The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams

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July 9, 2012 by McDowski

Image downloaded from Google Images

This stand-alone Fantasy is about Theo Vilmos, an aspiring singer in a typical local bar-room rock band, whose life is about to change dramatically. Theo discovers a book written by his late great-uncle, a fictional taleabout his visit to the world of Fairy, and the people and places he comes across while on this adventure.

Theo reads the novel between personal upheavals in his life, equal parts interested and frustrated with his uncle’s imagination. Then an undead monstrosity comes for Theo in his home, and he is barely whisked away through a portal by a six-inch fairy named Applecore. Once on the other side, Theo realises that his great-uncle’s book wasn’t quite so fictional, after all. Theo finds himself drawn into the strange world, caught in the middle of a political power struggle between the ruling families, dragged into the land for reasons he cannot fathom, wanted by the dueling factions for purposes unknown.

The book is a decent enough read, but ultimately doesn’t seem to have a point. The mysterious reason for the fairy lords bringing Theo to the world ends up something that wasn’t even explained properly, and seemed inane from what little could be gathered. Perhaps the biggest flaw in the book is the protagonist himself. Theo Vilmos is a stunningly dull character, with nary a redeemable quality about him. It’s one thing to have a lead who is unaware of the workings of a strange, new world; that is to be expected. It’s quite another to have one who consistently displays a streak of sheer stupidity. I might not have read as many Fantasy novels as some others, but of the ones I have read, Theo probably qualifies as the most annoying protagonist I have come across. On the bright side, Applecore is a very entertaining character, diminutive in size but certainly not in personality or lip.

Overall I would, since I’m a nice guy, give the book a generous 7 out of 10. In other words, not a horrible book, and worth a read if you have it lying on your shelf and don’t have anything better to read, but certainly not good enough to get an actual recommendation.


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