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Group Reads Archive > September Discussion: Acacia: War With the Mein

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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) Our September epic fantasy book discussion is Acacia The War with the Mein (Acacia, #1) by David Anthony Durham by David Anthony Durham.

It will start on September 1st. If you are interested in leading the discussion, we'd be happy to have a volunteer.

message 2: by Jason (new)

Jason (darkfiction) | 3204 comments I'm looking forward to this one! If no one else volunteers, I am willing to head the discussion.

If someone else wants it, speak up. I truly don't mind! :)

message 3: by Jason (new)

Jason (darkfiction) | 3204 comments I started this the other night, and I'm not sure if I like it or not yet. It might have to grow on me.

message 4: by Jean (new)

Jean Hontz (majkia) I'm no sure either. My problem at the moment is no central character I like enough to root for. Very odd book.

message 5: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 940 comments Dick Hill grew on me. He really is an excellent narrator. I don't think there's really a central character. The protagonists are the children, and I'm not clear who the antagonists really are. Even the powerful bad guy seem like he could have a good reason in the scheme of things. And he has a good reason for feeling the way he did, considering his people's grudge against the royalty. The royalty are not totally good, either. They've had a history of doing awful evil to people.

I'm only halfway through the book. I like it when characters are gray, like real life. We all have some good and some bad in us. Some of us lean heavily one way or the other.

message 6: by Jean (new)

Jean Hontz (majkia) Aloha, I love characters who are gray, for instance Locke Lamora. But I want at least one character I actually like enough to care about. At the moment that's no one.

The assassin is a total turnoff for me, and that's who the book started with. It isn't that I don't like assassins, per se, or that I don't see that he has lots of motivation. It's his personality; it's that he's so certain he's better than everyone else, and looks down on everyone, that I find obnoxious.

And the children are annoying, especially the future king kid. Ugh. I'm hoping he gets knocked off.

message 7: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 940 comments I think the assassin feels that way because he came from a line that keeps to themselves. They even would not condone mating outside their society. That pride in combination with the injustices that was historically imposed on them by the Acacian royalty would create such arrogance.

The children are annoying because they are royals who never had to experience anything but being pampered. I thought it was true to form of royals. I am at the halfway point where their world turned upside down. It is interesting to note how they will change from pampered royals to self-sufficient human beings.

I am very curious as to how Hanish Mein will turn out in all of this. He is a complicated character. He is proud and vengeful like his brother. He seems smitten with Corinne.

I've put the audio aside to focus on August's monthly reads, which I have about 2 days to finish. LOL

Majkia wrote: "Aloha, I love characters who are gray, for instance Locke Lamora. But I want at least one character I actually like enough to care about. At the moment that's no one.

The assassin is a total turn..."

message 8: by Jason (last edited Aug 29, 2010 03:15PM) (new)

Jason (darkfiction) | 3204 comments I like Dick Hill's narrating now. The part that bothers me the most are some of the characters. I can't explain it just yet, as I'm only two hours into it, but it seems like they make unrealistic decisions, IMO. The king thinking back to when he first married his wife, for example, and how he cried about all the bad things his father had done and that he will have to continue to do. I don't think that the a royal prince, just turned king and living in such an age would care.

message 9: by Michi (new)

Michi (fjlkaldr) | 107 comments So far Acacia is quite far away from being as good as expected. Although the characters are all neither good nor bad, there's not a single one you really care for. Their motives and actions are sometimes not comprehensible or unrealistic, like Jason said.
What I like so far is the fact that a lot of background information is given - sometimes a little bit too much, so that I got the impression of having a history lection.

message 10: by Jason (new)

Jason (darkfiction) | 3204 comments I can agree with you on the history lesson, Michi. It gets so boring that my mind sometimes wanders.

I had more ideas about the characters while listening last night.

I think that that Leodan, the Acacian king, is a very weak character. I now think that this might be meant, though. I think this mainly because he remains consistent in being teary-eyed over his kids while smoking mist and feeling guilty all the time.

It's as though the author wants us to care for him and is working it too hard. Personally, I'd rather care about a strong king.

Don't get me wrong, a lot of people would feel guilty if they were thrown into his position. But he's a king. Before that he was a prince. It makes no sense to me that any king-to-be would be kept hidden from the dark truths of how ruling works.

message 11: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany | 13 comments Jason, I totally agree with you. I would rather have a king to care about rather than Leodan. I understand that the troubles of the king would be quite a burden, but to keep himself and the children hidden in their old world is not helping me to like him all that much...

message 12: by Jason (new)

Jason (darkfiction) | 3204 comments I totally agree. This book is annoying me somewhat for similar reasons within other characters.

message 13: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 940 comments Now that you all mentioned it, the character of Leodan is annoyingly and unrealistically weak, considering that he came from a royal line known for being callous to the people. He needs to be more complicated.

message 14: by Jason (new)

Jason (darkfiction) | 3204 comments Yes. And more hard and cold in spirit. Even if he started out young and naive. I would have accepted that. I still would have doubted that, but I would have indeed accepted it.


I think that the author did this to get reader sympathy for the character before the old man was assassinated.

message 15: by Aloha (last edited Sep 04, 2010 02:38AM) (new)

Aloha | 940 comments The author didn't have to weaken Leodan so much to get sympathy for him. Effective writers have managed to get sympathy for characters who were seemingly unredeemable. I even felt sorry for the Bighead. Now, that's an unredeemable character. If a character can murder, rape, cornhole people, and eat their brain and still make you feel sympathy, that's effective. Or am I a particularly sympathetic patsy?

message 16: by Michi (new)

Michi (fjlkaldr) | 107 comments Until now Rialus Neptos and especially Leodan are the most annoying characters. Even after the assassination he couldn't just die... But since he's finally dead and the historical background is more than well explained, I hope that the plot picks up the pace.

message 17: by Jean (new)

Jean Hontz (majkia) The plot does pick up. I'm about 2/3 way through and it is far, far better. Exciting happenings, characters have developed more and I actually care about some of them. NOT Rialus, but at least he's not prominent all that often.

message 18: by Jean (new)

Jean Hontz (majkia) I finished the book yesterday, and must say that by the end my initial guesses regarding the plot were turned on their head, so lots of twists and turns and surprises. I still dislike the beginning of the book, but after about 1/3 in it certainly became a LOT better.

message 19: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany | 13 comments I agree, once you get past book 1, the pace picks up quite a bit. I think this is because it gives you certain characters to actually focus on and allows you to come up with an opinion of what is going to happen rather than random events taking place in the book.

message 20: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany | 13 comments I just finished the book!


So in the beginning of the book, I had a very hard time with Leodan being such a weak character. Now I wonder if he was written that way to show how much his children grew and how strong they became despite his weakness. Thoughts?

message 21: by Jean (new)

Jean Hontz (majkia) well, I'm wondering if any king could have been 'strong' considering how corrupt the kingdom was. Really, the drug traders run the kingdom, and the horrible enslavement of children continues even after the Mein take over, so who was ever really in charge?

message 22: by Michi (new)

Michi (fjlkaldr) | 107 comments After a very disappointing beginning the book really gets better. I especially liked the last 300 pages. The story offers some surprising twists, the characters are becoming interessting and there aren't endless pages of 'History of the Known World 101'. I hope that the second book starts like this one ended.

About Leodan: I think the reason why he is such a weak character is that, on the one side he has to embody the ideals after which he raises his children and on the other side he can't be strong enough to change anything, so that his children have to do it.

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