Friday, October 1, 2010

War for the Oaks

Book Details:
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Page Count: 336
Publication Date: 1987
Why I read it: bookclub on goodreads
Grade: C-

Cover thoughts:
There are other cover images for this book, but the picture to the left is what my cover looked like. I'm not a huge fan, but I guess it fits the story well enough.

About the author:
I couldn't find a website for Emma Bull, but here is her livejournal, if someone were interested. She's written quite a few books, but this is the only one of hers I've read.

The plot:

Music and fairies. If you're really into either of those things, especially music (to an obsessive point), you'll probably really like this book. Eddi is a musician who is recruited by a phouka (a man who can turn into a dog) to help the Seelie court in their war against the Unseelie court. She has also just left her old band, and is in the process of putting together a new one. I actually thought the first half of the book was pretty good, but then I got really bored and started skimming. And the end was so blah that I could have put the book down and not even cared what happened. I very heavily skimmed the last few pages. I just couldn't take it anymore.

You know, I never really connected with the characters. They all seemed a little too "these characters are SO cool". Even with the book being quite dated, it felt like the author was trying a little too hard to make her characters hip (best word I can come up with at the moment). I thought the phouka was pretty funny to start off with, but he got less funny as the story went on. The rest of the characters, besides Eddi, just seemed so one-dimensional, and I really couldn't see what was so great about Eddi, except that we were constantly told she was great.

This novel is set in the 80's in Minneapolis. And you very much know that it's happening in the 80's from the clothes (which are described in great detail) to the music (which is described in ever greater detail).

Notable quotes:
She could see the seams of the world around her begin to ravel and part, and the things waiting outside to pass through the holes were at once terrible and ridiculous. It was like being tickled--an unpleasant feeling that by some perverse reflex brings on laughter.

She peered past him to the stove top. There were what looked like pancakes in her largest frying pan. "What are they?" she asked.
"Flapjacks." He rolled the word off his tongue, clearly pleased with it.
She scowled suspiciously. "Anything in 'em?"
"Why no, they're made of air and dew. Of course there's something in them, or they wouldn't be there."

Read this if you're in the mood for:
A book that was one of the pioneers of the urban fantasy genre. Also, if you like to read page after page of detail about how the music sounded when the band played. How the bass sounded, the drums, how it all came together, how the main character felt when she was playing, how everybody else felt, ad nauseum.

Continue or part ways?
I'm not sure if I'll read more by this author or not. I think the writing had potential, and there were parts that I liked (the very few that weren't so music centered), I just didn't care for this particular novel very much. I may try another one of her books some day, but I won't be in any rush.

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