Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: The Other Lands by David Anthony Durham

Title: The Other Lands: Book Two of the Acacia Trilogy

Author: David Anthony Durham


Who Should Read It? This book is perfect for lovers of dark epic fantasy! If you loved the first book in this trilogy, you will love this one just as much, if not more. If you haven't read the first book in the trilogy but you love dark epic fantasy with a focus on the fantasy, read the first book and then love this one!

What I Have to Say:
Wow. Just wow.

I know I said it after reading the first book in this triology, but MAN, does David Anthony Durham sure does know how to do epic fantasy. Even though quite a bit of time has passed, The Other Lands seems to start off right where the first book in this trilogy, the War with the Mein, leaves off, and we are once again immediately drawn into the world of Acacia and the Akaran children. Without repeating or summarizing what he has said before, Durhamn subtly brings the reader up to speed on what happened in this first book of the trilogy, while still allowing for the story to progress. Durham seems to be quite good at this kind of thing. There are so many characters in the story that it seems like it might be easy to occasionally lose track. And yet, without ever repeating anything, when a character shows up again, through a word or an action or a thought or even sometimes an article of clothing, Durham reminds the reader who the character is without becoming wordy, redundant, or repetitive.

As in the first book, the world Durham has created is awe-inspiring - it is unique and amazing and creative while at the same time paralleling old cultures we have seen on our Earth throughout time. This time, though, we make our way over to the Other Lands, where an entirely new world and new culture that, honestly, is like no other I have ever read or even heard of.

With Durham's deft hand and engaging writing style, we learn what happens to the quota slaves, we begin to learn the truth behind the "league," and we finally come to really understand the kind of people that the Akaran children have grown up to be (and can I just say - I LOVE Mena and Dariel, but grrrr!!! Corrin!). The Other Lands actually focuses quite a bit more on characters than the War with the Mein, which seemed to focus primarily on world building, and Durham has proven to be just as adept at writing character-driven stories.

Because of this change, to a more character-driven story along with a little bit of magic and a new entirely unique, entirely creative culture, The Other Lands seems a bit more fantasy and a bit less epic than its predecessor. Some people might not love this, but I found it to be absolutely fantastic, and I can only hope the third book in the trilogy (HOW am I going to wait to read it?) will continue in this vein.

Durham is a great story teller telling a great story. The characters are all well-developed with strong voices, but Durham's voice also shines through, clear and strong. It is a beautiful and beautifully written book that will leave you absolutely DYING to finish the trilogy!

Summary:Queen Corinn Akaran of the known world has a primary goal that is to topple the Lothan Aklun and so she sends her brother Daniel, disguised as a slave, on an exploratory expedition to the Other Lands. Daniel soon discovers a mainland that is a more lush, exotic, and expansive than the Known World.

Cover Story: I asbolutely ADORE the cover of the version I read, which I think is the British cover. THe odd looking bird, the ship sailing towards huge rocks in rough water - absolutely beautiful! The American cover (which you see in the Amazon tag) is also lovely, but it just seems to pale in comparison to the British one, in my opinion. If you get a great feeling from either of these covers, though, you're going to love this book!

Disclosure: This book was sent to me for review by Transworld Books. This in no way affected my review.


Blodeuedd said...

I tried to read book 1 but not for me...but it was the translation, it was just bad

Simcha said...

I had started Acacia a while back but I think I just wasn't in the right mood for it, and didn't get in very far. I'll have to give it another try since it does sound like a great book.

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