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Francesca Lia Block
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3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,438 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Block is an award-winning, cutting-edge young adult author who has already attracted a large adult audience. Her first adult novel, Ecstasia is a jolting contemporary fantasy about sexuality, love and death that follows the lives of a band of young musicians living in a city of carnivals and circuses, where the only crime is growing old. Advertising in Locus magazine.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published May 1st 1993 by Roc Trade (first published 1993)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,397)
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Lush language, that seductive grandeur of an artificial lifestyle… I just couldn't get enough. It was perfection and utter terror.

But, the most important part of this read was, for me, the question of whether or not you would sink yourself into hell just to see a deceased loved one again. Would you? I just lost a friend, and goodness, I wouldn't. Putting that into perspective, I knew how deep Rafe's love had to run and how delicate a certain part of him had to be in order to make that decision.

What made me pick this up was actually the cover. A girl at a masquerade ball looking at someone had grabbed my interest and after reading the back of the book I knew I had to buy it.

No regret came from my decision. The book was very promising and the author had fullfilled her promise by delivering a good solid plotline with enchanting characters and scenery that just made you gasp with every turn of a page.

The writing was amazing. The way everything was described so amazingly using such great w
Mar 18, 2010 Bitsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elysia is a city that is a carnival of light, sparkle, shimmer and joy. Sweet candy, hot house flowers, music, bars, clubs, circuses and carousels all make up this fun house city of youth and excitement. But, to stay in it you must pay the price. Only the young may stay above, when you grow old you go Under, to a labyrinth of dark tunnels and shadowy places of quiet, dark desperation, wrapped up in linen awaiting your death. In this beautiful city Calliope is a girl that has visions of the futur ...more
Aug 24, 2008 Swankivy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favoritebooks
Ecstasia: Now, finally, it's available in the re-issued paperback! In a carnival-town called Elysia, the band Ecstasia lives its enchanted life. Calliope, Rafe, Paul, and Dionisio are the members, each with his or her own story. Though they were born in the desert, siblings Calliope and Rafe are products of the young, bedazzled culture of Elysia, and they have accepted that they will live the good life until signs of aging drive them--willingly--to the Under, where the old ones live. Their own m ...more
Karen Wapinski
Aug 14, 2012 Karen Wapinski rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the oddest of FLB I've read but I really liked it. It's a fantastical resetting of many Greek myths, taking the name of the crux of the myth and twisting it to this new setting.
This is basically a world of glamour and beauty where the elderly and ugly are shunned and sent underground where no one will see them. Calliope and Rafe come from Outside and both are drawn to Under. Calliope has always had visions and is haunted by a vision of their mother. Rafe falls in love with a danc
Oct 26, 2011 Stella rated it liked it
My feelings on this book are mixed. I enjoyed the characters, the threading of classic greek myths, and some of the imagery/metaphorical language very much. Fans of Ms. Block will find much more of her whimsical prose and fantastic imagination to enjoy. However the book felt a bit off balance too. Many of the abstract, descriptive runs of prose went on a bit too long for my taste and the fairy tale ending seemed a bit at odds with the serious issues presented in the story. Still it was an intere ...more
Emmett Logscribe
Meh. Going to have to go subtract a star from The Elementals. This was better than that, but it wasn't good.

I wondered whether Block was getting worse or whether I had outgrown her, so I decided to reread something I'd loved. It seems to have been both. The language here was pretty, but not as intoxicating as I remembered, and the content was a bit muddled.

It seems like she's working with myth and legend, so it should be fine for things not to have direct explanations. Sometimes it is. I had no
Julie Decker
Aug 16, 2014 Julie Decker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Elysia, no one gets old. Or rather, you won't SEE anyone old there. When Elysians get old, they go Under, hiding their signs of age below the city and dying willfully out of sight. Calliope, Rafe, Paul, and Dionisio are the band Ecstasia, and they have come from their desert home to live in Elysia, but Calliope is called Under because she feels her mother is down there dying. Her disappearance causes a rash of her band members following; her brother Rafe is first to go, meeting performer Lily ...more
I wish more modern YA in the SF/F genre was more like this... *sigh*

It wasn't a perfect book -- I didn't mind the dreamy quality (which, admittedly, was more dreamy and disjointed than I remembered), and there were things that could've been better fleshed out and I skipped all the many poems and whatever, but it was still a lot better than a lot of what I've read recently in the YA SF/F genre (and I think this book falls pretty firmly in the fantasy camp).
Jan 09, 2008 Laurie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
This was the first book of a two parter, and I read it second. Opps.
Kind of an interesting experience though. I liked the characters of this one much better, and found the fluff more palatable.
Still, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who wasn't already a big fan of the authors'.
Mar 06, 2009 Isabelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
another good book............really sexy and colorful......i LOVED it
make this a movie
Cristina Rose
I remember reading this book when I was 13, I think its forever going to be an ingrained memory when/where I came across this book (and Dangerous Angels) because of the beautiful Suza Scalora magical realism cover.

When I read it, as a teen, I loved it because it was just that, - magic, it was Los Angeles in a Greek mythos/carnival form. The Los Angeles I used to know and sometimes miss. I loved the lyrical imagery and it was an escape from a teenagers reality. Block's books (especially her older
This book reads like a young teenager went to a rave and is trying to write a poetic (read: Purple) description of it. Elysia is a magical city in the desert where all youthful desires are realized with abundant food, easy living, and free entertainment; the catch is, when the inhabitants begin to age, they must go underground to a grim city of catacombs where their skin flakes away and they turn into living mummies. It's never explained how and why the city was built, why it is necessary for so ...more
Laura Morrigan
Please help save Francesca's home so she does not lose it! sign this petition!!!

Ecstasia is not an easy book to describe, it is hard to do it justice. Like other novels by Francesca Lia Block (especially the Weetzie Bat books), it gets into your heart and soul.

Brother and sister Rafe and Calliope live in Elysia, a place that is all about joy and pleasure. The youth of Ecstasia spend their time visiting circuses, clubs, cafes, eating sweet sugary foods an
Oct 22, 2015 Constance rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A hauntingly beautiful work from Block's early collections. "Ecstasia" draws heavily upon Greek mythology and the world of early American traveling carnival culture to create a world where rock stars are gods and poets, and the old go underground and are not seen. Together siblings Rafe and Caliope, members of the band Ecstasia, must be courageous and save themselves and those they love from being forever lured into a world of opiates, illusions, and carnival lights. A wonderful read!
Jul 23, 2014 Zaynaz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Normally I don't like reviewing books I haven't finished, but I will in this case. This isn't a long book, and it's a brilliant, original idea, but I just found this heavy going. The author's style is a bit overbearing here, though I tend to think Ms Block is someone you read more for her style than her plots. I found this story very memorable, and I'm even tempted to find a copy and give it another try, but I just couldn't get through it...
Rorie Kelly
Mar 03, 2011 Rorie Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is both really moving and an amazing commentary on our society. Francesca Lia Block creates a beautiful, lush, colorful world and peoples it with a group of friends trying to find their way through life in a culture where youth, hipness, and beauty are valued above all else. Such an important look at the societal condemnation of the aging, and at the punishments doled out to those who refuse to quietly disappear as they grow older. This book is so politically and culturally important, ...more
Jun 23, 2009 Bria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young ladies
I probably should have read more Fransesca Lia Block when I was younger, because she doesn't seem to be doing it for me now that I'm an adult. This book was much like a dream, but I don't consider that to be a good thing. There were lots of descriptive words, but you noticed more that she was purposely trying to come up with imagery and metaphor rather than imagining the things she was describing. The plot especially was dreamlike, in that it seemed like everything was important and made sense a ...more
Dayna Smith
This fantasy tale is poetic, but hard to follow at times. Meant for older teens it contains non-graphic references to sex, homosexuality, and recreational drug use. Calliope and her brother Rafe live in a city where youth is celebrated. Once you begin to age you are banished to the dreaded underworld of sewers and tunnels. Their band Ecstasia is all the rage, but Calliope will begin to age soon, and her brother's girlfriend is taking a drug that makes her age even more quickly than normal. It is ...more
Sep 28, 2007 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readbutdontown
I absolutely adore Francesca Lia Block - seriously, she is like a complete goddess in my eyes - that being said, this is my least favorite of her books. I'm not sure why, but something was different about it - the writing style is still beautifully poetic and her ability to make even the most ugly things in life seem dazzling is still there, but I didn't connect so much with the characters, I couldn't feel the magic. Still, for me at least, a so-so FLB book still beats many other writers at thei ...more
Kaisa Mettille
This was a great book but it could get boring or long winded at times.
Anastasiya Olk
Sep 01, 2015 Anastasiya Olk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I think that Francesca Lia Block is an amazing writer. And although I enjoyed reading her books before, this is the one that made me fall in love. There is something about this story that is beyond magic and whimsy. I feel like every time I read something by Block I feel the electricity in the air shift and everything come alive. The magic that is in these books really pours out while you're reading and becomes part of your life. It's a wonderful feeling, like a drug almost.
Feb 07, 2010 Karky rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The imagery was fairly good but not consistently delightful. The plot meanders like a slow river and is just as dull. I felt no true connection to any of the characters and didn't really care what happened to them. What kept me going were the references to Greek mythology, however, they amalgamate to the story like borrowed, ill-fitting clothes.
Apr 13, 2016 Josie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
[Attempted re-read in March 2016]

COULDN'T EVEN FINISH THIS ONE. Oh my god. I have this compulsive need to re-read books ONE LAST TIME before I send them to the charity shop but the characters and setting in this were so intensely irritating that I had to draw the line. How did I ever give this 4 stars?
Dec 30, 2008 Brandee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book and it's sequel-Primavera- are 2 of my all time favs, even for Francesca Lia Block's collection. I loved the music and flowers and characters. When I was reading this I understood all of their scenerios and related them with my own life experiences and people I have met or was. Two must reads!
FLB's novel Ecstasia paints the story of a parched desert world with the choice of living in paradise... for a price. I really enjoyed the novel, although the overall tone is quite dark. As always the language is thick with lush descriptions, strange characters, drug references, and romance.
Feb 07, 2012 Chere rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While this isn't my favorite Francesca Lia Block novel, Ecstasia was still an engaging read for me, filled with beauty and passion and music and colors and textures. Beneath its vibrant glittery surface and gilt edges is a deeper message one must not fail to listen to.
Sep 15, 2012 Tahni rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I remember enjoying this book when I was younger, though I don't recall it being one of my favorites of Block's work. Rereading it I found that I wasn't overly interested in the story so much as I enjoyed the imagery, and I was decidedly unimpressed with some of the dialogue.
Jul 17, 2011 Hilary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
Defies description (although not to the extent that 'Weetzie Bat' did) - except that it does include some very bad poetry. I may be disappointed because, having read the sequel before I read this, I was hoping for some gay interest and there really wasn t any. Huh.
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Francesca Lia Block was born in Los Angeles to a poet and a painter, their creativity an obvious influence on her writing. Another influence was her childhood love of Greek mythology and fairy tales.
She has lived in the city all her life, and still resides there with her daughter, Jasmine Angelina (about whom she wrote her book Guarding the Moon), her son Samuel Alexander, and her two dogs: a spr
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“People worry so much. Just enjoy your body. That you can love. And you're alive.” 7 likes
“The circus tent was flowing pale in the rain like a fleshy flower lit from within. It seemed to bloom in the downpour. Drops of rain caught on Rafe's eyelashes, blinding him as the circus light struck them. He groped for the flap, that slit in the fabric that would reveal her to him.

She was on the rope again, her skirt flashing with tiny mirrors, hair braided with petals. He looked up at her, dizzy with it, seeing her face framed in the parasol. There were bluish shadows around her eyes.”
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