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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Island of Excess Love by Fancesca Lia Block

Mythology, YA
Publication Date:August 26, 2014
Published By:  Henry Holt and Co.
WebsiteThe Island of Excess Love on Goodreads

Fancesca Lia Block's Website
My review copy:From Publisher in return for honest review.

Where to get:

  Pen has lost her parents. She’s lost her eye. But she has fought Kronen; she has won back her fragile friends and her beloved brother. Now Pen, Hex, Ash, Ez, and Venice are living in the pink house by the sea, getting by on hard work, companionship, and dreams. Until the day a foreboding ship appears in the harbor across from their home. As soon as the ship arrives, they all start having strange visions of destruction and violence. Trance-like, they head for the ship and their new battles begin.

  This companion to Love in the Time of Global Warming follows Pen as she searches for love among the ruins, this time using Virgil’s epic Aeneidas her guide. A powerful and stunning book filled with Francesca Lia Block’s beautiful language and inspiring characters.

  Before I can stop myself I answer.  "Because your book says it is.  The fire was like what happened to Aeneas' son Ascanius' hair."  I picked up Hex's precious Aeneid.  "It was a omen.
 All I know is that as far as I'm concerned we need to get out of here.  There might be fish and berries and fresh water, but there are too many signs of danger.  If burying your own body isn't a bad omen, what is?
  But I should feel shame.  I'm betraying the one I love.
  No, Pen, you are here with me.  You are mine.  We are all that exist now.  I love you. 
  I glance down and understand why he's said this but I'm so excited and open that I'm not afraid.  This desire is like a sphinx growling with my throat, thrusting with my pelvis, filling my head with riddles.
  Why are you here?  Why are you doing this?  What have you become?  Who are you, Pen?  Penelope?  Who are you?

Tragically Wonderful...

  The Island of Excess Love was just as lyrically beautiful as Love in the Time of Global Warming, and I found it just as easy to fall into. Though the mythology within the book is still loosely there, it is once again a unique fantasy world.  Well, a unique world that is based in a time in where the world has ended, and hope comes at a cost.  This also carries on with the theme that the characters story follows one similar to that of a popular book.  This time they are loosely living the world of Virgil's Aeneid, or their travels have similarities.  Though I do not know much of this book they did reference what was important.

  The pacing in this one was slightly slower for me, but found myself not noticing often due to the flowing nature of the authors writing.  The writing pulls you into the story, so that you end up feeling like you are there with the other characters living in this world.  There is a lot of little details, and yet at times it feels like some things are left a little more loose, giving the reader a little freedom to fill in some of how they see things.  In some books this would leave you feeling like you were missing something, but with this one it really gives you something a little extra.  I also enjoyed how the story took us some place new, and yet home still seemed to be home, in the pink house by the ocean.  There is something to be said about this, and the danger of home meant nothing compared to the love and the memories it created.  As a whole I did not love the plot like I did the previous book, but I still enjoyed it and the change that it brought.

  Pen almost irritated me at times in this book.  She is still strong resilient and would do anything needed for those she loves, but I felt she slipped a little in the smarts department this time around.  She allowed herself at times to become something she was not, and allowed her true feelings slide around.  However, there are also alternate forces at work that I had to take into account, and at times it was something else entirely forcing Pen's hand.  I realize that I am bouncing around, but that's really how I felt with Pen.  I enjoy her character, her strength and that she is different, but believe maybe that it was some of the things that cause her to be ordinary instead of different may have caused my inner turmoil when it came to her.  However, she is still human, even if she is exceptional.

  The romance was more prominent in this book, but it was also more twisted.  Not as in disturbing, but as in no longer what is was.  However, many things are not as they seem in this book.  I was disappointed with the strain in Hex and Pen's relationship.  I had grown to love them and how they celebrated being together and who they were with complete acceptance.  Block created a book that celebrated and normalized differences within relationships and people, that I really embraced within the last book that I felt was missing within this one.  This is not saying that she did not continue to celebrate the LBGQT community, but more I felt the normalization of the relationships and how beautiful they were, were missing.

  The Island of Excess Love, was a good read and I hope that there will be another book to follow this one.  The stories are interesting, hold beauty and tragedy, and really are something unique.  I love that this author not only ventures into areas that others avoid, but she does it with a flair that I have yet to see in another book.  I look forward to the next book or anything else that Block decides to release in the future.

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