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    WAR FOR THE OAKS by Emma Bull

    Ace Books, 1987

    Eddi McCandry is a struggling musician who's just broken up with her band and her boyfriend when she runs into a stranger from the faerie Seelie Court. The eternal war between Seelie and Unseelie courts has flared into new life with new stakes. The immortals have agreed to throw their lives into the stake--the losers die for real--and Eddi is a key to the magic. In the meantime, the stranger, a shape-changing phouka becomes her bodyguard. The Unseelie Court will do what it can to destroy her.

    THE WAR FOR THE OAKS describes the faerie battle for modern (obviously 1980s) Minneapolis and its consequences for mortals as well as immortals. Artists and musicians stand halfway between the realms, giving them power in both planes. By becoming the keystone to the magic of mortality, and through the strength of her music, Eddi becomes a minor power in faerie. Yet her survival depends on her achieving much more.

    Although the Unseelie Court is certainly evil, the Seelie Court is far from perfect. Within its armies, discord and treason emerge. Indeed, even Eddi's phouka has an agenda of his own--an agenda that threatens the power of the court and Eddi's future.

    This darker side to THE WAR FOR THE OAKS raises it above the standard comedic approach to the merger of faerie and mortal planes. Emma Bull's talent for character (Eddi and the phouka are especially well developed), and the complex motivations behind those who want to fight evil yet who cannot wholly give their loyalty to the Seelie court, make the novel memorable (see more reviews of novels by this author).

    Four Stars

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