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The Lord of the Changing Winds by Rachel Neumeier

The Lord of the Changing Winds by Rachel Neumeier
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Book Name: The Lord of the Changing Winds
Author: Rachel Neumeier
Publisher(s): Orbit
Formatt: Paperback / Audio Book / eBook
Genre(s): Fantasy
Release Date: May 1, 2010

As dragons seem to be the fantasy book creatures of choice, The Lord of the Changing Winds immediately drew my attention by showcasing a rare beast – the griffin.

“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.”

Kes is a super shy young girl who I thought was extremely likable and sweet. She never dreamed that she held power strong enough to become a fire mage – or any power at all. Then Kairaithin, a griffin in human form, comes into her village, seeking her help. Griffins are injured and dying and Kes may be the only who can save them.

A great premise, I thought. Plus the griffins are stunningly described. The author does a fantastic job of making the fire loving beasts come alive.

My main struggle in reading this book was the trudge through sluggish plot filled with unpronounceable places and names that were difficult to keep track of throughout the story. Halfway through the book, I finally started to sync with the dynamics of the book’s politics, romance and griffin-human relationships. Unfortunately, slow starts loose a great deal of readers. To be completely honest, if I hadn’t committed to reviewing this book, I probably would have stopped reading two to three chapters in.

Even though The Lord of the Changing Winds suffers from clunky pacing, it does pick up around the middle of the book. And, I really am looking forward to seeing how the series progresses. Kes and Bertaud, an advisor to the king of Feierabiand, are promising characters. They both have their own unique struggles to face like feeling comfortable in who they are and the power they posses. How these characters grow and develop in the book feels completely authentic, and I instantly connected with their story. Plus, there’s potential for a budding romance, which can hook me any day of the week.

I also really enjoyed the magic system in the book: elemental magic and mages. The magic was both reassuringly similar yet somehow unique when compared with other systems that I’ve read about.

The remaining books in the Griffin Mage Trilogy are: Law of the Broken Earth and Land of the Burning Sands. Neumeier also recently published The City in the Lake, a YA fantasy novel. I would still recommend this book for a reader seeking a straight-forward fantasy read. The Lord of the Changing Winds offers a fun fantasy adventure with political maneuverings, mythical creatures and coming-of-age characters.

Have you continued reading books with slow starts? Or, did you stop? What motivated you to keep reading or to put it down?

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
The Lord of the Changing Winds by Rachel Neumeier, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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6 Comments

  1. Khaldun says:

    Can’t say I’m inclined to try the novel after what you have quoted under “book description.” Especially not with the recently (and soon to be) published fantasy heavyweights.

  2. I can’t argue with that! I’d rather have read Wise Man’s Fear… 🙂

    • Khaldun says:

      I’d still like to hear more about the magic system you described as “elemental magic and mages.” I’m always curious about magic systems and how they work…

  3. Pam says:

    Loved the review and even though It sounds like a hard read it was interesting enough for me to delve into it. Thanks Lisa, for an honest review.

  4. I did feel this was a solid old fashion fantasy read. But I too had troubles with the names. I gave abbreviated names to the characters so I could keep them straight and quit stumbling over them.

    I really like a minimal few of the characters and wanted more of them than what I got. But enjoyed the book at the same time. It was a weird feeling for me with reading this one.

    I did read the second book too. (And reviewed both books on my blog) I still have to get the third book and read it. As I’m curious to see where the trilogy ends. As each book is of a different part of the world and new characters. Although there is a few characters that showed up in the second book.

    Now that I think back, I think I enjoyed book 2 more than the first one. Although in all I really enjoyed this book too.

    • Melissa- I’m glad the books later in the series seemed to pick up! Did the romance? (I’m such a sucker for love). I felt really weird about this book, too.

      Abbreviating the names is a good idea! I’l remember that if I encounter weird names in the future! 🙂

      I really do hate to end a series right in the beginning… oh well. lol

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