The War Of The Flowers Paperback – 22 Apr 2004
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This standalone fantasy is the genuine article ... the plot reaches an intricate, inevitable and gloriously satisfying climax' STARBURST, 'A masterpiece of fairytale worldbuilding ... a wondrous tale set in a fascinating world' LOCUS, 'This is a clever and tricky book' TIME OUT LONDON, 'It's a brilliantly engaging fantasy ... warmly entertaining and top-notch stuff' SFX
The new dazzlingly inventive stand-alone novel by the author of the international bestselling Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, and Otherland fantasy series.See all Product description
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The story is about a (sometimes naïve) 30-year-old man (Theo), a musician who never reached stardom but still dreams of getting his big break, who finds a manuscript written by his great-uncle. Theo reads it, believing it to be an unfinished fiction novel . . . until he finds himself thrust into the world his uncle described.
As the story unfolds, you see Theo struggle to accept this new world and its culture. He's surrounded by fairies, goblins and other creatures and he's really not sure who to trust - and with good reason. There's a war brewing; Theo finds himself slap bang in the middle of it and certain parties want him dead - he just doesn't know why.
Williams has created an interesting lead character with Theo. He's not without his faults, and although at times you might want to give him a shake and tell him to grow up, I found he grew on me. As the story progressed I began rooting for him, wanting him to prevail against all the odds. Theo was given real depth, and his emotions and dialogue were realistic and relatable.
Other key characters were also superbly crafted. I loved Applecore - the tiny fairy who befriends Theo. She's sassy, sarcastic and forthright to the nth degree yet you also see a softer side emerge. She's also fiercely loyal and courageous. Cumber, a Ferisher, was also interesting to learn about, especially when he began to shake off his subservient mentality. Poppy, the spoilt `rich kid' from one of the leading Flower families, became less of a brat and more humane as the book progressed, and Lord Hellebore was deliciously evil and tyrannical.
The plot was brilliantly conceived; forget about fantasy fiction you've read before - this is something unique and totally different. Whilst having some of the classic elements - like fairies, goblins etc, - the `alternative world' of Faerie was far removed from the norm. The hierarchy of flower `houses', who ruled the land since the death of the king and queen, was well thought out, as was the technology employed in Faerie. I particularly liked how Williams likened it to our world, with shops, houses, skyscraper-type buildings and even cars of sorts. If you think Faerie is going to be a sweet place, think again. It's urban, dirty, shady, and sometimes corrupt.
This is a thick book, but very worth the time investment. The story had me gripped (once the fantasy portion really began) and I found myself losing hours when I thought it was mere minutes. This was the first book I'd read by Tad Williams and it definitely won't be my last. A great fantasy tale - I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it!
But if you're a Tolkien Fan, Then read 'Memory, Sorrow and Thorn' a series of four books starting with 'The Dragonbone Chair' Tad Williams first book and easily his best.
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