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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Monday, September 22, 2003

The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams. New York : Daw Books, 2003. ISBN: 0756401356

Tad Williams is one of only a relatively few fantasy authors that I will read automatically, without any dithering. Most fantasy published today follows fairly stereotypical good vs. evil plot lines, and is set in some made up land or other that tries your patience as you try to figure out just why you should care about it. And the characters, plot lines and settings generally just aren’t compelling enough to interest me.

This is not the case with Tad. Most recently, his awesome Otherland quartet, which while technically science fiction (most of it takes place in various virtual reality settings) reads almost entirely like fantasy (characters visit and are caught up in a dizzying array of fantasy realms such as the land of Oz) is magnificently imagined and vastly entertaining. Likewise this latest book, The War of the Flowers.

Williams rarely writes on a small scale; his current effort runs to more than 650 pages. In it he describes a Fairyland gone horribly awry, as the original rulers, the king and queen, have somehow been dispossessed and the remaining aristocratic families attempt to imitate earth with their own technological revolution, in which things become worse than merely drab and dull, but downright horrific.

The story is told through the eyes of a mortal (or so he believes himself to be) visiting Fairyland (though not by choice), making friends and enemies, and eventually falling in love, but most of all, being used as a pawn in the “war of the flowers” which threatens not only the traditional way of life in the realm of Fairie, but mundane earth as well. A rousing good yarn, highly recommended.

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