Fairies. Friendship. The Magic of Rock and Roll.
I found War for the Oaks by Emma Bull on a list of Science Fiction and Fantasy books to cheer one up. Even though the book is almost three decades old, it still warmed my heart. Who couldn’t love a book where one of the romantic characters is a fairy that turns into a dog? Yes, the novel has a bit of sex, but the scenes are sweet and touching. While it has some sad parts, friendship triumphs in the end. Yup, I felt better after reading it.
War for the Oaks is set in, what at the time the novel was written, modern-day Minneapolis. Eddi is going through young-adult angst because she is breaking up with both her band and her boyfriend. Walking home alone at night, she is accosted by two good fairies, who have recruited her to be their human representative in a little squabble between the fairies of darkness and the fairies of light. It turns out that having a human on the battlefield will allow the normally immortal fairies to actually die. But, the battle is awhile off, so in the meantime Eddi needs a protector from the fairies of darkness and a new band so that she can pay the bills. Eddi learns a lot about fairies and about herself.
At first I was put off by the writing style of War for the Oaks. The author seemed to be trying too hard. But, from the very beginning, I loved the characters. The phouka, Eddi’s fairy dog/human protector, is funny, lovable, and vulnerable. Carla, Eddi’s friend and a member of the band, is the friend that we all wish we had. Willy, an upper-class fairy, is sexy, sometimes obnoxious, and sympathetic. And, the list goes on. This is definitely a triumph of friendship novel.