Griffin Mage: Law of the Broken Earth by Rachel Neumeier
|Griffin Mage: Law of the Broken Earth by Rachel Neumeier|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: The trilogy closer suggests the story was designed to be more political and spiritual than the opening delight of human/griffin interaction led us believe. That might or might not be a good thing.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 464||Date: December 2010|
Mienthe is living in her cousin's courtly household when a man arrives from the realms to the west, claiming to be an agent on the run with a great secret. It takes much time and effort to try and work out how duplicitous this man may or may not be, and what his bounty actually is (a singular, blank book, in fact). This effort begins to reveal a strange and unknown talent and possible destiny for Mienthe. But before this can be explored fully, worse news comes from out east. The peace wall keeping the evil griffins from laying waste to the world is crumbling.
I have to admit I struggled with the opening of this book. After all the rich and delightful interaction between humans and griffins as seen in the first title in the series I felt out on a limb here with all the diplomacy and human-to-human interaction and reasoning. It's not quite, but almost, the man behind the Death Star then giving us two hours of trade tax negotiations.
This could be a consequence of the richness and verity of this fantasy land. The characters are particularly strong, and just when you think this is a token story of Mienthe finding some innate talent, in parallel with Kes in book one, she proves too strong to settle for that, and the story takes us around the countries in many unexpected ways.
I did find the lack of griffin action a surprise, however. The mage who gives his title to the trilogy hardly features, and instead it's a different concern entirely here. I don't wish to suggest the story was ever a full-on, high-octane battle fantasy, but the spirit and novelty of the beasts are missing from these pages, in favour of much more human interests.
Otherwise the nature of the series is carried to the conclusion. Hard-to-pronounce names return, as do a style that has Neumeier indulge in tiny micro-repetitions, and a narration and narrative that try so hard to be above and beyond the fantasy norm, but do hark back to the genre average in trivial details.
This is by no means a poor fantasy book, but certainly was not the third part to the cycle I might have expected. I would then only recommend it to those who fell in love with this world in the first two books - and with the richness of the character and story before this, that was definitely easy to do.
I must thank the kind people at Orbit books for my review copy.
A better trilogy closer of recent days has been Moorehawke Trilogy: The Rebel Prince by Celine Kiernan.
You can read more book reviews or buy Griffin Mage: Law of the Broken Earth by Rachel Neumeier at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Griffin Mage: Law of the Broken Earth by Rachel Neumeier at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.