After the complete and utter failure that was Nightlight, I was weary of another Twilight parody...until I read the last line of Woebegotten's summary: "This is a love story about monsters...but the vampire isn't the monster." How perfect is that? Maybe this book could actually get why Twilight is so fucking annoying. And I'm happy to say that not only did The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten meet my expectations as a parody, but it exceeded them in becoming its own sort of story, as well.
I wasn't initially sure what to thing of that second part though - Woebegotten takes many liberties with Twilight's core story, not just in characterization, but in plot content as well. But as a whole, I think it makes the book stronger, and certainly more interesting. One of my biggest problems with the original Twilight's plot was that, y'know, it didn't exist. Boy and girl fall in love...for like three-quarters of the book, and then all the sudden the author realizes "Hey, I've got no real external conflict here, maybe I should look into that," and POOF, evil vampires who want to eat Bella for absolutely no good reason show up and...well, try to eat Bella. For no goddamn good reason.
Woebegotten over-compensates a bit - not only do we get a character to fill James' role (although this one at least has more believable - if cliche - motivations), but we also get an antagonist to directly oppose Bonnie, and another conflicting group woven in to the overall narrative. Here, not only does the Native American tribe (the Oujibwe) have an anti-vampire force (werebears, thank you very much), but the humans do, too: the Interfaith Vampire Slayer League.
They're responsible for some of the funnier scenes in the book, being that the group includes two men of faith (a crazy priest who insists the vampires are "DEMONS!", and a timid ex-Pastor); the local militant conspiracy nut who was conned into joining by said priest, and believes the vampires are bat-human hybrids created by aliens; the mayor's hard-ass wife, who casually suggests wiping every member of the Scullen clan out while knitting; the weary young Sheriff's deputy who brought them all together; and the high school principal, a closeted serial killer who's in it for the sake of killing vampires.
Twilight would have been ten times better with a group like that in it.
The book's narrative follows the first Twilight's basic plot while bringing elements from New Moon, Eclipse, and a twist on Bella's change in Breaking Dawn into the storyline. The overall result is that the pacing and sequence of events are a bit uneven, but such is the fate of a series parody condensed into one book. Ultimately it didn't make much of a difference to me in terms of enjoy-ability, and that is all because of the twist on Woebegotten's heroine, Miss Bonnie Greyduck.
Yeah, okay, so the name might actually be worse than Belle Goose, but it's the characterization that's important. As a character, Bonnie Greyduck was about 100x more likable than Bella Swan, as counter-intuitive as that may seem. For me, at least, this is because, while Bonnie was quite literally a sociopath and a murderer, she wasn't a goddamn limp, helpless noodle.
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