Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Island of Excess Love

The Island of Excess Love
by Francesca Lia Block
Love in the Time of Global Warming
book two

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. (Description from

I have to admit that I have not read book one in this trilogy, Love in the Time of Global Warming. It's been on my list of things to read, but I just somehow have not made the time. I've actually never read anything by Francesca Lia Bloc., though I've heard she writes beautifully.  The one other book of hers that I tried to pick up a few years ago didn't really hit me the right way then, but I really enjoyed this one. 

I think because I'm already predisposed to like this series.  I love post-apocalyptic worlds and I love re-imaginings of classical works.  This book which is based from Virgil's The Aeneid, follows the heroine, Pen, who has finally been reunited with her friends and family in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Having had a few months of peace, the last thing Pen wants is to leave her comfortable and familiar surroundings.  When safety is no longer guaranteed, though, the group must flee, and unfortunately, they end up having to go on a ship that is cursed, leaving them all under the effects of a wicked spell. 

Relationships start to break down as reality and fantasy become indistinguishable. Danger and impending death seem to loom around every corner.  So, when they wash up on the Island of Love and meet its generous and benevolent King, Pen, her brother, and most of their friends happily accept his hospitality.  Pen's lover, Hex, though sees how the King covets Pen and tries to dissuade them, eventually becoming the epicenter of a fissure in their group brought on by an epic betrayal.  

Though I had not read the first book which tells the story of how these characters came together, it still broke my heart as things starting pulling them apart.  Block writes so evocatively...her word choices are haunting and beautiful... I'm not sure another author would have been able to write this book so well.  I'm anxious now to go back and read the first book and I'll definitely be looking to read the final chapter of Pen's story. 

Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for AudioFile 

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