Monday, September 26, 2016
Awoken by Serra Elinsen
Okay, I have to make something clear before I just go into this. There's kinda of an ongoing joke about this book. The joke is to review this book like any other and take it seriously. However, I don't think I can play along. I want to get my opinions about this book out straight, but I can't do that and play along with the joke at the same time. The fact is that THIS BOOK IS A PARODY! This is NOT a serious book! This book makes fun of the paranormal romance genre and many of the tropes that go with it by exaggerating them tenfold. This was written as a joke! "Serra Elinsen" is not real! This book was written by internet personality Lindsey Ellis (known by some as the Nostalgia Chick) and her friends Antonella Inserra, Elisa Hansen, and five other ghost writers AS A JOKE! It is meant to be, and I quote, "terribly awesome or awesomely terrible". I bring this up because this knowledge is not only the only reason I would ever pick up this book, but it is also the single, solitary fact saving this thing from the Waste Bin of Despair!
The book is the story of Andromeda Slate, your everyday unflawed boring-as-room-temperature-water girl who lives in Maine. Her life starts when she meets the unbelievably hot, verbally abusive, jerk in every form of the word, Riley Bay. It turns out that Riley is more than he seems, however, when it's revealed to Andromeda that he's actually the almighty Cthulhu, the Lovecraftian leviathan who is to bring about the apocalypse by summoning forth the ancient Old Ones. But Riley cannot fulfill his destiny...out of contrived love for Andromeda.
Yeah. That's it. That's what they're going with. Keep in mind that Andromeda is INTENDED to be the worst character ever written and boy oh, do they succeed. Andromeda (or Andi) Slate is the most selfish, uncaring, heartless, thoughtless, unsatisfied character with severe dependency issues of all time! And she's funny for it. I was torn this whole book between rolling my eyes and laughing at this daft bimbo and the other half wishing all manner of unholy fates to befall her. She is just evil! And yet she's supposed to be a relatable teenage girl who you want to root for. Oh, I rooted for her, alright. I rooted for her to DIE! When it comes to the climactic fight toward the end (or any other times her life is in peril) all I could think was "Die! Die! Kill her! No, don't save her! Son of a...." this was pretty much the experience for me.
Cthulhu incarnate was no better. Riley is so abusive, so harsh and uncaring, so violent and heartless, that of course a moron like Andi would fall for him. He's such a jerk that he drives a guy insane just for playing a prank on Andi and tossing her into a pool. Yeah, it's like that.
There are other characters in this book and all of them are so much more interesting that they are severely underplayed. Because of course. Uncle Neil (Nyarlathotep) has a wealth of knowledge and a ton of fun stories, but isn't allowed to share them because our stupid "protagonists" keep interrupting him. Andi's friends, Bree and Vik, are friendly, kind, funny and of course Andi abuses them like mad to the point where you wonder why the heck these nice people are friends with this dumb broad. Even the "villain" of the book, Scarlet Espitola, is more fun to read about. They keep talking about how she's a scorned woman, but make no mention of why she was scorned. Andi is also immediately threatened by a sexually confident woman and despises her at once, even though she's done absolutely nothing wrong.
The events in this book play out like they were perfectly planned to stab at all other kinds of YA tropes. From being rescued from rape attempts to being pampered like a princess, Andi gets everything that any girl could possibly want. There are also countless references to Phantom of the Opera, Andi's favorite book (naturally), and goes on and on and on and on about how Riley is her phantom and who they are totally playing out the "most romantic" story of all time. Note: Please bear in mind that Phantom of the Opera is a HORROR story about a mutilated man who TAKES ADVANTAGE OF a young ("young" here meaning UNDERAGE) soprano. Yeah, the most romantic story of all time. Screw you, Andi. I didn't even begin to go into all the ways this story butchers the H.P. Lovecraft stories from which Cthulhu and the Elder Gods derive from, mostly because I'm not overly familiar with them myself, but from what I hear it is quite the discourtesy. Discourtesy equal to outright mutilation, if I'm correct.
This book was hard to read, it really was. The horrible main characters and the teeth-grinding amount of Phantom references made me want to use the book as some kind of weapon on something innocent and small on several occasions. But this books is supposed to do that. It's meant to make you want to kill Andi and root for the apocalypse. Therefore, in its mission, it succeeded. This fact alone saves it from the Waste Bin and so I say that this book is, indeed, worth checking out at your local library!
Have you read the book? What did you think? Do you want to read it now? What's the worst paranormal romance book you've ever read? Comment below and share your thoughts!
Next time: Let's get the month of October started off with something that's supposed to be scary and succeeds!