Paperback: 288 pages
Reviewed by Kelly Klepfer:
Kathryn Mackel's "Outriders" is the first of her works I've read. It's also a fantasy, a genre that sometimes leaves me cold. I didn't know what to expect when I cracked the cover which, by the way, is beautiful and haunting.
I was plunged into a cold, cruel world with strange creatures and hints of danger. It's a familiar world, tilted and twisted. The emptiness of the surroundings and the soul of a main POV character are poignantly and powerfully written.
Mackel writes beautiful, haunting descriptions like, "Here, as night crept between these peaks, violet fingers of cold strangled the remains of the day." and "Maybe then the tears wouldn't freeze on his face while fear flickered hot in his gut."
The plot line pulls the reader along in tense anticipation. Surprises and rich secondary threads are woven in almost seamlessly, almost seamless, because one scene left me hanging. This might be because the author has created a series and the characters are working toward their goals and the completion of their stories. So I will patiently wait until book two.
Even though there are several POV characters, most have depth and magnetism. I have a minor complaint about this read. The slang of the young protagonists was a personal annoyance. It's not overwhelming or inappropriate -- it just pulled me from the story. And maybe that's why it bothered me. Because this story is so good I resented losing focus.
As I read, I visualized how this would play out on a movie screen. My husband, who doesn't often read novels, picked "Outriders" off the nightstand and looked at the cover. He opened the cover and began to read. I didn't have to wrestle it from his hands, but I did have to ask him to give it to me. That alone is high praise.
The sweetness of the spiritual thread and the tenderness of budding love stories should appeal to those who don't normally like fantasy. Those who loved "Black", "Red" and "White" will find much to like in "Outriders." I recommend this book. I'm not sure when book two is coming, but it's not soon enough.