Tales are told of the mysterious, powerful Mountain where the gods, powerful beings in the form of white horses live. But Valeria knows no woman has ever been called to the Mountain. Until she feels a strange pull and answers the call...as a boy.
When her secret
is discovered Valeria loses all that she's won. Her anger and
frustration with the Empire might be enough to give the barbarians a way
into the Mountain. And so the Empire now depends on the will, the
strength and the loyalty of one Rider. A Rider who has been rejected by
all but the gods.
Comment: I've had this book to read for...well, this is one of those I can no longer remember. It's just been there for more than two years, for sure! Anyway, I don't even know why but since I like fantasy it must have been for it.
This is the story of young Valeria. She heard the Call, which is a spiritual call from the Gods in her world to the proper boys of the whole kingdom to serve them as be part of an elite brotherhood, kind of. However, Valeria is not a boy and her mother tries to stop her from traveling to the mountain where the Gods are with the students and the other members. But the Call is too strong and Valeria can't resist it, so she runs away and tries to reach the mountain alone. Her path won't be easy and arriving there is only one of the issues she has to face until the challenge to prevent a war is also her duty.
This book had an interesting plot and characters. It had an interesting structured world too. But it's not a perfect world because I found a thing here and there a bit cliched and annoying to me, personally.
Valeria is a young woman and she leaves home to answer the call the gods put on her. So far, so good, the Call has power and Valeria can't resist it. On the way to the mountain she is almost assaulted but someone helps her and later she even finds more people who go to the Mountain so she isn't alone. Once there she passes the tests to become a Rider of the Gods, who in this world present themselves as horses and the greatest recognition is to be a Rider of a God. I liked this part of the novel and read quite fast because I was really into things and how Valeria would succeed without telling she's a girl. She meets her rescuer too and finds out he's actually an important Rider there. There's some attraction between them and I had hopes.
Then Valeria is found out, others look at her strangely but they don' send her off because the gods like her and she has a strong connection to them. At this point things started to be more weird plot wise and it was obvious he bad guys had a plan to destroy the Gods and change the path of the world. Valeria starts to have a more active part now that she is a God's favorite and the reader gets to know all the reasons behind her actions while the other characters don't so despite not agreeing with many things she does I can see why.
She gets involved with the enemy not only because she sees in that a way to help the Gods and Kerrec, her rescuer and the one she says she loves. Many people say it's bad to don't like Valeria's promiscuity in this case but I didn't like it because she showed feelings for the enemy, she wasn't doing it because she had too. She justified it with that but there wasn't really hate or duty in her bing with him. in a way I didn't like this because it made her more grey in a situation I'D preferred to see things black and white. I think the author was quite avant garde with this but to my romantic senses, Valeria looked like someone to rational and practical and I'd have liked to see her more romantic and traditional in the love area. Oh well..I didn't like this aspect of things and was a bit annoyed to be honest. But I think it's just me as I also seen some reviewers saying it was a nice twist.
The action starts to revolve around the plot to kill the emperor of the kingdom where Valeria lives and the Gods rule and this part was a bit more boring for me because it showed a side of Valeria I didn't particularly enjoy. Kerrec also had his issues with his family and the torture he suffers, the betrayals he thinks he's seeing...many elements that with a different heroine could have been reason for a believable angst but I just thought it was annoying.
The book ends as well as it could, i now there are sequels and who knows if I'll try them..but at this point I'm still thinking about it. It was a good story, many good elements especially in the first half of the story, but then many other things put a strain on my enjoyment and made me grade this lower than what I thought I would.