This review was originally posted at Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog on April 13, 2012.Like the second book, this one has GREAT characters. Mienthe, my favorite, actually reminds me a lot of Kes. She’s shy, and quiet, and prone to being overlooked. But she doesn’t stay that way, and the change comes from within rather than via an outside force. Kes was secretly strong1 but the change from shy to fierce wasn’t because anything she did, really. I think that’s why I didn’t particularly like her POV; she’s not entirely a wet noodle but too much of her story was her getting pulled around by different people and pretending it was a noble thing, I think. Mienthe, meanwhile, evolves more naturally from mousey to mighty, and though it happened because of certain events surrounding her, she didn’t surrender to those events. And then, of course, after she became a stronger person she didn’t turn genocidal like Kes did.Or maybe they’re more alike than not and the way their stories are presented are what’s different. A lot of Kes’ personality changes happened offscreen, and you never really get to know the new her beyond the surface things. Mienthe’s evolution happens on screen (on page?), right there in your face, and so it’s easier to like her more than Kes because she’s still familiar after her transformation.Anyway! Besides Mienthe, there was also Tan, a charming spy who reminded me a lot of Gen from The Thief, only with less snark. And Lord Bertraud is back, too! Yay Lord Bertraud!There’s also a really love romance subplot! I like a nice romance, especially if it happens in such a way that it doesn’t overtake the rest of the book (if it’s not specifically a ROMANCE book, I mean).Best of all, though, is that the magical system is finally explained in a way I can get behind. There’s a lot of exciting stuff at the end that makes me wish there were more books in this series, because there’s so much to still learn about! For instance! We never got a chance to see what the people in Linularinum were like, not like we did with Feierabiand and Casmantium. And then there’s the griffins and what’ll happen with them now that Kes is more human than she was before. And tons more! It almost annoys me, because SO MUCH happened at the end and it was all smushed into, like, 30 pages, which is so short you almost don’t have time to process anything.Basically, I just wish that there was going to be more Griffin Mage books! Or if not Griffin Mage, at least something set in the same world. I suppose I’ll have to settle for reading some of Rachel Neumeier’s other books, haha!