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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent sequel to Acacia
If you read Durham's first novel in the Acacia series (simply titled "Acacia"), then nothing in this book will really be a surprise to you, ranging from the plot to the way Durham does exposition. To his credit, the author does try to offer a "What Came Before" section to any potential readers who haven't read the first book, but the series is obscure enough that it's...
Published on September 19, 2009 by Brett

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed the book
Enjoyed the book, I like the characters but I will probably not continue reading the series though. I prefer other authors more
Published 10 months ago by john harwood


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent sequel to Acacia, September 19, 2009
By 
Brett "Reviewer" (Salt Lake City, UT) - See all my reviews
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If you read Durham's first novel in the Acacia series (simply titled "Acacia"), then nothing in this book will really be a surprise to you, ranging from the plot to the way Durham does exposition. To his credit, the author does try to offer a "What Came Before" section to any potential readers who haven't read the first book, but the series is obscure enough that it's rather unlikely that a large number of readers are reading this book without reading the first in the series.

"The Other Lands" continues 9 years after where we left off in "Acacia", with Corinn Akaran in control of the Acacian Empire, and her siblings serving her while off on their own adventures. However, as Corinn is not someone to simply let a potential issue (like the relationship with the mysterious Lothun Aklun and Auldek in the Other Lands) sit there, she decides to send Dariel (her younger brother) as an ambassador along with the League (the sea-going traders and merchants who manage the horrifying trade in "Quota", namely child slaves). At that point, things begin to spiral out of control, leading to the events that will take place in the Third Book, as well as uncovering most of the mysteries surrounding the Other Lands and the backstory of the Acacian Empire.

One improvement I really liked in "The Other Lands" is that the story is significantly character-driven, to a greater degree than Acacia. The entire bad sequence of events that takes place in the book is set in motion by the stupidity and arrogance of a particular group of people, and the other characters are left to deal with the consequences. Corinn really comes into her own here, and arguably outshines both her siblings as a viewpoint character.

One issue, which also plagued "Acacia", is that at times Durham gets very heavy on the exposition on his world - and since the story takes place almost entirely from the viewpoints of different characters, the voices of those characters gets drowned out by the voice of Durham the Historian and Worldbuilder. That personally did not bother me too much (I'm a fan of World-Building in fantasy, and always eager to learn more about a fictional fantasy society), but I can easily see it being a problem for people who do not want to sit through several pages talking about why the Auldek are the way they are.

Nonetheless, it is a good sequel to "Acacia". Just as importantly, it avoids the problem that middle books usually have, of being essentially "sandwiched" between important events in a series. "The Other Lands" manages to both set up the next book in the series, as well as convey important information and developments on its own right. I recommend both it and the series to potential fantasy readers.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy sequal, September 27, 2009
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The Other Lands is a solid follow up to Acacia and readers who enjoyed the latter will find this book to be very enjoyable.

Two areas stand out in this book to me. The first is how it feels more fantastical than Acacia. While Acacia certainly had fantastical elements to it, it was primarily a war story and the author's historical fiction roots were fully displayed. The Other Lands introduces numerous new creatures, people groups, and contains more magical elements. These elements give this novel the full feel of fantasy. In Acacia, there were numerous hints and references towards the league and the other lands, but we were given no insight into these areas. In this novel (as the title tells) we get full disclosure. There are a few chapters told from the perspective of the League which finally gives us knowledge of their true motives and aims. Dariel spends most of the novel journeying to and being in the Other Lands. I found this journey to be delightful and the whole culture and landscape that was revealed to be truly fantastic and imaginative. The whole nature of the Quota and the relationship between the League and these other nations is revealed. After spending the entire novel of Acacia hinting at these things, it was great to see them revealed.

The second stand out to me was the nature of the novel. There is not any great crescendo to the story. Acacia really had two large build ups where you couldnt put the book down: the first third of the novel building up to the assassination of the king and the last third of the book building up to the retaking of the kingdom. The Other Lands really does not have a similar plot pace. Indeed, it is more of a character novel focusing on inner workings of the cast while revealing more of the world around them. And this by no means makes it is a less interesting novel than Acacia. Indeed, while it may lack the same plot momentum, the focus on the characters makes for a rich read. Corrinn especially shines. She is neither black nor white, but a very complex grey. At times in this novel I really disliked her. But by the end, when her life and kingdom were threatened, I was surprised at how strongly I wanted her to do well. I may not always like her or agree with her actions, but I do understand her. This is fine writing in my book.

In the end, The Other Lands was a fun read. It was fantastical and imaginative. What it lacked in plot pacing, it made up for with great character writing. It answers many questions from Acacia and, as a middle novel should, sets up the narrative for a unavoidable climax.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Review of The Other Lands, August 18, 2010
By 
Chad Cottle (California, USA) - See all my reviews
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Some Fantasy writers paint pictures so clear it's like you've watched the non-existent movie. (Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin)

Others, like David Anthony Durham, paint what I would call kaleidoscope images. I don't know why The Other Lands felt that way to me, and it in no way means I feel the book is not as good as Robin Hobb or George RR Martin. Just different.

Some chapters of The Other Lands left me breathless and my spine tingling. Other chapters left me unsatisfied.

All in all, though, a careful reading of the Acacia books is well worth your time. I think good fantasy writers give us glimpses into their imaginary worlds. As readers, we don't need the full picture. We can fill in the blank parts ourselves. David trusts his reader and doesn't always make everything obvious, and that's a very good thing for a writer to do. Thanks for trusting the intelligence of your readers, David.

I think the "Magic" in The Other Lands is wonderful. A language written by a God that grants god-like powers is really interesting. Attached to it are consequences, as in real life. There is great potential in David's creation and I love what he's done with it in the first two books.

Maybe my careful reading wasn't careful enough, but some things in The Other Lands seem contrived to me. Very convenient truths in the story seem shoehorned to make key parts of the plot actually feasible. One example is The Quota, which we were introduced to in the first book. The Acacia society trades children for Mist. Spoiler warning here...we learn in The Other Lands that Quota children are sterile. Maybe my careful reading of that was incomplete and I missed something, but I don't understand how they become sterile. But sterile they must be in order for the need for more Quota to exist. If they weren't sterile, the people who receive the Quota could simply use their slaves to reproduce more slaves. Religion in our real world must, by it's very nature, state that disbelief in God is a sin. By it's own nature, Religion can't survive without that principle.

There were some quotation problems in the Kindle version, but it was one of the cleaner kindle books I've read.

Despite my concerns about The Quota being sterile, I very much enjoyed the novel and look forward to the next book in the series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, June 2, 2010
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I very much looked forward to reentering the world of Acacia and exploring the Other Lands. Part 2 of this exciting series did not disappoint. I went into this novel without any preconceived notions, knowing at any time that my favorite characters could be killed off in an instant. I was very pleased with the complexity of the characters as they dealt with the elements of basic human nature, and the corruptible nature of power while balancing their loyalty to family and lovers. Corrin's duplicity and internal struggles were explored in detail in this novel and allowed me to feel more empathy for her circumstances. Part of Corrin's appeal is understanding that her coldness stems from her past betrayals. I did feel that the narrative waited too long after the introductory chapter to reveal what happened to the Ravi. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the conclusion.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immersive, Creative, and Smart, May 13, 2010
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Well, it's happened. A straight-up epic fantasy has made the five-star-favorites list. I am so impressed by this series. These characters are deep, conflicted and understandable. This world is rich with detail, political intrigue, epic histories and distinct cultures. The plot tension is really good, the further development of the characters and story is gripping. I can't wait to find out what happens next. That's also what I said at the end of the first book, and The Other Lands was even better than Acacia: The War with the Mein (Acacia, Book 1) was. And Acacia was pretty phenomenal. I have been recommending this series left and right over the past few days. Along with Lynn Flewelling's Tamir Triad, which starts with The Bone Doll's Twin (Tamir Trilogy, Book 1), they are some of the best books I've read so far this year. And from a reluctant fan of vowel-filled feudalism, that's saying a lot.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic follow up to Acacia, February 1, 2010
The Other Lands by David Anthony Durham continues the story that began with Acacia: The War with the Mein.

It's the middle book of a trilogy, and as such, probably won't be regarded as well as the first or the final book. That's not a bad thing. If you look at a three act play, the whole point of act 2 is to build up for the conclusion. As such, most "middle" books are generally received with a little less love then their other siblings.

The Other Lands is a fantastic read, despite this. If you liked Acacia, you should read this. If you haven't read Acacia, read them both. You will find that David Durham is a fantastic author who has built a believable and likable world here.

The book (and the other) is definitely worth the price, especially at Amazon's prices. Whether you purchase the hardback or Kindle version, your money will be well spent on a book that will keep you entertained (and stay with you) and an author who deserves your recognition.

Please give David Durham a shot - pick this book up now. At these prices it's a steal!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic second installment, maybe a spoiler, April 8, 2011
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Durham is one of those authors who you wait a long time for-- it would be very difficult to find something wrong with his writing. Durham's world-building skills are superlative and his descriptive powers are unique and in-depth without being overwhelming and pedantic.

For example, the topic of "The Quota," [the involuntary donation of a child at the behest of the empire, who will be shipped off to a country beyond the "known world"] was seriously starting to gross me out in the first book. I was beginning to feel like the author had just invented a topic so viscerally repulsive that the reader just HAD to pay attention. And then I realized he was actually drawing on our own history. The act of shipping unsuspecting victims off to a completely foreign land HAS been done before, in the form of American slavery. Durham does a spectacular job of depicting the life of a slave in this second volume. These slaves are sent off with the consent of their own empire (if not their immediate family) to appease the demands and avarice of a foreign power. One of the dominant threads in Durham's story is that this "Quota" is non-negotiable if the ruling family (the 4 protagonists in the book) hopes to retain power. Naturally such a draconian system is diametrically opposed to any concept of self-determination and freedom. Durham is a master at depicting the difficulties that ensue when ideology and politics collide.

It really surprises me that I find Durham's books so perfect. In general, I need lots of humor and sarcasm to get me through a couple hundred pages (Abercrombie and Martin come to mind). With Durham, the fine writing and compelling (and mysterious) story line are more than enough to keep me reading way past my bedtime. Durham isn't about humor and verbal jousting. His four main characters are fighting for their political dynasty (and frequently their lives) and their behaviour is commensurately serious and intense. That said, Durham is a master at depicting characters who are driven without seeming pompous and unconvincing.

Fantastic second (middle, I believe) book in a trilogy. Don't start reading this series if you have anything important happening in your life, these books are just too hard to put down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, October 9, 2010
Great book. I loved the first one and this was just as good if not better. I can't wait for the 3rd to come out!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best 2nd books in a trilogy that i have read, December 24, 2009
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The pace of this book is quite different from The War With The Mein.
It is more character driven and we get a lot more insight into how Corinn thinks than we did in the first book.
Things of note also occur during this book so it doesn't feel like just a filler as so many second books do. Overall I would say that it's worth a read and I look forward to the final book in the series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Absorbing Read, October 21, 2009
By 
Kalia (Portland, OR) - See all my reviews
Both the Acacia books are great books. David Durham creates such lush and complex worlds, it is a pleasure to get to live there for a while. Anyone who likes adventure fantasy should read these novels. I got completely sucked in and can't wait for the final installment.
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The Other Lands: The Acacia Trilogy, Book Two
The Other Lands: The Acacia Trilogy, Book Two by David Anthony Durham (Paperback - April 17, 2012)
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