Details of the Book
Published by Tor Teen
Publication Date: February 16, 2016
Synopsis: 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?
If you go into this book hoping for something similar to Under The Never Sky, you will be disappointed with Riders. The writing, the characters, and the plot are so different—but in a good way. Rossi displays more of her range as a writer in this novel with her unique plot and well-developed main character's POV—Gideon sounds so much like real life soldiers that I've read about in military memoirs. Gideon's POV switches from the past to the present as he recounts how he and his fellow horsemen failed to stop the Kindred from wrecking havoc on mankind. It's surprising to me how much I like Gideon—he's a very internal character and the reader is given all the tools to understand him but externally, he's a bit of an overly aggressive prick. I'm not sure if his romantic interest is somehow able to see past all of his flaws or she just likes overly aggressive pricks haha. That being said, I did end up liking him and found him to be a very interesting character. Plus, I have a thing for military men, just like Rossi seemingly likes guys with broken noses haha.
The reason I am not able to give this book five stars even though I love it is because for three-fourths of the book, I kept asking myself, "why are they doing this?" Gideon and the other horsemen come together at the behest of Daryn who says that they have to fight these demons and save the world but gives them insufficient details about their quest—pretty much next to no information or insight actually. In addition, Rossi had a lot of groundwork to lay for the sequel to Riders, such as the characters coming together as a team and each of the horsemen training to use their powers—details that are necessary but are not exactly page turners. The actually horses though are so badass and beautiful, they were my favorite part of the book. Each of them has distinct personalities, abilities, and appearance—they almost put unicorns to shame in their otherworldly features.
In the last fourth of the book, the tides really change in the plot and suddenly I was sitting on the edge of my chair and forgetting to breath, it was so intense. For a while, I was wondering what was Rossi building up to and boy, did I get my answer to that question. There was no way for me to anticipate the crazy turn that Rossi flips on her readers. It's the type of writing that makes you go, "No, no! There are only 20 pages left. It can't end—IT CAN'T END HERE!" If you read this book and like me are wondering where this book is going, trust me and hold out for this last fourth of the book—you'll get all of your answers and much more than you're bargaining for.
1) I was really impressed with Rossi's writing, even though I knew from her Under the Never Sky trilogy that she can write—Rossi shows more of her range in this novel. I have read several memoirs of military men and Gideon sounds just like a real life soldier—down to the way he speaks and the way he thinks. Moreover, Rossi really brings the whole plot to life and it feels real to me—as if there are such things as burning horses and demons that invade our nightmares. If you put Under the Never Sky and Riders right next to each other, you wouldn't guess that the same author wrote these two books. Rossi's writing in Riders exceeded my expectations immensely.
2) I love the supernatural aspects of this book—specifically the horses. Honestly, they are probably my favorite characters in entire book—all of them were so fierce and radiant. You see that cover with the burning horse? There are three other horses that have their own spellbinding looks to them. You are not prepared for their loveliness.
3) The plot is extremely unique—I have never read anything like it. Although I'm aware that Rossi took the four horsemen of the apocalypse from a story in the bible, I'm not familiar with it. I found it to be such an interesting concept—I'm really curious where Rossi is going to take this in this new series.
4) The bromances! First of all—bromances to me trump pretty much all relationships. I'm a huge sucker for them. The bond that is created between Gideon and his fellow horsemen is just adorable. It's not all rainbows and puppies but I love their relationships and their banter.
1) I don't understand why the main couple wants to be a couple. Riders is told from Gideon's POV so the reader gets to know everything going on in his head, but he's such an internal character that I have no idea why Daryn likes him. On the outside, Gideon comes off as an impulsive ass but I guess Daryn likes that? I totally understand what Gideon sees in her—she's pretty, she's nice, and she's a strong, independent woman.
1) Three-fourths of the book is disorientating but I'm pretty sure it's intentional. There is a lot going on; the characters are running away from demons, training, and trying to become a team but all of this made me keep asking the question—why are they doing this? The horsemen are given so little information that everything that they are going through doesn't seem worth it. However, it did all come together at one point, but it took longer than I would have liked.
2) Out of the four horsemen—Gideon, Bas, Jode, and Marcus, I found only Marcus' reaction to their whole situation to be realistic. Marcus actively tries to get away from the group and the whole situation (a little too aggressively for my taste but that's not the point). The other three—with very little resistance—decide to listen Daryn (our leading lady) about needing to come together to save the universe but she barely gives them any information or proof behind their cause. Maybe I'm just different, but if some chick came up to me and said "follow me and we have to find these three other people?" but doesn't give me any more information than that, I'm not falling in line until I get some answers.
1) "I had to drag my crutch in a half circle ahead of me, then step, then drag, then step, sort of like a human compass. I figured that out as I left my room and made my way into our short hallway, past the pictures of me and my twin sister Anna, playing naked on the beach as babies, then me with braces and zits in Little League uniforms, then me with braces and zits before junior prom. I attribute most of my mental toughness to growing up walking that hallway day after day."
2) "You know I like you."
"I wish I didn't like you... but I do."
"Daryn, I want to kiss you, but I don't want to scare you away."
"Are you that bad at it?"
"Ouch. That's cold, Martin."
3) "How's it going today, Riot?" I said. "I'm Gideon."
Nice. Two sentences and I'm already managed to embarrass myself to Daryn and to the horse. I hadn't even realized the last part was possible. I continued speaking as I stepped closer. "I'm sure we have a lot in common. You're clearly a stallion in top physical condition. Extremely dangerous."
"Wow," Daryn said behind me.
4) "Who are you?" she asked.
"I'm Anna Blake's brother, Gideon."
"Her twin, the Army guy?"
"Her twin, the Army guy."
She checked me out, which was the only genuinely good thing that had happened to me in a solid week, and introduced herself as Joy.
"You don't look very much like her."
I shrugged. "Yeah, she's prettier than I am. I try not to get jealous."