The ruler of the Known World, Leodan Akaran, shields his four children from the real world. The world that they know is perfection with their needs catered to at every turn. Their father, Leodan, himself was born into the wealth, although his knowledge of things past are the saving grace for his children. When Acacia is attacked by the Mein, and with Leodan on his deathbed, he enacts a plan to keep them safe. At this point, the story follows the four children: Aliver, the eldest son and heir to the throne; beautiful Corinn; Mena, the younger of the two sisters and Dariel, the youngest yet more recognizable brother. Forcibly separated, the children find out just how sheltered they were as the realization comes to them that the fate of the world rests in their hands.
I spent a lot of time in the beginning trying to keep all the details straight as is typical with most fantasy novels. However, as the story itself started to pick up, everything started to become a little clearer as far as who was who. When things progress with Leodan is where the story begins to make sense to me. I spent a lot less time wondering who was who and more time thinking how it could play out in the future.
David Anthony Durham is known for writing historical fiction with ‘Acacia: The War With The Mein’ being his fantasy debut. His work has won several awards in the past, including the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Fiction Award and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, so it’s no surprise Durham does a fantastic job of crafting fight scenes with words, not over detailing them like in other aspects of the story. This does very much feel like the first book of a series, not quite developed and yet developed enough to hold me over until the next book. Fortunately for us, the series is complete and I won’t have to wait years to know what happens next.
The thing I found most interesting is how I reacted to the book in the first place. It is definitely a detailed book to read, but compelling at the same time. At first, I found it easy to put it down, but then I realized later on that after I put it down it wasn’t because I wasn’t interested, it was because I was seriously thinking about the future of the characters. I did however, think mostly about Thaddeus Clegg, whose conflicting devotion yet treasonous personality was compelling. It feels almost like a guilty pleasure, but I’m not afraid to hide this series.
The ‘War With The Mein’ is the first of three books in the series and is followed by ‘The Other Lands’ and then ‘Sacred Band’. This is a series I would recommend, to someone who is experienced and enjoys the works of George R. R. Martin, and those similar to him. Durham has great talent. I look forward to reading ‘The Other Lands’, to see how much more the Acacia universe expands.
The third book in the series, ‘The Other Lands,’ has just been released recently, so we’ll be posting reviews for the second and third books as well in the up coming week. If you would like to purchase a copy for yourself you can head on over to their website to place your order.