Not long after ‘The Other Lands’ ends, ‘The Sacred Band’ begins. Queen Corinn’s powers have grown, her spells from the Book of Elenet mastered. Dariel, her younger brother, is still on his mission to The Other Lands. Mena, her younger sister, is facing the invasion of the Auldek in the far north. The ‘Acacia’ trilogy has been building up to this point; their separate paths finally come together as the series comes to an epic conclusion.
‘The Sacred Band’ is an intriguing ending to an epic fantasy. It was satisfying, with impressive character development, especially in Queen Corinn. While in ‘The Other Lands’ I was sure her character almost reached it’s peaked, but I was pleasantly surprised with everything she accomplished in ‘The Sacred Band’ that proved that wrong. To not give too much away, she manages some very impressive spells that will come as a huge shock to you. She constantly plays the line of good and evil, managing to make you love and hate her in the same sentence. David Anthony Durham does an impressive job of shocking you, yet making you feel like you knew it was going to happen all along. Corinn is a character that I’m excited to see in the future films. Mena and Dariel are both amazing characters, but after I felt that Dariel would be my favorite character, ‘The Sacred Band’ has pushed me over the edge to love and hate Queen Corinn. I felt more compelled to read Corinn’s story than Dariel’s this time around.
Something that changed between ‘The War With The Mein’, ‘The Other Lands’ and ‘The Sacred Band’ is how the story is played out. ‘The War With The Mein’ was the anchor, giving you mainly details and a set up to ‘The Other Lands’, a far more character driven story based on the decisions of the Akaran siblings. With ‘The Sacred Band’ it was very plot driven and less character driven. While we did get more character development in some aspects, I felt a significant drop in secondary characters. This isn’t to say this is a bad thing, because that meant I got to read more of Corinn’s story, but you can feel the shift.
I won’t give away the ending, but know that the ending is very tender, very emotional and very surprising. It is a very neat ending, what feels like very little room of expansion of the universe, so I’m curious if Durham plans on extending this series any further. I am disappointed to see this series at an ending for now, because I think that to expand the universe further could actually be quite interesting. I would like to see this go on even further.
The series as a whole is one for the fans of epic fantasies. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again that fans of George R. R. Martin will see the subtle similarities, and I believe will generally enjoy them. The series is not one for a quick read, but one to read slowly, drink in and enjoy. It’s level of detail and emotional back story are amazing, with fight scenes crafted beautifully. The world building is absolutely breathtaking. Each character has it’s own quirks and it’s own downfalls. David Anthony Durham created a masterpiece in this series, something that every fantasy fan should read. While I generally don’t read a lot of fantasy, I was so glad that I did get to read this series. Durham has created a universe that challenges your mind, plays on strategies and just makes you think. I haven’t been challenged by a series in a long while, and this was a challenge I’m glad I took. I highly recommend this series.
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