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Literature / Acacia

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Acacia is the first fantasy series by David Anthony Durham. It begins with the story of the four royal children of the Acacian Empire listening to the confession of their father about the sins of their empire and his desire to atone for this, the subsequent overthrow of their house and years later the retaking of the throne. Then subsequent adventures take place years after...

All of these titles are technically just subtitles after "Acacia":

  • The War with the Mein (2007) - often referred to as simply Acacia, because of how it takes up the upper third of the covers, while the subtitle is a lot smaller and on the bottom half.
  • The Other Lands (2009)
  • The Sacred Band (2011)

This series provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Mena Akaran, starts off as a tomboy princess and through innate talent becomes the most devastating sword wielder in the world. How so? In a short span of time, she's gone from a complete neophyte to besting her swordsmaster trainer and later in the series, she easily cuts down warriors from a race noted for their superhuman strength and speed.
  • Badass Army: What the Mein hoped to get by releasing their undead ancestors. And what the Numrek and Santoth actually are.
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  • Badass Family: All four of the Akaran children are this. Aliver becomes a tribal chieftain and messiah figure amongst the Talay people that take him in. Mena becomes the top sword wielder of their world. Dariel grows up to be a feared pirate who greatly destabilizes the slave and drug economy. Corinn despite being held captive by the Meins, is the one who actually overthrows them and restores the throne by declaring herself queen.
  • Big Bad: The Mein intend to conquer the world with super-strong undead warriors.
  • Blessed with Suck: The Santoth were the elite soldiers of the first Akaran king and he taught them powerful magic. Unfortunately he only taught them battle spells and to ensure that they never turn on him, he locked them into immortal bodies that are in constant agony except during the times they use their battle magic against an enemy.
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  • Butt-Monkey: Rialus Neptos just can't catch a break, he's regularly enslaved and humiliated.
  • Chosen One: Dariel. He's seen by the magically-altered slave race as the one who'll lead them to freedom.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Numrek. This race turn on no less than 2 different parties by misleading them into thinking that they are compliant and satisfied with deals of new land before hitting their ex-employers when a better deal comes along, or when they feel it's time to rule the world in their own right and take back their immortality.
  • Dark Secret: What starts the series, the old king Leodan Akaran intends to tell his children their empire's industrial base relies on slavery and had exiled the Mein tribe to the deadly far north. The only reason why there is so little rebellion is that the Acacians have a deal with the sinister Lothan Aklun who have much of the population mentally numbed and addicted to a drug that only they can provide. In return the Acacians trade a tithe of the population over to them.
  • Decoy Protagonist: In the first book Aliver is groomed to be the one that'll save the empire and bring a new Golden Age by ending the slave trade. However he gets killed in a duel against the mighty warrior Meander Mein, and it's Aliver's sister that saves the day, but not without causing her own problems for years to come. Aliver does return in the 3rd book to be an important figure
  • The Empire: The Acacian Empire who deal in slavery and drugging the population as well dealing in black magic in the past. They're not the only evil empire in this book though and they're certainly not the worst...
  • Evil Sorcerer: The Lothan Aklun are an entire race of them that went extinct. The Santoth are an ancient warband of them, who were cursed with unceasing pain unless they use their black magic on enemies.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Lothan Aklun are not it, the real greater scope villains are the League who had toppled the Lothan Aklun and are running the global slave trade. And the other greater scope villains are people of the Other Land, of which the Numrek are part of. The people of the Other Land buy the slaves to consume their souls to fuel their immortality, and now they want to conquer the world.
  • Grim Up North: The Mein tribe were exiled to the far north, so naturally the area is constantly dark and bitterly frozen.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The Song of Elenet turns out to be an unmarked book in the royal library.
  • Hot Witch: Corinn Akaran is well known for her beauty and after she finds the Book of Elenet, she becomes an expert in its corrupted sorcery and uses it to single-handedly wipe out a Numrek fortified city.
  • I am a Humanitarian: The Numrek eat human flesh.
  • The Juggernaut: The Santoth are a warband of immortal warrior-wizards and they completely roll over any force in their way.
  • Ideal Hero: Aliver Akaran, the man is compassionate, honours his word, forgives his enemies without hesitation...etc. He dies for that, but gets better in the end before dying again though not before reforming the Acacian empire and bringing world peace.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Skilled warriors are commonplace and can be trained in a fairly short time. Becoming a wizard requires long study of the "Song of Elenet" as recorded in the Book of Elenet, or taught by the first Akaran king (who only taught a limited variety of spells to his select soldiers). However a single talented wizard can easily wipe out a city or army with a few spells.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Literally. Guildsmen of the League who earn enough wealth can buy their own "afterlife" where they are placed in isolation chambers that pump in vapors of lotus essence. In these chambers, the Guildsmen will spend their life dreaming out their fondest fantasies.
  • Magic Is Evil: Magic in this world is derived from bastardizing the words of the creator God, Elenet. As such magic is a corruptive force on reality and most spells are for mutilating victims, summoning otherdimensional horrors and etc.
  • Monochrome Casting: Averted in the series. The three main ethnic groups looked at in the series are the Acacians who are brown in varying shades, the Mein who are white and the Talay who are black of varying shades not to mention that people who are of mixed ancestry have further colour variations. Even the main characters of Aliver, Corinn, Mena and Dariel Akaran are either a dark or light brown due to their ethnicity. That's not to mention the people who have been physically altered with surgery and sorcery by the Lothan Aklun.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The Numrek. They pretend to be a bunch of hairy savages from the far north. In fact the people who first faced them thought they were a race of yeti-like creatures with no concept of civilization. Then the Numrek broke out their special catapults with incendiary ammunition...
  • One-Word Title: Well, the series as a whole is called "Acacia" which is also the common name of the first book of the series.
  • Pragmatic Hero: In contrast to her older brother Aliver who is an Ideal Hero , the Acacian princess Corinn is this. While she still retains quite a bit of her morals, she's not one to worry too much about that. How so? She overthrows her family's usurpers through treachery, continues her empire's use of drugging the population to pacify them (though she concedes a bit by using less of them), mind-controls opponents and even her own siblings if they get out of line, and drops the equivalent of a magical nuke on an enemy city that does various horrible things including causing a victim to be flayed alive. However her pragmatism makes her queen while his idealism ends up getting her brother killed.
  • Reality Warper: "The Song of Elenet" is the foundation of reality and even humanity's corrupted and limited copy of it will be able to alter reality, including resurrecting the dead, summoning creatures from other dimensions and causing an enemies' eyes to slough off their face.
  • Revenant Zombie: Not only were the Mein tribe exiled into the far north, the Santoth sorcerer cadre cursed their ancestors into becoming undying racks of skin over bone, before trapping them in a sorcerous bubble. However if freed, the Mein ancestors are unkillable and have superstrength that would allow the Mein to conquer the world.
  • Resurrective Immortality: People from the 'Other Lands' have access to magical machines that can suck out a victim's soul and put it in them. This increases the person's life by the remainder of the victim's lifespan and if the person is killed, the soul they harvested is used bring them back to life instantly. Since a person can store many souls inside themselves and harvest more in the future, that person can potentially stay young forever and be killed an ungodly number of times until they run out of souls. One such immortal was killed permanently via beheading, with his stored souls constantly leaking out of him as he dies multiple times per second.
  • Royal Blood: The Mein ancestors are locked in another dimension by Santoth sorcery and the only way to release them is with the sacrifice of royal Akaran blood. Princess Corinn turns the table on them by using a few drops of her own blood to send them to their afterlife.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Hamish Mein is the ruler of the Mein tribe and enemies of the Akaran royal family. So naturally he and Corinn Akaran fall in love.
  • Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: The Song of Elenet is the song of creating the world. Human minds can't fully understand it and so humans were only able to record a corrupt form of it. This would end up being the Book of Elenet.
  • The Unfought: The League mentions of a race of evil sorcerers called the Lothan Aklun, who live on the other side of the world. The League says that it's the fault of the Lothan Aklun that slavery is such big business and they're an evil that must be fought, but it turns out that Lothan Aklun had been extinct for years. All of them were wiped out by a plague made by the League, who hungered for all the profits of slavery.
  • Time Skip: Nine years between the first and second parts of the first book. Nine more years between the first and second book.
  • Title Confusion: The first book is named The War With The Mein, but many editions relegate that to a subtitle or even omit it altogether, opting to call it simply Acacia.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: Intentionally written this way. The ending of the first book has a sense of closure, although there are a couple of loose ends. However, the second ends on a massive cliffhanger.


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