War for the Oaks - Emma Bull


Eddi McCandry is a singer in a rock and roll band that also includes her boyfriend and her best friend, until one early spring night it all goes south. Her boyfriend, who has been becoming more and more odd, flips out, their current gig falls apart, and she finally leaves, the band and the boyfriend. Eddi walks home... and her life takes a wild left turn when she is grabbed by a phouka to be a part of a war between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts of Faerie. Her presence as a mortal on the battlefield will allow the combatants, otherwise immortal, to be able to kill each other dead (not something I've ever heard of in fantasy before, but convincingly presented)... She is taken to stand on the side of the Seelie Court, and of course once the Unseelie hears about it they will be out to kill her as a blow to their enemy... In order to protect her, the same phouka who chose her and snatched her is set to protect her. Day and night. Every minute. For the entire six months the war is expected to last. Eddi is not best pleased by any part of this situation - but, once chosen and revealed to the Court, she has no choice; she is marked as the mortal representative, and even if the Seelie Court let her go, the Unseelie Court would assume it was a ploy to misdirect them and kill her anyway. She's stuck. And the phouka is driving her crazy.

Those are the bones of the story. What the book is really about is want. It's about wanting what is needed to survive, and wanting what is needed to live; wanting what will make life better, wanting what is not good for you, wanting what you can never have, wanting something which, attained, isn't what you thought it was... Every person in this book desires something, or someone, or both... Yearning weaves through the pages like the weft of a tapestry, sometimes subliminal and sometimes plainly stated.

I knew by the first page that this was what I was looking for: beautiful, unique characters; tight, lyric yet down-to-earth writing, a view of Faerie which is the writer's own spin on tradition ... and an ending that does everything an ending should. Gorgeous.