The War of the Flowers

The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams

War of the Flowers is a modern fairy tale about a young man who get dragged into the intrigue and politics of Faerie. He goes through many trials and tests, and the story is about what he is able to overcome. I can’t go into any detail – there are far too many plot twists.

I love the characters in this book – they are believable, relatable, and in no way static. Applecore, Poppy, Cumber and Theo were among my favourite (these are four of the main characters, so it stands to reason that most people will like them). The secondary characters are just as rich and believable, and either likable or hateable, as the main characters. Mr. Williams did a fantastic job developing his characters.

The plot is fast paced, but you don’t feel like you’re rushing around everywhere. I appreciate that it was mostly written from Theo’s point of view, except where necessary to be from some one else’s (this mostly happens in the first few chapters, you get get one chapter from Earth with Theo, then one chapter from a character in Faerie – this stops once Theo crosses over).

I loved the imagination that fills this book. While I am not a Faerie expert, and have read very few books on it, I found this one very innovative, with new and exciting ideas. I love the way that Mr. Williams explains (or doesn’t explain) things, leaving some of it up to interpretation. I love that it keeps within the general Faerie mythology (king and queen of the fairies, etc.), but departs enough to be interesting (fairies hate having wings and have them cut off). I appreciated the different types of fairies (humanoid, ogre, goblins, pixies, nymphs, nixies, etc.) which added an excellent multi-ethnic feeling to it.

The one thing that some people might be sensative to in this book is an alarming parallel to the Sept. 11 attacks in New York. There is a blurb in the beginning of the book by Mr. Williams apologizing, as the book was to be released right around the time that the attacks happened. He ended up writing out scenes that were too close, ones that could be spared. He didn’t want to offend any one, but wanted to keep the story as close to his original plan. If he hadn’t said anything, I wouldn’t have even made the parallel, but that is probably because I dissociate myself from real life as much as possible while I read.

I would heartily recommend this book for any one who can stand a littel bit of war. There was no graphic sex, or violence (general war scenes with few bits of violence), but there was a lot of swearing. It’s a grand adventure, that I would rate around 14+.