Tuesday, 1 December 2009

FANTASY REVIEW: The Other Lands - David Anthony Durham


"The Other Lands" begins a few years after Acacia, and Queen Corinn Akaran is firmly in control of the Known World. Her primary goal 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; and the ruling tribe, the Auldek, are more numerous and powerful than the Numrek. But unbeknownst to the Corinn and her siblings, the Numrek and Auldek are ancient ancestors and their inevitable alliance could mean the downfall of Acacia. In this bold and imaginative sequel to Acacia, Queen Corinn must unite the battered and abused people of the Acacia Empire against the powerful tribes of the Other Lands.


What I love about David’s work is not only his careful character creation but also his efforts on world building including cracking magic systems, careful political scenarios and also looking at everything from religion to the creature inhabitants. So it was a bit of a shock that I felt a little let down with this book.

Don’t get me wrong its still a strong offering but when you compare it against his previous outings. especially after Accacia: The War with the Mein it really didn’t hit the spot. What perhaps was my key gripe was the characters, I just didn’t like them as much as I had the originals which made this novel a bit of a stretch to stick with at some points. Add to the mix a story that felt like it over complicated itself and didn’t devote as much time to the main arc as it should have done and I wonder if he’s tried to squeeze too much into this one book.

It’s a shame and had this been a new authors offering it would definitely bode well for their future as it is a good offering and allows the reader to explore new lands and peoples within. But for an author with the reputation that he has perhaps David would have been better re-examining the tale and then split it into separate components allowing for two books instead of just the one. It may all come good in the next book and explain why it needed to feel so rushed but for now, I was a little disappointed.

1 comment:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Have to wonder how much a deadline affects a writer - perhaps that's why it felt rushed.