First, I must say David Anthony Durham is DA MAN! His first SF Fantasy novel Acacia: The War With The Mein was impressive. Hugely impressive. He took the standard rules of fantasy stories and lifted them above his head like a pro wrestler and brought them down across his knee in a super back breaker! His world building is on par with the best, ie. Tolkien and GRRM. (Now it is well known that the standard rules for fantasy were set by Tolkien. Not deliberately, I think, but simply because he broke the rules of writing himself and it worked. Ever since just about every writer of fantasy has used his work as a template. Well, not David. And I must say I couldn't be happier. That's not to say Mr. Durham just broke all rules and wrote with reckless abandon but he didn't adhere to what was laid before like a robot.) He took the time to flesh out each character and the rules of the society and cultures within the world he built. Certain story arcs zigged when the normal rules say they should have zagged and I loved the spontaneity and surprise of it all.
Well, Mr. Durham has done it again in The Other Lands, the second book in the Acacia trilogy. He continues the story not far from where the first one ends. A few things have changed and characters and places hinted at and only talked about are visited in this book as well as the continuing story arcs of the Akarans from the first book. And boy talk about a story zigging where it normally would have zagged. I was surprised several times on the journey of this book. David is all for breaking the old rules and tropes of fantasy writing. And I know it's not consciously done. He's writing from a place that cannot believe in the 'fantasy' of fantasy stories. He innately strives for a sense and level of realism within his fantastical tale that I've not seen done by most writers of Speculative Fiction. (I'll delve deeper into what I mean by this in another post.) There are very few relatively new writers in the field of SF that have generated this much excitement for me and David Anthony Durham is one of them. I cannot wait for the third book!