War for the Oaks by Emma Bull
Synopsis: 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.
War for the Oaks is a brilliantly entertaining fantasy novel that's as much about this world as about the imagined one.
Review: I picked up this book in Waterstones where they were describing it as a forgotten classic, and honestly I think it is one; from reading this I can clearly see the foundations for books like Cassie Clares The Mortal Instruments, with its melding of the supernatural world and a very urban human environment. This book is honestly my favourite book of 2016 it's jam packed with action and charismatic characters, I found myself unable to put it down.
The book is written in the 1980s so it's obviously not going to be following current trends, so the description of the clothes certainly date the story and there's no mobile phones; but I don't really think this makes any difference at all, and the book still feels very current for me as it deals with female empowerment and great music. As with any book I think you should focus on the stories themes rather than the time period in which it's set.
The story is absolutely fabulous, and I honestly can't fault it! Urban fantasy is my jam though so I can understand why others may take issue with it. The story for me was a page turner and I ended up bringing it everywhere with me, I even took to reading it at rush hour on the tube because I didn't want to put it down.
The action scenes are so well written, and I found myself getting caught by the pace of the book but not leaving these fast paced scenes confused by what had just been written. I also, contrary to popular Goodreads opinion, loved the detailed descriptions of what the characters were wearing; especially when Bull was describing the Phouka who was always fantastically well dressed, and I just loved trying to picture his fabulous outfits in my mind.
The characters are wonderfully flawed, and beautifully fleshed out. Eddi is a talented musician and by no means perfect; there are points where she has to take control, and she constantly learns and apologises for her mistakes. Her refusal to give up when put in an impossible situation reminds me so much of the women written in urban fantasy today, and it's so interesting to see the similarities between modern heroines and Eddi. Phouka is also absolutely fantastic, and I feel like he's exactly what you'd imagine a fae to be. He's funny, romantic, sarcastic, a little bit wily, and he gradually learns more about humanity; to be honest I think I probably love him a little too much, and his character growth is one of my favourite things about this novel. In fact the growth of the entire Seelie court is one of the best parts, and watch how the fae close to Eddi change just by being near her.
Honestly this book definitely deserves to be considered one of the founders of urban fantasy; it's fun, engaging, and more than a little exciting. I honestly couldn't recommend this more although I will admit despite the war this could definitely be considered chick-lit, but that's fine for me as I love a bit of romance with my fantasy!
Recommend: YES, yes, A thousand times yes!! I love this book so much, and I just wish it was a series so I could read more.