I had to ILL this (it was either that or read the Beibiography), which means I had to approach the library’s desk to pick it up instead of just going to the hold-shelf and self-checkout, like a ninja, and the girl swipes my card and looks at the screen and is all, The Very Virile Viking? And I hang my head, yes.
Ok but so, here’s the thing: I couldn’t tell if the entire novel was an extended joke. I mean, parts of it were so bad that it HAD to be parodic, but then it seemed to take itself Extremely Seriously other times.
Anywhatz. It is 1000 AD and Magnus is a Viking with eleven living children, for lo, he is a very virile viking. Holy Thor! He cannot so much glance at a passing fancy without a squalling babe landing on his
door hearth-step nine months on, more ’tis a pity. <- very much the tone of the novel, but I have made my point so I will leave off.
So then Magnus leaves his two eldest children and takes the youngest nine and goes a-questing for his two missing brothers, and SOMEHOW EVERYONE WINDS UP IN 2003!! Except Magnus doesn’t know that yet. Meanwhile, in 2003, Angela’s grandmother’s vinyard is going tets-up and also Angela needs to find a man. As per her grandmother, not necessarily a good one so much as a VERY VIRILE ONE. *cue time-travelling music*
And because Magnus et al. show up in Hollywood, everyone thinks they are actors (thanks, time-travel! You are so accommodating)(also, because Old English is allegedly so similar to Millennial English [NO IT IS NOT] Magnus can understand everyone except for when they use new-fangled words like ‘act-whore’ [which is literally the first and last time Magnus’ language gap is funny. BUT NOT THE LAST TIME YOU WILL HAVE IT RUBBED IN YOUR FACE GOD NO THIS JOKE GOES ON FOR 350 MORE PAGES]).
And this Viking-fish-out-of-Viking-water is where I lose sight of what is jokes and what is idiocy. Because ‘act-whore’ = obvious joke. But Magnus being like, ‘Dost think we are in the Land of the Dead’ and his son being like, ‘That fiery first level of the Norse underworld, comparable to the Christian hell?’ – is that a parody of lousy hist-fic novels over-explainatoring for their modern readers? Or is it Actual and Accidental Over-explainatoring? Because that gag dies there, and never thumps its tail again, so methinks it’s the latter. But it’s so BLATANT and BAD that I have a hard time looking it in the face.
But what was going on in our plot, ye wonder? Right. So a Movie Mogul sees Magnus and just happens to badly need a Viking and is all, SOMEBODY GET ME THAT VIKING and then Angela, who is trying to convince said Mogul to film at her grandmother’s vinyard for many moneys, thereby Saving the Family Business, somehow gets saddled with keeping Magnus and his brood out of sight until said Mogul can break his contract with his previous Viking act-whore, who was kind of a sad-sack Viking anyways.
ALL OF THIS is just to throw Angela and Magnus together, as per Grandma Vinyard’s prayers (which, I shit you not, are given as the acting force behind the time travel. Say a few novenas, desperate grand-meres, and your grand-progeny too can have a very virile spouse, ripped untimely from his era though he may be).
So Angela is tasked with teaching Magnus all about
21st century American doo-dads, because he’s like, I’m from Somewhere Else, and she’s like, Fine, this is what a phone does, and neither of them factors in time-travel for, like, way too long (and when they finally do, there’s maybe a paragraph of, like, *gasp* but then everyone is chill with it).
OH AND DID I MENTION that the very virile Viking has taken a vow of chastity? As to not have any more babes? So that after Angela gets him to the vinyard and he turns out to be remarkably adept at vinning and yarding and grandma is all *approves* and the hired help are all *si, approvemente* and he and Angela are all like *sexylooks* because you get two sexy people in one vinyard…what was I? Right. So he’s all, Looks like it’s dry-tupping for us, since that doesn’t count as actual-tupping, and then they *hem* and then a few pages later Magnus is all Blah blah tupping blah and Angela is like, I’m not sure what ‘tupping’ means, and I’m like NAY, I WAS THERE FOR THE DRY-TUPPING CONVERSATION AND THEN YOU…OK, THAT IS WHAT TUPPING MEANS. Except without clothes on. You dig?
And that is where the VVV and I part ways (where it goes down the This Might Have Been Silly And Fun path and I head down But There Was Too Much Of This Stupidity For My Liking road), because the premise is hilariously awful and I would have read it with pleasure, VERY LAME DIALOGUE almost completely aside. But dumb things like this, or like when Angela has the brood in her apartment and phones on her way home from work all, We’re going to the beach, I will pick up bathing suits for everyone even though we are going to the vinyard tomorrow and therefore all these suits will be single-use at best, and I’m like, I’M SO SURE you’re going to just pop out and buy bathing suits for nine children you just met and kind of hope they fit and that everyone approves. Like, that is such a tiny detail to throw me after TIME TRAVEL and VIKINGS and CONVENIENT HOLLYWOOD LANDINGS but my disbelief, she does not suspend for the mundanity.
Or, after the dry-romp in the vinyard, Angela is re-thinking her actions and is like, Yikes to all those children and argh to his continual ’tis’ and ’twas’ as though he were from Somewhere Else but MOST IMPORTANTLY ‘those swords of his and Torolf’s that were parked in the Weller pottery umbrella stand in the front hall! Do I need a daily reminder of the violence that is a part of society today? Did 9/11 teach me anything?’ Irrelevant interjection for the what?
So very almost, Sandra Hill. Let’s say five caterpillars.
And with that, I complete the Horrible Dare Challenge 2011 and SKUNK THE RIGHT HONORABLE TY LITCONNECTION! This is a tasty victory after being so trounced last year. Until next summer, then…