I was crying. No, really.
I downloaded and read Ionia Martin’s hilarious bodice-ripper spoof, Plundering the Romance Novel (subtitled A Really Awful, Truly Terrible, Very, Very, Bad Romance) and was laughing so hard I was using the sleeve of the sweatshirt my husband had left lying on the couch—again, even though I’ve warned him about it, so it serves him right—to wipe off the tears and snot because I didn’t want to stop long enough to go for tissues.
Now that I’ve finished (and, okay, done some laundry) I just have to tell you about it.
Once upon a time there was an Omnipotent Narrator. Actually, she was a romance novel reviewer who had just had it up to HERE with all the crap that gets published these days, for god’s sake, she could do better in her sleep and maybe make a few bucks so she decided to write her own romance novel. Given her experience with the genre, she knew she would need a historically accurate setting, sympathetic characters with compelling backstories, a tortured and driven but curiously compelling villain, a carefully-crafted and engrossing plot, sex, and a happily ever after.
Thanks to her friend Charles (who is, however, a real writer and thus knows bupkis about writing a romance novel), Ionia also knew the importance of detailed planning. Now that I’ve read Plundering, my theory is that Ionia’s plotting consisted of making a list of all romance novel tropes, taping it to the wall, and buying a handful of darts. The actual writing process would thus consist of her throwing a dart at the wall (hopefully, one of those sticky-tipped darts that don’t leave a hole in the plaster) and writing up whatever plot device it landed on. Then she’d throw a new dart.
I tested this theory by re-reading Plundering, and I found the following:
- Arranged Marriage?
- Loveable Rogue?
- Sex, really, I’m not kidding we need some sweating/whimpering/moaning and quite a bit of writhing in here?
- Too-dumb-to-live heroine (hero too, for that matter)?
- Love Triangle?
Our narrator checked all these boxes and more. Purple prose? Bizarre and pointless reasons to delay the big sex scene until after at least seven thousand words? Hero and heroine so stupidly gorgeous and gorgeously stupid that even the author can’t stop herself from killing them off a time or two in the name of justifiable homicide? Yeah, we got those too.
So Candy fell deeply in love with the monkey and changed the ending to him eating all the planes and crushing all the military vehicles, after explaining to him that she couldn’t ever be with him because inter-species relationships were not allowed on Amazon.
Oh, right. I promised you a sex scene.
Honestly, as far as I can tell, the author ran out of wall darts, because that’s the only reason that she missed the last few tropes – men in kilts, magical native shaman, and the Glittery Hoo-Ha. But she’s really done her homework, because she did throw in those staples all reviewers are so familiar with: plot holes, run-on sentences, enough write-o and think-o edit fails to make the most jaded of reviewers cringe, and statements so convoluted that context and syntax enter a suicide pact together.
Either way; this is just pointless exposition and some needless backstory to fill in a paragraph and make the word count longer and we haven’t gotten to the tavern yet. Plus I wanted to use a semicolon, incorrectly.
I know that bodice-ripper parody is a somewhat esoteric genre. But Plundering the Romance Novel deserves every one of five stars and a number one spot for the genre. If you want to have fun, laugh hard, and get there quickly, this is the book for you. I urge everyone who has ever liked—or not liked—a romance novel to read it immediately.
Have you ever wondered what goes on in the minds and hearts of romance novel heroes and heroines? No? Good, because this book won’t be helpful with that at all.
If romance clichés drive you mad and you like Monty Python style humour, this may be the perfect book for you.
From the twisted mind of a sometimes writer and lifelong reader, you are certain to have less brain cells than you started with after reading this book.
Captain Stormy is the typical romance hero/villain archetype. He follows the Romance Hero Handbook to the letter, but he is about to figure out that nothing in his guidebook is going to prepare him for the trials he’s about to face.
Uncooperative heroines, lack of treasure, severely delayed sex scenes, a missing crew and an old man’s butt cheeks later, Stormy has a story to tell you.
Even pirates have bad days.
*contains some mature themes and language
Author Ionia Martin says:
I’m currently working on writing a series of comedy books that spoof the various genres of literature (as well as some historical events) and point out common pitfalls in genre fiction. When I’m not working on those, I’m devoting my time to reading, and the study of Colonial America. (Yes, I can be serious once in a while, but who wants to make a career out of that?)
I love to travel and explore new places to get ideas for my books. I also have a lot of fun on my blog, Readful Things. Hope to see you there!
I’ve got four little boys who keep me pretty busy and my ten year old son is already practising his own book writing skills (uh-oh.) I love hearing your thoughts and opinions on my work, be they positive or negative. I really appreciate you taking the time to visit my small slice of this great big Amazon and wish you all the best things life can bring!
Book Title: Plundering the Romance Novel (A Really Awful, Truly Terrible, Very, Very, Bad Romance)
Author: Ionia Martin
Genre: Romance Novel Parody
Length: 50 pages
Publisher: Raven37 Publishing (July 9, 2015)
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