Awoken: Serra Elinsen

YA is ripe for parody.

A lot of people think so and I do love a good parody.  The Princess Bride which is a parody is one of my favorite books and movies.  I also love Catch 22.  And Mel Brooks has done a great job with parodying many film genres.

However, sometimes parodies don’t work.  Case in point, a little movie known as Vampires Suck.


You’d think a book written by an internet film critic and her cohorts (plus some ghost writers)-all writing under a pseudonym that I’ll get back to in a minute, would be pretty kick ass.  After all, reviewing film should’ve given the author some insight into how tropes work and you could get a lot of your mocking down on the page. And I’ll admit it, said internet film critic can at times be pretty insightful and hilarious.

This wasn’t her best effort.

I’ll be honest, I was halfway tempted to read this but it wasn’t until after the authors caused a stink by having their fans troll review pages with fake positive reviews and then had the gall to link a dissenters review for said fanbots to troll, that it came in my awareness again.  I probably wouldn’t have read it either if it wasn’t free and I already have somewhat of an interest in reading it-remember, I watch the show and at times it could be amusing.

The book though is not like the show.  It’s hardly amusing at all.  And it’s really not even a parody.  It’s more like a rip off.  Which is nothing like a parody, unless you’re parodying ripoffs but that just sounds so off in itself that I’m not even going touch upon how fucked up that would be.  And even if you were doing it, you’d make your book a little bit more interesting.

What is the book about?  Well, it’s The Twilight Saga, meets the Hush Hush saga, with some The Mortal Instruments,  but with some HP Lovecraft thrown in.  Who’s HP Lovecraft?  Well, if you don’t know anything about him before the book, you’re not going to know anything about him after you read it (so, if you’re interested you better do your Wiki homework).

It doesn’t really matter if you do the research though as long as you get these basics: 1) the so called hero is essentially a god, 2) he eats souls (I think), and 3) he makes Jace Herondale look like a wonderful gentleman.

That’s all you need to know about this book plot wise…oh, wait…remember the really obnoxious best friend from The Hush Hush Saga who we were told was voluptuous and it was allude to many times over that she was morbidly obese, she makes an appearance in this book too.  But she’s a new character because she has red hair and a new name now.

One of the reasons I thought that this might actually be a decent parody is that one of the authors understands tropes.  I actually referred to one of her video editorials in one of my earlier reviews.  If you understand tropes, you should be able to make fun of them.  But here….it’s more like another regurgitation of tropes that we’re suppose to find funny but really comes off as a bad fan fic.

And not even an entertaining bad fan fic like My Immortal.  People aren’t going to make videos over this thing.  In fact, my bet is the only reason this is doing fairly well is because of her video reviews and the fact she did a whole series on writing the novel before it was published.

Honestly, it makes me wonder how much time she and her cowriters actually spent writing the book versus  making their videos.

Not a bad marketing technique but still….

What is a bad marketing technique is the way they have presented this whole thing.  I know this is supposed to be about the book and it is.  I just think I need to address this because when people read the acknowledgments and the about the author section they need to be aware that their being played.  And the way the “author” is being portrayed is sort of well…mean.

Serra Ellinsen, the pseudonym that is being used, is described as a being a housewife with five kids and then there are several allusions made that make you think the writers are insulting stay at home moms and YA writers in general.  Also, the photo they chose to use is hardly flattering and you can tell by the language they used to describe Serra that they did this on purposes  The acknowledgments follow in suite.  I get that there are a lot of SAHM who have turned to YA superstars-most notably Stephenie Meyer.  But the generalization went beyond parody here, it was downright cruel.

I know it seems like I’ve gotten off topic about the book, but I really haven’t because the whole book was cruel to the genre as a whole on several levels.

Level One: They didn’t even try.  When you read something like this and it just reads like bad Twilight fan fic, doesn’t make you laugh, there’s nothing socially relevant about it, its not tongue in cheek, it’s not parody.  And I really think given the way this was produced and market it was just for the $.

Level Two: It’s essentially making fun of the whole genre and it has no heart.  Its one thing to make fun of something, but you shouldn’t be so nasty about it.  Though this is boring and as lame as hell, the whole way its presented its like to scam PNR YA readers.  That might not be the intention of the authors, but with the mass faux reviews, the whole way the product is presented, the way the product is written.  I really think the writers thought put some tropes together and bam I’m rich as Stephenie Meyer.

Hate to break it to you ladies, by the PNR gravy train has moved out of the station.  Unless you’re a phenomenal writer you need to move on down to New Adult.  Now a New Adult parody might’ve actually been hilarious because that’s a genre that’s even more generic than PNR and parodies haven’t been done to death in said genre.

Level Three: The way the book is put together.  It’s so sloppy.  I don’t know if that’s intentional or not but charging $4 or $10 dollars (depending whether you buy it ebook or paperback-note, if you have Prime you can rent it for free) is way too much for this.

When reading Awoken I didn’t experience anything new or innovative, it wasn’t funny, it wasn’t really anything but a checklist of tropes being checked off.  The use of the tropes wasn’t funny.  I think they were trying for some subtle humor with The Phantom of the Opera stuff, but unless you read the book you’re not going to pick up on that.

The characters were all horrible.  In addition to the Vee character you have the two main character.  Andi, the narrator, is boring as hell  and is so obsessed about her looks and clothes I just started picking out songs for her on Youtube whenever she decided to pick out an outfit  (“You’re So Vain”, “I’m Too Sexy”, and “Material Girl” all made the cut).  Then there’s her boyfriend.

Oh, how do describe Riley….

He talks like Thor, looks like Loki on Steroids, acts like an abusive dad, and dictates wardrobe like Travis fucking Maddox.  I actually like Travis fucking Maddox better than him.  He’s a bigger asshole than him, Jace Herondale, Edward Cullen, Patch, and that Daniel guy from Fallen.

In other words, I hated him.

Which was fine in hindsight because I hated everything else about this book.  The relationship he has with Andi is cringe worthy at best and abusive at its very finest.  Andi even offers this guy her soul for him to eat.

Do you know how fucked up that is?

Maybe it was suppose to be parody but it wasn’t even funny.

Sigh… I think what I learned from this is that some people can’t crossover their writing to different mediums.  I find some of the stuff that the Nostalgia Chick writes for her show funny and insightful.  This wasn’t that.  I think writing a parody takes some skill.  This wasn’t even close to being a parody.  It read like bad Twilight fan fiction and that’s never a good thing.  The fact that Tara Gillesbie’s story was more entertaining than this says everything you need to know.

Overall Review: No stars.  Nada.  Back to the drawing board for you.


One thought on “Awoken: Serra Elinsen

  1. I’m (very) late to the party, but I just discovered this book, and then I found your review. My sentiments are about the same: this book reminded me of people trying to write the next My Immortal. Yes, My Immortal was funny, but we’ve already heard that joke. Maybe tell a new one?
    They weren’t even original with their invention of anaprotestantism: the cult of the flying spaghetti monster people already did that (yes I realize that CFSM is meant to make fun religion in general, whereas anaprotestantism is meant to make fun of western fundamentalist religions specifically, but they’re pretty much the same thing. Also, kind of mean).

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