Monday, July 9, 2007

ACACIA - Opening Chapters

Starting a series like ACACIA is like making a commitment. You know that the series is going to be around for a while, and it is like embarking on an exciting quest, yourself. The quest will take a few years to complete. I can think of a few other series that evoked this feeling. The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. A Song of Fire and Ice by George R. R. Martin. Memory, Sorrow and Thorn and Otherland by Tad Williams.

Of these, I only finished reading two series by Tad Williams. The Wheel of Time just ground on too long for me. Rand al'Thor lost his humanity and I grew weary of reading about endless Ass Sedai squabbles. I loved Martin books and recently purchased the 4th book, only to feel cheated. Where are all the characters that I read through the first three books? Chapter after chapter went by without encountering any of them, until I lost patience. There is an apology of sorts, at the end of the book, along with a promise that they'll show up in the next book. Too bad. I won't be reading it. Too many other great books are clamoring for my attention.

Durham promises only three books. Who knows? I may want to read on after three books. At least I know that the series will be finished before my first-grader graduates from high school.

Acacia makes a good start. It obviously will have a large cast, since the first three chapters are about three separate people. There is an assassin in the first chapter, a princess in the second and a councilor in the third. They all manage to be sympathetic despite an evil act by one and the planning of an evil act by another. The princess is sympathetic by default, since she is only twelve.

Of the three, I like the assassin the best. I didn't expect this. He is, after all, an assassin. However, he also has a deep humanity about him in that he has good reasons for wanting to commit his assassination. I love all his disguises. However, I fear he is doomed to die. He expects to. For this reason, I hope he doesn't. It would be a nice twist.

The person that he wants to assassinate also has my sympathy. He really doesn't deserve assassination. But this doesn't stop me from feeling sympathy for the assassin. I like this sort of moral complexity. People usually don't just commit evil acts because they are evil. They justify the actions to themselves so that they are good and virtuous. And Durham's characters do the same.

I know several of you have already read Acacia. I invite you to throw in your comments as I put up these posts.


John Dent said...

I agree, the assassin is/was an interesting character.

Tia Nevitt said...

Hmm. Is it "is" or is it "was"?

Not that I really expect you to answer.

John Dent said...

I'm not going to answer, just on principle. :)