Posts Tagged ‘acacia’

Friday Fun! (Six Books/Six Months Meme and Blog Tour Updates)

July 20, 2012 5 comments

Hello my lovely readers!

This week I saw a new meme over on Jessica’s blog, The Bookworm Chronicles, and I immediately knew I’d want to participate.  And what better place than in Friday Fun, eh?  The Book Jotter created it after realizing we’re actually halfway through the year already (already!), so the theme is answers to the questions/categories in sixes.

Six New Authors to Me:

  1. S. A. Archer
  2. Kat Falls
  3. Steve Vernon
  4. David Anthony Durham
  5. Brandon Shire
  6. Susan Mallery

Six Authors I Have Read Before

  1. Brian K. Vaughan
  2. Robert Kirkman
  3. Joseph Robert Lewis
  4. Anne Rice
  5. Margaret Atwood
  6. Ann Brashares

Six Authors I Am Looking Forward To Reading More Of:

  1. Tera W. Hunter
  2. Joann Sfar
  3. Richelle Mead
  4. M. J. Rose
  5. Isaac Marion
  6. Roger Thurow

Six Books I Have Enjoyed the Most:

  1. To ‘Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women’s Lives and Labors after the Civil War by Tera W. Hunter (review)
  2. Dark Life by Kat Falls (review)
  3. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (review)
  4. Acacia by David Anthony Durham (review)
  5. Vegan Vittles by Jo Stepaniak (review)
  6. The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change by Roger Thurow (review)

Six Books I Was Disappointed With:

  1. The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice (review)
  2. Living Cuisine: The Art and Spirit of Raw Foods by Renee Loux Underkoffler (review)
  3. Nano House: Innovations for Small Dwellings by Phyllis Richardson (review)
  4. The Child Who by Simon Lelic (review)
  5. To a Mountain in Tibet by Colin Thubron (review)
  6. Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson (review)

Six Series of Books Read or Started:

  1. Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan
  2. Touched by S. A. Archer
  3. Dark Life by Kat Falls
  4. The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
  5. Georgina Kincaid by Richelle Mead
  6. The Reincarnationist by M. J. Rose

Phew! That was actually pretty tough to assemble. Super fun though! It’s always interesting to see your reading over a period of time summed up in different types of lists.

Now, it’s time for the Waiting For Daybreak blog tour updates (blog tour page)!  This was the first full week of the tour, and it’s really been quite fun so far.

Earth’s Book Nook hosted a guest post in which I talk about why I made “What is normal?” the theme of the novel and tour.  She is also hosting a giveaway!

The Chronicles of an Enamored Soul posted her review, and she said, “The reason it gets FIVE STARS, is because I simply loved how well-realized, and well-developed author McNeil’s characters were, ESPECIALLY Frieda. Amanda writes about mental illness with sensitivity, and yet never fails to make it interesting.”

Tabula Rasa‘s review said, “The book is, on the one hand packed with thrill and action, and on the other, has a very emotional and thought-provoking side. What I really appreciated was how none of it is overdone; I specially liked the subtlety of the relationship between Mike and Frieda.”

Tabula Rasa also hosted an interview!  Be sure to check that out to find out everything from whether plot or characters come first in my writing to what my next project is.

Nicki J Markus also interviewed me.  Check that out to find out what my favorite zombie book and zombie movie are.

Last but not least, Nicki J Markus is also hosting a giveaway.  Two chances to win this week!

Thanks once again to all the participating blogs!

Finally, happy weekends to all my lovely readers!  What did you think of the meme?  Any surprises or thoughts?

Book Review: Acacia: The War With the Mein by David Anthony Durham (Series, #1) (Bottom of TBR Pile Challenge)

Acacia tree against a sunset.Summary:
The Akarans have ruled the Known World for twenty-two generations, but the wrongfully exiled Meins have a bit of a problem with that.  They enact a take-over plot whose first action is assassinating the king.  Suddenly his four children are flung to different parts of the Known World in exile where they will need to come to terms with who they are, who the Mein are, and the wrongs past generations of Akarans committed in order to help the Known World make a change for the better.

I have a big announcement to make. Huge even.  THIS IS THE FIRST HIGH FANTASY BOOK I HAVE LOVED.  There. I said it!  And it’s true.

I wish I had some vague idea of how this ended up on my TBR pile.  The only clue I have is that I acquired it via PaperBackSwap, so I know I got it very intentionally after reading a review or something somewhere.  But where? And why?  Who knows!  It was entirely out of my comfort zone, took me much longer than my norm to read (over two weeks according to GoodReads), and yet. I loved every moment of it.

A momentous occasion such as this obviously leaves me asking why.  Why when I generally am irritated by most high fantasy did this one not just not bug me but worm its way into my heart?  This is a key question, because it’s something that helps stories cross genres.  I do have an answer, but of course it has many elements.

First, although this primarily depicts a war, no side is depicted as pure evil or good.  Both sides have good points and flaws.  Good people work for both.  Bad people work for both.  The Akaran king isn’t a bad guy per se, but he’s allowing things to happen under his rule that are bad.  The Meins have a just cause, but they do horrible things in the process of achieving that cause.  This realistic complexity is something that I have found to be sorely missing in other fantasy.  The Known World is its own fantastical place with its own cultures and history, but it is realistic in the fact that everything is complex and nothing is clear-cut.

Second, the female characters are incredibly well-written.  They are well-rounded, strong and yet vulnerable.  Beautiful and yet terrifying.  They are innately a part of the world depicted, not just princesses in a tall tower or the girl at the side of the field whose beauty inspires the men.  Women are historically a part of the Akaran army, and the two Akaran princesses have strengths and flaws of PEOPLE.  They are not “female flaws.”  They are people who happen to have vaginas.  It is some of the best writing of women I’ve seen from a male writer in a while.

Third, the Known World is complex and eloquently imagined, yet clear and easy to understand.  It is its own thing, but it is similar enough to our own real world that I wasn’t left grasping for straws trying to understand things.  People in cold climates are pale, and people in deserts are dark.  The animals range from recognizable horses and monkeys to fantastical creatures that are a mix of rhinoceroses and pigs.  It is creative yet fathomable.

Finally, the storyline is complex.  I could not predict what was going to happen next at any moment, really.  The ending caught me completely by surprise, and I am baffled as to what Durham will be doing with the middle book of the trilogy.  Baffled and impatient.

My god. I love a fantasy story.

Overall, this is now the book I will hold up when people ask me what is good fantasy.  It is what leaves me with hope for the genre that it can be more than pasty white men wishing for a patriarchal past of quivering ladies in waiting and knights fighting dragons.  Fantasy can imagine a world where some things are better than ours, and yet other things are worse.  It can be a reflection of our own world through a carnival mirror.  Something that makes us think hard while getting lost.  I highly recommend it to anyone looking for those things in their reading.

5 out of 5 stars

Source: PaperBackSwap

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