Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[books] Reviewing the second volume of the Acacia trilogy

I just finished reading Campbell Award winner David Anthony Durham's The Other Lands. It's the second book in his Acacia trilogy, which began with Acacia: The War With the Mein. I highly recommend these books. They're a lot of fun, an epic fantasy series which hits a number of strong tropes, but I want to focus on something specific here.

Durham plays an interesting angle in the plots of these books that I haven't seen done much. At the beginning of Acacia, he set up a big story problem, almost stock fantasy. I thought, well, I've seen this done before, let's see how good a job he can do. Then he blows the story problem away and sets up a bigger one. Again, I thought, huh, how's he going to handle this. Then he blows it away again...

This dude is raising the stakes faster than a priest at a vampire convention. And he's doing a damned fine job of it.

There's a lot of great things to say about these books, from the interestingly lateral work in the secondary world-building to the casual yet intense role that race plays in certain aspects of the story to the sheer fun of the action sequences, but I can't recommend the Acacia trilogy highly enough for fans of plot and technique. Epic fantasy is so well established a genre that it's always fascinating when someone comes along and tips over my expectations. Durham has done this in a big way.

Originally published at jlake.com.

Tags: books, reviews

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