despite being the only girl there. I’m intrigued to learn more about the seekers in the next book, because it felt mysterious, as we weren’t in her head.

The team spirit definitely wasn’t there between everyone in the beginning, but the characters worked a lot towards that, so it was a success in this. The last chapter showed it, for there was a real bond between Marcus and Gideon, when they almost were trying to kill each other in the beginning. About the romance, the connection between two of the characters happened pretty quickly, but I enjoyed how it built up and how it ended up in the first book. I’m looking forward to see what happens between them next.

Overall, I found Riders to be a unique book that I quite enjoyed, even if it wasn’t perfect. I would recommend it to you if you’re looking for a badass and original adventure, even though it could be slow at times. Don’t expect this one to be similar to Under the Never Sky, though, but it showed how Rossi evolved as a writer since her debut novel.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Did you like Veronica Rossi's first series, Under the Never Sky?


  1. I have not heard of this book; but seems like a good one because of the high rating you have given. Glad to know you enjoyed the read

    1. I heard a lot about Riders when it was announced, but I don't think that many bloggers have read it yet... Maybe that's why you hadn't heard of it. Thank you! :)

  2. Bas was also my favorite character too! Though to be honest, I didn't like this book at all hahaha. Mostly because of the writing style. I haven't read Under the Never Sky, and I'm wondering whether I'll like that book, seeing as I didn't like Riders. Hmmm.

    Awesome review Lucie! Glad you loved this more than I did!

    1. Many characters were hard to like - Marcus, for example - but they were pretty realistic, so it made sense that it was heard to do so. Bas was so much fun! I really liked Under the Never Sky, but felt underwhelmed by Into the Still Blue, the last book in the trilogy. Thanks, Val! :)

  3. Glad to see you enjoyed this - I too thought it was really unique but my no means perfect. And I agree, this is nothing like Veronica Rossi's other books!

    Great review!

    1. Thank you! :) I like that lately, many authors are writing about different kind of folklore. For years, it's been all about classic fairy tales, like Snow White, but now they're totally broadening their horizons and it makes unique stories. Under the Never Sky is quite different and published when dystopia was what everyone was reading, but I really enjoyed both.