The High King’s Tomb – Kristen Britain

Cover of "The High King's Tomb (Green Rid...

Cover via Amazon

In July, I read The High King’s Tomb, the third installment in Kristen Britain’s Green Rider series. Way back when the second book came out (First Rider’s Call), I somehow got the impression that Green Rider was going to be a trilogy. It may have been the obviousness of the Tolkien homage, it may have been wishful thinking, given the time between books appearing. Whatever it was, it caused severe frustration when I was 2/3 of the way through High King’s Tomb and it became clear that absolutely nothing in the series arc was going to be resolved. Only the specific-to-this-installment plot threads were resolved (sort of).

Of the things left un-resolved in First Rider’s Call, there was the D’Yer wall, Kerigan’s feelings for the King, Second Empire’s plans, and when Mornhaven would return. I’m going to be evil, and issue a set of spoilers here: By the last page of High King’s Tomb the D’Yer wall is still breached, with only hope of knowing how to fix it, Kerigan still loves the King and he’s still marrying someone else while plotting how he can get Kerigan too, Second Empire’s plans are to break the wall… which is what their plan was in book 2, and we still don’t know when Mornhaven is coming back.

What does get resolved are Lady Estoria’s feelings about her impending marriage, the increase in Green Rider ranks, the next step in Kerigan’s unique destiny (treated as a thready side-plot), and the character development of a poor-man’s Zorro wanna-be, whom I hope we never hear from again.

There is something of narrative discipline missing from this third installment. While using a similarly-sized cast of POV characters to First Rider’s Call, there is no real narrative momentum holding them together. Multiple scenes all do the same narrative work, rather than each scene advancing that narrative (either plot-wise, world-wise, or character-wise). The plot seems to hang from the character of Grandmother, rather than Kerigan, which I believe to be a great loss of story-telling potential. Especially given the climax of this book.

This review is a republishing (new blog domain).  It was originally published in July 2010.


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