War for the Oaks, Emma Bull

I read somewhere (who knows?) that War for the Oaks is a retelling of Tam Lin.  I’m on a mad craze to read all the retellings of Tam Lin that I can find, which is brilliant because Fire and Hemlock is waiting for me at the end.  Also, I am interested in reading a whole bunch of retellings of one story, because I am thinking of doing an adaptation of “The Little Mermaid”, and I am curious to see how people do it.  War for the Oaks isn’t a retelling of Tam Lin, but it’s fun and I enjoyed it.

It’s about a talented musician called Eddi who becomes entangled with the Seelie court.  They want to do battle with the Unseelie court, but they can’t do it properly unless they have a mortal around, because that’s the only circumstance in which the Seelie and Unseelie people can be killed.  Once they’ve decided to do this, they set a phouka to guard Eddi until the battle arrives, so that the Unseelie court doesn’t kill her in advance of the battle.  It’s all fun and games until – well, no, it’s never fun and games.  There are many unpleasantnesses.  (I mean, it’s fun for me.  It’s not fun for its protagonists, at least not mostly.)

I was in the mood for something fun with phoukas and brownies and the Sidhe.  I can’t do with a constant diet of them, but it’s a nice thing to read on a Sunday afternoon, when it’s too hot to go outside but just about right to pull open the shades and open up the window.  Lovely.

4 thoughts on “War for the Oaks, Emma Bull

  1. It’s fun! I used to read a lot more not-very-good fantasy in my youth, and although I don’t want a lot of it at once, it can be nice to have a little bit. In retrospect, a lot of the books I read were probably more tongue-in-cheek than I thought they were, when I was in seventh grade.

  2. Tam Lin? I don’t THINK so! Either that or it was a much different version from the ones I have read.

    Have you read Pamela Dean’s version of Tam Lin? A very good job, it sneaks up on you, starting off as a harmless tale of a girl going off to college. Then you begin to see magic going on in the background, Shakespeare’s actors come back to life, and you begin to realize its more than just a tale.

    • Tam Lin is one of my guilty pleasure reads! I’ve never enjoyed any of Pamela Dean’s other books nearly as much as I did Tam Lin. Have you read Diana Wynne Jones’s Fire and Hemlock? It’s by far the best retelling of Tam Lin I’ve ever read.

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