Book Review: Plundering the Romance Novel by Ionia Martin

 

Ah, spoofs. The comic genre that is the parody is as critical as it is funny, turning a lens on the stuff that we tend to take just way too seriously. I heartily enjoy over-the-top, “Surely you can’t be serious?” “I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.”, eye-rolling, face-palming, targeted comedies that sharply identify the tropes of a story type and go to town on them. 

   
 
Oh, yeah. Mama likey. 

So when I started reading Ionia Martin’s quick nosh on romance novel tropes, by page two my son was looking at me and asking what the hell I was laughing so hard about. And again, about ten minutes later. And again, five minutes after that. Have you ever tried explaining a trope, romance-related or not, out of context? And why you’re laughing so loudly that the neighbours are about to start complaining? I was having such a great time, I started live-tweeting the sections that made me hoot.

Ionia has the romance genre right on the mark. It’s like watching The Jewel of the Nile on helium — well, that opening scene, anyway. 

  
It’s a quick read, a good length for satire, and it’s terrific. I wish I could write a parody review for it, but I’m not sure I have the talent for that as much as Ionia Martin does, though I may have to try it tomorrow! I particularly love the meta-ness of the narrative — how Captain VD (heh heh) of the Fuzzy Beaver (snort) can appeal for do-overs from the Almighty Author, his reactions to a heroine who isn’t averse to having her bodice ripped and her body ravished, and the working over of basically everything we’ve come to expect from a period romance novel. I just love it.

Here, Ionia. In honour of Plundering the Romance Novel‘s excellence, I award you a second Fuzzy Beaver (and an Alan Thicke), because as we all know, two beavers are better than one. Thanks for the laughs — I’m definitely looking forward to your next one!

  

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And now, a musical interlude…

Sing to the tune of the Gopher Guts Camp Song!

Great green globs of greasy grimy zombie parts,
hanging slimy zombie guts,
dangling maggoty eyeball puss,
Great green globs of greasy grimy zombie parts,
and I forgot my spoon…

***

Sing to the tune of “On Top of Old Smokey”:

On top of the zombie,
rotting brains ooze…
gnashing jaws slaver,
over fresh human juice…
His legs stagger forward,
on feet worn to the bone…
His hands claw the clapboards,
matching unearthly groans…

***

Try this, too!

When you wake up in the nighttime,
it’s a quarter to one,
you want to have a little fun,
you brush your fangs, (brushing sounds)…
You brush your fangs (brushing sounds).
When you wake up in the nighttime,
it’s a quarter to two,
Blood clots stuck from victim number two,
you brush your fangs (repeat chorus)…
When you wake up in the nighttime,
it’s a quarter to three,
you find you’re craving for a type A-B,
you brush your fangs… (repeat chorus)…
When you wake up in the nighttime it’s a quarter to four,
pop out of your coffin so Van Helsing’s no more,
you brush your fangs… (repeat chorus)…
When you wake up in the nighttime,
it’s a quarter to five,
you chase the victims who want to stay alive,
and brush your fangs…

***

Twinkle, Twinkle will never be same…

Ruby, ruby, vampire eyes,
like two embers in my fire;
Glowing in the closet dark,
Watching as my sleep embarks;
Gleaming fangs stretch long and white;
suck my blood at deep midnight…

***

Forget the sheep. Let’s sing about the endless battle between good and evil!

Slayer, Slayer, have you any stakes?
Yes, sir, yes, sir, three strong blades.
One made of rowan, and one made of ash;
one made of silver, to hammer with a flash!
Slayer, Slayer, have you any stakes?
Yes, sir, yes, sir, three strong blades…

Vampire, Vampire, have you any blood?
Yes, sir, yes, sir, three vials full.
One for my master, and one for my bride,
and one for the the slayer to swallow by mistake (evil cackle)…
Vampire, Vampire, slip it in his mug!
Slayer will be one of us, by rise of sun.

Heh, heh. I need to illustrate these, maybe…