Thursday, July 30, 2009

The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams

I just finished reading The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams.  It is the first one of his books I have read, so I don't have any of his other works to compare it to, but I really enjoyed it.  Towards the end, I couldn't put it down!

The War of the Flowers is about an under-achieving, 30-year-old musician named Theo Vilmos.  He plays in a band in Northern California with kids 10 years his junior and drives a delivery truck during the day.  He feels like he should've had more to show for his life.  And his life is about to take a serious downturn...with some pretty grim family tragedies.

Then, an encounter with a 6-inch-tall sprite and a single-mindedly relentless, undead "thing" completely changes everything as he finds himself thrust into the world of Faerie, an alternate world parallel to our own.

Although the story starts a little slowly, it eventually picks up speed until it almost becomes frantic. There were enough plot twists to keep it interesting, but a few things were a bit predictable.  There was a little bit of Terminator meets the Hobbit with the Omen thrown in for good measure.  There is also a really well-written description of total destruction that very nearly mirrors the 9/11 tragedy, though it was planned long before the terrorist attack.  Some people may find this section particularly uncomfortable if they were personally touched by the events on September 11, 2001 (and who wasn't, really?), but it was essential to the story.

I enjoyed the depiction of Faerie as something refreshingly real, with its own problems, politics and prejudices. The characters were well-developed, although I am not a big fan of the "unhero" as the main character.

All in all, I think it would make a great movie.


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