Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Orbit (Time Warner)
Release Date: 22 April 2004
ISBN: 1841491896
Format Reviewed: Paperback

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Genre: Fantasy [Present Day, California & Fairyland]
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:  

The War of the Flowers
By Tad Williams

Theo Vilmos is a failed musician whose career, relationships and life in general seem to be going nowhere. After so much bad luck the only thing that seems to have the power to take him somewhere less depressing is his great-uncle Eamonn Dowd’s old notebook. His globetrotting adventures seem real enough, but how can he truly have gone to Fairyland? Theo gets to find out very soon when a supernatural creature is sent to kill him, and he ends up being drawn into the other dimension himself. But this is not the place of childhood tales, rather the dark mirror of this world and its own terrible problems. Also, everybody seems to be out to kill him…

After Williams’ sprawling Otherland epic it is wonderful to see how he has managed to pack a big story into what is admittedly a big book, but just one book for all that. I had my doubts about fairies in an adult novel, but they were soon dispelled as Williams shows his best talent yet for world building. His modern Fairyland with its nightmare class structure, tower blocks and factories reads as though he has actually been there. It is packed with evil villains and the sort of heroes that a reader can care about, as well as many other neutral characters that save it from being too black-and-white. Without making it sound too worthy it is also a compelling fable about the way the world is today, and events mirror the sort of things likely to feature on the news rather than a children’s storybook. I won’t say that it couldn’t have stood some editing in the early chapters before the story gets off the ground, but Williams does fill the pages with descriptions and adventures…I was actually sorry to stop reading it and I don’t often say that. There is enough of this story to fit neatly into a single volume and that is the best thing of all for a fantasy! A very enjoyable book that makes me look forward to his next work.