Thursday, April 23, 2009

The War of the Flowers; Tad Williams

I has been a long long time since I've read a book written by Tad Williams. In fact, I've not read anything by him since I was _____ year old, lo those many many years ago. The only other book I've read by him is Tailchaser's Song. I don't remember how I heard of this book except that someone on my feed reader mentioned it in a post I read. I think I've almost eighty blogs on my reader though, so I've no idea which person mentioned it. Sorry! In my opinion, The War of the Flowers is a combination mystery/political thriller that's set in Faerie. Since it has been so long since I've read his work, I'm counting Mr. Williams as a new to me author. Overall I'd say it's a positive impression. :)

Theo Vilmos is a thirty year old man, chronologically speaking. Averse to "growing up", he behaves and has the emotional depth and mentality of an overgrown teenager. In the space of nine months or so Theo loses his girlfriend, their baby (to miscarriage) & his mother (to cancer). After settling his mother's estate he settles into a remote mountain cabin to try and put himself back to rights after an eventful several months.

Unfortunately for him, shortly after he's up there Theo gets attacked by a mysterious "thing" and to save his own life he's spirited through a magical doorway into Faerie. Little Applecore, a tiny sprite, was sent to open the door and bring Theo through. Applecore works for Lord Tansy. It was supposed to be a one time deal, but Theo's life becomes exponentially more complicated. Applecore becomes Theo's guide to all things Faerie. The "thing" following him has crossed as well. And Faerie has serious political problems. But what does all of this have to do with Theo?

Theo appears to be crucial to the power games whispering loudly through the lush homes in the City, but he doesn't know why or how. The "thing" is still following him, though. We follow Theo and Applecore and a few other friends Theo picks up along the way as Theo tries to stay one step ahead of both the "thing" and the political shenanigans. Then there's the question about Theo's great uncle's notebook & who & what the old gentleman had to do with anything in Faerie.

There are a lot of things I like about Mr. Williams' Faerie. For one, the surnames are all flowers (duh!) but most of the personal names are subtypes of flowers within that type. Er..for example, the Apple family all have related names: Seed, Skin, Pie, Pip, Doll, Tart, Tree, Wood, etc. The fairy aristocracy are all named after flowers: Tansy, Daffodil, Hollyhock, etc. you get the idea. The highest caste fairies don't have wings and are generally human size or larger.

Certain aspects of the mystery I figured out & others caught me totally by surprise. I guess that was the best thing, actually. When I realized I'd figured out one of the plot issues by page fifty or so I wondered what else Mr. Williams had up his sleeve. I wasn't disappointed. It is a little slow, things unfold in their own time. The reader really has to pay attention over the entire span of the book to get a glimpse of what might be coming.

1 comment:

Kailana said...

I have never read Tad Williams before, but I have this book and one other on my TBR pile. I might read get to it one of these days!