If I could I'd give it 2 1/2 stars.
The story of an ordinary girl(or guy)becoming extraordinary is common and essentially this is the formula used by War For The Oaks. Eddi is your regular old rock musician living and playing music in the Twin Cities. Until one day when things are really bad, she is against-her-will recruited into a war between the Seelie Court of Faerie and the Unseelie Court. These immortal creatures want to be able to really kill each other and for that they need her, a mortal, on the battlefield. She is much annoyed to find that until the war is completed she has been assigned a body guuard in the shape of a Prince (or the artist formally known as) lookalike who can turn into a dog and which is called a Phouka. There are a few other characters but those two are the biggest. And of course as is the way of things somewhere in the middle of this Eddi discovers that she has a little magic of her own.
I really wanted to love this book. It is touted as a pioneer in the Urban Fantasy sub genre and I just read Emma Bull's Territory a couple months ago and LOVED it. Unfortunately it was not meant to be for a number of pretty basic reasons.
I didn't engage with the main character at all and as offten happens in these ordinary girl kicks some ass story lines it went too far and made Eddi too perfect and too much the Heroine. She's the smartest and most attractive and most powerful and you know she makes that faery queen look like and imbecile dope next to her. Its not interesting. And it doesn't help that she's constantly calling people "kiddo" and "son" like instead of being a young modern rock n roller she is somebody's grampa. In addition there were a few other characters that I wish had been explored a bit more, like Willy Silver - a member of Seelie Court Elite - who kind of lives a double life, as a Sidhe and as a human. There's a couple of great scenes that hint at some interesting depth in him but it never gets explored.
The character issues were really what bothered me most. The setting and idea were interesting particularly this underground existence of the magical in our modern world. But I also kind of felt like Neil Gaiman does this juxtaposition better in American Gods. The book was also a little slow to get going but the second half definitely picks up. I think the biggest problem for me was that I loved Territory so much that this was a bit of a disappointment. I didn't feel like it was a waste of time though...