Friday, September 30, 2011

Book Review: My Gay Sparkly Vampire Romance: A Twilight Parody by Zoe E. Whitten

My Gay Sparkly Vampire Romance: A Twilight Parody
by Zoe E. Whitten
My Gay Sparkly Vampire Romance: A Twilight Parody is just what it sounds like - a parody of Twilight, only gay. And a parody. I picked this up for fun, because it's free (being fanfiction), and was pretty blown away by it actually being good(Disclaimer: I am one of those people who consider the original to be awful and found the movie actually painful to watch.)

In fact, with a few names  and a very few other bits and pieces of setting and plot changed, it is a very decent paranormal urban fantasy.  Some bits are blatant parody, and whenever new characters from the original book walked on scene for the first time, I cringed a bit. But if they stuck around, the author made them her own very quickly. And some of the most notably laughable bits from the originals are changed almost out of recognition. Frankly, throw out the all the (lack of) personality you associate with the names.

Isabella Wong and her dad move to the Bronx, when they inherit an apartment (with cheap rent!) from her grandmother. Her mother was murdered six years ago, and ever since, Bella's been a bit of a vigilante. Not that that's too hard, as her dad runs a dojo. She's also pretty sure she likes girls. Or rather, older women, though she doesn't think her poor dad is up to knowing that part yet.

Edwina Sullen is a bit weird for  vampire, because she wants to stay in one place for a while. She's also depressed, gorgeous, and terribly inexperienced with ladies. She also has a vampire dog, for some reason. Anyway, she's negotiated a pact with the local werecat tribe, and she's allowed to stay in smoggy New York as long as she only kills criminals - generally by slashing their throats, so as not to leave teethmarks. Which works fine, except that she's getting very tired of a diet full of tainted blood from heavy drinkers and drug addicts. And then Bella moves in, and Edwina is two heartbeats away from eating her on sight - except for those pesky werecat rules. Enforced by her longtime neighbour, temporary lover and best friend, Jacqueline.

Jacqueline is a big lesbian hunk who's struggling to keep Edwina under control, and furious about the position Bella's putting her in. Oh, and she eats people too. Unfortunately, much as she'd love to bed Edwina - and Bella - until they all collapse, she's aware of Bella's age... and the fact that Edwina may have been taking hormones for the last fifty years, but she's still got some guy parts.

She straight up tells Bella that Edwina's a sexual predator, at the start - and it's a scarily good analogy. But Bella has her hormones raging, and the older (and immortal) women are at their wits end to get rid of her. Non-fatally.  Add in a bit of background crime from the Chinese mafia, a West Side gang of vampires, a dream quoting Monty Python and a wish granting dragon, and it sounds like it's going to be ridiculously camp. And some of it is. But the rest of it is bloody good - people die, violently, and it's made very clear that all three women are monsters of some kind. And that they are people, and they're trapped in a painful love triangle of lesbian/transgender/bisexual/polyamorous attraction. And yeah, there are a few slightly too random and convenient solutions (Alice and her visions, the easy acceptance of the werecats and the vampires), but a lot of that comes with the territory of being constrained by the original material.

The last two chapters are the only bits that aren't really necessary - and mark abrupt changes in tone. There's the sex chapter (fair enough, of course - it's explicit, but the author warns you just after you finish what I feel was the 'real' end), and the 'return to tell dad all about the magic BABIES ALL AROUND' (Although the vampire pregnancies were still a bit weird, at least there was a slightly more amusing explanation.) - and hey, Jacqueline...well. Let's just say that chapter swung right back into Twilight-parody, breaking my happy suspension of disbelief.

I am definitely keeping an eye on this writer, and I heartily propose that they write out the obvious Twilight bits and publish this properly. It's less of a rip off than The Princess's Bride was, and unlike that piece of crap, it improves on the original story.

Want to read more...?
Zoe Whitten's site is here: and she has several books available on Amazon (also well reviewed, but not necessarily lesbian in any way).
You can download My Gay Sparkly Vampire Romance from Smashwords or read it on Scribd

Written for the 2010 NaNoWriMo (and was one of the 18.6% of people who 'won')

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