Monday, September 23, 2013

Land of the Burning Sands (The Griffin Mage: Book 2)


Gereint Enseichen of Casmantium knows little and cares less about the recent war in which his king tried to use griffins and fire to wrest territory from the neighboring country of Feierabiand...but he knows that his kingdom's unexpected defeat offers him a chance to escape from his own servitude.

But now that the griffins find themselves in a position of strength, they are not inclined to forgive and the entire kingdom finds itself in deadly peril. Willing or not, Gereint will find himself caught up in a desperate struggle between the griffins and the last remaining Casmantian mage. Even the strongest gifts of making and building may not prove sufficient when the fiery wind of the griffins begins to bury the life of Casmantium beneath the burning sands . . .

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Land of the Burning Sands (The Griffin Mage: Book 2) By Rachel Neumeier

| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| ISBN-10: 0316072796
| ISBN-13: 9780316072793
| Publisher: Orbit (June 1, 2010)
| Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
| Cover Design: Lauren Panepinto
| Source: Personal Copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 3 Stars
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Land of the Burning Sands (Griffin Mage, #2)

♥ Mini Review ♥
Gereint is sentenced to the worse kind of slavery. Normally reserved for dangerous criminals, Gereint is controlled by a magical geas, one which compels him to obey his master's commands. But when he sees a chance to escape a cruel master, he takes it, only to find that the desert was not a good escape route after all.

Fantasy Series Book Review by Mulluane

♦ My Thoughts. If you read my first review you may have noticed that I all but crowed over the fact that it read like a standalone. Well imagine my partial delight in the fact that this is a completely different, only marginally related story, which again, stands on its own. (We will get to the partial part later.) Not only is it a different story but it takes place in a different country. It was a bit disconcerting but it probably should not have been. Afterall book one was complete. Only because I am so used to trilogy storylines continuing through all three books was I caught off guard.

♦ Why my delight was only partial. I liked Gereint and his story for the most part. There were times when I questioned why he made the choices he did but overall he was interesting and fit the reluctant hero mold. I also got to meet a few other new characters along the way, plus learned more about the gifts and magic systems unique to Casmantium. My problem was that I missed my majestically fierce griffins. Oh they play a role, eventually, but not from an up close and personal point of view like in book one. Kes too was conspicuously missing from the story except from a distance.

♦ But this is why I write reviews. In a way I am a bit handicapped by the fact that I absolutely refuse to read reviews of anything I plan to review myself. As a result I missed out on the warning I am attempting to give you now. Do not expect to revisit Kes, the griffins, the fiery desert (except briefly) or the country of Feierabiand. Instead expect to explore entirely new territory as experienced mostly through the stories of entirely new characters. There are a few reappearances of characters from book one but they play supporting roles with the main focus being on the new folks.

♦ Now. That being said, and with me hoping for something out of this book I was never going to get, I am not sure how fair my review can be. It is not Rachel Neumeier's fault that I expected, hoped for, wanted, a different story than what I got. Honestly, there was nothing really wrong with the story I did get. Problem is that I just cannot shake off my overall disappointment. I have no idea if it is because I am selfish and wanted what I wanted or the story just wasn't that great. I suspect it is more of the former but I have always reviewed from the gut and the gut feels kinda empty.

♦ My other problem. In book one, I liked the fact that each country had its own magic system and separately its own system of "gifts". Magic is elemental based, earth, fire, wind, cold and the like, while gifts were more of an affinity, that included healing, animal calling, and making. Now, in book one Kes crossed the line between two opposing types of elemental magic, something nobody thought was possible. In this book more crossing occurs only this time between magic and gifts. Again, this has never ever happened before. Suddenly we have gifted mages or elementally gifted folks who can do things nobody in history has ever done or even thought possible. There is even a discussion on what to call these unusually talented people.

So what is the problem? I mean it is conceivable that some crossing of borders, intermarriage and mingling of magical abilities or gifts would naturally occur. But for that to suddenly happen for the first time in history, ever? That kinda shook my suspension of belief. Rare? Sure. Never before? Just plain odd and way too convenient.

♦ Conclusion. Book two wasn't bad but it wasn't great either. I think it likely it will benefit from a reread someday in the future with the knowledge firmly implanted in my head that is will not be the continuing story of Kes and her relationship with the griffins. The timeline has progressed, it is the same world, with similar problems and challenges but from a completely different perspective. If and when that happens I suspect my feelings will be different. For now I have to stick with, it was okay.

♥ Additional Reviews ♥

Series Summary ~ Book One ~ Book Three

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Librarything 3.89/5

Amazon Rating 3.3 out of 5 stars
(11 Customer Reviews)The One Kingdom

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Epic Fantasy Review of Land of the Burning Sands (Griffin Mage: Book 2) by Rachel Neumeier - Reviewed by Mulluane - on September 23 2013 - Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Mulluane is a 56-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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