Author: David Anthony Durham
Series: Acacia, book 1
Recommendation: Good series for those who enjoy political epic fantasy with swords, wars, and betrayals.
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.