Friday, May 18, 2012


Title: Acacia: The War with the Mein
Author: David Anthony Durham
Series: Acacia, book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2007

Recommendation: Good series for those who enjoy political epic fantasy with swords, wars, and betrayals.
Rating: 6/10

Summary: For hundreds of years, the Akaran family has ruled over an empire of nations. However, a plot is hatched in the far northern lands inhabited by the Meins to end the Akaran's rule and begin a new empire. Leodan Akaran, the King, and his four children will have to follow their destinies to resolve this conflict.

Reactions: Acacia has been sitting on my bookshelf for awhile now since I was avoiding epic fantasy and the massive scale of the book intimidated me. However, I have been talked into reading the book recently and I do hate having unread books on my bookshelf.

At first the book was going really slowly for me. It takes a really long time to get to the meat of the plot and two hundred pages in, I was still slowly wading through the back story, hoping that the main plot will finally take off. It does around page 300 or so where I could finally read more than a chapter at a time without an irresistible desire to doze off. And once it starts going, it actually continues at a pretty good pace. I definitely enjoyed the second half of the book better than the beginning.

My biggest issue with the book is that it's really the standard epic fantasy stuff that I am tired of reading. There are children with destinies, mirroring plotlines that have way too much symmetry to them for me to find it believable and a pretty obvious distinction between the good and evil characters. There is plenty of idealism and some of the plot points were poorly motivated or I found them hard to believe (e.g. Corinne's side of the story towards the end of the book).

On the other hand, I did think some aspects of the world building and the characters themselves were rather neat. The concept of island people revering a sea eagle was pretty interesting. I also found it fascinating to have a King character whose primary focus were his children. He ended up being a much better parent than a King and I thought that was pretty unusual and rather interesting to see. There are also quirks in various other characters that I tended to like.

Altogether, Acacia took me over 3 weeks to finish reading and sadly the 700+ pages served to just lay the foundations of the story. While I am somewhat curious about the rest of it, I don't feel like the book was interesting enough to spend another two months reading the sequels. Off to some pacier reading now.


  1. Wow! You did it! You're stronger than I am. I never even got up to page 300. Ditto your comments on the entire book feeling kinda familiar, and with that in mind I probably would have loved it if I read it years ago before becoming overloaded with fantasy of this kind.

    Epic fail on my part (sorry). You try next time.

  2. Very interesting to read the various reactions to this book/trilogy. I just read a very long, praise-filled (with some criticism laid in) post about this trilogy yesterday and I remember several SF/F bloggers raving about this particular book when it came out. More often than not I tend to shy away from books with a political bent to them just because that isn't really my thing.

    1. I have read a lot of glowing reviews as well and I think it's the type of thing where the enjoyment of the book depends on what you like and what makes a good book for you.

      For example, Lord of the Rings tops many people's favorite book lists, but I personally find it very hard to get through the first 100 pages of LOTR. And while LOTR is in the category of its own and I wouldn't claim Acacia to be of the same caliber, a similar principle applies in a sense that the book has got enough in it to be someone else's treasure, while I didn't enjoy it as much.

  3. I had that same thing with The Lord of the Rings the first time I read it. In fact I've told many people that the first part of Fellowship is work but that it is worth getting through. Then this last time I re-read it the whole thing opened up to me and I was enthralled right from the get go. It was actually a very weird experience. Something about Tolkien's words just got to me differently that time. It is one of the few examples where I've had the negative to positive turn arounds with a book, or a portion of a book to be more accurate.