Thursday, February 4, 2010

Review: The Other Lands by David Anthony Durham

After reading and enjoying David Anthony Durham’s first foray into fantasy, Acacia, last year I was intrigued to see if his sequel could live up to the original. He didn’t disappoint me.

Nearly a decade has past since the events of the first book. Corinn rules the empire but is disturbed at the growing unrest of the people which threatens that rule. When the league offers her a new alternative to mist to control those people she is very intrigued. Her brother Dariel is troubled by his own actions during the war with the Mein and has spent the last few years working amongst the people, this is interrupted when Corinn sends him as an emissary to the mysterious Other Lands to show their support for the League in a major dispute. Things quickly take a turn for the worse and once again the Known World is threatened by invasion. Mena meanwhile has spent the last few years hunting down monsters known as Foulthings, a task she has almost completed. The last of the Foulthings is however something she never would have expected.

One of the themes of The Other Lands is that all actions have consequences. This is made immediately apparent from the beginning with Mena hunting down the foulthings, hybrid creatures created by the after effects of the magic unleashed by the Santoth to destroy Hanish Mein’s army. The second book goes a long way into expanding the history of the land and the factors that are shaping it during this turbulent time. What I liked most about this novel is the consistent character progression, especially Corrin’s. Her inability to trust those around her and her insecurity lead to a great cliffhanger to close The Other Lands and sets the series up perfectly for the finale.

Overall I enjoyed the Other Lands and highly recommend it. Durham is certainly one to watch. 8/10

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