Title & Author: Almost Night (A Twilight Parody), Jacob Wallace
Genre & Publication Date: Fantasy, March 22, 2015
Book Description: “Be ready to laugh in this parody of Twilight and other vampire fiction.
Stella Mallard is a dull and boring girl with no friends. Nothing interesting about her, certainly not enough to inspire boners in an undead monster, a nature loving beast, and a horny Vampire Hunter. That is, until her mother gives her a magical potion before sending her to live with her father in Spoon City on imperial colony Tau 4. Now all the boys want her and the girls hate her. OK, some of the girls want her too.
Stella was content to live out her boring life on Gamma 3. However, since there are no minors allowed in the brothel, her mother sends her to live with her father in Spoon City, on the imperial colony of Tau 4. There she meets up with an old childhood friend, who has zero interest in just being friends anymore, a sexy Vampire Hunter, and the even sexier Ed Skullin.
When she witnesses the beautiful Ed Skullin biting rats, blocking a van with his bare hand, and skipping school on the one day with no overcast, Stella suspects something is up. Will she lose the love of Bocaj, her childhood friend turned into sexy bad boy werewolf? That may be the least of her problems, though it will be her highest priority, when she finds vampires turning themselves into crystal-skinned abominations, and herself in the middle of the apocalypse. Part one of a planned series.”
First Line: A shuttle roared to life in the air before disappearing into the blue sky, and Stella frowned as her mother steered the yoke of the car.
My Take: This book was provided to me by the author for review.
Full disclosure: I have read all the “Twilight” books. Yes, all four. Had to be done, I’m afraid. The fuss was too great to be ignored. (I only saw the first movie though and promptly made the decision to live as if it, and the rest of the God-awful films, did not exist. No offense to those who loved them.) So, it was with no small amount of curiosity that I took on this novella that promised a “Twilight” parody of fun and adventure, with a Fantasy lilt. I’m sorry to say, “fun” was not the experience I had reading it.
As a parody, I definitely expected there to be some good-natured jabs at the original storyline. I thought it was clever that “Jacob” was renamed “Bocaj” and that “Bella” was renamed “Stella”. It was an unusual angle (in a good way) that Stella was going to live with her father because she couldn’t reside in her mother’s new brothel. Little did I know that this was the first in what would be a tsunami of explicit sexual references.
When did I realize I was in for a brutal read?…I think it had to be when Stella arrived at her dad’s and he “smacked her on the ass”. Yes, that was my first “ew” moment. From there on it was one cringe worthy chapter after another, from early on when her dad encouraged her to go up to her room and bang Bocaj on arrival to the house, to “Ed” raping her while she was sleeping (Stella didn’t seem to mind this), to the black vampire who talked like a white man’s stereotype of a black man (yes, fried chicken was mentioned), to other twosomes and threesomes, some bestial in nature.
Please note I’m avoiding the word “inappropriate” or “offensive” because these are subjective notions. Some might find this type of read entertaining. Putting sensibilities aside, the story goes where it goes and the author follows its lead. I get that, but for me where it went was pretty gross. Perhaps the intent was to be edgy and push the envelope. As a fan of “Family Guy” I can appreciate that effort, but the trouble here was that it left out the funny.
The Magical: I enjoyed the Fantasy/Sci-Fi angle on what was originally an urban paranormal series.
The Mundane: Be very careful when casually tossing rape and racist depictions into a story as a gag. Maybe Seth MacFarlane can get away with it but even then it’s riding the line. And anyway, he’s made his brand off jokes like that. It’s not a good idea for a self-published author starting out to risk alienating readers for something that isn’t crucial to the story.
Summary of Thoughts: Whether or not one is of the opinion that the writing of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” saga is underachieving with strong misogynistic overtones, she still undeniably achieved the most important thing in writing: She held readers’ interest. Even I wanted to find out what would happen next as I read her work. That was not the case here.
I found this novella to be less of a parody and more the author’s creative outlet for “Twilight” bashing. The plot was loosely tied together and the characters, especially the women, were even more loose. It also read like a frustrated teenager’s raunchy fantasy, better left in notebooks under the mattress than published for mass consumption. That may sound harsh, but I honestly detested the storyline. It wasn’t that Stella spread her legs for anything with a pulse. Reading promiscuity doesn’t make me blush, nor do sex scenes (and I’ve read some whoppers). It was more that the sex didn’t seem to have any plot purpose. Whether it was in there for the sake of it or for shock value, it came across as pointless.
Currently this novella is $0.99 on the Kindle, however I’m unable to recommend it. Even for a short read, it was a pretty rough ride (no pun intended).
Many thanks to author Jacob Wallace for providing a copy of the book to review.
Curious what others thought? Check out Amazon’s reviews here
To learn more about other work by this author, explore his website at My Roommate is an Elf