Sunday, August 2, 2015

Top Ten - 10. The War of the Flowers

So this time I really have come to the end. Tad Williams' The War of the Flowers is my 10th and final favourite.

I had an interesting relationship with Tad Williams as a writer I read before The War of the Flowers. I picked up his first book Tailchaser's Song on a bit of a whim and because it sounded a little different and relatively light. I initially shied away from The Dragonbone Chair (first book of the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy) because it was big (Williams tends to write what are known as big fat fantasies, and the final volume of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn; To Green Angel Tower, remains one of the largest single volumes in English) and because even then I was becoming a little tired of epics. I did eventually pick it up and loved it, then I took a while to investigate Otherland, because it was partially science fiction, and as I have noted elsewhere generally science fiction and I don't play all that well together. The War of the Flowers was pretty much the same, it looked great and it sounded interesting, but it was very different, it was very large (my copy is around the 800 page mark) and the back cover blurb really didn't do it many favours.

It's a hell of a book really. Hard to categorise. Some call it portal fantasy, the author himself says it's urban fantasy. It runs across two worlds. Some in ours and the rest in the land of faery. That wasn't uncommon for Williams. Otherland takes place in a future Earth and in the virtual world, which has worlds within worlds, depending on what simulation the characters were in at the time. Theo Vilnius' excursions between the here and now and faery were tame by comparison. 

There's the characters. Theo's a good guy, instantly likeable, and his faery companion Applecore is one of my favourites.

It has an advantage over plenty of current epics in that yes it is quite long, but it's all completely self contained. I suppose the author could go back there if he wanted, but neither he or the reader has to. It's a rare beast these days.

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