January 13, 2014

Review: Love in the Time of Global Warming

Love in the Time of Global Warming By Francesca Lia Block
Available now from Henry Holt & Co. BFYR (Macmillan)
Review copy
Read my review of The Elementals

Sometimes I love Francesca Lia Block's novels.  Sometimes I don't.  LOVE IN THE TIME OF GLOBAL WARMING definitely falls on the love side.  This is a retelling of The Odyssey, set in modern-day California.  There's a major earthquake, then giant cyclops start roaming and eating people.

Like most of Block's work, the story is told in a dreamy style.  I thought it really worked in this case, since Pen's story is something of a fairytale or fable.  She's a girl on her own, hunting for her family, especially her little brother, Venice.  Along the way she makes several allies and discovers how little she knew about herself or her talents.

The cast is fantastic.  There are few characters, but they're diverse in color, sexuality, and personality.  Hex, Ezra, and Ash all bring something to the quest, although they aren't all fighters.  And of course everything centers around Pen, who is just wonderful.  She's willing to believe in the best of people, even at the end of the world.

I didn't like that The Odyssey was still a story in Pen's world, and that two of the characters read and reference it throughout.  It felt a bit too on the nose, especially since the story is followed fairly closely.  At the same time, it's a story I love, and this magical realism take is enchanting.  Block twists it into something just as fantastical, yet thoroughly modern.

Macmillan has made the first five chapters available for free online (just search for them), which is good, because it gives you a chance to try Block's style.  If it's not for you, it's not for you.  But if you can fall into it, it's a real treat.

8 comments:

  1. I've been meaning to read this one since last spring (I was approved on NetGalley and then didn't get to it in time), and am just waiting for it to come in at the library. Glad to see that you liked it! I haven't tried Block before, but I'm hoping for good things.

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    1. I enjoy her, but her style is definitely love it or hate it. I hope you like it when it comes in!

      (Oh how I hate NetGalley time limits!)

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  2. I do want to read something by Block at some point. Sounds like an interesting adaptation.

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    1. She's fantastic! Plus, she's been doing LGBTQ YA for a long time.

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  3. This sounds great. I haven't heard of the author before though the title does ring a bell.

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  4. I've been on the fence for a while about this one. But I think I'll cave in and read it eventually. Like you, I think that the idea of actually incorporating the Odyssey into the tale is a bit heavy-handed (like the British would say), but I am intrigued nevertheless. Also, I guess you noticed there's a book 2 in the making, since you reviewed this novel on Goodreads (where they're both listed): The Island of Excess Love - inspired by Virgil's Aeneid this time. A little forceful...

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    1. Yeah, I'm looking forward to the sequel!

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