- Title: Lightning Rider
- Author: Jen Greyson
- Series: Lightning Rider #1
- Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Romance
- Format: eBook
- Source: Netgalley
- Reviewed by: Sonja
- Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Description: For Evy Rivera, thunderstorms have always caused her physical pain, but she’s never known why. When a record-setting storm arrives on the same night her father finds ancient ancestral documents, Evy is set aglow with mysterious tiny lightnings she can command.
Even worse, she alerts some people in the universe who’ve been looking for her family for a very long time.
Thrown back into ancient Spain and tasked with killing a Spanish legend, she must train alongside Constantine, a sexy yet obstinate Roman warrior. He teaches her how to wield her lightning as a weapon, through more errors than trials. With a relationship as explosive as their late-night training sessions, Evy and Constantine battle their push-pull relationship while trying to ignore the two-thousand-year difference in their birthdates.
Ilif Rotiart, her quasi-mentor, is appalled at Evy’s skill. He would prefer to train her father and keep Evy on the sidelines—where women belong. Evy has a feeling Ilif is keeping something from them, but she must play nice until she uncovers the truth. And if he’s lying, it will be the worst day of his four-hundred-year life.
Penya Sepadas claims she’s Evy’s rightful trainer, and she has the prophecy to prove it. Penya doesn’t share Ilif’s misogynistic attitude, but she does have her own agenda…and her own secrets.
Evy must sort through the lies and find the truth behind her family’s time-traveling past before the wrong history obliterates the future. She’s spent her whole life fighting for her place. Now, as the first female lightning rider, she’ll dedicate her existence to fighting to save the world.
But will Evy learn to manage her lightning and find the truth before it’s too late?
Review: Honestly, I found this book extremely hard to read. The biggest challenge is that it is written in present tense. On the surface, this shouldn’t make a difference, but it really did to me. It took me until almost halfway through before I was finally comfortable with the tone and tense. That being said, I stuck with it because the main idea intrigued me and Evy was spirited enough that I looked forward to watching her grow.
Evy is a refreshing heroine. She is confident, but not arrogant. She is decisive, but not trigger happy. She is caring, but not naggy. She loves and respects her father. Her father loves and respects her. Her main antagonist, Ilif, is displayed in such a way that we are never quite sure if he is the villain or the hero. Unfortunately, these are the only two characters that I felt were well drawn.
The book is based on a creative idea – riding lightning through time to alter situations in order that things may happen as they should. For instance, saving a man who is an ancestor to someone who is to discover a great immunization that will save thousands of lives. Evy and her Papi are descended from a line of lightning riders, but as it is a ‘male’ trait, Ilif refuses to guide Evy, even to admit that her skills might have purpose, and will only guide Papi. Evy quickly figures out how to travel on her own and ignore all advice otherwise.
While I certainly appreciated some things about this novel, there were several things that just bothered me. The book begins as Evy races home during a storm to see how much her ex-boyfriend has taken from their shared home. This is an interesting plot point that seems to have no purpose beyond sending Evy to her parents home. It is on the journey that she has her first lightning ride, albeit accidently, and has no understanding of what is actually happening. When she finally arrives home to see it completely emptied except for her pet iguana, she heads to her parents home.
It is at this point that I really started struggling with the plot. Everything just happened too easily with little build up or plot support. Firstly, Papi and Evy easily accept the fact that lightning riding is even possible. Then, Evy quickly picks it up on her own with very little actual coaching. She also seems to instantly be able to separate the heroes from the villains. In addition, the onset of the relationship with Constantine is just a little quick with very little actual development. In addition, beyond Evy’s original trip to what she assumes is the future gone wrong, there is little support for the rapid conclusion that Viriato must die.
Ultimately, while I liked Evy, I found very little else to keep me here. I didn’t find Ilif villainous enough to root against. I didn’t find the romance between Constantine and Evy interesting enough to really care. I didn’t feel concern that the world was going to end if Evy messed up. And, I don’t find the characters or story interesting enough to look forward to more adventures. I felt all of these things needed a bit more support and development. I did enjoy that the sex scene was not overly drawn out.
I did finish and I did love Evy and her relationship with her Father. This story might just be a bit more ‘romancy’ than ‘fantasy’ which may be a bit of my struggle. I give this book 2.5 stars – and I will round it down to 2 because it has so much wasted potential.