War for the Oaks, by Emma Bull

Ace
309 pp.
(Orb, 336 pp.)

War for the Oaks: A Novel
Order on Amazon.

War for the Oaks is urban fantasy of the subset known as urban faerie. (While some more recent urban fantasy might tack on faeries in a mostly vampire and werewolf universe, this is primarily a novel dealing with Faerie and its intersection with the mortal world.) This novel originally came out in the 80’s. It has been reprinted by Orb books.

Our heroine is one Eddie McCandry, a young woman who finds herself without a boyfriend and without a band due to said boyfriend’s general incompetence and failure at life. Before she has time to do much more than be annoyed and angry about the situation she is contacted by an emissary from the Seelie Court. This emissary is a phouka (a type of shape-shifting faerie that can turn into a horse, a goat, or in this case a black dog) and he has chosen her for the not very wonderful job of being a participant in an upcoming war with the Unseelie Court. She has absolutely no choice but to sign on because the instant she was chosen by the Seelie Court, she became the target of the Unseelie Court.

The phouka is to serve as her bodyguard, which is something Eddie doesn’t appreciate, but can’t exactly escape. She appreciates it even less when she discovers that her part in the battle is to be a sort of angel of death–she finds out that she is the major component of a spell that ensures that the immortal combatants will have a permanent end should they be fatally wounded on the field.

In short, it really sucks to be her.

Eddie’s life becomes very, very exciting as the phouka proceeds to turn her life upside down and she is drawn further into the world of Faerie. At the same time, she decides to start a new band whose members also become involved with the battle as they become aware that Something is Going On. (Then things get really interesting because two of the members are faeries.)

This is an enjoyable adventure with a hint of romance as Eddie becomes involved with the phouka. (There is at first a “rival moment,” between two of the male protagonists, but it’s not as much of a focus as it might have been in a more romance-focused story.) The characters are interesting and engaging, and I really enjoyed the plot the first time I read it. (Enough that I’ve re-read it many times since then.)

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Filed under Emma Bull, faerie, fantasy, Review: Book, urban

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