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War for the Oaks by Emma Bull
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War for the Oaks (original 1987; edition 2001)

by Emma Bull

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2,042833,271 (4.12)204
Member:Maaike15274
Title:War for the Oaks
Authors:Emma Bull
Info:New York : Orb Books. - 336 p Copyright 1987, 2001
Collections:Your library, Gelezen (van Mijn boeken), Foreign Fantasy discussieboek, ff-leesclub discussie, ff-leesclub challenge
Rating:***1/2
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War for the Oaks by Emma Bull (1987)

Recently added bygalphin, MaeveKane, Oakfairy, silverr, MABoone, xymon81, private library, marissastewart, Maddz
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» See also 204 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
Urban fantasy was my drug of choice in high school. Before Goodreads and phenomenal English teachers took their toll on my ignorant bliss, I was perfectly content to base my reading choices on cover designs and dust jacket flaps, the key to my satisfactions being that perfect blend of concrete grit and fantastical malevolence. My tastes will never return to that simplicity, but rather than using that as a reason for forgoing the genre entirely, I chose to feed a favorable looking work to my far more complex quotas. At best, I'd be pleasantly surprised. At worst, my critiquing skills would be left thoroughly honed. Either way, I was confident I'd enjoy myself, on the knee jerk gut level if nothing else.

I was right about the enjoyment part. However much I complain about stock plots and character tropes and the all too common utilization of burgeoning romance to drive the narrative and stopping just before commitment and faithfulness and all that uglier relationship jazz kicks in (love is so unsexy when it lasts forever on), it wasn't too long ago that I flat out enjoyed such things with nary a quibble. Also, I am such a sucker for snark it's embarrassing, and this book reveled in it.

What I didn't expect is to find a perfect example of feminism in all its imperfections. Here we have a female character slam dunking the Bechdel test, but pinning all the real worth and character development on the way men perceive her. She promotes understanding and nonviolence, but only when provoked by external circumstances in a very level-up Mary Sue manner (fits every situation once the situation reveals itself in a dramatic enough manner). Persons of color exist, but so does a great deal of casual racism, culminating in an endnote describing the author adapting the book for a movie and choosing to cut one of the persons of color in favor of expanding two white male character narratives (predictable culmination, anyone?). In short, female solidarity is actively developed (the book flat out talks about women's rights at one point), but there is no application of lessons learned in the development process to everyone else. Also, violence accepted as comeuppance for breaking up with a man. Ugh.

As for everything else. The fantasy was handled well, but compared to Clarke's complete and utter revitalization of the mythos in [Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell], there was nothing new to be found. Also worthy of mention is the fact that the '80's were before my time, so all accompanying references went over my head and had no favorable impact on my enjoyment. The Robert Jordan Syndrome, aka spending sizable paragraphs laying out character's outfits every few pages, a list description method that was applied to anything worthy of visualization to a frustratingly banal degree, didn't help either.

I did laugh, though. That's always good. ( )
  Korrick | Jul 22, 2014 |
From the little I remember of it, it was terribly predictable. I spent most of my time just waiting for what I knew would happen to happen.
  liveshipvivacia | Apr 26, 2014 |
This is the second time reading it. It stirs up the same feelings in me as it did before. I can honestly say it makes me feel incredibly alone in this world. The deep loyal feelings everyone has for eachother are so.. touching.

This book has given me tears/shivers in some of the exciting bits, and gets me very depressed in the sad bits.

Very enjoyable book. ( )
  halkeye | Feb 6, 2014 |
I loved this book. The main character is a woman lead singer in a sort of rock band. The things I loved most in the book were the descriptions of what it feels like to make music with a group of people. I would read this book again just for that, and the rest of it is pretty darn good too. ( )
  Kali.Lightfoot | Jan 10, 2014 |
Eddi McCandry plays guitar in a Minneapolis band -- until the night she is recruited into a secret war in the realm of Faerie, a world that exists parallel to our own. The light and dark courts of faerie have battled for centuries for dominion. This time their object is the city of Minneapolis and all it contains. As much as Eddi wishes no part in the proceedings, how can she refuse to protect the city she loves from the forces of darkness?

Emma Bull's novel is an early example of the urban fantasy genre in which hidden magic exists in the real world. It's a little burdened by 80s references -- the music, the fashion -- but the characters are engaging (the phouka, in particular) and there's a lot of local Minneapolis color. The faerie thing has been overplayed lately, but it must have been novel back in 1987 when WftO was first published.

Recommended when you crave something fun and not too mentally taxing. ( )
  keeba | Oct 22, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
Whenever I describe my Tufa novels, The Hum and the Shiver and the upcoming Wisp of a Thing, to potential readers, they immediately mention two literary antecedents. One is the Silver John stories and novels by Manly Wade Wellman, which I discussed here. The other is Emma Bull’s 1987 novel War for the Oaks. ... As with the Silver John stories, I now understand why people make the connection to my Tufa books. In this case, there are both musicians and faeries, and a sense that magic resides in music. But also as with Silver John, I think that similarity is mainly a surface one. Which, again as with Wellman’s tales, actually delights me, because it means I can enjoy War for the Oaks with a clear conscience.
added by legallypuzzled | editTor.com, Alex Bledsoe (pay site) (Apr 29, 2013)
 
In short ... I just can’t imagine anyone not liking War For the Oaks. It has everything you could possibly want in a book except pirates and space ships - and the phouka wears a sort of piratey ruffled shirt at one point so that partially covers the pirate angle. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s thought - provoking, and did I mention that it is sexy as hell? With all those significant glances and enigmatic statements and, oh yeah, some really hot, if not extremely explicit, sex? Just go read it; if you combine it with some good coffee and some good songs in the background, I can almost guarantee you the perfect day.
added by legallypuzzled | editsmart bithces, sb sarah (pay site) (May 2, 2011)
 

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Emma Bullprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eshkar, ShelleyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hayden, Patrick NielsenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Patrick, PamelaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Regina, Jane AdeleDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Windling, TerriEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
This book is for my mother,
who knew right away that the Beatles were important,
and for my father, who never once complained about the noise.
First words
By day, the Nicollet Mall winds through Minneapolis like a paved canal.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Eddi McCandry sings rock and roll. But her boyfriend just dumped her, her band just broke up, and life could hardly be worse. Then, walking home through downtown Minneapolis on a dark night, she finds herself drafted into an invisible war between the faerie folk. Now, more than her own survival is at risk - and her own preferences, musical and personal, are very much beside the point.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0765300346, Paperback)

Emma Bull's debut novel, War for the Oaks, placed her in the top tier of urban fantasists and established a new subgenre. Unlike most of the rock & rollin' fantasies that have ripped off Ms. Bull's concept, War for the Oaks is well worth reading. Intelligent and skillfully written, with sharply drawn, sympathetic characters, War for the Oaks is about love and loyalty, life and death, and creativity and sacrifice.

Eddi McCandry has just left her boyfriend and their band when she finds herself running through the Minneapolis night, pursued by a sinister man and a huge, terrifying dog. The two creatures are one and the same: a phouka, a faerie being who has chosen Eddi to be a mortal pawn in the age-old war between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Eddi isn't interested--but she doesn't have a choice. Now she struggles to build a new life and new band when she might not even survive till the first rehearsal.

War for the Oaks won the Locus Magazine award for Best First Novel and was a finalist for the Mythopoeic Society Award. Other books by Emma Bull include the novels Falcon, Bone Dance (second honors, Philip K. Dick Award), Finder (a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award), and (with Stephen Brust) Freedom and Necessity; the collection Double Feature (with Will Shetterly); and the picture book The Princess and the Lord of Night. --Cynthia Ward

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:20 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Eddi McCandry, an unemployed Minneapolis rock singer, finds herself drafted into an invisible war between the faerie folk.

(summary from another edition)

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