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Date: October 26, 2014
Love in the Time of Global Warming
Francesca Lia Block
Her life by the sea in ruins, Pen has lost everything in the Earth Shaker that all but destroyed the city of Los Angeles. She sets out into the wasteland to search for her family, her journey guided by a tattered copy of Homer’s Odyssey. Soon she begins to realize her own abilities and strength as she faces false promises of safety, the cloned giants who feast on humans, and a madman who wishes her dead. On her voyage, Pen learns to tell stories that reflect her strange visions, while she and her fellow survivors navigate the dangers that lie in wait. In her signature style, Francesca Lia Block has created a world that is beautiful in its destruction and as frightening as it is lovely. At the helm is Pen, a strong heroine who holds hope and love in her hands and refuses to be defeated.
This is what happened during the week.
A massive earthquake happens. The main character Penelope 'Pen' survives. She doesn't know what happens to her parents or brother. A group of men come to her house. She meets Merk who tells her that there is a map that will show her where her parents are. She is given a van as well. She flees in the van. She is caught by a Giant named Bull. She stabs the Giant in the eye before grabbing supplies from the store the Giant guarded. She goes to the Lotus Hotel and meets Hex. She stays with Hex for weeks, getting high on lotus juice. Another Giant attacks the hotel. Pen and Hex escape in the van. They find sirens who almost lure Hex in. Pen pulls him back. They go to a mansion and meet Beatrix. She takes Pen and Hex as prisoner. Hex has sex with Beatrix to get free. He takes Pen and another prisoner Ez. They go to a museum to see art on Pen's request. Pen gets caught by a Giant who declares Pen as his bride. She is saved by Ez who uses magical wind powers.
The group finds the map. They head from California to Las Vegas where the map says Pen's parents are. They find Ash. Ash and Ez get together. Hex reveals that he was born a girl named Lex. The four go to Tara's oasis, searching for water. Tara tells them that Pen's mother is in Las Vegas. Tara leaves to find plants and doesn't return. Hex and Pen grow tired. Hex teaches Pen how to fight. Hex also teaches Pen how to pleasure herself. (Remember that Hex was a girl.) The four leave Tara's place. Pen finds her mother in Las Vegas. Pen also meets Kronen. To trade for her mother's freedom, Pen trades her eye for Bull's eye she staved earlier in the story. She is knocked out. She wakes up by Merk's side. Pen finds Tara's bones and takes them to bury them somewhere else. They go to Kronen to find Pen's friends. Pen tells Kronen's tale to Bull's brother. She is released from Kronen, surviving. Merk tells her that he is her father as they go back to Tara's place. Merk takes Pen to her house. Pen finds her brother Venice and her dog Argos. She plants Tara's bones as well as some seeds in the ground. Pen sees sprouts in the ground and sees her friends coming towards her in the distance.
And that's what happened this week.
Girl who might have been a lesbian at one point in her life seeks family and lifelong partner. Is good at reciting things from rote memory. Knows about art and the scientific names of things. Needs friendship and family to survive. Looking for 'perfect' little brother named after a city, crazy, survivalist father, and artist mother. Looking for a hot guy with a backstory and a drug addiction. Changes from 'weak' and 'wimpy' to hero with the power to 'see' stories.
I think that this book has mistaken identity. Romance. Post-apocalyptic. Fiction. Fantasy. We have rushed romance. We have Giants. And earthquakes? Can't this book choose? I don't like it. We get a world that is ruined by waves and earthquakes and fantasy that follows the story line of 'The Odyssey.' This book needs to choose what it is. It can't be so many things.
Another problem is the romance. How do these relationships form? What do they bond over? The apocalypse? I don't see it. Where is the chemistry? This is why I don't like romance in the first book of a series. The romance just pops up.
I also don't like the characters. I know that the author was trying to add in LGBT, but it didn't work. It seemed bumbling and awkward. The characters didn't seem quite queer. Ez and Ash just were together. I'm not sure how well that works. We have a lesbian main character. A transgender. Two gays. It's simply annoying. She's trying to add in diversity. That just doesn't work. You don't pile on LGBT like it's nothing. Not everyone in the world is LGBT.
I like the parts in the story that collide with 'The Odyssey'. It's quite nice. I enjoyed those parts. They were interesting to see how the two stories compare.
It's interesting that the author had family in this. Of course, the title warned me of the romance. But it's nice that Pen is seeking her family. That does not overshadow Pen's need for Hex. That is just a bit too much.
The author tried to make the characters more real. Transgender. Lesbian. Gay. Queer. I don't think she succeeded. I didn't care too much about the characters. (As I have said before.) A for effort, though. It sort of worked. I felt a bit for them. But this seems like a realistic read at times when it should have been fantasy or something else.
I like that it was a quick read. I could have finished it in one day. I finished it in two. It was good for the author. I wanted to get this book over with.
Cloudy with a 80% chance of rain