20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 9 May 2003
There are no dragons here, but you won’t miss them. Instead you’ll find a superb tale of faerie, music, and romance. Emma Bull and Steven Brust (also a well known fantasy author) were at one point two components of the band Cats Laughing, and Bull uses her musical knowledge and experience to great advantage here. Her descriptions of practice sessions and performances will resonate with any music fan, and she skillfully weaves this into a major component of her tale of Eddi, selected by the Seelie to invoke the boon of mortality on the battles of the faerie world. To protect Eddi until the time of the battle, a phouka is assigned to guard her, at times a formidable dog, at other times a whimsical human trickster. Though quite predictable, there is a slowly building romance between the two, and this defines both characters to a depth that is rare in fantasy, as each impacts on and reacts to the other, and wind their way into the reader’s heart.
The world of faerie is seen at a distance (even though the major characters are directly involved in some of the faerie battles), never fully explained or examined in detail, and this very indistinctness adds flavor, a bit of mystery, and charm to what is really a story of and about some of our deepest emotions. The final battle between Eddi and the Queen of Air and Darkness is extraordinarily different, drawing on the ‘magical’ emotional state that sometimes occurs between the makers and hearers of music, rather than swords, spells, talismans, or some hidden bit of arcane knowledge so common to the climax of most fantasy.
Different, powerful, skillfully told, this book is a charmer.
--- Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2001
This is a wonderful book about the war between the good and bad faeries with just a dash of mortality thrown in. On top of the other-wordly action there are some brilliant scenes revolving around the main character Eddy and her band. Well worth buying if you enjoy fantasy but also if you're a rock fan! Emma Bull has some real life connections to Neil Gaiman and if you enjoy his work you'll see some clever twists that often indicate his influence- though they may be hers in reality! It's definetly her best book in my opinion!!!! Buy it.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This book delivers on all of the promise that is given it by reviews. _War of the Oaks_ is a darkly fantastic novel, where the good aren't so good, but the evil are truely bad. There is a wonderful merging of the world of faery, and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The main thrust of the story concentrates on a central human protagonist, who is rather forcefully recruited by the Seelie court to act as the mortal on the field of battle which will cause all deaths to be real, rather than just severe woundings. Unfortunately, her ex-boyfriend is brought in by the Unseelie court, and they don't play by the rules, if they can help it. For protcection, she is gifted with a Pookah, a faery that can take the shape of a man or a large, black dog.
Along side the main story, is one about struggling as a musician, and the twists and turns that are mixed between breaking up one band and forming another, and struggling to find gigs.
This is a novel that you will wish did not end.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 May 2009
I have read and re-read this book countless times, a real favourite of mine, full of wonderful characters and real 'Boo, hiss', Villians!
Emma Bull somehow manages to create a world that feels 'right' as if there should be fey creatures living along side us everyday with out us knowing.
This is also the only book that describes songs so well that you almost believe that your hearing them.
Now where's my Brownie?
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2012
Sometimes I really wonder whether other people have read the same book as me when I see that a novel that I could barely read 3 chapters of has garnered a bunch of 5 star reviews. I therefore felt compelled to write this review as a public service to any readers who may be suckered into buying this book, as I was, by all of these misleading reviews, which I can only assume were written by the author/author's representative/friends/family.
First things first - I'm a huge fan of urban fantasy and read Charles de Lint, James P Blaylock, Mercedes Lackey and others voraciously. I love the genre and had been hearing about Emma Bull's book for years in the same breath as classics such as 'Moonheart', 'Land of Dreams' and 'Bedlam's Bard'. However, this comparison is not only undeserved - it's downright offensive! While the true masterpieces of the genre are engaging and sparkle with the magic of the everyday, 'War for the Oaks' reads like a badly written soap opera with fairies thrown in. The main character, Eddi, is underdeveloped and unsympathetic - this is fatal in a book with this little plot or imagination. You just don't care about the characters or the storyline and may even end up, like me, cheering on the baddies just to put an end to the whole thing. Bull's attempts to create an atmosphere of humour, romance and magic fail entirely and I strongly suspect that all she has done is try to put out a poor copy of 'Moonheart', which was released just a couple of years earlier.
One to avoid.