Zombies that you want to be friends with (if they’re not hungry)!
So this is the sequel to EAT BRAINS LOVE, which I briefly mentioned a little while ago. Book 1 ended in a precarious place, our protagonists on the run. Book 2 continued at the same speed and took us into new states, different kinds of societies, and a few new kills (duh. it’s a book about zombies). Book 2 got better at giving the female protagonist some dimension (her story was kinda flat in book 1), which was a good thing. I would complain that that there wasn’t enough closure, but I have the sneaking suspicion that another book might be on the way.
Welcome to a new mini series: the Express Book Review!
This mini series may also be known as: I read a bunch of books but also got really busy and didn’t have time to give them proper reviews, but also though people should know about them…
The Potential Hazards of Hester Day was nuts. I chose-a-book-by-its-cover on a mad dash on my way to catch a train, and it turned out totally awesome. Our protagonist is bizarre, quirky, and smart– in a relatable, but not always entirely admirable way. The plot and characters are kind of absurd– yet at the same time, they’re not. There is a marriage, public libraries, marriage, accidental-on-purpose child abduction, a first crush/love. All kinds of good stuff.
I’m basically into whatever FLB writes. The Island Of Excess Love is the follow-up to Love in the Time of Global Warming. Pen, her little brother, the dog, Hex, Ash, and Ez, after an Odyssey of an adventure, are peacefully living in Pen’s old pink house by the sea. The little brother can make plants grow, a character from the old book makes secret deliveries to them of supplies and food, everything’s basically smooth sailing– until a massive ship sails onto their horizon.
What follows is an adventure based on Virgil’s Aeneid. While Love in the Time was more subtle about the protagonist’s Odyssean parallels, this book lays it out for the reader– it can’t be missed. There’s magic, sex, loyalty, sexiness, bewitchment, betrayal, and love. The language is in Block’s typical enchanting tone, the ending is open. It feels short at 200 pages; things happen and they are fascinating to read about– but I want even more.
Get a copy here. It’s a solid choice.
Francesca Lia Block and I go way back– like all the way to the 6th grade. I stumbled upon Weetzie Bat sometime before it “went missing” from the local library (oooh, yes, it’s a “banned book”), and was immediately obsessed with bleached crew cuts, pink cowboy boots, Dirks&Ducks (omg I could not believe what I was reading!), & pastel-bleached summer so-cal days. Love In the Time of Global Warming is less about life and beauty and finding a sense of place– and more about an Odyssey. And I mean that Homeric-ly. Penelope a.k.a. “Pen” (remember that Odysseus’s wife’s name was Penelope)is the only one left at the site of her family’s house after a huge disaster hits. She holes up along in the rubble for a while until a mysterious man brings her a map and a van…
A dreamlike odyssey follows, and some of the critics point this out as a weakness, but I think it’s kinda beautiful. It’s been well over a decade since I was forced to read the original in school, but I can tell you that the obstacles that Pen encounters mirror those in the classic Odyssey, but in a fresh and unique way. You meet the Cyclops, but it happens somewhere supermodern and kinda apocalyptic anyway (etc). FLB is FLB, so she also finds lovely ways to weave in narratives of LGBT teenagers, which will probably change some kid’s life, first relationships, elements from her real life, and hazards of genetic engineering… If it sounds like a lot it is, and is it literal, or is it an dreamy meditation about how to function, and ultimately love, in a world so damaged by everything our kind has done to it? My recommendation is to avoid going into this book with expectations of tidy points, simplistic resolutions, or clear-cut anything. Just dive in, and see what happens.
This is going to be a strange review because it is a review of the graphic novel adaptation of a wildly popular book that I have never read.
I’ve never been able to get too into the fantasy, adventure, and science fiction genres. I’m not entirely sure why. But there’s something about reading written descriptions of fight scenes and travels and invented worlds that bores me… as much as video representations of the same thing. Ok, so I’m just picky.
But anyway, growing up, I was a voracious and desperate little reader. I’d plow through almost any book or newspaper that lay in my way. I was bored! My family owned the Madeline L’engle trilogy (Wrinkle in Time/Swiftly Tilting Planet/ Wind in the Door), and I saw them every day on the living room book shelf, but I was never able to get into them! All the business of tesseracts and people’s weird names just really turned me off for some reason. I felt a slight nagging pull every time I walked by them, like there was something wrong with me for not wanting to read them!
Forging forward a couple of decades, A Wrinkle in Time became my City’s One City One Book. As a librarian, I felt a responsibility to at least know what the story is about. A minute or two of investigation lead me to the graphic novel. Score!
The graphic novel is adapted and illustrated by Hope Larsen, who has also written other graphic novels that I’ve liked, such as Gray Horses and Chiggers. The illustrations are in black, blue, and white, and are understandable and likable. Larsen’s adaptation keeps the story going at a solid pace, and there was not a single moment where I felt like there was some kind of hole in the narrative. The ending to the story felt a little anti-climactic, but perhaps that is how the original is?Phew, at least I finally know the story. The pressure is gone!
The tome rings in at almost 400 pages, and is about the size of the original novel. It was clearly a labor of love, and I recommend it regardless of your stance on fantasy, adventure, and science fiction.
Find A Copy Here