You want to be a hero
With the axe about to fall,
You'd buy it for the love and for the glory,
For it all.
You want to dress in black
And lose your heart beyond recall,
Hunt a dream through rain and thunder,
On your honor,
For it all...
—"For It All," War for the Oaks, Emma Bull
War for the Oaks is one of the standard works in the urban fantasy subgenre and the first novel by one of my favorite writers, Emma Bull. The Seelie and Unseelie Courts of Faerie wish to do battle for the city of Minneapolis, but in order to shed immortal blood, mortals are required. The choice of the Seelie Court is Eddi McCandry, a rock musician who is considerably taken aback when she learns of her selection from her new day-and-night bodyguard, a cute black guy who just happens to turn into a rather less cute (and very large) black dog when necessary...
The novel continues the tradition of uneasy dealings between mortals and Faerie, as Eddi and her new band become emotionally invested in both the Court's fight and the lives of its members, with unpredictable consequences. Bull does a nice job of making Faerie genuinely alien and rock 'n roll reasonably comprehensible; add interesting and sympathetic characters, snappy dialogue, cool song lyrics (such as "For It All"), and some tugging on the heartstrings, and the result is a very good debut novel indeed, whose only real flaw is a slightly abrupt ending.
%T War for the Oaks %A Bull, Emma %C New York %I Ace %D 1987 %G 0-441-87073-2 %P 309pp %O paperback
Copyright April 23, 1999 by Kate Nepveu.