War for the Oaks by Emma Bull

War for the Oaks by Emma BullWar For the Oaks by Emma Bull
Published: Tor Teen (1987), Paperback, 336pg
Source: Bought
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Urban Fantasy

Guitarist Eddi McCandry has just dumped her boyfriend and their band when she finds herself running through the Minneapolis night, pursued by a sinister man and a huge, terrifying dog. As she soon discovers, the two creatures are one and the same: a phouka, a faerie being who has chosen Eddi to be the mortal pawn in the age-old war between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Eddi isn't interested--but she doesn't have a choice. For more than her own survival is at stake. To save the city--and the man--that she loves, Eddi must face off against the Dark Queen of the Unseelie Court in the ultimate duel of music and magic. (from Amazon)

I bought this book back in 2005 at the Mall of America, before I knew how to pack enough reading materials into my bags so I didn’t run out halfway through a road trip.1 I don’t think I knew what urban fantasy was back then, but I liked the cover and I had enough of my allowance left so hey! Why not, right? I think the blurb from Neil Gaiman helped me decide, too, though it’s probably the least useful blurb I’ve ever seen.2

So this was my intro to Emma Bull! And I think it’s a pretty darned good one. It’s no longer my favorite urban fantasy book, but I still definitely enjoy reading it. Sure, there’s some dated stuff (the clothing, mostly) and a really depressing event near the end that makes me scream “WHYYYYYYYY” every time I read it, but it’s still an excellent urban fantasy book.3 It’s got rock n’ roll and scary violence and an interesting cast of characters. I like especially that it’s set in Minneapolis– the “flyover” states still don’t get much love in fantasy nowadays, and I have a fondness for Minnesota-set stories anyway (I lived there when I was little).

My favorite Emma Bull book (so far) is still Freedom and Necessity, but if you’re more into modern fantasy than historical fantasy, War for the Oaks is a worth a read for sure.

reRead: Jan. 24-25, 2013

Check out this trailer the author and her friends made back in the 1990s. It’s AMAZING.


  1. also before I even knew what an ebook/ebook reader WAS.
  2. “Emma Bull is really good.” Okay.
  3. didn’t notice that it was published under the Tor Teen imprint until now! How interesting. Was it originally published as a YA book? Because it totally reads as an adult one to me, albeit without the rampant sex scenes that show up in most urban fantasy books today.

4 thoughts on “War for the Oaks by Emma Bull”

  1. Reads like an adult book to me too! I liked it, even though someone pitched it to me as a Tam Lin story which, uh, is that right? Seems untrue. Did it seem Tam Linny to you at all?

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