Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Book Review: Lord of the Changing Winds

Lord of the Changing Winds
The Griffin Mage: Book One

By:  Rachel Neumeier

Publisher:  Orbit Books

Publish Date:  May 2010

Genre:  Fantasy

Format:  Paperback, 367 pages

Series:  First book of The Griffin Mage Series

Recommendation:  If you would like to read a straight forward fantasy style read, with magic, and the amazing creatures of griffins.

Book Synopsis:
Little ever happens in the quiet villages of peaceful Feierabiand.  For Kes, the course of her life seems set: she'll grow up to be an herb-woman and healer, 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.

First Sentence:
The griffins came to Feierabiand with the early summer warmth, riding the wind out of the heights down to the tender green pastures of the foothills.

My Review and Summary:
Kes is a quiet shy (almost backwards) young girl who lives with her sister Tesme on their horse breeding farm, along with Jos the quiet man who has been with them for six years helping around the farm.  Kes is up in the woods collecting herbs for her stock when she spys the Griffins flying in the distance, and is distracted by their beauty.  After Kes returns home, she goes into the small village with her sister to celebrate the birth of magnificant horse of Tesme's.  While there a man comes looking for Kes, asking for her help.  Kes realizes something different about this man, that he must have a connection to the griffins by what she sees and feels. Kes willingly goes with this man and learns she can heal griffins, without her herbs.

The countries have divided themselves by the people and their abilities.  The setup of these abilities, or different magics, is started in this book as you learn a little about all of them and more of a few special ones.  The abilities are categorized as; Makers, Legists, and Animal Affinity.  These abilities are separated between three countries.  Makers, build things and are the best at their craft - to make the strongest and best walls, bridges, roads and such.  Legists, are amazing with words - making contracts that can not be broke or even with poetry.  Animal Affinity, have a connection with a specific type of animal and will possess control over it.  The Animal Affinity is the ability Kes's country folk possess, for example Tesme has an affinity for horses and Kes has accepted that she will not have an affinity and is talented with her herbs.  But Kes is about to learn a wonderous secret of herself...

Then there are Mages present as well; earth, cool, and fire.  And they all have a strange affect on each other.

I have not read many books of griffins.  So, I couldn't wait to get this book for just that reason.  There are no mysterious turns to the story, this story is a solid fantasy style read. 

I enjoyed reading the beauty drawn through words of the griffins and learning of them as the story went on.  In the first 100 pages I only felt for Bertaud and of his friendship with the King.  I wanted to connect with Kes and the griffins, yet they seemed... standoffish.  But, somewhere between 125 and 200 pages something happened, and I feel for Kes and the griffins and started to understand more of their personalities.  I think part of the connection I didn't feel was because I didn't trust the Griffin Mage.  I didn't like him in the first half of the story, but I came to understand him in the second half, and even start to like him in the end.  I think the author wants you to not trust Kairaithin along with finding it harder to connect with him and the griffins.  I started to realize it may be part of their nature since they are creatures of fire.  But in the end I accepted them for who they are and liked them.

The only thing about the read I had a hard time with were the names of the griffins.  It was hard for me to keep them separate at first as the names were rather long and similar to each other, example: Eskainiane Escaile Sehaikiu.  What did help was the author did usually give a description of the griffin by color with the names to help differentiate them, and after giving them nicknames I started to do well with them.

After reading this book, I am curious to see where the rest of the trilogy goes.  In the end of the story I felt I started to understand what makes all the characters work and would like to read the next book to see where they all go and what falls upon them.

I will be posting a contest tomorrow for the second book I have.  So, stay tuned and stop back around.

This review qualifies for the Speculative Fiction Challenge @ Book Chick City.
I received a copy of this book from the author for review, after stressing my desire to read it.  Thank you.


  1. This sounds like a great fantasy read. I'll have to check it out when I get a hankering for a fantasy book.

  2. Oooh, I'm adding this to my tbr wishlist now. Thanks for the great review!


  3. Zia - This was a fun read for me with the griffins. All new to me. I hope if you go looking for a fantasy read you will think on this one. Thank you for stopping by!

    E.L. Stevens - Thank you for stopping by! I do hope you will enjoy the read of griffins if you get it. :)

  4. Great review! I love fantasy, and don't think I've ever read a book with griffins before, so have added this to my wishlist!

  5. I saw your link over at Book Blogs. This looks really good!

  6. Great review Mel! I'm trying to read more fantasy, but it has been alluding me so far this year. I am listening to The Hobbit on audio though (a re-read).

    I love your new layout! Very old world library feel...I'm digging it...LOL!

  7. I forgot to mention. This Tues. at the book talk we are going to be voting on whether to read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel for our next read and also deciding if we are going to change our meeting time. We will probably also have some general book chat, if we have time. Hope you can make it!

  8. Now I'm really curious about this book. I LOVE the cover. My wish list overfloweth. :)

  9. Alexia - :) Thank you! I was caught by the griffin idea and just had to give it a try. Glad you like the sounds of it as well.

    Cinnamon - Hello! Thank you for stopping by from Book Blogs. And thank you for following! I stopped by your blog and now I am following as well. Looks like you have some great books there. Glad you like the sounds of the book.

    Michelle - Hi! Glad you liked the review. I have been stuck in a fantasy way lately. :) I am missing the Urban Fantasy, but I am really having a lot of fun with the great books I've been reading. I will have to sneak an urban in here at some point. Glad you like the new look. :) Thank you! I will definitely make it a point to stop by TuesBookTalk on Tues. Thank you for letting me know.

    Melissa - I was caught by the cover too. :) Happy to make you curious about the book. Maybe check out the giveaway I just posted. ;) Could win it.

  10. I remember reading your Teaser Tuesday of this one and being really intrigued! Great review! This sounds like a really enchanting fantasy read! I like the idea of giving them nicknames =) I sometimes have a hard time keeping long, unfamiliar names separated in my head when I'm reading fantasy novels like this. I'm so excited about the giveaway! Going to go enter now!

    I also noticed you linked to my giveaway in your sidebar - thank you so much!!!

  11. Hmm...I'm not sure about this one. I admit that the idea of griffins doesn't really interest me, though I guess it's the story and the quality of the author's writing the really counts. I think I'll have to read some more reviews about this book before adding it to my list. Though I'm glad you enjoyed it since I know you were really looking forward to reading it.

  12. The Bookish Type - Thanks for stopping. :) I had to give nicknames, which where just shorter versions of the full name, so I could keep track of them. You are welcome re: putting your giveaway on my sidebar. :) I do that for 2 reasons. 1 to let others know, 2 so I don't forget. :D

    Simcha - hmmm, I am thinking you would like this book but not like it too. This was a hard review for me. I enjoyed the book. But there were times it felt repeated and slower moving. The story did remind me of the older style fantasy reads with a journey and no major mystery of such. It was interesting and I really enjoyed the griffins, but not like some of the newer fantasy books. I did enjoy it, but on a different level than others. But, each author has different catches in the books. :) Do check into other reviews for it. :)

  13. Melissa, I really hope that didn't come out sounding like I don't trust your opinion. I usually have to read tons of reviews of a book before finally deciding to get it and you are the first person that I have seen review this book. Maybe I'll see if I can get it out of the library when I go to America.

  14. Simcha - No, I didn't take it that way at all. I actually was thinking of you when I was reading the book. It's funny, when reading books I think of different people wondering if they would like it or not. But, you where one of the people I thought of. I'm not sure if you would like it or not. It's one of those books on the wall on whether I would suggest it to you or not. :) It's part of what I think of when I do a review. I just never know for sure. I am curious to see what you think of it if you do ever get to read it. Like I said part of it was slower, for the first 100-150 pages. And it was hard to relate to the main characters in this time. But then I think back after finishing the book, that the author wants you to see the griffins and Kes are of that nature - hard to get close to.

    But I never thought that you thought that way. I like to read many reviews as well. :) No problem.

  15. So in a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the lowest and 5 is the highest, what score would you give this book?

  16. Hi Cherry - on a scale of 1-5. I would have to give this book a 3.5 or a 4. I enjoyed the fantasy read of an adventure of getting to know the characters. And the ideas of the Griffins are really neat. It was a pretty straight forward fantasy read. Which I like to have once in a while. I kind of knew where the story was going and along for the ride of how the author got there. I liked the story. I just got the second book to see where the trilogy will go. I am curious so thought I would go with the next book. I am hoping to get to it in June. Thank you for stopping by. :)


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