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S'all good, except for this one thing...
The 'Green Rider' series is worth a read if you find yourself needing some light, easy fantasy. There's no arguing about that. Calling it medieval fantasy would be a mistake, as the society presented seems to be closer to a manner of 'Renaissance Age'—at least that's the best guess I can make when there is plumbing and museums with wax models—and it is hinted at that the Arcosians had machines. This, however, adds to the charm of the series.

In fact, many 'problems' in these books—the way Estoria's eyes suddenly and abruptly go from blue to green in between the first two books, the choppy writing in the first book, the occasional typo—are easily overlooked. The story is engaging, and Karigan is a protagonist who is easy to become invested in. The only problem with the series that I haven't been able to get over is the character Estoria.

If you ever needed an example of an 'Author's Darling'—a character who the author tries way too hard to make seem perfect and likable—it is Estoria. We are told she is clever and able to see through people, but we never see it. In fact, she is used by her cousin in the fourth book. That, however, pales in comparison to how she gets away without even a scolding for what is essentially date rape. In the fourth book, as King Zachary is dying and drugged up to the point of being only slightly conscious at best and confusing Estoria for Karigan (who we are made every aware doesn't have the same body type as Estoria, let alone the same coloring), Estoria agrees to a deathbed wedding (which was illegal, but she got away with that, too) and a romp in the sheets to make it official—even after being told she didn't have to do the latter. (Her angst over F'yran, her first love, is miraculously gone by this point.) No one is bothered by this, however, and Captain Mapstone even encourages Estoria to get closer to King Zachary.

With all the implied skills and talents, the loving descriptions, and the ability to get away with rape and breaking the law, Estoria went from a decent character to one that is hard not to hate. I can only hope that this was intentional, because otherwise it is an example of an Author's Darling in the worst way.
The above review contains a couple of serious inaccuracies. Probably a result of a bad translation since in the English versions her name is Estora, so I’m going to assume the translators made a screw up in this tropers copy. Specifically Estora is blackmailed into a "tame" version of the rite of consummation by spane, (and then only gets away with the tame agreement because all the witnesses are willing to lie that it was actually for real), when she's unwilling to go through with it at all. But both her and the king are heavily dosed up on aphrodisiacs by the time things get more serious. It's fairly clear in my copy that Estora is too drugged up to refuse and Zachary is mistaking Estora for Karigan for similar reasons. Incidentally Captain Mapstone is newly released from house arrest at the time her and Estora speak, she doesn’t know about what happened, so she couldn't raise a fuss about it anyway.

As for Estora's descriptions and supposed abilities. She fully demonstrates the abilities on several occasions. She's not captain Mapstone with the ability to sense truth and falsehood in absolutes. What she can do and demonstrates often is take note of what happens and how people react and from that actually fairly accurately deduce whatever is going on. She does at least a good a job in most situations as the king, who is clearly amongst the sharpest minds out there. Her picking up on Karigan and Alton at the start of book 2 is an especially pointed example, no one else from solely observing Karigan away from the gentleman in question hs picked up on her feeling for either Alton or the king, that more even that Estora’s comment in that scene show’s Karigan to be hard to read. And if she didn’t see through spane, well who did, no one figured out he as that treacherous until it was too late, Even captain mapstone didn’t see it despite disliking him and her ability.

As for Estora's descriptions, I suspect several matters here. Firstly she's clearly Karigan’s equal but opposite. She's the betrothed of the king and of a noble lineage, she's very much a sharp astute but otherwise typical noble lady. She's he typical "noble queen". Karigan on the other hand is very much cut from the same cloth as the first rider, yet she shares similarities with Estora through her place in the kings affections, and as we've seen when dressed up she can be very aristocratic. She more the old fashion warrior queen type. To me she exists in part to provide a very direct contrast to Karigan. At the same time Spanes comment about Estora's parentage raises the possibility that Estora could well be Esteral's half Sister, and her looks are a hint at her slight Eltian heritage. That said right from day one Estora is supposed to be this rare beauty, it's what sets her apart from the rest of the noble ladies. That and se's not the typical haughty stuck up priss. Which is the final point, we where always going to get a queen inserted here, that’s clearly a key part of the whole romantic sub-plot with Karigan. But we avoided the whole stuck up selfish priss type, (i.e. a Queen Oddacious). She's a believable noble lady within the setting whilst not being a character you auto hate, though i don't doubt her love triangle element with karigan attracts a lot of hate from some readers, (for me it's more interesting than anything else).

comment #16310 Carl99 28th Sep 12
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