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War for the Oaks
ISBN: 0765300346

By Emma Bull
Review by: Kim Wells

6/2/04

When I read "for pleasure" instead of "for work," I like a good urban fairy tale-- something that makes me see both the city and fairies (or faerie) in a new way. I also have a fondness for books recommended/reviewed by one of my favorite authors, so when I saw this book, I couldn't resist.

War for the Oaks is not a new book-- in fact, even the new "release" from 2001 that I read is not new. I think that if you haven't found this book, though, you need to.

The novel details the events of guitarist and lead singer Eddi McCandry as she finds herself embroiled in a war between faerie courts (yes, there are two kinds of faeries, and while both courts are potentially bad for humans, one is "dark" and one is not.)

I loved one character, the Phouka, and I totally cast the person who (if he could only act) ought to play him if a movie version of this book were to ever happen. (I won't tell you who he is-- you ought to be able to guess if you're a fan, and if you're not, well, you probably won't get the reference anyway).

The final scene, where Eddi fronts a band that isn't entirely "normal" (although, from what I learned about band dynamics in this novel, I am not sure any band is really "normal) is truly an epic battle between good and evil, and like Eddi, by the time it's over, you're quite exhausted. It is cinematically drawn, and when Eddi finishes her musical battle royale, (against a dark faerie queen that the author casts as maybe Angelica Huston in her notes) you are left laughing, and crying, and feeling like you were really there. This is the stuff of "cult" novels-- something that geeks everywhere will quote to each other and smile when you see someone reading on a plane somewhere.

The 2001 edition of the novel, which is the version I read, has a brief discussion of movie options, and a short script excerpt. Enough to make you hope for a movie, but also enough to know that Hollywood would probably get it wrong (cause Peter Jackson is probably tired of fantasy). No, books are not just prequels to the movie version, but this one WOULD make a good story, and seems perfect for a future big screen debut. Maybe we could get Tim Burton!

Hailed as a "contemporary fantasy classic" by Publisher's Weekly, this novel is so much fun that I sped through it and wanted more. And forced it on friends who read the same kind of books as I do with a "you'll love it." And imagined what can happen when the magic of all good art (from fiction to music to cinema to paintings) meets a willing and grateful audience.

It can change worlds.




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