Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pretty Dead: Francesca Lia Block

Everyone has one author whom they crave. That one writer who speaks to your soul. The author whose work you wait upon with bated breath. For me, that author is Francesca Lia Block (FLB). Her amazing language skills take me away to a surreal universe where everything is intense and technicolor. FLB has the ability to make the grittiest, most disgusting places on earth seem magical and beautiful. These are all sentiments used to describe her newest novel, Pretty Dead, but I'm afraid I have to disagree.

Oh Francesca, how could you?! The woman who was writing about fairies and magic and angels long before they were part of a young adult genre has succumbed. I can only assume her publisher offered her lots and lots of dollars to use her incredible skill for the insipid writing of a vampire novel. The story goes something like this... Charlotte is a beautiful twin. She and her brother are living happily, going about life apparently carefree. And then her brother dies and Charlotte is understandably devestated. So of course, the obvious choice is to choose immortality so that she can live forever without her brother. Wait--what?! Sure enough, she begs a vampire to turn her, and they proceed to spend countless years, wandering the world, sucking the life out of people. How romantic. At some point she leaves her maker and decides to go it alone. She goes to high school. She makes some new friends. And when tragedy strikes, Charlotte's world is turned upside down and she begins to feel differently than she has in about a hundred years.

I will admit that FLB gives this vamp novel a sweet little twist. But ultimately, it is a tired romance about a vampire and a human. What's worse is that Block doesn't even utilise her best writing skills. The eras pass as clothing descriptions. There is a flood of narration and very little dialogue or action. And while it's not entirely predictable, it's not very palatable either. I still adore Francesca Lia Block and will continue to read everything she writes. I'm hoping we can just put this one under the bed and forget it ever happened.

Rating: $

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