Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Griffin Mage #2

Land of the Burning Sands

Rate this book
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 . . .

441 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 2010

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Rachel Neumeier

45 books498 followers
Rachel Neumeier started writing fiction to relax when she was a graduate student and needed a hobby unrelated to her research. Prior to selling her first fantasy novel, she had published only a few articles in venues such as The American Journal of Botany. However, finding that her interests did not lie in research, Rachel left academia and began to let her hobbies take over her life instead.

She now raises and shows dogs, gardens, cooks, and occasionally finds time to read. She works part-time for a tutoring program, though she tutors far more students in Math and Chemistry than in English Composition.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
117 (17%)
4 stars
285 (42%)
3 stars
229 (34%)
2 stars
29 (4%)
1 star
11 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 54 reviews
Profile Image for Heidi.
770 reviews178 followers
February 28, 2013
I love when authors challenge their readers to think with open minds and come at an issue from all angles, and that is precisely what Rachel Neumeier accomplishes with her second installment of The Griffin Mage trilogy. Land of the Burning Sands is set in Casmantium, the country that was in fact the enemy to Feierabiand in our first encounter with the griffins. Instinctively we want to dislike this country and all in it, but here’s the rub–Neuemeier allows us to disdain Casmantium while letting us fall in love with its people, until the lines are so thoroughly blurred that we no longer see the barriers between them.

We experience this effect through the eyes of Gerient, a man who has been bound as a slave for a crime he committed in his youth–a crime of passion for which he was perhaps punished too severely, and has since endured years of torture and servitude at the price of his belief in kindness. It is easy to root for Gerient, a man of great intelligence and talent as a maker, and to feel emboldened when he encounters the Amnachudran family who understand generosity as none of Gerient’s previous masters would. Gerient finds himself in the willing service of Tehre, the daughter of the Amnachudran household, fascinated by her endlessly blunt and distracted mind. He understands creating, but Tehre’s fascination is in opposition to making–it is breaking.

In Lord of the Changing Winds, we learned that the people of Feierabiand had a gift for calling–a certain affinity for a particular type of animal. The people of Casmantium, however, have an affinity for making. Strong makers like Gerient and Tehre are able to use their gift to craft any number of excellent items (from bridges to horse shoe nails), or strengthen them with their will. Neither country’s gift is precisely magecraft, though that exists as well. The magic of Neumeier’s world is one of give and take. If you were to focus your efforts on becoming an antithesis to the griffins and fire, you would be giving up the ability to control other aspects of earth magic.

Neumeier made decisions in Land of the Burning Sands which had me questioning, but I was unable to focus on these questions for too long due to my enjoyment of the story overall. I was surprised, for example, when our narrative split in two as late as 175 pages into the book, but soon realized the necessity of this. I was even more surprised that book two of The Griffin Mage series showed little more than flash images of the creatures at all until the last 100 pages of the book. In fact, for at least three quarters of the book’s duration, we as readers have no idea what the true conflict is, but are so caught up in the journey of the build up that we only notice this if we step back to think.

This tactic may seem odd, but to me it is the very strength of Land of the Burning Sands. By rooting us so thoroughly in a Casmantium perspective we are able to see the griffins not as we saw them in Lord of the Changing Winds, but as these people have seen them for centuries. We see them as fiercely terrifying and beautiful creatures whose vindications will push them to destroy countless human lives. We finally see that what they have done to our beloved Kes is truly terrible–that they have destroyed her in order to strengthen their defenses. When we finally understand what the conflict of Land of the Burning Sands truly entails, our hearts are torn in two directions, knowing we will lose either way.

If Lord of the Changing Winds worked to help us understand these creatures of fire that are so far from humans, Land of the Burning Sands works to flip the coin and help us to understand humanity, regardless of political oppositions. I love that Neumeier forced me to question my loyalties in regard to these characters, and left me so uncertain as to where I should place my hopes. Land of the Burning Sands shows us the future for those characters we invested in in book one, while at the same time building an entirely new story of communication, loyalty, and freedom.

Original review posted at Bunbury in the Stacks.
Profile Image for Sineala.
721 reviews
October 3, 2013
This is one of those weird and rare situations where the second book of a trilogy is massively better than the first.

The first book was a story of warfare and political wrangling that fell down for me because it was trying to get me to empathize with Kes and the griffins, neither of whom, as far as I could tell, had discernible feelings. Then armies clashed. A lot. This book maintains the military conflict, but it is told mostly from the POV of a man enslaved to a mage from the first book, and this guy does in fact have feelings. A lot of feelings! I think that makes the difference. There's also a really charming engineer-mage lady who is almost comically absent-minded and interested only in her work. I liked her too.

There are also griffins, of course, but they're not there much.

This book, I would recommend. Don't give up if you disliked the first book. It gets better!
Profile Image for sigaloenta.
527 reviews20 followers
July 22, 2020
I liked this one better than the first book: Gereint is a fairly interesting character with a good amount of angst and terrible past experiences, and Tehre is a delight. The natural-philosophy-cum-materials-science magic was great. And the overall conceit: to take the "bad guys" from the first book and make them the protagonists, while the protagonists of the first book are the antagonists was really excellent.

Also some things that were not so good, though: Tehre didn't get enough of a share of the narrative, and, especially, got no share of the romance narrative, which was entirely from Gereint's point of view. Not cool!

Gereint's backstory, meanwhile, was strangely unresolved. On the one hand, I rather like that Neumeier made her protagonist actually guilty and not an unjustly convicted innocent. It turns out that

Why do I enjoy this author's books so much when I also have so many problems with them?
Profile Image for Brooke Banks.
937 reviews175 followers
June 3, 2019
I read and LOVED Neumeier's Black Dog and am going through her earlier work.

I read these back to back and now it's all kind of blurred together. Only less than usual because this is so different than typical YA trilogies--in the best way. It follows different character POVs each book and there's quite a gap of time between them.

Can't lie, griffins have never really appealed to me before. I love these flying magic cats though!

Love the unique world building with the different magic. Not just the griffin's are different, but the mages and how the countries use them.

AND!!!! There's no threats of rape, insulting base groups of people, or a myriad of other unpleasantries we take as a given. These are pretty decent people all around that we get to follow. There's antagonists, and an overarching plot of villainy, but most people are just doing the best they can. Instead of 50 shades of dark grey-black like in Game of Thrones, we get the lighter end of the spectrum. Which is honestly such a fucking pleasure and relief to read.

Book #1: Swept me away. Love Kes, her family, and Bertrand. The griffins are Set in Fierabiand. There seems to be crushing involved, but not much else. It's all about freedom, and friends, and doing the right thing, which is more complicated than people like to think.

Book #2: Threw me for a loop! Set in Casmantium. We find out so much more about their magic, their ice mages, their king, and society. Bertrand is involved like halfway through and we see Kes in the very end. But the main POV's are two nobodies, who are something else. Great love story too! Slow burn, friends to lovers, nothing on the page but the adorable falling.

Book #3: I thought I was prepared after the second book. I was not. Set in Feierabiand and Casmantium, with secret rescue mission to Linularinum. Find out quite a bit about Linularinum and their lawyer-scholar-trickster magic. Again, main POVs are two previous unknowns with different magic than before. Shows the harm critical demeaning family and an MC overcoming anxiety & self-doubt from it. Another slow burn adorable falling in love romance. We get true updates on everybody.

I was NOT expecting the ending each time, and I loved them all.

The German covers are so much better though.
72 reviews
May 25, 2020
The characters were engaging, vivid, and lively. The world was detailed and the magic system exciting. I enjoy the way the author has built this unique view of a hatred between the elements and people of fire and earth. (Air is subject to fire and water subject to earth so all four are in there, but it offends our cultural sense of balance, creating this deep sense that there's something very wrong, here... )
I loved this book except for one thing:
Profile Image for Nicole Luiken.
Author 20 books160 followers
February 24, 2021
An interesting choice to change POV characters, and switch settings from book one, which I think really worked. The country of Casmantium was the villain/aggressor in book one, but of course countries are made up of people many of whom have little say in what their leader and military decide. I liked both Gereint and Tehre. Gereint's desperate situation as geas-bound slave drives much of the plot of the early part of the novel, and their maker magic was new and interesting.
Profile Image for Kate McDougall Sackler.
1,219 reviews6 followers
January 24, 2018
The second installment in the series, it can also read like a standalone. Basically only a few characters the same as in the first novel, but it does not distract from the story. Less action in this but more character development. Looking forward to the next book.
Profile Image for Becca.
1,584 reviews2 followers
July 21, 2022
Overall I enjoyed the feel of this way more than book 1. It's much less alien. But also the dynamic where Gereint has to think of people who literally enslaved him as good and trustworthy people is shit.
Profile Image for Anne.
459 reviews20 followers
November 19, 2019
Accidentally deleted my review because I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing, ugh. Lost my read dates, too. My precious data!

Good book, though. One of my favorites.
Profile Image for Kelly.
823 reviews
November 22, 2021
Enjoyed this one but would have liked it to follow the first book more. Not sure how it will tie in with the next one.
Profile Image for Paul Weimer.
Author 1 book134 followers
July 31, 2010
Land of the Burning Sands is the second book in Rachel Neumeier's new Griffin Mage Trilogy.

Sophomore books are hard.

You've written the first book, and now the freshness and newness of your stuff as a writer is gone. You have to come up with a second act, and have something new to say, and, worse improve on your previous book. If you are writing a series, especially a trilogy, and your sophomore book is the *middle* book in the trilogy, that is really putting yourself behind the eight ball. Even high class writers have trouble with middle books in trilogies.

Still, given the promise of the first book (Lord of the Changing Winds), I picked up this book with the hope that Neumeier would be able to carry the story and world forward well enough, even given the disadvantages and problems outlined above.

I need not have worried.

Land of the Burning Sands takes place, temporally, not long after the battle at the end of Lord of the Changing Winds. The focus, however, is no longer on Feiebriand, but rather on Casmantium, the antagonists of the first novel. We are introduced to Gereint, whose crime has made him a magically bound servant, and who has the opportunity to take advantage of the triumph of the Griffins in book one to work his way toward freedom. Along the way, he meets allies, a romantic interest (who is far more than just an ornament for the hero), and surprisingly, not as many Griffins as the first book...

But that last part is all right. This book is something different than the first. Rather than focusing on Kes and Kairaithin (the latter appears, but only in the climax of the book), this book focuses on Gereint, the Amnachurdan family, and Beguchren, the (now) last real cold mage left in the entire kingdom. We also see Lord Bertaud from Feiebriand, and the Arobern, but otherwise there is no overlap between the two books in terms of character scope. This second novel is a book that focuses tightly on these characters, as they react to the consequences of the battle of the first novel, and the Griffins desire to punish Casmantium by taking excessive advantage of their victory. Advantage enough to possibly destroy the kingdom entirely, or change it beyond recognition forever.

Without the problems of logistics and battles that I had in the first novel, many of the weaknesses that I found in the first novel simply are not an issue in this second book. This novel plays to Neumeier's strengths in a stronger way than the first novel did, although I don't think that this novel is really readable without reading the first. We get to see more and new magic, and like the first book, learn that when people in Neumeier's fantasy world come to terms with burgeoning magical power, they can literally move mountains. And characterization, a strength of the first novel, here, helps humanize and personalize the antagonists of the first novel, and puts them front and center as real human beings with their own concerns and problems. We learn just why the relations with Griffins are so strained, providing a dose of complexity to the relationship between the earth aspected humans and the air and fire oriented griffins.

I loved it. Neumeier has reduced and eroded my concerns about the first novel, broadened and filled in her world, and made me excited to see the conclusion to this unique trilogy.

I will definitely buy and read the third novel in this series. As for you, I suspect that if you read and enjoyed the first novel, you have already picked this up for your to-read pile. If you have not, I recommend reading Lord of the Changing Winds, first, to provide better context and impact for the events in this second Griffin Mage novel.
470 reviews69 followers
February 26, 2018
Part of what I like about this series is that while the books build on one another, they’re set in different countries and focus on different characters, so I can review this one without giving away the last one. I love it when a plan comes together! Moving on.

Burning Sands takes us to Casmantium and a man named Gereint. For crimes committed twenty years past, Gereint is geas bound – a particular kind of cold magic that enables someone to bind him and forces Gereint to follow their commands. Gereint attempts to escape his cruel master and go to Feierabiand, where the magic of the geas is neutralized. He doesn’t make it, and instead finds himself indebted to a Casmantian judge. The judge tells him about a man who may be able to help him remove the geas rings that keep him bound … but the man is in Bredichboden, the one place most dangerous for him to go.

Whereas book one focused on the magic of calling animals, and the antipathy between earth and fire magic, here Neuemeier delved more deeply into the magic of Casmantium, called “making.” (The third book investigates the magic of Linularium, called “legistry” and having to do with the binding magical properties of written law.) Gereint is a talented Maker – he can persuade a knife to hold an edge or a failing horseshoe to hold together through the end of his journey. He’s skilled at building things with his hands and is extremely intelligent and well-read. I liked that Neuemeier waited to bring Making into the story. Waiting to bring this in reinforced the fullness of Neuemeier’s world-building: this world is just too full and detailed to explain everything at once. I also thought it was interesting how the magic was tied to geographical regions and the inhabitants there. I wondered (and still wonder) what would happen in the event of intermarriage between gifted persons of each nation.

On the whole, I thought the plot and characterization were strong. Tehre, a new character, was charmingly absent-minded, highly intelligent, and a perfect foil for Gereint’s own curiosity and intelligence. After book 1, I was inclined to dislike the cold mage Beguchren, simply because Kes had antipathy for his cold magic. In Burning Sands, we see that he’s a much more complex character, and as Gereint figures out whether or not to trust him, I was doing the same because of the lingering distrust from book 1. I felt that was well done on Neuemeier’s part, to build that into book 1 and then dissect it in book 2. And of course, the trouble with the griffins isn’t quite as over as they thought it would be, and Bertaud and Kairaithin factor heavily in the plot.

The writing and prose were still excellent, and Neuemeier’s descriptive language consistently reminds me of Robin McKinley. She did allow Gereint and Tehre to ramble about psychics and technical questions several times, to the degree that I started skipping entire paragraphs of Tehre’s musings. While this was consistent with Tehre’s character, as a non-technically-inclined reader, I was bored and would’ve benefitted more from a line or two about “Tehre did some math and thought about physics while distractedly eating a muffin.”

On the whole, it was another strong read from Neuemeier. I definitely recommend the trilogy if you like fantasy! 3.5 stars!
Profile Image for Melissa Hayden.
854 reviews116 followers
August 12, 2010
For a day, a night, and a day slave Gereint hide in the two story deep basement while the desert claimed the newly abandoned city of Melentser, hoping to lose the geas connection he felt to his master. On the second night Gereint sat in the broken sandy city and watched the sun set. As he did, he saw the bright griffins fly over him. Feeling no pull on his geas, Gereint heads North East, opposite of the other refugees and his master. Only to fall under geas to another man and see more griffins fly by.

We start off with a whole new story. We follow Gereint through his journey after the destruction of Melentser. We learn more of his life, how he fell into the trap of slavery of the geas. But most of all, we learn of the person Gereint is. I started to understand more of the country Calmantium. If you read the first book, you will remember this is the country where the Griffins first resided, and now have come home.

Through the book you get the feel for how the people and Cold Mage are apposed to the griffins. In more than just dislike. Their is a deeper feeling that these two different magics don't mix very well, and this is shown to you through the acts and feelings of the characters. I learned more of the Cold Mage and of the Makers that are from Calmantium.

This book struck me as it could be read on its own, not having to have read the first book in the trilogy since we are placed in Calmantium instead of Feierabiand and the story doesn't revolve majorly on the happenings of the first book. I felt this book was a story of its own. We do start to touch on the happenings in Lord of Changing Winds around page 72, but remember the people of Calmantium really don't know what happened in Feierabiand, and what you need to know for this story is given to you.

I didn't interact much with the griffins in this read. They are a constant and are visual through the book. But not much interaction between the characters and griffins until close to the end of the book. In this way there is some suspense built to wonder what they are doing and what will happen.

Along with the griffins there is a few characters who come back in this one. The one main character, which I enjoyed in Lord of the Changing Winds, was Lord Bertaud. And we have many new characters. I came to enjoy these new characters very much by the end of the book.

In all I enjoyed this read and will look for the third book of this trilogy. A wonderful classic fantasy style with a new element...griffins.
Profile Image for Anna  .
95 reviews20 followers
September 6, 2015
Like the first book, the writing for this book was a little hard to get into. The plot sort of moves a long slowly at the beginning, and more quickly at the middle until the end. The world-building, as in the first book, is really compelling. The landscape in which the characters find themselves is well delineated.

The narrative follows a slave who is escaping his master. It has an entirely new set of characters from the first novel, until the middle of the book, when a few characters appear from the first book. It could be a completely different series written in the same world.

The villain of the first book, who is a cold mage, becomes sort of the hero of this book: at least, he becomes more human and his actions more defensible. The griffins are very much the enemy from his point of view, and even the escaped slave at some points.

There was a teaser at the end of this book for the third book in the series - should I read it? Will it tie all of these disparate characters together in a way that gives justice and closure? The teaser shared the story of an entirely new character...

There -is a clear "Griffin Mage" in book one: he is one of the main characters. He makes an appearance in Acts 2 and 3 of this book, but is nowhere near a central character. Why name the series "The Griffin Mage" if the series is not about a Griffin Mage?

When I am reading a book in a series, I am willing to put up with a few foibles in the first novel if the series shows promise. I can't decide if I want to read the third book, though, because after two novels, I can't decide if the characters are people whose story I want to know.

Given the preponderance of YA fantasy novels, I think the author might be trying to write to this audience, while really holding her best stuff for a more mature audience. The series reads as PG: no kissing, even, which is fine really. But those YA novels have plots which do not require mucking boots to wade through. It seems like she's interested in the intrigue of the human story, but she has been told to dumb it down a bit for her audience... I don't know. I should stop guessing author's motives (in this, reading George R. R. Martin and Diana Gabaldon ruined me).
Profile Image for Yune.
631 reviews21 followers
October 2, 2010
Despite her relative newcomer status, Neumeier's fast becoming one of my favorite authors. Hey, she's batting a thousand as far as I'm concerned. Based on the first book in the series, I... (cough) bought this one before its official release date, because it was available in my local bookstore early. Immediately upon finishing I tried to go back and pre-order the third book, only to discover that I would have to wait till a closer date to its release to be able to do so. I have high hopes of an early slippage out onto the shelves again.

This is not to say that it's a perfect book, but it matches my tastes in so many ways. Lovely writing. Characters who are human and whimsical and all too easy to care for even as they fit into a fiercely elemental world. Magic that eludes the overly slick, clockwork rules of other fantasy worlds, but still makes internal sense.

Land of the Burning Sands opens with a man willing to hide in a city while it's being buried by a sandstorm in order to break the geas which binds him to his master. (While he waits, he has with him two books. I found this incredibly endearing.)

It's a horrible thing, to take away a man's free will by binding him to his master's commands with a geas, and Neumeier is convincing in her portrayal of Gereint's desperation. And when he meets people who are kind to him, I genuinely liked them and didn't find them to be overly saccharine; I could see how Gereint came to trust them, even despite their initial unfortunate encounter. For Gereint, as an escaped slave, is a fugitive, and there's not much for him to look forward to in this country.

Given a hope of true freedom and the chance to repay this generosity, Gereint heads toward a city which holds even more danger than one being lost to the desert. Brought under the royal eye and compelled by more than a geas, he finds himself caught up in a matter of nations. Because there are actual consequences to the actions of the first book; despite the standalone nature of this one, I appreciated the threads that wove between the two.

And, as I mentioned, I'm looking forward to the next.
Profile Image for Lindsay Stares.
412 reviews30 followers
September 3, 2012
Premise: Sequel to Lord of the Changing Winds. Gereint Enseichen has been a magically bound servant in the Kingdom of Casmantium for a long time now. By treaty, griffins are taking the city his master lives in, and he's taking the opportunity to try to find freedom. But instead of escaping across the desert, Gereint is drawn back into the affairs of the kingdom as the griffins encroach further into man's holdings than agreed.

I had doubts about this sequel, when I saw that this book wasn't the further adventures of Kes, the main character from the first book. However, it turns out this is even better. This book delves much further into Casmantium, which was the 'enemy' kingdom for all of the first book. Their relationship with the griffins goes back further and has more old hatred on both sides.

The main characters, Gereint and Lady Tehre, are simply fantastic. They are both makers, people who have a sense for building things, who can make stone stronger, fabric waterproof, buildings steadier, etc., but they use a similar skill in completely different ways. Neumeier seems to have a flair for characters who are antisocial in a way that feels true to me. Tehre is an absent-minded academic type that I found utterly charming, but never cutesy. I really liked Gereint; I sympathized with his troubles and I was compelled by his struggles, but I instantly bonded with Tehre the same way I did with Kes, although they're utterly different characters.

Lord Bertaud is a minor character in this volume, and both Kairaithin and Kes are involved in the plot without being onstage much. It was interesting to get a clearer perspective on Casmantium and the cold mages there, people who are much more inherently opposed to the griffins than the natives of Feierabiand who populated the first book.

Incidentally, I learned to recognize all these long tongue-twisting names pretty easily, and it was simpler in this book with fewer griffin titles to deal with.

I'm certainly going to track down the third book, and I expect it to further illuminate the breath of this world.
1,353 reviews15 followers
December 31, 2014
Gereint Enseichen doesn't really care who won or lost in the recent war his country fought against the griffins. But he is extremely interested in the chaos surrounding the aftermath, as it offers him the perfect opportunity to escape from his life as a geas bound slave. Escape had never seemed possible until now. Freedom, however, proves harder to pin down. And although the war may be over, not everyone likes the new peace.

The story took a little bit for me to engage; Gereint's plight is pitiable, but it frustrated me how freedom kept being dangled underneath his nose and then snatched away. But once Tehre jumped into the picture, I couldn't put it down. Tehre is in many ways a typical socially clueless genius, but her obsession lies with breaking things. Specifically, why and how materials crack, which is part of what goes into deciding how to architect building projects. The country of Casmantium is famous for its engineers. A project is currently underway to build a great road, which will require many interesting bridges, and Tehre longs to design them. Her innocence serves as a highlight for Gereint's experience as a slave; it also lightens the mood considerably.

If you've read the first book, this is a picture from the other side of the war. It does an admirable job of taking what could have been a stock evil and digging deep into the country, its people, and eventually its reasons for the war. If you haven't read the first book, this is enough of a departure that very little requires knowledge of the first book.

My one regret is that I didn't finish this book the first time I started the Griffin Mage trilogy. I rate this book Highly Recommended.
Profile Image for Shari  Mulluane.
133 reviews83 followers
October 3, 2013
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.

Read Full Review @ Dragons, Heroes and Wizards
Profile Image for Jean.
307 reviews51 followers
February 12, 2014
This is a hard one to review. I finished it, and it's not a bad book by any means, but... I just didn't connect to it. I struggle to envision the world, I don't connect with the characters, and I find the various naming systems distracting - I couldn't figure out how to pronounce most of the names, and they blurred together which made it hard for me to follow who was who and I couldn't connect it to the previous book at all. Sometimes the construction of the sentences themselves were hard for me to read.

I found the characterization slow and inconsistent, and the world not as fleshed out as it could have been. The politics set up and the magic systems are very interesting, more so in this book than in the first one. I finished the book, I guess because it felt like something was going to happen at any moment to make the struggle worth it but it just never did, though there are some spectacular moments at the end.

I probably won't seek out the third book in the series, and I can't really recommend it because it just wasn't for me. That's what it comes down to - not for me.
Profile Image for Christopher.
1,389 reviews155 followers
March 19, 2013
Great continuation of the Griffin mage series. This second book in the series takes a trip to Casmantium the 'enemy' nation from the first book Lord Of The Changing Winds. The main focuses are on the characters of Gereint and Tehre two 'makers' from this country. The book charts their meeting and the various difficulties that they get involved in regarding helping save their country against the blatant encroachments of the Fire Griffins. Many of the characters from the previous book also make some appearances throughout this book nicely linking the series together. The book goes into much more depth than in the previous adventure giving the universe created a bigger fleshing out. Many of the events take place on a much bigger scale being focused on country shattering events rather than the smaller scale of the previous books. All the characters are very human (or griffin) like in the way they interact and are portrayed with many of the characters exhibiting grey areas that adds depth. Overall excellent stuff highly recommended! :D
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
21 reviews4 followers
June 10, 2011
The author had to invent a new society in this book in order to represent the 2nd of the three points of view in the series - Griffin, Casmantium, and Feierabiand. Having read the back page of the 3rd book, looks like it will take place in Feierabiand, neatly closing the circle.

I thought the plot felt somewhat contrived - with Lord Bertaud playing a minor role bridging the 1st two novels together. Still enjoyable to read, however, with the Casmantium folk displaying their own type of earth magic and "making". It's been some months since I read the 1st book, and I had no recall of "makers" from the prior volume.

The place names are tough to pronounce and that made it difficult for me to remember them. A minor annoyance. Fortunately, the geography is straightforward.

Overall, I'd recommend the series and I'd like to see more from Ms. Neumeier as she matures.
Profile Image for Christine.
239 reviews7 followers
January 1, 2012
This book gets a star upgrade compared to the two star first novel.

I found the difference in quality quite noticeable. In this second book, the author seems to have come into her writing style more fully, as well as feel more comfortable with her topics and characters.

While the griffins (the strength in the first book) were hardly present in this one, the character development was much better and as a result the whole storyline was more involving. Magic was more intricately dealt with, personalities more well-developed, and a better overall world view was provided between the different kingdoms.

I definitely wouldn't call this one of the best fantasy series, but its a nice little series for easy reading and those with an interest in griffins. If you were disappointed by the first book, you may find your opinion changed by its sequel.
Profile Image for Fantasy Literature.
3,226 reviews166 followers
May 24, 2013
The Land of Burning Sands is another well-crafted story from gifted author Rachel Neumeier. Instead of carrying on with the characters from the first book, we interact very little with the griffins and Kes in The Land of Burning Sands. They are a presence, but mostly as a menace overshadowing the developing story. I for one appreciated Neumeier introducing her readers to new characters. So many trilogies stick with the same main characters throughout, and it can get old in a hurry. In addition to new characters, The Land of Burning Sandschanges settings as well. Here we get to find out more about Casmantium.

Gereint Enseichen sat on a narrow pallet in the lowest cellar of the Anteirden townhouse, waiting.

Gereint is a geas-bonded slave who is trying to escape the bond. This first sentence pulled... Read More:
Profile Image for Michael Blackmore.
250 reviews5 followers
November 7, 2013
Definite improvement in ways of the first book, and I did enjoy the first books. This is a character based series and one of the things that felt off in the first volume was the characters. The characters worked more for me in this volume. They were more interesting, better developed and their interactions felt more natural.

I think my only hesitation is how the main conflict of the series (Griffin/Human) comes late in the series and seems to be dealt with so relatively quickly. I suspect that feeling comes from the book not really picking up with the same characters as the first one and starting anew (mostly) with new ones and looking at the world in a different setting.

Still overall a fun read.
Profile Image for Craig.
1,353 reviews9 followers
March 9, 2019
*Much* better than the 1st book - the plot flows easily and the characters are well-developed and universally interesting if not totally sympathetic while still being varied. The author obviously learned something from writing the first book. Of course much awkward world-building is out of the way here, but she still does a great job building the new country in this one, with few characters common to each book. Very interesting look from a perspective quite opposed to the first book's. Can't wait to see what she does with the 3rd.

Re-read, 3/19. So very good. Not sure what I was thinking, upped a star.
Profile Image for Charty.
930 reviews12 followers
January 9, 2012
We pretty much abandon our original characters and county as the action moves to Casmantium and the geas-bound slave Gereint and the engineer/philospher/mage Lady Tehre. There aren't as many griffins but they (and Lord Bertaud) show up at the end. Neumeier seems to excel at presenting tricky points of honor and politics and making her characters come to terms with them made for interesting reading in this book again. I also was impressed with Lady Tehre's difficulties with crack fatigue and failure questions. Having worked for an engineering company, her mental gyrations on that and related topics read surprisingly accurately.
Profile Image for Cupcakencorset.
648 reviews17 followers
January 2, 2012
Book two of the Griffin Mage Trilogy shifts the focus from the griffin mage to several citizens of Casmantium, who find themselves the target of the griffins' rage and ambition. The situation is dire and gets worse before a new level of magic provides a solution. The main characters are new to this book, sympathetic and relateable. Several of the mostly secondary characters in this book were primary in book one, continuing those relationships and lending emotional resonance. Book two was an even quicker (i.e., more addictive) read than was book 1.
Profile Image for Jesslyn.
471 reviews130 followers
June 27, 2010
I loved the 1st book, but am finding that this one has middle-book syndrome. Perhaps i'm not far enough into it, but I've put it down for now.

And obviously picked it up again at the right time. There IS a bit of middle book syndrome, but it's well worth plodding thru the 'set up for finale' pieces. If you're gonna do the series, wait for the final book since it's so close to release, as now I'm desperate to know what happens.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 54 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.