Posts Tagged With: Acacia

Review: Acacia by David Anthony Durham

Book review of David Anthony Durham’s Acacia

David Anthony Durham's Acacia

I approached Acacia with a general good feeling – David Anthony Durham has been hailed as a bright new name in fantasy literature, and I tend to enjoy fantasy by authors with a background in history. I’ve never read any other works by Durham, but I was excited to enter a new world from this author.

The largest problem with Acacia for me was the characterization. The main characters are royalty, and really children of royaly at that, which you don’t see as the focus of large fantasy novels, for the most part. That given, it is a noble effort to try to take on such a task; fleshing out believable adolescent characters who are part of the upper crust of the food chain. Unfortunately in Acacia, I was unable to connect with the characters and really believe the world they were involved in. I was unable to avoid contrasting the characters in Acacia with another fairly popular cast of royal teens in current fantasy literature: namely the Starks from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. When stacked up against Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon, Aliver, Mena, Corinn and Dariel just don’t cut it.

Acacia does contain some wonderful world building, and Durham’s ability at describing different scenes and worlds is top notch. There are a few different societies in Acacia, and Durham does a nice job of bringing the surroundings to life.

What this adds up to is mediocre at best. Bland characterization paired with great description leads to a big novel with characters you don’t care about. This makes a novel especially difficult to get through, and for this I believe I put Acacia down on two occasions and flew through other books in the meantime. I just couldn’t bring myself to swallow Acacia in one gulp.

This raises an interesting question: does an unengaging novel cause the reader to put it down sporadically (therefore devaluing the experience), or do other external factors in one’s life that cause a reader to put down a novel at random intervals cause the novel to seem unengaging? Personally, I think it was the former for me, but I do consider this type of question when putting together reviews.

Unfortunately for me, Acacia didn’t deliver the goods as an engaging epic fantasy. It can be a rough ride when you don’t feel for the characters in a novel, and the paperback version of the novel is over 750 pages. Rough ride indeed.

You can purchase Acacia over at

Fantasy Book News Ratings

  • Overall: 5 out of 10
  • Plot Originality
  • Setting Development
  • Characterization
  • Dialog
  • Pace

Fan Ratings

Categories: David Anthony Durham, Reviews, The War with the Mein | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Fantasy Blogosphere: October 17, 2010

Slews of reviews and interviews this week, with the New York Comic Con concluding yesterday. Check out the interviews with Joe Abercrombie, Peter V. Brett, Scott Westerfield, R.A. Salvatore and James Enge. A few great book reviews, including Before They are Hanged and Acacia. Also, don’t miss the cover of Mark Charan Newton’s The Book of Transformations, or the news on The Hobbit movie.

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Fantasy Blogosphere: January 24, 2010

If our last Fantasy Blogosphere post was the most eclectic yet, then this is the most abundant. Chock full of review goodness, this post features reviews of books by Robin Hobb, David Anthony Durham, Ken Scholes, George R.R. Martin, Guy Gavriel Kay, Daniel Abraham, James Barclay and Terry Pratchett, and a triage of Jim Butcher reviews from NextRead. Pat’s got a fresh interview with Joe Abercrombie, and there’s exciting news all around; its looking like we’re really going to see A Game of Thrones as an HBO series, R.A. Salvatore signs for 6 additional Forgotten Realms books, and the movie rights for Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy have been optioned. What a great time to be a fantasy fan!

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Top 10 Fantasy Books for 2010

Here’s my list of the books I’m most excited to read in 2010. The first three are not released yet, and are possibly the most highly anticipated fantasy novels slated for (potential) release in 2010. Picks 4-6 are historical fiction, or some twist on the sub-genre. Books 7-9 are continuations, if not necessarily in the same series, of authors I’ve already read at least once. And my final pick is a classic thrown in for good measure.

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

I know its been five years since A Feast for Crows. But Pat over at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist has this book slated for release in 2010, and he knows George R.R. Martin personally. Coincidence? Hopefully, for legions of A Song of Ice and Fire Fans, its a bit more.

A Dance with Dragons

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

The first two books in Scott Lynch’s fantasy debut series have redefined the meaning of action fantasy. Saying the third book in this seven book series is highly anticipated is like saying Tiger Woods made a boo-boo. In other words, its going to be huge.

The Republic of Thieves

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Patrick Rothfuss delivered a home run with his first novel, The Name of the Wind, and rightfully earned himself a seat among the top dogs in the fantasy novel industry. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that we’ll see this one drop in 2010.

The Wise Man's Fear

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

With a degree in anthropology, Steven Erikson’s ability with characterization should be fantastic. Gardens of the Moon is the first book in the ten book Malazan Book of the Fallen series. With historical fiction gaining traction in the industry and the popularity of the later novels in this series recently, I’m interested to get Erikson’s take on fantasy novels.

Gardens of the Moon

Acacia by David Anthony Durham

Durham has traveled the world, and lived in Scotland for a number of years, before landing in California as a Creative Writing professor at California State University. He’s made a name for himself writing novels involving The American Civil War, Carthage and the war with the Roman Republic. Acacia is his first attempt in the epic fantasy genre, and has made some noise in the industry.


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