Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lord of the Changing Winds (The Griffin Mage: Book 1)


Griffins lounged all around them, inscrutable as cats, brazen as summer. They turned their heads to look at Kes out of fierce, inhuman eyes. Their feathers, ruffled by the wind that came down the mountain, looked like they had been poured out of light; their lion haunches like they had been fashioned out of gold. A white griffin, close at hand, looked like it had been made of alabaster and white marble and then lit from within by white fire. Its eyes were the pitiless blue-white of the desert sky.

Little ever happens in the quiet villages of peaceful Feierabiand. The course of Kes' life seems set: she'll grow up to be an herb-woman and healer for the village of Minas Ford, never quite fitting in but always more or less accepted. And she's content with that path -- or she thinks she is. Until the day the griffins come down from the mountains, bringing with them the fiery wind of their desert and a desperate need for a healer. But what the griffins need is a healer who is not quite human . . . or a healer who can be made into something not quite human.

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Lord of the Changing Winds (The Griffin Mage: Book One) by Rachel Neumeier

| Genre: Epic Fantasy
| ISBN-10: 0316072788
| ISBN-13: 9780316072786
| Publisher: Orbit 1 edition (May 1, 2010)
| Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
| Cover Design: Lauren Panepinto
| Source: Personal Copy
| Read an Excerpt
| Rating: 4 Stars
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Lord of the Changing Winds (Griffin Mage, #1)

♥ Mini Review ♥
Kes is quite possibly the last person you would think could be placed into a major role. Shy, a bit of a loner, but she is a timid child of the type that people automatically want to shelter and protect. Until the day when she sees her first griffin and her life changes forever. Who could have imagined that sweet little Kes would soon become the griffins' greatest hope.

Fantasy Series Book Review by Mulluane

♦ My Thoughts. There is alot to like about this story. The griffins for example are beautifully portrayed. These are not your wise, noble, often humorous gryphons, like those found in Lackey's Valdemar series. Oh no, these griffins are fierce, bloodthirsty, half bird, half lion and all attitude. And yet, for all their ferocity, they are strikingly regal and breathtakingly beautiful. It was easy for me to imagine that these are exactly the types of griffins ancient royalty chose to grace their coat of arms.

There is also some decent worldbuilding with a different type of magic system and different "gifts" associated with each country. This gave the story plenty of magic while making it easy to keep things separate and distinct. I was very comfortable in this world and I'll admit that I rather enjoyed my stay there.

♦ It was OK. I would not call this a great story but it was an enjoyable one. I questioned a few things. Kes was initially portrayed as sort of a mousey type person. Basically with no self esteem or confidence whatsoever, the type that is afraid of their own shadow. As a result, her actions as the story progresses did not feel natural to me. If she had shown some sort of hidden strength or determination early on, building on that would have been more believable. She was not the only one either. There were several characters who found themselves thrust into situations far outside of their comfort zones who seemed to just take it on the chin. Maybe a bit of internal dialogue with why me and how did this happen, but then they just accepted things and moved the story along.

♦ What I loved. I absolutely loved one thing about this book. (Besides those wonderful griffins that is.) It does not read like a trilogy. This story had a beginning, a middle and an end. A conclusive end. I thought I had died and gone to that great library in the sky. This is a rare and wonderful thing indeed. Now I know there are more stories to be told and I fully intend to read them all but what a fantastic feeling it was to close the book and be completely satisfied with the ending. I slept like a baby that night.

♦ My main gripe. The griffins, as wonderful as they were and as much as I loved them, had these huge, complex, impossible to pronounce names. Now I'm not really picky about complicated names. I mentally record the pattern of the letters, not even trying to pronounce them, but knowing what name refers to whom. I know there are purists that hate names they can't mentally pronounce but as long as I can atleast recognize the word as being unique to the person, I could care less if I know how it sounds.

There is one exception. I do not like long, complicated, strings of letters. Especially when the names consist of not one, not two but three different words! To be fair, only a few of the characters could pronounce them either and fortunately for me this meant that the griffin was often described by its appearance in addition to its name. Now I realize the author did this to make the griffins more exotic but it really just complicated things. The loving detail with which she describes these ferocious creatures made them exotic enough without the unwieldy names.

♦ Conclusion. Just as there are people who like different genres, there are times when you like different types of stories within a genre. This was a comfort read for me. I didn't need to put my life on hold while enjoying the story. It also helps that I have a soft spot for magical creatures. Especially when people are able to interact with them. Add in the fact that this is an actual story, not just part one of a continuing fast paced drama, and it suited my mood perfectly. I highly recommend this to readers looking for a story that is different enough to be interesting without being so complex, gritty and fast paced that it keeps you up nights.

♦ A Final Note. One note on content. There is some violence but nothing over the top. Pretty hard to have a war without violence but is is possible to keep it from being overly graphic. There are also no love scenes. While this book is not YA targeted I saw nothing that would prevent me from being comfortable giving this to a teen or even a preteen to read. This is of course only my opinion. As a parent it is always best to read it yourself first and make your own decision.

Now I am off to finish book two. Hopefully you'll drop by to sample my thoughts on the rest of this trilogy.

♥ Additional Reviews ♥

Series Summary ~ Books Two ~ Book Three

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Librarything 3.43/5

Amazon Rating 3.3 out of 5 stars
(29 Customer Reviews)

What Should I Read Next?
Kindle: Lord of the Changing Winds: 1 (Griffin Mage Trilogy 1)

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Epic Fantasy Review of Lord of the Changing Winds (The Griffin Mage: Book 1) by Rachel Neumeier - Reviewed by Mulluane - on October 1 2013 - Rating: 4 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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