War of the Flowers by Tad Williams

June 6, 2005 at 12:00 am | Posted in 4 stars, Book Reviews, Fantasy | 1 Comment

This is a very solid fantasy novel. No one will ever mistake it for a great book and I doubt it will show up very high on any lists at years end or anywhere else, but it delivers a consistent level of quality. Most of the time these days, when I read something I tend to find that the author is very good at one area while quite lacking somewhere else. Williams is something of a jack-of-all-trades, as his novel has good writing, good plot, good setting, etc. That it is not exceptional in any category shouldn’t be held against it. The story is of the “crossing into faerie” subgenre. The big idea of the story is that faerie has a concept of science. There are railroads, power plants, and so forth. But faerie’s “science” is our “magic”. On the surface this is kind of cute, I guess, but in the details…well, Williams doesn’t explore the details, so you have to pretty much take it or leave it. While I would have liked a little more detail in the politics, science, and so forth, the book works as presented and maybe it’s for the better. It is reassuring to see a standalone novel that moves at a brisk pace, not least because Williams has been guilty of the overweight epic as recently as his last work (Otherland). While the book was missing the startling idea, unusual character, or surprising twist that would make me recommend it wholeheartedly, you could do a whole lot worse if you are looking for solid if procedural fantasy, especially in the era of editorless n-book series.

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  1. I felt pretty much the same way. I appreciate the stand-alone nature of the book, and it was readable, but it wasn’t as in depth or well done as say The Dragonbone Chair.

    Amazing how few comments there are about Tad Williams in WordPress…

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