Carey Gibbons's Reviews > The Other Lands

The Other Lands by David Anthony Durham
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's review
Mar 20, 2012

it was amazing
Read from March 01 to 20, 2012

This was my second reading. When I read a book the first time, I'm usually busy rushing through to find out what happens. The second time I read a book, I'm able to really appreciate the details of the narrative. One of the marks of a great book is if I still have plot anxiety in a second reading. For example, if I know something bad will happen to a beloved character and I hope with every page that the outcome will be different from what I know it to be, that is a great book. This is a great book. Durham's characters are all unique and well crafted. He does a great job of writing women. I also very much enjoy the multiple POV narrative that I first found in George RR Martin's books.

I only have one issue and one warning.

First, the warning: This is a transition book. It's the second in a trilogy and you really need to read the first - Acacia - before reading this book. Awesome stuff happens in this book, making it a narrative that holds its own. However, The Other Lands builds on Acacia. It does not stand alone. A lot of transition books can be boring - they're a lot of moving the characters from point A to point B so they're in their proper places for the finale. There is some of that in The Other Lands (which I will get to in a second) but as far as middle trilogy books go, this one was amazing.

Second, the issue: The passages that focus on Dariel and his time in the Other Lands felt bogged down - like a truck stuck in snow, spinning its wheels. Between Dariel's and Rialus' chapters, there was a lot of info dumping. The info was fascinating, and Durham is good at weaving the info into the narrative, but not much happens. Certain plot points leave not only readers, but characters within the book clueless (the fate of the Lothan Aklun). While I understand Durham's narrative trajectory with the Lothun Aklun and the Auldek, I was disappointed with not getting know an entire race of people. I think Dariel and Rialus will come into play in force in The Sacred Band - the last book in the trilogy.

That being said, I'm going to go read The Sacred Band now. That is, after my library shift is over.

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