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The War of the Flowers

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Theo Vilmos' life is about to take a real turn for the worse. He is drawn from his home in Northern California into the parallel world of Faerie, for, unknown to him, he is a pivotal figure in a war between certain of Faerie's powerful lords and the rest of the strange creatures who live in this exotic realm.


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Theo Vilmos' life is about to take a real turn for the worse. He is drawn from his home in Northern California into the parallel world of Faerie, for, unknown to him, he is a pivotal figure in a war between certain of Faerie's powerful lords and the rest of the strange creatures who live in this exotic realm.

30 review for The War of the Flowers

  1. 4 out of 5

    carol.

    Derivative. Reminds me rather unfortunately of Christopher Golden's the Veil trilogy, and Terry Brooks' Landover series, neither of which I enjoyed. Bear with my summation, so that I may explain the multitude of ways in which this book alternately irritated and bored me. 30-something Theo is lead singer in a garage band, contemplating changing his life as his girlfriend has a baby on the way. Except, of course, he's not going to change it tonight, despite generally disliking his bandmates; he's g Derivative. Reminds me rather unfortunately of Christopher Golden's the Veil trilogy, and Terry Brooks' Landover series, neither of which I enjoyed. Bear with my summation, so that I may explain the multitude of ways in which this book alternately irritated and bored me. 30-something Theo is lead singer in a garage band, contemplating changing his life as his girlfriend has a baby on the way. Except, of course, he's not going to change it tonight, despite generally disliking his bandmates; he's going to go home late without returning her calls and sneak in. Asshat. He discovers sneaking doesn't matter, as she's been bleeding out in the bathroom after a miscarriage. Although he tries to support her, she breaks up with him and her mom whisks her away. Its the first bud of sympathy I develop for him. He takes refuge with his mom, who is dying of cancer, and she states "I never loved you like I should." The seedling of sympathy inches a little taller, and even sprouts a leaf. She dies, he goes through her things and discovers a mysterious safety deposit book holding a book written by his great uncle. 'Hey,' he thinks, 'I'll read it.' To his surprise, it's all about his uncle's adventures in Fairyland. Perhaps it's a fiction book.' Well, maybe it's worth something,' he thinks and keeps reading. Meanwhile, he decides to sell mom's house, live off the proceeds and go find himself in a cabin in the woods. 'Good idea,' I think. 'Time to focus on some personal growth.' Then one night he gets really drunk at a bar, drives home (ass) and wakes up to discover Tinkerbell Applecore the sprite hanging out in his room. They start talking but are rudely interrupted by Big Body-snatching Evil knocking on the door (very polite Big Evil). Evil, of course, realizes the bathroom window is open, so heads there next. Dumbass opens the door to the bathroom to verify Big Evil has indeed entered the house, thus forcing Applecore to fight on his behalf because he's too stupid stunned to react. She opens a door to Fairyland, he goes through it and pulls her with, spoiling her intentions about where they would land in Fairyland. Part two: Fairyland. Every trope you've ever read. First we had the trash-talking-adorable-Tinkerbell stereotype (which might have been funny the first time someone thought of it twenty years ago), followed by the I'm-not-the-one-to-answer-questions trope, which leads to the take-action-before-you-understand-consequences device. Action starts off with the faceless-band-of-thugs-chasing-me contrivance, which continues the no-time-for-questions ruse. Then there's the mysterious/sexy-stranger-saves-me-on-the-train device (the only acceptable example of this is in North by Northwest), a beautiful goth-looking chick that you just know is destined for him after a misunderstanding, just to round out the tropey-tropes. Character-wise, Theo remains an ass. Despite being told early on that his saying, "Jesus Christ" all the time is physically offensive to the fae (causes them pain), and despite not having a shred of evidence as to his Christianess, every other exclamation is some version of "Jesus," or even "goddamn." Applecore tells him about ten times, but he still doesn't listen. As I said, an ass. Meanwhile, all this time he's carrying around his uncle's little guide to fairyland travelogue, but he doesn't bother to open it because he's too frustrated and tired of not understanding anything (!?!). He gets the hots for the fairy on the train and gets pissy with Applecore for ruining his chances, despite earlier suspicion and dislike of nearly every creature in Fairyland--especially the ugly ones. He's so sure a ogre is hitting on him that he thinks he's being kind when he says that he doesn't like her type when she was just trying to be nice. Any sympathy generated in his rough beginning is soundly stomped into dust by this time. Applecore says it best when she says, "hey, if I wasn't working for the good guys, I would consider joining the bad side after meeting you." Plot and characterization aside, how was it? Well, it rather picked up around page 300 or so when it stopped focusing so much on the whiny lead and started focusing on the plot, when a small alliance of fairy houses makes a bid to take control of the fae world and ours. Then it goes into some oddness about the goblin revolution, and suddenly the tone is quite serious. I might have kind of liked that part if I didn't have to read about Theo, who suddenly looks inside and discovers a heart that grows three sizes at the end. Overall: Quite possibly beyond redemption, except for one or two phrases and the singularly interesting idea of a 'goblin's tale'--it will always have a hole in it. Much like this one. Cross posted at: http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2013/0...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nicky

    I read this book a long time ago -- it was the first book by Tad Williams that I read -- but never wrote a proper review for it. Both times I've read it I ate it up in about two days. The writing was pretty good -- or it tasted good, anyway, from a synaesthete's point of view -- and the plot was interesting enough to draw me on and make me read it in great big chunks. There was something unmemorable about it, though. I have a pretty good memory, like my dad, and my dad is one of those guys who c I read this book a long time ago -- it was the first book by Tad Williams that I read -- but never wrote a proper review for it. Both times I've read it I ate it up in about two days. The writing was pretty good -- or it tasted good, anyway, from a synaesthete's point of view -- and the plot was interesting enough to draw me on and make me read it in great big chunks. There was something unmemorable about it, though. I have a pretty good memory, like my dad, and my dad is one of those guys who can tell you what happened in an obscure episode of the old series of Doctor Who that hardly anyone even remembers seeing. But I just didn't really remember what happened in this book, so reading it again was actually mostly discovering things all over again. One of the things I like a lot about the book is that it isn't some great multi-volume epic with hundreds of characters. You stay focused on one main character throughout and don't go off on too many tangents. Speculative fiction seems to, by default, come in trilogies, which drives me a little mad when I want a relatively simple/quick read. Unfortunately, this can be a bit of a pitfall, too. The War of the Flowers is pretty dense, and the main character, Theo Vilmos, is a bit slow and a bit of a jerk. He seems to sort of mean well, but he keeps saying and doing the wrong things. There are some pretty awesome supporting characters -- particularly Applecore, who is a little sprite with a foul mouth and a temper and, despite an odd soft spot for Theo, she calls him on his behaviour a lot. There's a lot of other interesting characters, both good and bad, although some of them are more concepts than fully realised characters -- for example, the Terrible Child. There is also a lot of world-building packed into the book. Because parts of it rely on political machinations, there's a lot of social/historical background packed in. It's also complicated by the fact that Williams uses the old stories about Faerie, but his Faerie society is what we would consider to be more advanced: out of the medieval era into the world of "electricity", etc. I liked the world he built quite a lot, although the obvious parallels with our modern world were somewhat intrusive. I don't know how much it was intended to be a commentary on our world, but some parts felt rather pointed. Overall, I think it could have been a shorter, slicker read, but I kind of liked the slow build. I'd say it's just good summer holiday reading, but I know the first time I read it I read in the gaps between classes and so on, so it's not something you can only stand if you settle down with it in the evenings or whatever. Depends how you read, I guess.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ahdam

    WOW this was a good one I've only read 2 of his books but Tad Williams is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors I'm amazed how he can make the world in his books so magical and breath taking, it just amazes me what he can do and I haven't read many books about fairies but this one really sets the bar for fairy related books for me. With a great story, an amazing world and some great characters (Applecore is officially on my favourite female characters list) However, what stops this from get WOW this was a good one I've only read 2 of his books but Tad Williams is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors I'm amazed how he can make the world in his books so magical and breath taking, it just amazes me what he can do and I haven't read many books about fairies but this one really sets the bar for fairy related books for me. With a great story, an amazing world and some great characters (Applecore is officially on my favourite female characters list) However, what stops this from getting a 5 is the main character now he isn't unlikeable or a horrible person, he just wasn't strong enough for me Theo to me felt like an outsider or an onlooker to event and while it fits the story, I really struggled to feel something for him because he didn't really show much progression in character apart from the beginning and the end and it honestly wasn't enough for me and I was waiting to see if he would improve but not by much yeah that was a bummer. Other than that I enjoyed this book and despite the small hitch I still love this magical world Williams created and I'm excited to read more from him.

  4. 5 out of 5

    William Bentrim

    The War of The Flowers by Tad Williams This is a unique perspective on a Faerie that sadly emulates or mirrors our own society. You can depend on Tad Williams for both a good story and a skewed perception of normalcy. Normalcy in regards to how we see and perceive the land of Faerie is one of the lynch pins of the plot. Williams provided a story whose protagonist wasn’t the classic anti-hero but more of a wimpy hero. Theo had it all, good looks, great voice and loads of potential that he totally The War of The Flowers by Tad Williams This is a unique perspective on a Faerie that sadly emulates or mirrors our own society. You can depend on Tad Williams for both a good story and a skewed perception of normalcy. Normalcy in regards to how we see and perceive the land of Faerie is one of the lynch pins of the plot. Williams provided a story whose protagonist wasn’t the classic anti-hero but more of a wimpy hero. Theo had it all, good looks, great voice and loads of potential that he totally ignored. Characterized by a wealth of self pity, Theo was not particularly likeable. His involvement in the political turmoil of a very foreign world forces him into self evaluation and possibly even moral fiber growth. Williams provides a digital view of a strange world. By digital, I simply mean his detailing is superb. You can almost smell the organic aroma of natural technology, the ozone of sentient power tickles the nose and the vistas of difference stun the eye. The author gives tons of detail but that simply provides the structure to let the imagination run amok. Tad Williams also drives home multiple messages in this book. Exploitation of the masses for the benefit of the few is, in my mind, a perfect mirror of our current self centered politicians refusing compromise in order to benefit their own agenda. Of course practically any third world dictatorship also supplies a similarity of outlook to Hellbore, the main villain. Intolerance and exploitation are clear in this book and the devastating impact those twin sins visit upon a society is made abundantly clear. Lots of messages in this book to anyone who wants to see them. This is an excellent book that was darn difficult to put down and at over 800 pages I just couldn’t finish it in one sitting. I highly recommend it

  5. 4 out of 5

    Masha Toit

    What if Faery had an industrial revolution? Class warfare - and an energy crisis? Theo Vilmos is a musician, a bit of a loser, passively drifting through life and apt to blame others for his troubles. Tad Williams takes this unlikely hero and places him in the middle of a developing crisis between our world and Faery. This is a dark book, filled with vivid and strange places: the Faery realm is a warped reflection of our world. There are trains, but they don't work quite like they do in our world What if Faery had an industrial revolution? Class warfare - and an energy crisis? Theo Vilmos is a musician, a bit of a loser, passively drifting through life and apt to blame others for his troubles. Tad Williams takes this unlikely hero and places him in the middle of a developing crisis between our world and Faery. This is a dark book, filled with vivid and strange places: the Faery realm is a warped reflection of our world. There are trains, but they don't work quite like they do in our world, the time-table being dependent on the weather and the phases of the moon. Guards carry semi-automatic weapons that shoot metallic hornets, and magic gloves to scan your access card. One of the central events in the story is an eery echo of the 9/11 attack although Tad Williams claims he had it planned out some years before that attack. Faery is ruled by the "Flower Families", the aristocrats of the Faery world, who are divided between the "choke-weeds" who want to destroy humanity and the "creepers" who would prefer a less violent solution. Theo is caught in a power struggle between these families and spends much of the book just trying to survive and make sense of his surroundings. I loved the characters: Theo is a most un-heroic hero, just on the edge of being too self-pitying for my liking. Then there is Applecore, a foul-mouthed female sprite. Also the earnest Cumber Sedge, a lower class fairy who aspires to be a scientist. Mud Button, a sort of Goblin Ghandi, or maybe a Goblin Jesus would be closer to the truth. Also many interesting ideas, particularly the one that "A Goblin Story always has a hole in the middle". The kind of fantasy book I like, that shows me fascinating places and asks interesting questions that touch on the problems of our own world.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anne Petty

    Every now and then I love to sink my teeth into an epic fantasy of many pages that will sweep me off to somewhere that temporarily seems more real than the world I live in. I read Tad Williams’ Tailchaser’s Song years ago and have dipped in and out of his monumental Otherland series, so I expected to enjoy this standalone novel (kind of rare in fantasy publishing these days)and wasn’t disappointed. Let me just say, I was not prepared for this vision of fairyland—-as Dorothy Parker reputedly excl Every now and then I love to sink my teeth into an epic fantasy of many pages that will sweep me off to somewhere that temporarily seems more real than the world I live in. I read Tad Williams’ Tailchaser’s Song years ago and have dipped in and out of his monumental Otherland series, so I expected to enjoy this standalone novel (kind of rare in fantasy publishing these days)and wasn’t disappointed. Let me just say, I was not prepared for this vision of fairyland—-as Dorothy Parker reputedly exclaimed, “What fresh hell is this?” There is a term some reviewer applied to The Iron Dragon’s Daughter by Michael Swanwick that fits here as well: cyberpunk meets faerie, producing fairypunk. Massive factional intrigue, raging battles with B-25 dragons, constant danger that never lets you relax, and two of the most memorable characters I’ve encountered in years make this book a genuinely satisfying (if terrifying) escape into another world. The human Theo and the sprite Applecore are just about as good as it gets for well-developed, fully rounded characters, and I loved being in their company for the whole roller-coaster ride of the plot. I also loved the twisted, inside-out perspective on global fairy tales and magical lore. Nothing is sacred in Applecore’s estimation, and her wry take on just about every trope fantasy stories are built on keeps readers and Theo continually off balance. One person’s science is another person’s magic, and vice versa. I laughed and shivered at the same time. The nobility of the goblin Button at the climax is as heartrending as a Greek tragedy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Connie Jasperson

    Today I am revisiting one of my favorite books of the last twenty years, The War of the Flowers by +Tad Williams. Originally published in 2003, I first bought this book the day it was released as a paperback. I've often said I will always buy a book for its cover, and I liked the art so much that I bought the book despite the rather lackluster blurb. The REAL reason I bought this book—Tad Williams has an incredible ability to write a tale that grips the reader and drags them in, blurring the lin Today I am revisiting one of my favorite books of the last twenty years, The War of the Flowers by +Tad Williams. Originally published in 2003, I first bought this book the day it was released as a paperback. I've often said I will always buy a book for its cover, and I liked the art so much that I bought the book despite the rather lackluster blurb. The REAL reason I bought this book—Tad Williams has an incredible ability to write a tale that grips the reader and drags them in, blurring the lines between the real and the imagined with his trademark virtuosity. The Blurb: Theo Vilmos' life is about to take a real turn for the worse. He is drawn from his home in Northern California into the parallel world of Faerie, for, unknown to him, he is a pivotal figure in a war between certain of Faerie's powerful lords and the rest of the strange creatures who live in this exotic realm. My review: This is a REAL fairy tale. Theo Vilmos doesn't know it, but he is a changeling. Switched at birth, he suffers from a disconnection from the world of Northern California, always feeling as he lived somehow outside of the rest of society. He is a rock musician, and pours his heart into his music. His life has somewhat gone to hell, and at the age of thirty he's a washed up rocker reduced to playing with a bunch of young wanabes. His mother (or the woman he'd believed was his mother) is dead, his unborn child has died and his girlfriend blames him for child's death. After his mother's death, Theo discovers a book written by his great-uncle, Eamonn Albert Dowd, among his inheritance. Theo's imagination is fired by the book. He assumes the book is a work of fiction as it describes a character who travels the world and eventually discovers an ancient passage into another world full of fairies and other mythical creatures. He quickly discovers the true nature of his uncle's book as he is rescued from the clutches of an ancient disease-spirit known as an irrha by a small fairy named Applecore. The World of Faerie is not such a pretty place either. The very rich use the very poor in the most literal sense of the word, with no compassion and no regrets. The powerful houses have long been at war and all of the magic creatures are caught up in it. Fairie suffers from all the blight of the mortal urban world, and then some. Fairies come in a range of humanoid and nonhumanoid forms. The more powerful fairies look like extremely beautiful humans with elvish features and, unlike fairy commoners, lack wings. These members of the noble houses are known as Flowers and are divided into several influential families, each named after a different type of flower. Seven great family houses rule over the rest of the houses: Thornapple, Hellebore, Violet, Lily, Daffodil, Hollyhock and Primrose, but the Violets are now extinct, having been wiped out by an alliance of the other six great houses in the last War of the Flowers. Other prominent families include Daisy and Foxglove. The families are divided into three factions, those who believe that the fairies should coexist with humans, called Creepers, those who believe that humans should be eradicated, called Chokeweeds, and those who are uncertain what to do, called Coextensives. Passage between the worlds is restricted by the Clover Effect. Each person, human or fairy, has one exemption from the effect; in other words they can only travel once to the other world and then back to their own. Theo Vilmos is a great character—slightly flawed and rather naïve for a man of 30 years of age. He makes many friends and enemies in a very short space of time. He does stupid things and regrets them. Still, we find ourselves rooting for Theo, and enjoying the ride. Applecore is a wonderful character. For such a tiny creature, she is full of fire and passion, loyal to a fault and is my favorite character in this tale. She's a gutsy, gritty heroine who also has her flaws. In The War of the Flowers Tad Williams created a Faerie Land unlike anything you ever read. It’s Faerie on steroids, urban, dirty and nothing is what it seems. This book doesn't get the sort of attention it deserves, in my opinion. The War of the Flowers is the sort of book that people will read twice— I've read it 3 times myself. So far as I've been able to find, this book is not available for the Kindle, but it is available in paperback. I know +Tad Williams is NOT an indie, but stretch your wings, readers. Go mainstream for a moment and enjoy the journey! This is the sort of writing with the plot development and world building we indies aspire to. Williams is a master, and it is a nearly physical pleasure to sink into a corner of the sofa with one of his books in hand, and ignore the real world for the day.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Philip Grace

    Ever wonder how the Fairy world was impacted by the Industrial Revolution? Well, they also had an Industrial Revolution... That's not a spoiler; that's just the world-generating premise. I found the invented cultures, imagery, and even plot (normally the least of my concerns) to be innovative and compelling. Also, plus ten points for a deeply chilling allusion to Goodnight Moon. Ever wonder how the Fairy world was impacted by the Industrial Revolution? Well, they also had an Industrial Revolution... That's not a spoiler; that's just the world-generating premise. I found the invented cultures, imagery, and even plot (normally the least of my concerns) to be innovative and compelling. Also, plus ten points for a deeply chilling allusion to Goodnight Moon.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jeffery Moulton

    The War of the Flowers was a frustrating book for me. I read it after finishing Tad Williams' amazing Otherland series and, in many ways I was not disappointed. The world in War is rich, detailed, and fascinating. The character motivations feel real and are not rushed, and the descriptions were incredible. Honestly, the only thing I didn't like was the main character, who whined way too much and was thoroughly unlikeable. War takes Theo, a musician in our world, and sends him to that mysterious l The War of the Flowers was a frustrating book for me. I read it after finishing Tad Williams' amazing Otherland series and, in many ways I was not disappointed. The world in War is rich, detailed, and fascinating. The character motivations feel real and are not rushed, and the descriptions were incredible. Honestly, the only thing I didn't like was the main character, who whined way too much and was thoroughly unlikeable. War takes Theo, a musician in our world, and sends him to that mysterious land where fairies are real and have created a world that is eerily similar to our own and yet dissimilar all at the same time. The world of Fairy has cars and phones and even computers, but they run on something different than electricity: They run on magic. But fairies has a problem: Magic only works as long as mankind believes. With belief waning in the modern world, the world of Fairy is suffering power outages and political infighting. To reveal much more would be to give away a very intricate plot and fascinating world. Both of those things make the book more than worth reading. At the same time, the book has a big problem: the main character. As a protagonist, Theo is thoroughly unlikeable. He is whiny and incompetent. As a reader you want to strangle him and almost root for him be devoured by some nasty creature along the way. Other than that, the book is amazing and the world in the book is so fascinating that it is possible to overlook the main character.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Valjeanne Jeffers

    Wonderful imagery and creation of a world just outside our own.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    It's slow, boring and more than a little bit depressing, but the worst thing about it is main character, Theo. He whines his way through the entire book and gives not a single care about the people around him. I really disliked him and I can't understand Poppy falling for him. He thinks about her like she's a spoiled rich kid, and he treats her that way too. Despite not giving a damn about other people himself he condemns Poppy because without getting to know her he decides that she is like that It's slow, boring and more than a little bit depressing, but the worst thing about it is main character, Theo. He whines his way through the entire book and gives not a single care about the people around him. I really disliked him and I can't understand Poppy falling for him. He thinks about her like she's a spoiled rich kid, and he treats her that way too. Despite not giving a damn about other people himself he condemns Poppy because without getting to know her he decides that she is like that too. But to be fair Poppy seems to be there only to give Theo a bit of escape from the grinding depression of the rest of the story. She is an extraneous addition to the actual story, only popping up now and again to help Theo show his "kind side". If fact, all the women are present only to have things happen to them in order to motivate the male characters. Theo's mother, his girlfriend cat, Applecore, Eamonn Dowds girlfriend, they all suffer terrible things so that the men in the story have reasons to act. The story itself moves super slow and consists of 600 pages of Theo thinking "I'm stuck in a world that could kill you at any moment and I know nothing about it" and talking about how he's a super awesome amazing musician / singer. Fairyland is not a happy place to be. There are six ruling families with all the power and the money, and the rest of the population are treated as slaves to be used up until they die. The ruling families are fighting amongst themselves and Theo is stuck in the middle running from something trying to kill him with nowhere to go, no idea why he's been chased, and no one he can trust to help him. It feels hopeless from the start, Theo does not find anything out, no one will tell him anything. Almost all the characters Theo talks to - "I'm not the one to tell you about this". But Theo doesn't really try very hard, and he's slow to pick up on things when the clues are laid out in front of him. The Clover Effect is mentioned like 50 times through the book, Theo never asks what it is! It's frustrating to read. Overall it's just boring and slow. (view spoiler)[In fact, Theo saves the world by thinking! (hide spoiler)] Why did I keep reading? Well, I'm not sure, but at one point dragons showed up and it got interesting for about a minute. Also, Poppy is kinda cool, I was hoping she might get to do something. If the story had been told from her point of view, it could have been good. Recommended if: you're too happy and want some relentless grinding depression to bring you down a bit.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    The War of the Flowers follows Theo Vilmos on his life changing experience, leaving the world he’s always known and going to the world of Faerie. Theo is thrown into a world he’s unprepared for, meeting things he never imagined were real, and becomes entangled in a political battle between the upper Faerie families. The War of the Flowers is one of those really rare standalone fantasy novels. I can count only a handful of standalone fantasy novels that I’ve read, which is unfortunate because gen The War of the Flowers follows Theo Vilmos on his life changing experience, leaving the world he’s always known and going to the world of Faerie. Theo is thrown into a world he’s unprepared for, meeting things he never imagined were real, and becomes entangled in a political battle between the upper Faerie families. The War of the Flowers is one of those really rare standalone fantasy novels. I can count only a handful of standalone fantasy novels that I’ve read, which is unfortunate because generally I’ve enjoyed all of them I’ve read. The War of the Flowers is no different, and is well worth the read if you’re looking for something that you can get sucked in to without committing to ten to fourteen other books. Despite being a standalone novel though, The War of the Flowers still manages to have everything you would expect for a gigantic fantasy series. The world building is brilliant, mixing a touch of urban fantasy with a fantastical land. The sheer amount of different fantastical creatures that are found within the book is amazing too. The characters are all well thought out, well developed characters. Theo experiences the most character development throughout the book, but the stand out character is really Applecore. If you’re a fan of sassy, brilliant characters, you’ll love her. The political intrigue and societal differences within the world of Faerie is fascinating too. I’m always a fan of politics in fantasy settings, and The War of the Flowers really pulled me in. The high society environment mixing with the lower faeries is reminiscent of ours, and Theo’s, world, and the comparisons were fantastic. Getting to see Faerie through Theo’s eyes was a fantastic experience, allowing the world building to be built gradually, and for us to see Faerie society as he does. The War of the Flowers is one of those books that I want to recommend to every fantasy reader, it’s just a beautiful, well written book, that is hard to put down. It’s a beast of a book, but worth every page. The writing evokes that nostalgia from older traditional fantasy, while standing on its own and being its very definitive own world and experience. Tad Williams is one of those authors I never hear enough about, but everyone should read, and The War of the Flowers is an excellent place to start.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tristan Rambarran

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I never read one of tad Williams books before, but I guess I was getting a little burnt out on Sci fi and had a big fantasy itch that needed scratching; and this book was the perfect back scratcher. the world building here is unbelievable , the rules and "science " of fairy remains both deeply fascinating as well as consistent even till the very end; the world also has a deep dark history despite being stand alone, and along with the chaotic flower politics and strife of the common folk, it crea I never read one of tad Williams books before, but I guess I was getting a little burnt out on Sci fi and had a big fantasy itch that needed scratching; and this book was the perfect back scratcher. the world building here is unbelievable , the rules and "science " of fairy remains both deeply fascinating as well as consistent even till the very end; the world also has a deep dark history despite being stand alone, and along with the chaotic flower politics and strife of the common folk, it creates a environment that feels lived in and is slowly losing its own magical identity and is becoming more brutal and utilitarian . the characters, who admittedly do take time getting used to, end up being deep with engaging arcs up to its explosive climax and happily ever after. if I were to give some criticisms, Theodore Vilmos seems a bit to whiny throughout a lot of the novel, that is until the end where he does finally become more heroic and less self centered. that and this is a very depressing and mean spirited novel at times, it might be a bit of a turn off for a lot of people. Edit: also in retrospect, the romance between vilmos and this fairy lady, it's terrible. Actually, nearly every female character in this book acts like a bipolar sociopath towards him, his girlfriend i get, but Applecore and the other main chick? Nope, it basically just boiled down to: "Theo, you're an asshole for not returning her affection even though you just met this lady and I am also the one who his forcing you tell her to nicely to piss off because i dont trust her and our adventure even if she could be trusted could probably kill her. But....you're still an asshole, for letting her rest her head on your shoulder and get comfy with you and not saying anything which ended us in this awkward situation even if you didn't say or do anything to make her cozy up to you and she was just being frisky in her intoxicated mind and therefore you didn't really exploit her at all. Also you're an asshole like all other men because you use what you dont say against women in a game of mental gymnastics, yeah so you're screwed if you do say anything and screwed if you don't because women expect you know exactly what you have to say to them 100 percent of the time to make them feel special or happy and have near psychic emotional clairvoyance i guess. Aren't double standards fun?". And if you think i'm being harsh, i read this to my mom and even she had no idea what these insane women want from Theo. But other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and would like to see what Tad has to offer next.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Petros

    What a boring read this one was. For the number of pages it had, there was close to nothing going on in it. 80% of it is literally world-building, which does not count as plot. Was it good world-building? Hell no, they were just talking about it instead of organically integrating it into the plot. Most of that 80% I mentioned above is the characters talking about what is going on in the setting, instead of showing it to us. Was at least the setting interesting? Nope! Despite the hundreds of chara What a boring read this one was. For the number of pages it had, there was close to nothing going on in it. 80% of it is literally world-building, which does not count as plot. Was it good world-building? Hell no, they were just talking about it instead of organically integrating it into the plot. Most of that 80% I mentioned above is the characters talking about what is going on in the setting, instead of showing it to us. Was at least the setting interesting? Nope! Despite the hundreds of characters and the dozens of factions, you are given no reason to care about any of them. Why? Because you are just told what or who they are instead of seeing them doing something interesting in the plot. Whatever plot there is left, it suffers from serious tonal whiplashes. One moment it’s silly like a fairy tale, the immediate next it’s grimdark. There is no proper transition and comes off as cringy instead of variable. Not even the main characters are interesting. One is a 30 year old dude who is acting like a complete jerk all the time, and the other is a Tinkerbell-wannabe acting sassy and bossy all the time. Most of their interactions come down to bickering and teasing, usually sexual in nature. When they are not doing that, they are just infodumping the setting in the most dull way imaginable. By the way, there is a war going on, as the title of the book implies. There are also corpse-possessing slug monsters. There is also a dragon and an elf king and a bunch of goblins. And none of that matter because you are wasting your time, in reading hundreds of pages about a jerk, bickering with a bitch, while explaining the magical realm, instead of seeing them going through cool adventures. Plain insufferable.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Debs

    I absolutely adored this book, it was delicious in every sense of the word, and I couldn't wait to get home from work each day to spend time with it. Though I found it a bit slow at the beginning, the pace picked up quickly, and I finished it in a few days because I *had* to know what was going to happen next. I liked the fact that the Faerie World wasn't typically Fairy-Fantasy (all pixie dust and light), but had a huge undercurrent the dystopian and political, and drawing on issues that have pl I absolutely adored this book, it was delicious in every sense of the word, and I couldn't wait to get home from work each day to spend time with it. Though I found it a bit slow at the beginning, the pace picked up quickly, and I finished it in a few days because I *had* to know what was going to happen next. I liked the fact that the Faerie World wasn't typically Fairy-Fantasy (all pixie dust and light), but had a huge undercurrent the dystopian and political, and drawing on issues that have plagued us for some time. It was an incredibly complete, textured and vivid world, which impressed me because that's more common in long, ongoing series. Speaking of which, though I'm sad there isn't another book, I am very glad that this is a stand alone book because I didn't have to fight through thousands of pages to come to a resolution, which made this book all the more satisfying. Loved the characters, the twists, and pretty much the entire thing. Who'd have thought Flowers could get so violent?

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kitvaria Sarene

    It did take me quite a while to get into this book. I bought it because I've heard Tad Williams reading from it, and fell completely in love with that part. When I got the books in my hands, it started off a bit slow for my taste, but I kept going, waiting for that great scene I've heard before. And before I noticed it, he got me hooked after all! This story has such extremely funny parts that I shed some tears while reading... If you like fantasy, that hasn't have to be action from the first pa It did take me quite a while to get into this book. I bought it because I've heard Tad Williams reading from it, and fell completely in love with that part. When I got the books in my hands, it started off a bit slow for my taste, but I kept going, waiting for that great scene I've heard before. And before I noticed it, he got me hooked after all! This story has such extremely funny parts that I shed some tears while reading... If you like fantasy, that hasn't have to be action from the first page, and like strange humor, I can only recommend this one wholeheartedly! ;) Theo Vilmos, a singer in a humdrum rock band, finds an amazing if incomplete manuscript about a fairy world. Abruptly Applecore, a short-tempered, red-haired sprite, appears just before horrifying monster starts banging on the door.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Palmatier

    I felt that this book was a good read, but had a few parts that were a little too slow. It took me a while to get through the first 300 pages or so, simply because what occurs at first is rather grim, followed by a section once the main character travels to Faerie that just needed faster pacing. However, once the dragon arrives on the scene the pace picked up tremendously. The second half of the book is much better by far, with some rather cool and interesting ideas (which I don't want to spoil) I felt that this book was a good read, but had a few parts that were a little too slow. It took me a while to get through the first 300 pages or so, simply because what occurs at first is rather grim, followed by a section once the main character travels to Faerie that just needed faster pacing. However, once the dragon arrives on the scene the pace picked up tremendously. The second half of the book is much better by far, with some rather cool and interesting ideas (which I don't want to spoil). An interesting and different take on Faerie, with some rather horrible touches, such as where the power the Faerie use comes from. Overall, I'd recommend this book to other fantasy readers, but would also say that Tad Williams has a few other fantasy books out there that are better, such as Dragonbone Chair and The Stone of Farewell.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Stevenson

    I am not usually a sci-fi/fantasy fan, but this book is so beautiful I've read it again and again. I love that it's a self-contained story. Sci-fi seems notorious for series, and this author, Tad Williams, has done a few, I think. I read his Otherland series-about disparate groups of people that find themselves inside the internet in various virtual worlds-and it was really cool and mostly well-paced, but this book to me is magical. Very vivid details of characters and surroundings add to the ex I am not usually a sci-fi/fantasy fan, but this book is so beautiful I've read it again and again. I love that it's a self-contained story. Sci-fi seems notorious for series, and this author, Tad Williams, has done a few, I think. I read his Otherland series-about disparate groups of people that find themselves inside the internet in various virtual worlds-and it was really cool and mostly well-paced, but this book to me is magical. Very vivid details of characters and surroundings add to the experience of reading about the battles and jockeying for power of the various flower families. The characters are very well-written, flawed and fully realized. Highly recommend.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    I've wanted to read a Tad Williams novel for a long time, and this was not a disappointment. His command of language is amazing, and he's a pleasure to read, much like Neil Gaiman. I wish he valued brevity a bit more, however. While they were wonderful words, there sure were a lot of them, and at times I just wanted to move on with the story. It's not that was boring, in fact the story was very well told with surprising outcomes to what occasionally seemed like standard setups. It simply took too I've wanted to read a Tad Williams novel for a long time, and this was not a disappointment. His command of language is amazing, and he's a pleasure to read, much like Neil Gaiman. I wish he valued brevity a bit more, however. While they were wonderful words, there sure were a lot of them, and at times I just wanted to move on with the story. It's not that was boring, in fact the story was very well told with surprising outcomes to what occasionally seemed like standard setups. It simply took too long to tell.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rob Berry

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The beginning is slow and depressing. I can't help think of Lovecraft as the main character discovers a "special" relative that kept a journal of a strange world he had visited. Then it's sort of an Alice in Wonderland fantasy set in Faerie-land with 1 dimensional characters and a pat, last heir to an important political power" type of plot, with no explanations as to motives until the very end. Sappy and should be a children's book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Barney

    This was a really well written modern fairy tale. With Tad Williams it's the journey, not the destination. Really well-written prose, an interesting, complex story, that led up to a kind of underwhelming ending. Still, this was a really enjoyable book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    8 -- depressing beginning, but once thru the portal, the author did a fabulous job of world-building. A stand-alone book, but it was VERY THICK and HEAVY in hardback... a long but interesting read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Vicky

    Very different. I always enjoy reading Tad Williams.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hebah

    Read ages ago. Remembered enjoying it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dhuaine

    A 30-year-old good-for-nothing musician finds his uncle's diary and gets sucked into fairytale world where all sorts of magical creatures are real and flower-named elves wage war with each other... err, something like that anyway. Doesn't sound good. I actually don't remember why I bought this book. It doesn't sound like my type of thing. Someone must have recommended it; but then, I remember one of my friends saying that it took her a year to finish this book. Tad Williams is the only author whos A 30-year-old good-for-nothing musician finds his uncle's diary and gets sucked into fairytale world where all sorts of magical creatures are real and flower-named elves wage war with each other... err, something like that anyway. Doesn't sound good. I actually don't remember why I bought this book. It doesn't sound like my type of thing. Someone must have recommended it; but then, I remember one of my friends saying that it took her a year to finish this book. Tad Williams is the only author whose book I couldn't read in one chunk, had to leave it for two months, but actually came back and finished it, so I took the risk with this one. It starts fairly nice. Unfortunately, once the tension dropped, I found myself stuck around 50th page. I was slogging through diary-reading and later through lengthy descriptions of Faerie. There were occasional gems here and there (Williams writes nice horror snippets, I was amazed), but generally nothing significant happened in the first half of the book. The only thing that kept me reading was the humor. Main character has a surprisingly nice sense of humor and it was really enjoyable to follow his narrative. The climax is great though. I didn't expect something so... creepy? Williams is certainly amazing with words, I could imagine the scenes in perfect detail. The resolution is somewhat random, but not that jarring. I could do without the epilogue though. All in all, the world and its fairytale-ish qualities is well-drawn and pleasant to experience. I didn't mind its similarities to our world. There were some interesting (and dark) twists, mainly regarding characters' personalities. The main plot line is rather simple though, and many threads were gravely underdeveloped. Many things get referenced only to stay as mere references, which is rather annoying in a novel that long. This book is simply too wordy while not much happens. I've seen some people complain about swearing in this book. I haven't noticed anything like that - quite the contrary, there are traces of serious censoring in Polish translation, which is awful by the way. And sprinkled with tons and tons of typos. Polish readers - do yourselves a favor and get the original. Polish version is horrible.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    This was an interesting story with a fairly unique view into the world of Faerie. The journey from earth to Faerie is one that has sparked many a tale, working off the Gaelic myths of old. This book does the same, taking an out-of-work rock band singer and thrusting him unwillingly into the beautiful enigmatic land of the elves. There things are not all they seem, plots and intrigues abound. The descriptions are great, the intrigues interesting. The twist of the idea of changelings was nice. The This was an interesting story with a fairly unique view into the world of Faerie. The journey from earth to Faerie is one that has sparked many a tale, working off the Gaelic myths of old. This book does the same, taking an out-of-work rock band singer and thrusting him unwillingly into the beautiful enigmatic land of the elves. There things are not all they seem, plots and intrigues abound. The descriptions are great, the intrigues interesting. The twist of the idea of changelings was nice. The plot itself wasn't that bad. The characters pretty good. The thing that bothered me most was the constant dropping of the f-bomb all throughout the story. Now, I get it. Grungy musician, down on his luck, has a bit of a potty mouth, but verisimilitude need not be carried that far. It was nearly every other utterance by the main character sometimes. Also, the main revelation of the novel after the climax totally did not impress me. The main character came to a realization (that was supposed to be earth-shattering) to which I had come about one third of the way through the novel. In all other respects the novel was quite decent, but that little annoyance detracted a lot from my enjoyment of it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Camilla

    You know that thing where you get this great idea for a novel, and you start writing it, and then you pick up a book one day and discover that someone else has already written the novel you wanted to only MUCH BETTER, the bastard? Yeah, that. This is a flipping wonderful book. The whole premise is thoroughly worked out and the world is entire and real in a way that made me feel I was returning to a place instead of the setting of a story every time I picked the book up again to continue. The chara You know that thing where you get this great idea for a novel, and you start writing it, and then you pick up a book one day and discover that someone else has already written the novel you wanted to only MUCH BETTER, the bastard? Yeah, that. This is a flipping wonderful book. The whole premise is thoroughly worked out and the world is entire and real in a way that made me feel I was returning to a place instead of the setting of a story every time I picked the book up again to continue. The characters were wonderful too - completely distinct from each other and as believable as the world in which they lived. I've heard that some reviewers found Theo Vilmos unlikeable - not me. On the contrary, I found him an entirely sympathetic character, to the point of wincing in recognition on occasions when his actions struck a little close to the bone. One of the reviews in the front of the book described it as 'The plight of the modern American male from a master of fantasy'. Well, I would extend that to 'the plight of the modern human', because the things that Theo struggles with are all too familiar. In short: Loved it. Highly recommended, particularly to those who like faery fantasy and want something to sink their (wickedly pointy) teeth into.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sigrun Keller

    I seem to have enjoyed the book for the exact same reasons others have been frustrated by it. It perfectly describes the journey of a man without a place in this world into a fairy world - which also has no place for him. There are no armies to be led, no masses to be roused, no council of elders to declare him the Chosen One. Instead he is treated as something between a scientific curiosity and a political bargain chip. He also has to learn that all his character flaws are just as unwelcome in the I seem to have enjoyed the book for the exact same reasons others have been frustrated by it. It perfectly describes the journey of a man without a place in this world into a fairy world - which also has no place for him. There are no armies to be led, no masses to be roused, no council of elders to declare him the Chosen One. Instead he is treated as something between a scientific curiosity and a political bargain chip. He also has to learn that all his character flaws are just as unwelcome in the new world as they were in the last. For most of the book the characters who aid him seem to do so mostly out of a mixture of pity and personal integrity. Theo makes his way through a flawed society based on the most literal form of worker exploitation. He struggles to find someone to save him from mortal danger in a world where everyone with the power to do so is either occupied otherwise or directly responsible for his predicament. It is indeed a rather lengthy journey to get to the bottom of what's going on and what Theo's role might be. However, it was a captivating journey I enjoyed thoroughly.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Arthur

    A mixture of two worlds It is OKeish... If you have read all the books on your ASAP list and you are looking for something short and different, you might give this book a try. It is easy going one with a good sense of humor. By no means it was boring. I enjoyed it to a certain degree and I deem it worthy of my time. However, it is definitely not epic fantasy. It is a blend of our world and a world of fairies. It never works for me. Maybe I am just a fan of Epic Fantasy, like Memory, Sorrow & Thorn A mixture of two worlds It is OKeish... If you have read all the books on your ASAP list and you are looking for something short and different, you might give this book a try. It is easy going one with a good sense of humor. By no means it was boring. I enjoyed it to a certain degree and I deem it worthy of my time. However, it is definitely not epic fantasy. It is a blend of our world and a world of fairies. It never works for me. Maybe I am just a fan of Epic Fantasy, like Memory, Sorrow & Thorn with elves, swords, trolls, dragons but no contemporary guns/cars/banks/cities. It ruins the imaginary world for me. Also it is too short to my liking. I prefer to read trilogies and bigger works, because it gives a writer a space for detailed history background and the history in The War of the Flowers felt very shallow to me. The only “single book” fantasy work that has managed to impress me so far is Tigana by G.G. Kay. All in all, this a nice short fantasy/adventure book and if you are tired of epic fantasy you might like The War of the Flowers very much

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kerri

    I am so sad I did not like this book. Tad Williams is one of my favorite authors, so I was doubly disappointed! But I just do not much care for this book. I did not care much for any of the characters; I did not feel connected to any of them (which is almost opposite of all of his other books, whether I liked them or not). Theo especially bugged me as he dragged his feet for almost the entire book, his comments were annoying, and his thick-headedness was annoying as well. He was a frustrating "h I am so sad I did not like this book. Tad Williams is one of my favorite authors, so I was doubly disappointed! But I just do not much care for this book. I did not care much for any of the characters; I did not feel connected to any of them (which is almost opposite of all of his other books, whether I liked them or not). Theo especially bugged me as he dragged his feet for almost the entire book, his comments were annoying, and his thick-headedness was annoying as well. He was a frustrating "hero". There was some cool stuff in the story, interesting ideas of the world but it was bogged down. The whole story seemed bogged-down in awkward conversations and revelations and background. This is the only "stand alone" book I've read by Williams; everything else has been part of large series. So maybe that is part of the problem; he didn't have as much space and time to let things grow? I don't know. There is a fair amount of swearing in the book; Theo is a potty-mouth.

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