Peggy's Reviews > Acacia: The War with the Mein

Acacia by David Anthony Durham
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Aug 23, 07


When I was asked to review this book, I was less than enthusiastic. I’ve been reading genre fiction for a long time, and there are things I’d decided I was done with. Topping that list was “High Fantasy Quest Novels,” followed almost immediately by “Book 1 of a Brand New Series” (with a special amount of “done” leftover for “Book 1’s in Excess of 500 Pages”). Still, the book was sent to me by someone I trust, so I decided to give it a go.

She always was the smart one.

David Anthony Durham has pulled off something remarkable: a huge, sprawling epic that manages to weave together history, politics, intrigue and thunderous action scenes without ever losing track of the multitudes of finely-drawn characters.

The detail that Durham lavishes on his world is impressive, and it grounds you firmly in this land. The author’s previous work as an historical novelist is clear in the care he takes with the backgrounds of the various kingdoms. We learn about myths, religious practices, courting practices, ruling philosophies, and day to day living for a number of different peoples. The truly amazing thing is that this wealth of detail is all germane to the main action of the story, and that, with a few exceptions, the story doesn’t grind to a halt while we’re getting the background info.

That said, this is book one of a series, which means that there’s a great deal of setup for a payoff that, although sensible, seems a bit too abrupt. Or maybe that’s just my impatience; this is only book one, after all. I’m sure I’ll get the payoff I want eventually, but I want it now!

Much closer to George R.R. Martin than J.R.R. Tolkien, Acacia has wonders in store both for those who love epic fantasy and for those who think it’s old hat. Once you visit, you’ll be as giddy as I am that there are more chapters still to come (and as grumpy as I am that they’re not out yet).
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