Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book Review: The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten

Title: The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten
Author: Harrison Geillor
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: 10/18/2011
ISBN: 1597802840

You don't have to be a Twilight fan to like this book, although I do recommend that you have a rudimentary knowledge of the series. This is a lot of fun to read, especially for the nice little twists that the author throws on the various characters. If you're worried about someone poking fun at the Twilight series, then relax. There's nothing particularly horrible in this that you or a friend haven't already poked fun at yourselves.

A small town... a plucky heroin, a shiny vampire, and a hunkey Native American rival with a secret. But all is not as it seems in Lake Woebegotten. Let Harrison Geillor reveal what lies beneath the seemingly placid surface. You'll Laugh. We promise.

When Bonnie Grayduck relocates from sunny Santa Cruz California to the small town of Lake Woebegotten, Minnesota, to live with her estranged father, chief of the local two-man police department, she thinks she's leaving her troubles behind. But she soon becomes fascinated by another student - the brooding, beautiful Edwin Scullen, whose reclusive family hides a terrible secret. (Psst: they're actually vampires. But they're the kind who don't eat people, so it's okay.)

Once Bonnie realizes what her new lover really is, she isn't afraid. Instead, she sees potential. Because while Bonnie seems to her friends and family to be an ordinary, slightly clumsy, easily-distracted girl, she's really manipulative, calculating, power hungry, and not above committing murder to get her way - or even just to amuse herself. This is a love story about monsters... but the vampire isn't the monster.

I have to admit that what really drew me to this book was that the author was parodying two separate groups: Harrison Keillor and Twilight. It's a pretty unusual mixture, which is probably why this book works so well as a parody. It's not the typical Twilight parody that's out there & I also liked that this wasn't as mean spirited as some of the other parodies out there can be. (Although in fairness I'm referring more to the various parodies out there in the fanfic-verse, so they weren't polished up like this book was.)

It really was a great idea to make Bonnie into a sociopath, which made a lot of sense in this story. It explains a lot of her actions as well as providing just enough entertainment value to keep me interested. I also liked how the book tries very hard to follow the storyline of the Twilight saga. It's just close enough to where you can spot when the shifts to the plots of each different book happens, but not to the point where it's overly awkward or jarring.

It's not all sunshine & puppies, though. While I did enjoy the book I also found that it just got a little old after a while. I would get into the book, only to find my attention wandering every once in a while. I'd enjoy the bits and pieces I read, but this really is something that I'd recommend more in small doses. It's the type of book that you read along with another book & flip through when you need a little something to clear your mind. It's more of an aperitif than a main course.

This is sort of par for the course, though. It's very difficult to find a parody novel that you'd want to read the entire way through. The problem with novel-length parodies is that it's pretty hard to keep the same level of entertainment & humor throughout the book. Geillor does an admirable job of this, but falls short of being something that held my attention non-stop throughout the entire book. I can't really see this as a major flaw since most parody books aren't really meant to be the attention grabbers that their more serious bretheren are.

For what this is, it's pretty good. Fans of Twilight will enjoy the spoof & the anti-fans will love seeing the sendups of the various characters. It's not a "ZOMG! BUY IT NOW!1!" type of read, but it's the type of book that will undoubtedly get a lot of readers through word of mouth. It's something that you absolutely must get if you see it at the library & a possible buy if you see it at the bookstore & like what you see.


(ARC provided by Netgalley)

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