|Review: Tad Williams' "War of the Flowers"
||[Oct. 17th, 2008|08:42 am]
One of the things I'd like everyone to do here at dawbooks is post reviews of the DAW books they've recently read and finished. I figured I'd start that trend off with a post about Tad Williams' War of the Flowers, which I finished reading last night.|
First off, I have to say that in general I love Tad Williams and buy everything of his the moment it comes out. I loved The Dragonbone Chair, which was topped by the sequel Stone of Farewell. The third book in that series, To Green Angel Tower, wasn't as good as the first two overall, but I still enjoyed it. I've also read Tad Williams' "Otherland" series and enjoyed that, although I don't generally like science fiction as much as I enjoy fantasy.
So War of the Flowers is my return to Tad Williams' fantasy. And I have to say there were some ups and downs in the book. When I first started reading, with the scenes set in the real world, I thought the writing was spectacular but the fell of the book was rather . . . grim. Quite a few rather traumatic things happen to the main character, Theo. This is all set-up of course, and establishes Theo before he gets thrust from our world into Faerie.
And it's Faerie where the majority of the book is set. Williams has a very interesting and different take on the world of Faerie, with some rather strong similarities between Faerie and our world. In fact, the fairies themselves are attempting to mimic our own world, building skyscrapers, driving cars, using cell phones and computers, etc. Of course, they aren't exactly like our own cars and phones and computers, because the science of Faerie runs on magic, not the laws of physics like our own world. So it's like our world, but not. However, it's close enough to our world that we can understand the rules (even if they aren't the same) and also drew correlations between our world and what's happening in Faerie.
I have to say that once Theo arrived in Faerie there was a long section of the book that kind of dragged for me. As a writer I know that this section was necessary because it IS a new world and you have to establish how this world works, but I still think the pace could have been picked up during that section. I was getting worried that I wouldn't enjoy the book--
Until the dragon arrived. At thing point, Tad Williams hit my WOW button. No, he SLAMMED the wow button. There are some strong correlations here with 9/11, which was part of the plot of the book before 9/11 actually occurred (although the book didn't come out until after 9/11). Whether that correlation drew me into the book or not, doesn't matter. At that point, the pacing picks up and things begin to move. Williams' has established the world and the rules, and now he moves the story along at a fast pace.
In the end, the novel is about repression and the subjugation of people, about race and bigotry, and about class distinctions and the breaking down of those walls. It's also a great story (after that initial lull). Theo finds out who he is and who he can be. There are also some great side characters, such as Applecore, the little sprite who brings Theo to Faerie and becomes one of his greatest friends and allies. Poppy and Cumber and Button--all of them come to life and make the Faerie world real. I was also impressed with how certain minor events in the book come together at the end and affect the outcome, becoming not so minor after all.
And those are my thoughts on War of the Flowers. What did you guys think? Do you agree or disagree? Any other comments about the book?
WARNING!: Keep in mind that if you click on the comments, you may run across spoilers if you haven't read the book yet.
I've had nearly the same reaction to his books. I've never recaptured how much I loved The Dragonbone Chair with any of his other works. He's also notable for me in that I can remember how his series begin, but I can somehow never remember how they end.
I wasn't overly impressed with War of the Flowers. It had its bright spots, but felt overly long and self-indulgent.
Hmm . . . I think I had a stronger reaction to Stone of Farewell. Nothing of his that I've read since has topped that one. Dragonbone Chair drew me in and made me want to read more, but the second book made me love Tad Williams as an author.
I also don't remember how his first series ends . . . I may have to reread it. Same for the Otherland series.
War of the Flowers, as you say, had some really good moments, but did have a few troubled spots. I think I'll remember the ending of this one though, since I was impressed by how some of the smaller moments came together there.