The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams does what only the best fairy tales can, it reflects real dreams and nightmares into a world where readers can experience them on an epic scale. The main character is a hero of circumstance and certainly not one of choice. Theo Vilmos is a thirty year old teenager tossed into a terrifying fantasy world with just an eccentric relative’s journal for aid.
Faerie isn’t forests and The book came out in 2003, but the terrifying world of Faeries holds many parallels to today’s problems. Issues like limited resources, deforestation, immigration, droning (okay, dragoning), and civil rights get a magical twist. The book has a darkness that is reminiscent of Grimm Fairy Tales. The scariest part is how real the issues of Faerie feel. I wanted to riot for the right’s of Goblin’s and chain myself to Faerie’s lovely trees. Faeries seems to take on the worst aspects of humanity. Williams contrasts those worst aspects with Theo who may not be the best of humanity, but is at least trying to be good. The setting was so fascinating I couldn’t help feeling cheated that I didn’t get more. I would read a history of Faerie if Williams wrote it. Instead I was stuck with the understanding of Theo who is largely an outsider. It’s the difference between seeing a country as a tourist or with a native.