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The War of the Flowers

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,082 Ratings  ·  310 Reviews
Theo Vilmos' life is about to take a real turn for the worse.

He is drawn from his home in Northern California into the parallel world of Faerie, for, unknown to him, he is a pivotal figure in a war between certain of Faerie's powerful lords and the rest of the strange creatures who live in this exotic realm.
Paperback, 828 pages
Published May 4th 2004 by DAW (first published April 22nd 2003)
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Jul 22, 2013 Carol. rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one, really

Derivative. Reminds me rather unfortunately of Christopher Golden's the Veil trilogy, and Terry Brooks' Landover series, neither of which I enjoyed.

Bear with my summation, so that I may explain the multitude of ways in which this book alternately irritated and bored me.

30-something Theo is lead singer in a garage band, contemplating changing his life as his girlfriend has a baby on the way. Except, of course, he's not going to change it tonight, despite generally disliking his bandmates; he's g
Jun 16, 2009 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fairytales
I read this book a long time ago -- it was the first book by Tad Williams that I read -- but never wrote a proper review for it. Both times I've read it I ate it up in about two days. The writing was pretty good -- or it tasted good, anyway, from a synaesthete's point of view -- and the plot was interesting enough to draw me on and make me read it in great big chunks. There was something unmemorable about it, though. I have a pretty good memory, like my dad, and my dad is one of those guys who c ...more
William Bentrim
Jul 30, 2011 William Bentrim rated it it was amazing
The War of The Flowers by Tad Williams

This is a unique perspective on a Faerie that sadly emulates or mirrors our own society.

You can depend on Tad Williams for both a good story and a skewed perception of normalcy. Normalcy in regards to how we see and perceive the land of Faerie is one of the lynch pins of the plot. Williams provided a story whose protagonist wasn’t the classic anti-hero but more of a wimpy hero.

Theo had it all, good looks, great voice and loads of potential that he totally
Masha Toit
Jun 16, 2012 Masha Toit rated it really liked it
What if Faery had an industrial revolution? Class warfare - and an energy crisis?

Theo Vilmos is a musician, a bit of a loser, passively drifting through life and apt to blame others for his troubles. Tad Williams takes this unlikely hero and places him in the middle of a developing crisis between our world and Faery.

This is a dark book, filled with vivid and strange places: the Faery realm is a warped reflection of our world. There are trains, but they don't work quite like they do in our world
Joshua Palmatier
Oct 17, 2008 Joshua Palmatier rated it liked it
I felt that this book was a good read, but had a few parts that were a little too slow. It took me a while to get through the first 300 pages or so, simply because what occurs at first is rather grim, followed by a section once the main character travels to Faerie that just needed faster pacing. However, once the dragon arrives on the scene the pace picked up tremendously. The second half of the book is much better by far, with some rather cool and interesting ideas (which I don't want to spoil) ...more
Jeffery Moulton
Apr 03, 2011 Jeffery Moulton rated it really liked it
The War of the Flowers was a frustrating book for me. I read it after finishing Tad Williams' amazing Otherland series and, in many ways I was not disappointed. The world in War is rich, detailed, and fascinating. The character motivations feel real and are not rushed, and the descriptions were incredible. Honestly, the only thing I didn't like was the main character, who whined way too much and was thoroughly unlikeable.

War takes Theo, a musician in our world, and sends him to that mysterious l
Anne Petty
Apr 05, 2012 Anne Petty rated it it was amazing
Every now and then I love to sink my teeth into an epic fantasy of many pages that will sweep me off to somewhere that temporarily seems more real than the world I live in. I read Tad Williams’ Tailchaser’s Song years ago and have dipped in and out of his monumental Otherland series, so I expected to enjoy this standalone novel (kind of rare in fantasy publishing these days)and wasn’t disappointed.

Let me just say, I was not prepared for this vision of fairyland—-as Dorothy Parker reputedly excl
Connie Jasperson
Apr 19, 2013 Connie Jasperson rated it it was amazing
Today I am revisiting one of my favorite books of the last twenty years, The War of the Flowers by +Tad Williams. Originally published in 2003, I first bought this book the day it was released as a paperback. I've often said I will always buy a book for its cover, and I liked the art so much that I bought the book despite the rather lackluster blurb. The REAL reason I bought this book—Tad Williams has an incredible ability to write a tale that grips the reader and drags them in, blurring the lin ...more
Valjeanne Jeffers
Jul 14, 2009 Valjeanne Jeffers rated it it was amazing
Wonderful imagery and creation of a world just outside our own.
Michelle Elizabeth
The Bad

This book probably could have been trimmed down 150~200 pages without sacrificing much storyline; a few too many details existed that weren't the most interesting thing ever to read.

I also felt Theo had poor taste in women. (view spoiler)
Jason Mills
Jan 06, 2010 Jason Mills rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tad Williams fans, genre fantasy addicts, goblinophiles
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, war
This is the least impressive of Tad Williams' books I've read so far. Theo, our hero, is yanked through into the world of Faerie, but it's a world corrupted by power-hungry Flower Lords who have reshaped it into something very like our own. And herein lies the problem: there is little colour in showing us that, ooh look, the fairies have trains too, only theirs are magical! When I read a fantasy, I'm kinda hoping to see a world that is different.

Our hero is a loser in the mortal world, a washed-
Mar 02, 2008 Gary rated it liked it
This was an interesting story with a fairly unique view into the world of Faerie. The journey from earth to Faerie is one that has sparked many a tale, working off the Gaelic myths of old. This book does the same, taking an out-of-work rock band singer and thrusting him unwillingly into the beautiful enigmatic land of the elves. There things are not all they seem, plots and intrigues abound. The descriptions are great, the intrigues interesting. The twist of the idea of changelings was nice. The ...more
A 30-year-old good-for-nothing musician finds his uncle's diary and gets sucked into fairytale world where all sorts of magical creatures are real and flower-named elves wage war with each other... err, something like that anyway.
Doesn't sound good.

I actually don't remember why I bought this book. It doesn't sound like my type of thing. Someone must have recommended it; but then, I remember one of my friends saying that it took her a year to finish this book. Tad Williams is the only author whos
Feb 08, 2012 Camilla rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, faerie
You know that thing where you get this great idea for a novel, and you start writing it, and then you pick up a book one day and discover that someone else has already written the novel you wanted to only MUCH BETTER, the bastard? Yeah, that.

This is a flipping wonderful book. The whole premise is thoroughly worked out and the world is entire and real in a way that made me feel I was returning to a place instead of the setting of a story every time I picked the book up again to continue.

The chara
Mar 10, 2009 Arthur rated it it was ok
A mixture of two worlds

It is OKeish...

If you have read all the books on your ASAP list and you are looking for something short and different, you might give this book a try. It is easy going one with a good sense of humor. By no means it was boring. I enjoyed it to a certain degree and I deem it worthy of my time. However, it is definitely not epic fantasy. It is a blend of our world and a world of fairies. It never works for me. Maybe I am just a fan of Epic Fantasy, like Memory, Sorrow & T
Jun 12, 2008 Debs rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers
Recommended to Debs by: Lauren
Shelves: fantasy, 2008, borrowed
I absolutely adored this book, it was delicious in every sense of the word, and I couldn't wait to get home from work each day to spend time with it. Though I found it a bit slow at the beginning, the pace picked up quickly, and I finished it in a few days because I *had* to know what was going to happen next.

I liked the fact that the Faerie World wasn't typically Fairy-Fantasy (all pixie dust and light), but had a huge undercurrent the dystopian and political, and drawing on issues that have pl
Jan 28, 2014 Kerri rated it it was ok
I am so sad I did not like this book. Tad Williams is one of my favorite authors, so I was doubly disappointed! But I just do not much care for this book. I did not care much for any of the characters; I did not feel connected to any of them (which is almost opposite of all of his other books, whether I liked them or not). Theo especially bugged me as he dragged his feet for almost the entire book, his comments were annoying, and his thick-headedness was annoying as well. He was a frustrating "h ...more
Apr 29, 2009 Deval rated it liked it
I am not someone who is a book snob. The only things that I'm interested in when reading is a good story that grips you from the start and keeps you interested till the end. Having said that this book was not interesting enough for me. The concept and the plot are quite imaginative and I give Tad Williams the credit for that but I just could not find myself wanting to read anymore or want to know what happens to the characters. The only character I found remotely interesting was Applecore beyond ...more
Jennifer Stevenson
Jan 26, 2011 Jennifer Stevenson rated it it was amazing
I am not usually a sci-fi/fantasy fan, but this book is so beautiful I've read it again and again. I love that it's a self-contained story. Sci-fi seems notorious for series, and this author, Tad Williams, has done a few, I think. I read his Otherland series-about disparate groups of people that find themselves inside the internet in various virtual worlds-and it was really cool and mostly well-paced, but this book to me is magical. Very vivid details of characters and surroundings add to the ex ...more
Aug 10, 2011 Tuula rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a bit disappointed with this book. I've read Memory, Sorrow, And Thorn, which I loved - in part because of its skillful narrative, which I thought was nearly flawless. Unfortunately the same thing cannot be said about this book. The dialogue in particular was disturbingly contrived in places. It didn't exactly help that the protagonist, Theo, is such an idiot that after the first 100 pages or so I was already secretly hoping that someone would strangle him for me.

However, I quite liked Wil
Jun 17, 2015 Unorthodoxcaveman rated it liked it
I thought the world-building and musical element of this story was probably William's most able. He does a good job of paralleling faerie with the mundane world in ways that both delight and unsettle.

As usual, however, Williams tries to shoehorn in a romance for the sake of tradition or expectation, but gives it far too little screen time for it to be effective. (view spoiler)
Apr 29, 2015 Matt rated it liked it
It is a fairytale with a twist. I had previously read the Otherland series, and loved them. The Otherland series was a lot more serious whereas this had moments that are funny. Two of the main characters - Applecore and Theo, both proved comic moments. This is important because although the storytelling is good, not much goes happens on the adventure big plot points way until about page 200. After that things pick up, but it is not the standard high adventure book where characters run from dange ...more
Nihal Vrana
Jan 25, 2015 Nihal Vrana rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I have read the first two books of his "Otherland" series and I was pretty impressed by them. Surprisingly, I found this fantasy book much less imaginative than those. The Faerie concept here has many interesting ideas; but for me they did not come together within the story. I think that a society with so many members of so different sizes would be much more different from an organization point of view than a magical sprawling Metropolis.

Also the main character, Theo, never really felt like a co
James Giddings
Apr 30, 2015 James Giddings rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
In this book, Williams manages to mix plausible this-worldly tragedy with a very convincing and pragmatic fairy world, populated by people who are as different in appearance and proclivities from each other as they are from humans. What we call magic in our world, they call "science" and vice versa. Both worlds are on the brink of self-destruction and their destinies are intertwined. It's also a satisfying love story and a larger-than-life heroic saga.

I am getting to be a near-rabid fan of Tad
Teri Dluznieski
Aug 22, 2015 Teri Dluznieski rated it it was amazing
I love his work. he crafts great, fantastic, unique and credible worlds. And then he puts believable real characters in them... and stories flow, silver ink across pages and pages of mesmerizing paper. Even with WoF.. I remember it being a little slow starting, and I almost put it down. But then the story and world just lit up- and I read the entire book in a couple of sittings, straight through. I love how Williams can take a story or scenario that has been done, and sometimes been done to deat ...more
Nov 10, 2009 Mohammed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was an interesting story with a unique view into the world of Faerie.

The parallel world he created was the star of the book,the descriptions,the world,the characters in it.
Simon Wood
Aug 17, 2015 Simon Wood rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an odd one for me. A random late night snag from a train station's charity book shelf, which then sat on my shelf for a good six months while I read anything else other than this 750 page unknown entity.

And to start with I was really enjoying it, but what I was enjoying was the very human story of a man trying to reason out his self-hood in the wake of his life turning upside down when his fiancee has a miscarriage and then dumps him, as well as coming to know his distant mother as she
Jul 14, 2014 Flora rated it really liked it
Fantasy villains don't usually creep me out, but Tad Williams has a way with them. I checked this book out years ago and I still remember the chills I felt as the main characters ran from the shapeshifter/possessor.

Loved the world, liked a lot of the characters. The big reveal, however, was a cheesy letdown after what had been one of the best literary rides I've ever had.

That being said, I won't be reading much Tad anymore. He feuded with a friend of mine, and in this particular case I'm willin
Joshua Redlich
Jul 11, 2014 Joshua Redlich rated it really liked it
The War of the Flowers is a fascinating take on fairyland, and for that reason alone it was worth the read. The writing is also very smooth, with some wonderful descriptions thrown in, and the storyline is one that is interesting the entire way through. Yes, it was slow at times, and it's 800+ pages (a 2 week commitment at least for us slow readers), and I have to say that the protagonist himself was not the greatest charter I've ever seen (not so much annoying as just unrealistically bland), bu ...more
Jan 06, 2016 Amber rated it it was amazing
Shelves: urban-fantasy
I'm a big fan of Tad Williams after reading his Otherland and Shadowmarch series. So I was excited to read this book especially when I found out it was urban fantasy.

One of the things I liked eBay about this book was the protagonist, Theo. He doesn't have special powers, special abilities or really anything special about him at all. Not technically. Much of the book is spent trying to figure out why the forces of the Faerie world would want him so badly anyway. Even when the truth is revealed it
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2015 Reading Chal...: The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams 3 10 Mar 17, 2015 02:03PM  
  • The Battle of Evernight (The Bitterbynde, #3)
  • The Morgaine Saga (Morgaine & Vanye, #1-3)
  • The One Kingdom (The Swans' War, #1)
  • The Golden Key
  • The Barbed Coil
  • Wit'ch Star (The Banned and the Banished, #5)
  • Wings of Wrath (The Magister Trilogy, #2)
  • Song of the Beast
  • The Last Light of the Sun
  • Songs of Earth and Power
  • The Iron Tower (Iron Tower, #1-3)
  • Impossible Odds (King's Blades, #5)
  • The Greenstone Grail (The Sangreal Trilogy, #1)
  • Prince of Dogs (Crown of Stars, #2)
  • The Anvil of the World (Lord Ermenwyr, #1)
  • Of Blood and Honey (The Fey and the Fallen, #1)
  • A Time of Omens (The Westlands, #2)
Tad Williams has held more jobs than any sane person should admit to—singing in a band, selling shoes, managing a financial institution, throwing newspapers, and designing military manuals, to name just a few. He also hosted a syndicated radio show for ten years, worked in theater and television production, taught both grade-school and college classes, and worked in multimedia for a major computer ...more
More about Tad Williams...

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“-You're pretty hard-boiled, Tinker Bell.
-Call me that name again and you'll be wondering how your bollocks wound up lodged in your windpipe--from below. Just because we don't get to your side of things much anymore doesn't mean we don't know anything. 'If you believe in fairies, clap your hands!' If you believe in fairies, kiss my rosy pink arse is more like it. Now are you going to shut your gob or not?”
“Stairs. This is Hell. Hell is stairs, was all Theo could think. I'd sell my soul for a goddamn elevator.
But I don't have a soul, do I? I'm some kind of fairy.
Okay, settle for an escalator, then.”
More quotes…