War for the Oaks by Emma Bull

War for the Oaks by Emma Bull

8,572 ratings | 4.03/5 average rating

War for the Oaks is one of the harder books I’ve ever written a review for. It’s good—it’s dazzlingly good—but it’s also quite simple. Unlike other books that move at a breakneck speed and unfurl a dozen twists and turns by the third chapter, War for the Oaks is lyrical, methodical, and shines with an exquisite attention to detail.

Explaining why you should read War for the Oaks is a lot like trying to explain why you should listen to my favorite song, which, in hindsight, makes a lot of sense. A lot of the strength of War for the Oaks is in its lyrical prose and the feeling the book leaves you with.

Why don’t we start with the back copy of the book?

Eddi McCandry sings rock and roll. But her boyfriend just dumped her, her band just broke up, and life could hardly be worse. Then, walking home through downtown Minneapolis on a dark night, she finds herself drafted into an invisible war between the faerie folk. Now, more than her own survival is at risk―and her own preferences, musical and personal, are very much beside the point.

It’s not entirely true—what back copy is?—but my biggest complaint is that it does a poor job of conveying the tone of the book. Eddi is drafted into an immortal war, but war is not the point of the book. And while she’s thrown into a magical world full of faerie folk, that world is still Minneapolis.

These juxtapositions lend War for the Oaks a surprisingly realistic feeling. Eddi has to work to pay the bills even as she’s worried about looming war. The events of the book aren’t crammed into one insane weekend—they’re spread out over an entire season, meaning that you get to see Eddi on lazy, normal days as well as ones fraught with danger and steeped in regret.

The slow days tend to be some of my favorite in the book, actually. Getting to see Eddi’s normal world, now tinged with magic, is fascinating. Even more compelling, though, is Eddi’s ever-evolving relationship with the fey folk she must now share her life with.

War for the Oaks has been one of my favorite books since I was twelve years old, but I didn’t go into this reading too biased. It’d been at least a decade since I’d read it last, and I was worried that my adolescent mind and years of romanticizing it put it on a higher pedestal than it deserved.

Thank goodness I was wrong.

Available on Kindle, Nook, and as a paperback

 You might like War for the Oaks if you like:

  • Books with strong romantic elements

  • urban fantasies

  • lyrical prose

  • witty banter

  • happy endings

  • Strong female leads

  • Books with strong romantic elements

Cover art by Terri Windling

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