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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Lord of The Changing Winds: The Griffin Mage Book One" by Rachel Neumeier (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Rachel Neumeier's Official Website Here
Order Lord of The Changing Winds from Amazon Here

Overview: In a small village in the country of Feierabiand there isn't much that goes on. People go about their daily lives without much interrupting them. Kes, a teenage girl of very little words, has always believed that she would grow up to be a herb woman or a healer. Her sister is a breeder of horses. That has always been the life that Kes has envisioned for herself. Until the griffins came. Pushed out of their own land in Casmantium, the griffins have brought their dessert land into Feierabiand.

The griffins have been spotted flying high above the village. As very little is known about these rare creatures, the villagers are in a state of fear and panic. While meeting along with the villagers at the local inn, a mysterious man comes from out of no where. He requests that Kes come with him. The griffins are in trouble and it takes a special healer to help heal their wounds. Without the healer they will die.

Kes must make a decision to heal the griffins and become something that isn't fully human and isn't fully griffin, or to let them stay there injured and fade from history.

Meanwhile, the king of Feierabiand wants the griffins to go back to where they have come from. If they do not comply with this request then the orders of the army are to attack and push them back. Little does the army of Feierabiand know that the griffins are actually a pawn in a much larger scheme of things.

Format: Lord of the Changing Winds, is the first book of the Griffin Mage Trilogy, which is a fantasy novel with world building, magic and fight scenes. It stands at 367 pages.

It was released May 1, 2010 by Orbit. The second novel of the Trilogy, Land of the Burning Sands was released June 1, 2010.

Analysis: Rachel Neumeier is relatively a new name in the fantasy world. So going into Lord of the Changing Winds, I was unsure of what to expect. What I was greeted with was an intricate novel that was filled with intriguing characters and a great plot line. What really impressed me was the use of the griffins.

Think back to the last fantasy novel that used griffins as a major plot element. I can't really think of any novel that has used these creatures in the past 4 years or so. This brought a bit of a freshness to the fantasy world that isn't normally seen. While the plot line really isn't too out of the box, a young girl has a decision to make while a potential battle is forming around her, it was this choice of creature that makes this novel stand out.

Lord of the Changing Winds does take a bit of time to get into. Neumeier's writing style in the first half of the book uses a lot of descriptions. While this is the first book of the series and a new world there should be a bit of time devoted to setting up characters, lands, and history. However at times it got a bit overwhelming and bordered on the information dumping. This was the major weakness of the novel and if a reader can get through this part of the novel the second half is a real treat.

Besides the use of the griffins, another outstanding area in this novel was that of the characters. While the characters aren't overly detailed or complex they are emotional and intriguing. I wanted to know what happens to them, or what decisions they made. This didn't happen over night but at that half way point I found I was really into the novel.

The biggest problem that I encountered during Lord of the Changing Winds, outside of the information dumping, was the world building. There is a map in the beginning of the book which didn't help me at all. Troops and armies were marching and it seemed like they would march this huge distance in one day. So either the world was really small or I wasn't understanding the world in which the novel took place in. I also had a hard time envisioning where the griffin's dessert was in relation to the mountains, and other land since it was supposedly clearly marked. This doesn't take away from the novel and can be overlooked but it would pop into my mind while reading every so often.

Overall, I was very impressed with Lord of the Changing Winds. After getting through the big portion of descriptions in the first half of the book, the novel seemed to fly right by. I found Neumeier's writing very easy to read, filled with emotion and fluid writing. I am eagerly awaiting the second novel and hope that Neumeier keeps up the momentum in her writing.


Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Great review. I read and reviewed this book as well. I was rather pleased with the first book of the new author. I have the second one here on my shelf waiting for me to get into. I am hoping I enjoy it as much and more than the first, now that I have an idea of the world and characters.

Cindy said...

Thank you! I was surprised that I liked it especially after the beginning. I actually put it down and restarted it again and I'm glad I did that because it was a great book.

I haven't had a chance to check the second one out yet. But the idea behind it sounds really good and I'm excited for it!

Anonymous said...


dessert: tasty treat

desert: big expanse of sand


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