In the great city, in the dimly lit office of a mighty tower, two deadly creatures meet. A dark bargain is struck, and the master of the House of Hellebore gives an order: 'War is coming. The child must die.'
In our own world, a young man discovers a manuscript written by his great uncle. It seems to be a novel - a strange fairy tale of fantastic creatures and a journey to a magical realm.
But it is written as a diary ... as if the events were real ... as if his uncle had sought and found another world. Or as if another world had found him ... For the young man, the fantasy is about to become a reality.
I cannot even begin to express how much I loved this book. Yes, I am in love, book love.
This is a statement that comes from a woman who has spent her entire life avoiding the Fantasy genre like it was some sort of threatening literary virus. So when I decided to make my first foray into fantasy with The War of the Flowers I was beyond skeptical. In fact I picked up the book fully expecting this review to be a case of polite insult to the entire genre.
I was wrong.
Despite my lifelong prejudice against Fantasy as a genre I fell in love with this ultimate flight of fairy fantasy. The War of The Flowers follows the adventures of Theo, a down and out 'mortal' who loses his both girlfriend and mother, only to be thrown into greater depths of angst by finding himself catapulted into a Fairy land he didn't believe existed. Throughout the story Theo is accompanied by the ever abrasive sprite, Applecore, who quickly becomes his only real friend in a world where all the creatures seem to have flower based names and a tendency towards prejudice against people from the 'mortal' world.
Tad Williams combines absolute fairy fantasy with a charmingly contemporary sense of dialogue. The fiery sprite Applecore interacting with the ever so quintessentially human example of Theo makes for a feisty and oftentimes amusing story. The real strength of this book is the way it straddles the realms of fantasy in combination with some very real and contemporary human personalities. As Theo stumbles through fairyland, the reader gets a taste of brilliant fantasy characters and sees Theo react as any human would to the concept of other worlds. It's a very modern good verses evil fantasy epic that hooks the reader into an amazing world of brilliant imagery and expert characterization.
I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking to take their first baby steps into the Fantasy genre. Read The War of the Flowers and you'll end up an enthusiastic convert. For those who already love the genre I'm sure The War of the Flowers would be quickly added to your favourites list.
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