Review: War for the Oaks by Emma Bull

War for the OaksWar for the Oaks by Emma Bull
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wish I understood the hype this book has commanded for over twenty years, but I can't. I also wish I'd heard of at least half of the songs mentioned (stuffed, more like) in it. Unfortunately, Emma Bull was under the impression that the more contemporary hip iconic culture she shoved down the throats of her readers, the better it would be. In doing this, and shamelessly using her own (poor) lyrics as filler, she managed to completely neglect her writing.

I can't even recall how many times I had to exclaim "REALLY?" before I lost my voice to disgust and just started gagging. Probably right around the point where Carla, a completely flat character seemingly designed by a schizophrenic, says "No one is cuter than Prince." Or maybe it was Eddi who said that. Whatever, the two were completely interchangeable, which is made worse by the fact that Eddi is THE MFING PROTAGONIST. Gahh!!! Whyyy????? So...painfully...bad.

DO NOT get me started on the phouka's dialog. Or the extensive descriptions of his (and everyone's) clothes (WTF, even 80s doesn't explain that away) and his hair, which, from the repetitive and unimaginative description was obviously a Jheri curl.

Don't get me wrong, I can totally see the influence this book had on fantasy, and am willing to accept that it is a pioneer of the urban fantasy sub-genre, but I can only praise subsequent writers for redeeming it from the awful depths War for the Oaks set it at. Even writers like Laurell K. Hamilton, who can at least make the outfits easy to envision (that is not an endorsement of rabid "let's get dressed up!" chapters in fantasy).

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