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Griffin Mage #3

Law of the Broken Earth

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In Feierabiand, in the wide green Delta, far from the burning heat of the griffin's desert, Mienthe's peaceful life has been shaken. Tan -- clever, cynical, and an experienced spy -- has brought a deadly secret out of the neighboring country of Linularinum.

Now, as three countries and two species rush toward destruction, Mienthe fears that even her powerful cousin Bertaud may be neither able nor even willing to find a safe path between the secret Linularinum would kill to preserve and the desperate ferocity of the griffins. But can Mienthe?

And, in the end, will Tan help her . . . or do everything in his power to stand in her way?

456 pages, Kindle Edition

First published December 1, 2010

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About the author

Rachel Neumeier

46 books484 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.

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5 stars
91 (17%)
4 stars
237 (44%)
3 stars
167 (31%)
2 stars
24 (4%)
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8 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 44 reviews
Profile Image for Katherine Kendig.
240 reviews14 followers
September 23, 2016
First two books I read by this author (Black Dog and #1 in this series) put her as like a WR3 in fantasy football...a lot of potential but not solid production. These last two books have really raised her ceiling.
Profile Image for Brooke Banks.
920 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.
Profile Image for Alexis.
358 reviews27 followers
May 1, 2019
I enjoyed the premise of these books, as well as Neumeier's descriptive language. I thought the language did a great job of drawing in all of the reader's senses, particularly in her descriptions of the desert. You feel the heat, smell the hot metal; the light in your mind's eye is just a little harsher than in parts of the book where she's describing a forest.

I also enjoyed her take on the interplay with the elements.

I loved how these books wove together to make a whole, and you didn't really see what the full overarching story was until the last book.

I wasn't a fan of how the protagonist in the first book undergoes a sudden personality shift in the next books in the series. The time jump explains some of it, but it seems jarring to the reader, as well as a bit off-putting, since you were rooting for her.
Profile Image for L.R. Braden.
Author 9 books366 followers
January 3, 2018
I love Neumeier's writing. Her details are always deep and descriptive, giving a visceral impression of the world. Her characters are unique and believable, each with their own set of issues that contribute to the main story. I also like that even though this book is the last in a trilogy it is not a problem that it has been some time since I read the other books. You could read this story entirely on its own, and while you may miss some of the subtle references that tie the series together, there's nothing to stop you enjoying the book for its own sake.
So, why didn't I give the book 5 stars? I mentioned that I love Neumeier's descriptive writing, which is true, but such writing is not always appropriate. There were times that the florid prose slowed the story so much that the plot came to a screeching halt while we examined the setting or had a lengthy internal debate.
The second issue I had was the way the story fell into place for the main characters. Everything came about in a believable way, and the characters did make decisions, but I couldn't shake the feeling that they were running on rails. Everything fell out just so, and it all lined up perfectly even if the characters had no idea why they were doing what they were doing. This was particularly conspicuous with Meinthe and Tan. Meinthe has no idea why (or how) she's doing things, but keeps doing them anyway because it all works out. Tan is a person used to relying only on himself, but during this entire book he is treated as little more than an extension of Meinthe, and he seems perfectly fine with that. The characters never really figure anything out, it's more like the world solves their problem using them as a conduit.
Profile Image for Nicole Luiken.
Author 20 books157 followers
February 26, 2021
I really didn't intend to read this so close together with book two, but I couldn't resist taking a peek at the prologue and was quickly caught. I really like the character's in this series, they very quickly have my sympathy, and I found the magic very cool and intriguing.

Quibble: I dislike chapters that start off with several pages of description.
Profile Image for Kate McDougall Sackler.
1,147 reviews6 followers
February 21, 2018
I liked this third installment in an interesting series. Things got a wee bit rushed at the end, but it still worked out. I did enjoy that each book had its own strong female protagonist.
Profile Image for Rowan.
98 reviews1 follower
May 27, 2019
Probably my favorite book of the trilogy, can definitely tell that the writer has grown a lot from the first novel.
Profile Image for Kelly.
787 reviews
November 28, 2021
Great story. Series did not take the direction I thought it would.
Profile Image for Faith.
9 reviews
January 5, 2023
Okay this book is amazing but given the fact that it's a series book and I haven't checked all out yet got me a bit confused. I'm so reading the next series so no worries. 😌👍
469 reviews69 followers
April 2, 2018
The final book of the Griffin Mage trilogy wrapped up all the loose ends pretty nicely. Bertaud takes in his young cousin Mienthe, our main protagonist for Law of the Broken Earth. After book 2, Bertaud has moved back to the Delta and returned to his duty as the “Lord” of the Delta, a sort-of province that belongs/is loyal to Feierabiand and the Safiad. The Delta is bordered by Linularinum, the third major power in Neumeier’s world. A spy named Tan escapes to the Delta, barely escaping Linularinum soliders and spies who were never supposed to cross the river into Bertaud’s domain. While Linularinum creates trouble for the Delta, Bertaud and the Safiad are more worried about the wall that separates the land of earth from the griffin land a fire – a wall created at the end of book 2 that Kes is hurling her considerable power at in an attempt to destroy.

Law of the Broken Earth moved a little slower for me than the first two books in the trilogy. Mienthe is a decent narrator, but the relationship between her and Tan was confusing for me. Tan’s “years of experience at court” suggest he’s in his late twenties if not mid thirties, while Mienthe is 15-years-old. That he would be interested in her, and they would be set up as a potential romance, was just slightly creepy for me. Tan says that he’s spent years and years at court, but you don’t learn if he started when he was a kid or an adult, so it’s hard to pinpoint his age. Combined with his greater experience of the world, the characterization makes him seem much too old to be falling for a 15-year-old. Kes has become a creature of fire in everything but her physical form, and she’s lost all traces of human emotion or conscience. This creates an interesting dilemma for the reader, because Kes was our book 1 protagonist and you don’t want to see her get hurt, but also, you know she’s dangerous and violent now. Bertaud hurt my heart, because he’s got so much guilt and burden because of his Gift, and he’s just kind of … depressed? Lonely? I don’t know. He was sad and I was sad for him and I hope that he finds a wife to make him feel happy again one day.

As stated in the review for Land of the Burning Sands, Neumeier explored the magic of Linularinum, which has to do with the binding effect of the written law when scribed by those with a “Gift” for legistry. The way that Neumeier hints at this from book 1 and then ties it into the very fabric of her world building was just incredibly cool and impressive. The resolution took me by surprise, and I’ll leave it at that so that you too can be surprised and impressed!

3 stars for a book that moved a little slowly but was overall very enjoyable.
1,336 reviews15 followers
December 31, 2014
Mienthe has enjoyed a relatively quiet life in the Delta, rescued by her cousin Bertaud after her father died. But life takes a most curious turn when Tan, a spy on the run, stops in her house. Far from being a place of safety, the house has become the focal point of trouble. His very presence is upsetting things. Much bigger things than he should. War looms on multiple fronts---can Mienthe or Tan or even Bertuad do anything to stop it?

In many ways, this ties more closely to Lord of the Changing Winds than Land of the Burning Sands did. It would be very helpful to have read the first book, but Bertuad's secrets eventually come out on their own, along with the terrible knowledge of what he might do, if the situation becomes sufficiently desperate. Bertaud is a man with a hard past, and a harder future. His relationship with the griffins is strained to the breaking point by their determination to remake the world into fire. His position as Lord of the Delta puts him solidly on the front lines of an invasion from the neighboring Linularinum.

Enter his cousin, Mienthe. The first few pages are largely summary of her childhood, which lays the foundation for the insecure, quiet woman she has become. But Tan's arrival forces her beyond the boundaries of everything she thought she knew about herself, the world, and magic. Tan and Mienthe's relationship is at the heart of the book, and it was encouraging to see how such very different people might bring needed strength to each other. Shy Mienthe is, ironically, most of the brawn keeping Tan out of trouble; Tan is the social butterfly, weakened by an injury that wasn't allowed time to heal, as much lies and acting as he is truthful.

And on the other side of the spectrum, the relationship between the kings and kingdoms is also being shaken: Feierabiand and Linularinum and even Casmantium. The boundaries between earth and fire, life-giving land land and desert, the humans and the griffins are being redefined.

It's hard to say much more without giving too much away. I was particularly happy about the fate of Kes, who had for a while seemed irredeemable. I liked her immensely from the first book and was disturbed to think her new life might be the end of all that was good in her. And there was another character whose fate I mourn, because his moment was so beautiful and tragic.

Overall this was a very engaging read. The amount of summary at the beginning did make it a bit slower to start than some of the other books, but it only took a few pages for Tan to show up and the chaos to begin. I rate this book Recommended.
Profile Image for Lindsay Stares.
412 reviews30 followers
September 3, 2012
Premise: Sequel to Lord of the Changing Winds, Land of the Burning Sands. Mienthe came to live with her cousin Bertaud after her parents died. She's a little shy and unsure of herself, but she finds herself drawn to the mysterious spy, Tan, who returns to Feierabiand with more than he intended. Agents from the neighboring kingdom are coming in search of Tan, but Bertaud has gone north to try to head off a looming war between humans and griffins. On Mienthe's actions may soon hang the fate of three nations and two species.

This was a solid ending for an enjoyable series. I didn't fall as hard for the new characters in this volume, but I really enjoyed the storyline. This book also did a nice job bringing back all the characters from all three books by the end. (Kes is back! And awesome-scary now!)

I also give this book major kudos for redeeming the only part I didn't like in the first book, simply by showing that things didn't turn out the way the first book implied.

The climax of the plot is a little bit hokey, but I liked it. The whole plot of this one hinged on characters' instincts, both mystical and otherwise, as they tried to see a peaceful way forward. So the ending was simple: instinctual in a way. By the end, there is a real sense of closure to the whole trilogy.

I liked the way Mienthe's instincts were described throughout, including her own self-doubt and later shyness about her own abilities.

There were more viewpoint characters in this volume, although I think the complexity of events required it. I thought the construction was actually pretty neat: there were the two new main characters for this one, plus one important character from each of the previous books, neither of whom had been viewpoint characters before.

And Kairaithin, the Griffin Mage himself, never got to be a viewpoint character, so he stays a bit of a mystery. He does still get a good deal of character development, and some closure to his arc. In some ways, he's the main character behind the main characters, the one who can most affect the plot, and he is wonderful here.

This trilogy isn't mind-blowingly brilliant, but it's solid fantasy that leaves me feeling really satisfied.
Profile Image for Yune.
631 reviews21 followers
November 27, 2010
I still love a lot of Neumeier's writing, world-building, and characters, but this one was far too self-conscious of its place as the final book in the trilogy.

I adored the first chapter, which covers Mienthe's childhood and made me very happy to see a familiar character from the previous books (Bertaud). It had a Robin McKinley feel to it. Then it cut over to a man in prison, trying to talk his way into an audience with the king, and my interest grew more cautious. I never fully warmed to Tan, who turns out to be a returned spy and seems kind but still stuck me as a little too opaque, a little too convenient a person for Mienthe to like.

You get to learn more about the third kingdom of men, but the main issue deals with, once again, the griffins. I felt a thread of exasperation at this. But Neumeier does manage to deal with them conclusively this time, and there's a single instance of word choice as she does so that I lingered upon for a while. I actually tried turning the page, then turned back to read it again. You'll know the word when you encounter it.

And there are moments that would've been worthy of a tear or two, but a lot of the weight of this book comes from the previous two. And this is the way series are supposed to work, surely, layering themselves so that readers can fall deeper, but I couldn't help feeling that everything in this book moved along a set trajectory, from the start of Book 1 to the end of this one, so self-assuredly that you couldn't revel in this book for its own sake. I understand Mienthe and Tan's necessity to the overarching plot, but in the end that was what I was most struck by, rather than their own narrative power.

Still, the next two books by this authors are on my auto-buy list.
Profile Image for Anne.
443 reviews21 followers
February 12, 2016
I kept struggling through most of the book to figure out why I didn't like it quite as well as the others, and then I finally got it. The first book follows the intertwined narratives of Kes and Bertaud, while the second book primarily follows Gereint, with Tehre growing in importance as the narrative to on. This book? It has too many perspectives. It starts with the dual structure of the others with Tan and Mienthe, but then there are multiple chapters dedicated to Jos and even Beguchren's PoVs. And those chapters are interesting, but I felt they detracted from the narrative as a whole. The first two books are much tighter. I think this would be a better book if it had just followed Mienthe and Tan, leaving the other characters in the background.

After all, the breaking Wall is not what's really important here. It's a driving force for a lot of the characters, but the real issue is the titular broken Law.

I missed the tension that the other books had when they were constrained to one main narrative, instead of having Mienthe and Tan deal with their problem while Bertaud and Jos try to fix another and then the two story lines meeting at the end. That works in a lot of books, but it made this one not quite as sharp as the others.

Mind, I say all this, but I still really enjoyed this book. We get to see some familiar faces (Tehre! Hi, Tehre!) and a lot of ends you don't even realize were loose get wrapped up very nicely. It's a great end to the trilogy.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Bookworm.
1,839 reviews58 followers
June 14, 2011
Eh. The series was very uneven. I thought overall there was a lot of potential, but characters disappear into the ether. Main characters from Book 1 appear here, but with little to no focus on them after the first book left me head scratching as to motives and character development. I suppose the reader is supposed to guess and go along with it, but I thought the story could have been better served overall if the book storylines were more spread out as a trilogy rather than introducing new main characters each book.

I felt some of the story perspective shifting was rather awkward, leaving me puzzled as to who I should be following and whose perspective I was looking through. I also felt the climax was rather...anticlimatic and definitely left the story to just fizzle out.

It's a pity because it seems there was a lot going with this, and in some ways reads more like a first draft than anything else. Thankfully I got this set on sale and might pick up other books of hers--but only if I can get them at a discount. Also, a character list might have been helpful. While not as sprawling as say "Lord of the Rings" or "A Game of Thrones" or Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, I think it might have been helpful to have a character list of who was related to whom and who was from what region.
Profile Image for Sineala.
711 reviews
October 5, 2013
For all that Griffin Mage is the name of the trilogy, I am not sure why this series needed griffins at all.

It's basically a tale of three countries, differentiated by their magic systems. Country #1, the subject of the first book, is a place where magic is used to command animals. Country #2, the subject of the second book, has magic used to physically built and/or enchant things, as well as enslave people. So naturally the third book is about Country #3 where magic is basically about performative speech acts and making awesome legal contracts and things like that. Also there are griffins. They keep hating people.

Once again, I liked this book better than the first book, and about as much as the second book. The added characters here are the cousin of one of the king's advisors -- she's a lot of fun -- and an especially charming spy. And who doesn't like charming spies, huh? Naturally, there's espionage and magic and war and griffins and all that stuff. I wouldn't say it's the greatest fantasy series ever, but I enjoyed a lot of the characters and it's a fun, relaxing read.
Profile Image for Michael Blackmore.
250 reviews5 followers
November 7, 2013
I was stuck mentally on the stars here between 3 and 4, but decided to go to 4 because I did enjoy the book and it did go a ways to explain the origins of the central conflict of the series.

This book is primarily from the perspective of yet more new characters and a new location from the previous two. But the characters from the previous two volumes appear throughout so it flowed a bit better.

On the downside, there are characters introduced in the first volume we now see as dramatically changed but we never saw that process of change so it feels like a bit of missing development. It's explained a bit, but I would have liked to have seen it happen some as well. Also there was a nagging feeling throughout that we're only seeing aspects of things but not the whole. Like looking through a few facets of a crystal and never glimpsing the whole - here we see aspects of the story but somehow the whole doesn't feel quite there.

Still just enough fun and interesting that I did enjoy it.
Profile Image for Shari  Mulluane.
133 reviews83 followers
October 3, 2013
This story, in addition to having characters I could get behind, was much more complex than the first two installments of this trilogy. In this book all of the countries, with their own brands of magic, are involved in a conflict. Linularinum has a hidden agenda that keeps you guessing right up until the end. The Griffins are still bent on world domination while Feierabiand is beset on two different fronts. Not even Casmantian is immune as it will be in serious danger if Feierabiand fails to maintain its borders. There is war, political maneuvering, daring escapes, mortal danger, emerging magic and even a smidgin of romance. Old friends make an appearance while new friends are discovered. The pacing is faster and the action rarely ever stops.

Read Full Review @ Dragons, Heroes and Wizards
Profile Image for Christine.
238 reviews7 followers
January 20, 2012
The third book in this trilogy was much like the first. It was a little bland, and personally I felt for most of the book that Mienthe and Tan's story was just unnecessary, and it remained that way for most of the book. It was a slight improvement compared to the first book, but it wasn't as good as the second.

Overall, the length of the book made it feel like it was dragging on, and really the main redeeming factor of the book is the last 70 or so pages, where it feels more exciting and something actually happens (most of the book just feels like it drags on, and very little action actually happens). I wouldn't really recommend the series itself to anyone who isn't a fantasy reader, and even then its more of a rainy-day reading or for people who are interested in griffins.
Profile Image for Cupcakencorset.
648 reviews18 followers
January 6, 2012
What a terrific end to the Griffin Mage trilogy! Neumeier didn't use this 3rd volume to wrap up the first two... well, not entirely. Instead, she introduced new characters in a new part of her world and with new problems and abilities. This was my favorite book in the series, with characters I cared about and a depth of worldbuilding that let Neumeier truly resolve the seemingly intractable problems underlying her world in a believable, logical, yet unforeseen denouement. It is well worth the effort to read this trilogy, with as little delay as possible between volumes. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Charty.
913 reviews12 followers
January 11, 2012
A fairly satisfying conclusion to the trilogy and I enjoyed seeing all the previous books' characters some together in this one to solve the Griffin incursion. My only quibble is I felt that Kes' motivations and character were never satisfactorily explained, and that her actions sprang more from the need to move a plot point, than that it sprang out of her intrinsic nature and circumstance. Aside from that, this was an interesting world, populated with likable and complex characters, caught up in moving conflicts. I'll definitely be checking out her other works.
Profile Image for Darshan Elena.
311 reviews19 followers
April 16, 2012
As a rule, I don't purchase novels since I read too much and our bookshelves are already overstacked. However, when I realized my local library had the first two novels in the series but not its third and final one, I visited my favorite science fiction and fantasy bookshop and bought this book. Law of Broken Earth was a breeze and a delight, a strong conclusion to the series. After reading the novel, I gave it to my friendly librarian since I am sure there is another geek like me who cannot leave a series unfinished!
Profile Image for David Fournier.
140 reviews4 followers
November 10, 2013
Well I'm glad I was finally able to finish this series. I totally enjoyed it, and I glad one of the main characters from the first book (Kes) was not killed of.

But even though I enjoyed all the books, this last one ended with me feeling like something was missing from the overall story line. At present though I can't be sure what it is. Maybe one of you out there can figure it out and let me know.

Please read and enjoy this series as I have.
Profile Image for Heather.
1,911 reviews43 followers
September 24, 2011
I liked Mienthe just as much as I liked Gerient and Tehre, so the book was very enjoyable for me. My only issue was that sometimes the descriptions, although terribly well written and beautiful, sometimes lost my interest. I was often tempted to peek ahead to see how things were going to end up. So I guess I'm a bit impatient! Still, it was an enjoyable read, and I look forward to Ms. Neumeier's future books!
10 reviews
June 15, 2018
Absolutely stunning. One of the best things I've come across.
Neumeier's writing is ethereal and floating. The first book of this trilogy was a bit weaker than the last two in my opinion, but she more than makes up for it in this last installment. The pacing worked really well -- there are so many different threads of story that seem to be utterly unrelated, until suddenly all is clear and a truly complex literary idea comes together.
Brava, Rachel Neumeier.
Profile Image for Deviant Divas.
252 reviews25 followers
June 8, 2011
I so loved how this one ended expect for my favorite griffin mage dying. I was happy with the finishing of this series no doubts or mystery conclusion.

Kes and her friends continuing their lives in harmony instead of against each other. I was so glad Kes changed her mind I was starting to hate how inhuman she became. Rachel Neumeier did a wonderful job with her series. I hated to see it end.
Profile Image for Pancha.
1,179 reviews7 followers
December 31, 2012
I wish the concept of the bound natural law had been explored a little more. While I liked the characters, the story felt rushed towards the conclusion. Also, we meet two more people who have the most awesome powers ever, ones the mages have never encountered before. Makes you wonder what the mages had been doing before...
Displaying 1 - 30 of 44 reviews

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