War for the Oaks by Emma Bull

Alright. I made it through about 100 pages of this book in the first sitting and I thought, finally, one that will be practically effortless to get through.

Then LIFE came and smacked me upside and it still took me roundabouts a week to finish this one. And lots of…. angst and effort and outside forces that were against me reading this book, particularly for the last five pages/three hours. Reading while cookie-making/company-keeping/listening to music proved much more aggravating than I expected it to be. FIVE PAGES!

Particularly because I read right up to the last chapter last night, when at 1:30 am I decided that I was much too tired to write a review upon finishing the book, so I forced myself to NOT finish it, and have been looking forward to it all day.

So, in the past week, your book blogger has become:
1 year older (paradox much, because that’s how I roll)
$240 richer
1 essay closer to completing English comp
1 quiz closer to completing Psych
1 aggravating painting closer to losing my mind

And through it all, what I’ve really wanted to do was FINISH THIS AMAZING BOOK.

Alright. This book is V-recommended. I’m actually pretty sure it’s her favorite book in the entire world and she’s also the reason that I own it because she’s the best person on the planet, who finds a book at a library sale and then decides to mail it overseas. Complete with lovely inscription and wonderful nice on ripped-up diary paper tucked into the cover.

So, this is the book that I’ve been angsting about for three weeks because it WASN’T SHOWING UP. It was very distressing. So when it did, the day after I started Memoirs, I was a tad bit irritated because I had to get through the entirety of Memoirs before I could read it.

And then last time V reread it (which was directly after she mailed it to me) she spent the entire time sharing excerpts from her favorite parts, so yes, I WANTED this book.

So, there were many things lovely and unusual about this book. The story is about a singer/guitar-player named Eddi McCandry, and begins on the night she breaks up with her boyfriend/quits his band. As she’s going home, she realizes she’s being tailed by a mysterious figure in a dark coat and a monstrous black dog. As she tries to escape him, she falls and knocks herself out (yes, this is our courageous heroine).

When she comes ’round, she’s in the presence of the black dog and another mysterious creature made out of water, both speaking English. Then the dog turns into the mysterious man. Together, the man (actually a mythical creature called a phouka) and the water-creature, a glaistrig, inform her that she’s not JUST Eddi McCandry. That’s entirely not true, she IS just Eddi McCandry, but she’s been selected for a big-giant responsibility for this war in Faerie, and she basically has no choice.

And that’s the setup for the story. The phouka and the glaistrig belong to a group of beings called the Seelie Court, and their enemies are the Unseelie Court, but you’re never told exactly what that means. Seelie Court = good, Unseelie Court = bad. Eddi is informed that the phouka must stay by her side always, to guard her against attacks by the Unseelie Court prior to the battle she must attend and it’s all very dramatic.

You fall in love with the phouka much earlier than Eddi does. Eddi spends quite a long time resenting the phouka’s presence, until she actually sees an assassin from the Unseelie Court and agrees that it is a very good idea to have a bodyguard.

Then it becomes an epic. Because Eddi and her best friend, Carla, have just left her ex-boyfriend’s band, they decide to start one of their own, with a keyboardist Carla knows, and hold auditions for a bass player and extra guitarist.

I feel like I’m utter rubbish at summarizing books.

ANYWAY. There’s romance, music, action, and angst. It takes place in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There are some of the most gorgeous, thoughtful descriptions I have ever read. This is actually one of the few times I’ve felt inclined to annotate a book (an impulse I can’t usually indulge because the books aren’t MINE), just so I could underline the passages I really loved. I would sit there rereading sentences going, ‘What kind of genius mind comes up with this?’ There were analogies and metaphors I had never even heard of. It was all wonderfully Eddi.

Oh yes, this is also the first book I’ve read since before I started writing these reviews that was actually in third person. And… I do prefer first person, but it’s not like it’s a hang-up for a book to be written in third. It was the sort of thing that I didn’t really notice unless I thought about it.

This isn’t really coming out, is it? ANYWAY (again). This isn’t my favorite book, it’s not the best book I’ve ever read, but I did VERY MUCH enjoy it, and I love that I own it (it’s been a while since I’ve acquired a book) because I can lend it out and reread it and hooray. Though I absolutely can’t imagine having time to reread a book when there are so many that I haven’t yet read. I think my days of rereading are over.

One of my favorite things about this book was the romantic scenes. And yes, I’m a teenage girl, and no, those were not the most important parts of the book (to be honest, my eyes sort of glazed over during the fighting parts until the phouka did something amazing) but they were written in a wonderful, sensuous, deep way that I just wanted to fall into and absorb for myself. There were parts of this book where I just felt so much TALENT emanating off of the pages that I felt completely hopeless in my ability to write anything at all.

And basically I enjoyed this book a lot and you should read it. Everyone should read it. It’s under-appreciated. I even convinced my school librarian to order a copy.

I borrowed a new book from the library this week, regardless of the fact that I’ve already got a pile. I just couldn’t resist. Afterwards, I’ll read the books from my pile (I swear, cross my heart) and then I’ll find another one from V’s list and read that. This week she also satisfied one of my recommendations for her and read The Hunger Games, which I adore, and she liked well enough- though she wasn’t pleased to find that it was part of a trilogy. Ah, well. My twin sister is also taking my infallible advice and has, in the past two weeks, read Girl in Translation and Shanghai Girls (though she’s actually only a bit into that second one) and has enjoyed both of them. Yet another reason you should all give them a read.

That’s it for today. I have a psych quiz to study for. Enjoy your fine literature.

Published in: on November 21, 2010 at 5:40 pm  Comments (3)  
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