Book Review: Riders by Veronica Rossi

Author: Veronica Rossi
Series: Riders #1
Release Date: February 16, 2016 (my birthday! ❤ )
Publisher: Tor Teen
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

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.

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?


With an engaging narrative and fun-filled characters, Riders immediately throws readers into action from the first page. Gideon is a fascinating character, with such a relatable voice that you can’t help but smile at his thoughts. The story begins a little backward – you see him captured and interrogated by the government (?), and from there he recounts his tale from the very beginning… which starts with his death. In between his story-telling are little disruptions when he gets offered water and gets asked more questions from his interrogators. This unique presentation really fit well with the story, and made Riders a quick read with pages that flew by.

Gideon enlisted in the army right after graduating from high school, and he carries many shadows with him. One would be the death of his dad, which is the topic that convinced him to join the army. He led a pretty normal life before his death, featuring a loving family and fond friends. But when a parachuting practice goes wrong, he finds himself on the cusps of death. When he wakes up, Gideon discovers that his wounds are rapidly healing and that he somehow has the powers to control people’s emotions, based on what he’s feeling. It was interesting to see how he dealt with these discoveries. I thought his reactions were pretty hilarious and realistic, considering the situation he’s in.

I typed one ridiculous search parameter after another.

Unexplainable rapid healing

Manipulating rage in others

Mystery metal bracelets

Just about everything turned up the same result: superhero websites.

That was enough intelligence gathering for me.

I shut the laptop, sat back, and laughed my ass off.

Suddenly, a mysterious girl named Daryn is thrust into his life and they go on an adventure to find the other horsemen of the apocalypse. She’s a “Seeker,” and has visions that see the past/future of what will happen. Daryn’s character was really fierce and you can see how she was used to being alone and independent all the time. Gideon’s chivalry really touches her and she finds herself slowly opening up to him. I thought the romance was quite nice, and the slow burn really creates tension. However, Gideon’s constant remarks on how “pretty” Daryn is got pretty tiring, pretty fast. In each of his numerous descriptions of her, he would note how “pretty” she is. We get the point! Add to that my issue with the characters in general, and it caused a bit of a disconnect with the romance.

The rest of the horsemen are likable enough characters, but I never really got a chance to empathize with them the way I did with Gideon, who tells the story from his first person point of view. Each of them definitely have unique personalities, don’t get me wrong, but they were just there to fill in as a spot as a horseman, and nothing else. We get to see them training and practicing with their respective horses, which is actually pretty fun. I love the descriptions of the different horses, and how they complement each of the horsemen.


Although being in the dark for the majority of the book may frustrate some readers, the fast-pace certainly makes up for it. The characters are on the constant run from the Kindreds, who separated from Satan and want to make their own version of Hell. Here’s another thing I had a problem with: while we know that some aspects of the book come from Revelations, there is no origin behind it. So our characters are reincarnations of the horsemen, but where did the Kindreds really come from? Were they just roaming around the world for hundreds of years? It was really vague and while I was reading, I was too swept up in the action to really think of it. Looking back now, I find that those fantastical aspects were not fully-explained, which left holes in the world.

If I were a couple of years younger, this book would have gotten a higher rating. But my tastes have grown from just constant mindless action and heart-racing battle scenes, which this book has a lot of. I’ve come to appreciate and see more things that my younger self wouldn’t have. I feel as if this book, which features characters ranging from 17-19 years old, would still be acceptable for a younger audience. It certainly provides a daring escape from reality. But at the same time, it’s also because the characters act like the 14-17 years old range more than anything. Gideon is all about exercising control and has OCD-like tendencies, which may have contributed to my feeling of that. But honestly, the characters were quite slow with the uptake (which made me quite exasperated), and sometimes had the most ridiculous bickering. Like, I understand how teamwork develops and how fights come out of it. The fights that stemmed from this book between the main characters’ allies were just out-of-nowhere and unnecessary at times. It’s kind of like the action in this book is quicker than the thinking, which is why it would suit a young audience too, despite the characters’ ages. And the huge focus on doing rather than thinking was a factor that made it feel a bit juvenile.

Riders provides a mindless, fun-tastic escape that introduces an amalgam of likable characters who are trying to keep peace in the world. The foundation of the world is there, but the details aren’t exactly explained to readers. And while I couldn’t really connect to all the characters (even though their horses are totally cool), their personalities are dazzling and really stand out. I would recommend to come into this when you’re in the mood to get pumped up with action scenes and character introspection, which Gideon does a lot of. The ending almost had a pretty solid conclusion, but then left us readers with the barest of strings that compels us into picking up the sequel. It’s fast, fun, and fleeting, with a laugh out loud narrative that you just can’t get enough of.



10 thoughts on “Book Review: Riders by Veronica Rossi

      • Olivia-Savannah says:

        Shame about that :/ I’ve been looking into it and I think maybe I’ll just wait a year till it is cheaper and therefore won’t bother me as much if I don’t like it.

  1. Nerdybirdy @ Daydreaming Books says:

    This sounds like an interesting read and I love the concept! I’ve always been fascinated about the four horsemen so I might just give this book a try. Great review Aila! 🙂

  2. fiddlerblue says:

    thanks for the honest review, Aila, I’ve been seeing this book everywhere on Twitter. It sounds interesting, but when you said it’s all about action and how it preceded everything else I think I might keep it in a back burner for now. 🙂

    • Aila @ One Way Or An Author says:

      Ooh, have you been seeing it? I only picked this one up because it was a birthday present from a friend and I really enjoyed this author’s previous work! But this new series definitely is not like her dystopian Under the Never Sky, and it left less of an impression on me.

  3. Lydia Tewkesbury says:

    Interesting review. I really like the concept of the book – it’s really original – but it seems like it maybe failed a bit on the execution of it. I have had that experience so often with books, where you get so caught up in the action but afterwards kind of find yourself asking how it all got to that point in the first place.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s