13 Feb Ecstasia by Francesca Lia Block
Disclaimer: I am doing this review from the perspective of someone who has read the sequel (Primavera) first, and treated the first book (Ecstasia) as more of a prequel/backstory. Some of you may have read Ecstasia before Primavera, so your opinions on how I see things may differ.
So last summer I had read the 2nd book in this 2 part story which was called Primavera. I had enjoyed that book so, so, so, sooooooo much! It supplied me with SO much imagery, and character sketches and locations for me to play around with in my mind. I also compared it to a dream that I didn’t want to wake up from. It was such a beautiful book. So, I started reading the prequel Ecstasia shortly after, and had only gotten a few pages in before turning my attention to other projects I was working on.
Finally the other day, I had the urge to just pick it up and power through it, and I did this in about 8 hours. Although it is such a short read, it is pretty complex, things often jumping to and from different character perspectives, and also switching from novel style to scattered prose throughout the book as well. I am not necessarily saying that this is a bad thing, being that I am used to Francesca’s surreal way of writing, I enjoyed it… but for readers popping their FLB cherry with this book, might leave them a bit confused.
Primavera is written the same way as well, but I personally think that PV had more substance. I think that is because it was more about a journey, the main character, a young girl, setting out to find something that her family warns her is dangerous. She meets many people, and creatures along the way, even people she helps, while discovering remnants of her family’s past.
I think the sole interest of Ecstasia (IF you read this one 2nd to Primavera, which I did), is to provide more of the backstory which was cool. It was cool to see how the group formed the band, Rafe’s love life before committing to Paul, how Primavera was born, and what they decide to do about living in such a superficial city. We also got more of an opportunity to learn more about Rafe and Calliope’s parents.
I think the imagery was still beautiful in this book, it was just less engaging than PV. I think if FLB played more on the romance between Rafe & Lily , it would have been a stronger book. I found that part was the most engaging part of the whole book for me.
I did enjoy Ecstasia, It had some great moments, and a few great quotes which I fell in love with.
“I am dying for ghosts…”
“The rivers will sing for you as if they are full of the heads of poets…”
Ecstasia is beautiful, dark, magical, scary, hopeful, spellbinding, haunting all at the same time. It is worth at least one good read. I give it a 4 out of 5 stars.