Acacia – David Anthony Durham

15 Aug

As I type this, it is the 14th of August, and on the evening of the 12th, at around ten minutes to one (yes, it was early morning), I finally read the last sentence of Acacia and closed the book. Setting it aside was both a relief and a chore, and not for the reasons you might think.


I remember sitting there, smoking a cigarette, thinking, David, that’s not fair, not fair at all! How can you give us a novel like this and then expect us to have to wait to read the next book? I laughed at myself and realized that I’m not the only one who had this reaction, and knew that David Anthony Durham had accomplished exactly what he wanted to accomplish; he had written a book that people would not stop thinking about when they set it down.


(And I now find myself in a quandary; I now have The Painted Man and Acacia filling my head! J)


Acacia ­revolves around the story of the Akaran’s, being King Leodan (Bitter but resolved to right ancient wrongs), and his children, Aliver (oldest son and next in line for the throne), Corinn (oldest daughter and stunningly beautiful), Mena (Youngest daughter and most emotionally sensitive) and Darian (Youngest son). The Akaran dynasty has been in control of Acacia (which is situated on an island) and the surrounding lands for centuries, having subdued the weaker cultures that live on the mainland by means both fair and foul, but they are all in for a surprise: the Akaran’s ancient enemy, the Meins (who were exiled to the far north of the continent) have plans to take vengeance on the ruling family. It is the story of how these plans unfold and affect the central characters that the book is about. 


As I’m sure others had found during and after reading Acacia, Durham’s first fantasy novel is an intense read; this is no sit-back-and-drift read, but I say this with admiration. Durham draws us in emotionally, using characterization and POV so well that you feel what the characters are feeling, and since this novel revolves around the terrible affliction of war and the pain and confusion that spring from it, you end up feeling battered and bruised and elated and teary-eyed, laughing out loud when the characters do and gritting your teeth in determination as the characters are. I can honestly say that I have never been so exhausted by a novel, and this is especially strange for me because of the fact that I enjoyed it so much. J


That being said, Durham also knows how to write battle scenes, scenes filled with romance, humour, tragedy (especially after a shocking act in the third chapter) and sheer wonder. The ways in which Durham uses the fantasy staples of epic battles, the progress toward one’s destiny, and magic are new and refreshingly unique, and one of the many things that Durham does incredibly well is blur the lines between good and evil – every character has a bad and a good side, some of the good ones show their true colours and the bad ones make us wonder at our own misconceptions of what we have been raised to know is evil. I can’t help but think that Acacia is going to become one of the truly excellent fantasy books of this generation, but Durham has his work cut out for him for sure; after starting with such a powerful opener, he’s got to have some incredible things planned for Book 2, ­The Other Lands. I don’t think he will disappoint, though. J


I almost wish that these authors would give us a break sometimes! Erikson, Brooks, Jordan, Brett, Martin, Durham; hell, how many writers are we going to get hooked on?! J



Acacia UK Edition Cover

Acacia UK Edition Cover


And now, go and check out David’s website! 🙂


Posted by on August 15, 2008 in Reviews


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9 responses to “Acacia – David Anthony Durham

  1. Ashe Hunt

    August 19, 2008 at 7:21 am

    I absolutely agree. I just finished the book two days ago. Truly excellent. A masterwork of storytelling. Mr. Durham has superbly built an engrossing and more importantly, believable world with incredible characters. I’m eagerly awaiting the further tales of this wonderful world he created.

  2. Dave-Brendon de Burgh

    August 19, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Yè the book amazed me, really well written and engaging. 🙂 And David is such a nice guy – I don’t know where people get this thing of SFF writers being elitist. 😦

  3. Carole McDonnell

    August 19, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Great review. I saw that Acacia will be made into a film so that’s also good. -C

  4. Dave-Brendon de Burgh

    August 23, 2008 at 11:36 am

    I’m thinking Ridley Scott as the director? 🙂 The man knows how to do battle scenes, and his ability to make us care for his characters, I think he’ll be brilliant for Acacia. 🙂

  5. leana

    August 29, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Great website my love, happy to know there is some let out for all your intresting thoughts. Keep on writing. Mwa!


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