Posted on February 24, 2010 by Steven Dawes
Available at Amazon.com
Written by Keith R.A. DeCandido
One of the perks of being a reviewer on Flames Rising are the free E-books. I’ve been given some great books to review that I probably would have never come across and enjoyed otherwise (see my last review of This is My Blood for a great example). Fate and da’ flames have now granted not one, but four advance reader books for yours truly to read and review. Even more interesting is that these books are all based on the “Supernatural” television show!
I really enjoy watching the “Supernatural” show. I’ve been watching it since it first started, I got a few of the seasons on DVD and I’ve been considering checking out the RPG as I am a modern horror RPG junkie. I know that the show is a flawed one at times, but the great character development, the interesting stories and “monster of the week” premise, the “road trip” angle and the plain fun of this show keeps me in the game as an eager player. So reading a set of books based on the show sounded like an ideal position for me to be in.
Well, now I find myself questioning this position.
The first book of the “Supernatural” series is simply titled “Nevermore”. As a fan of Edgar Allen Poe’s work, I could envision a lot of potential using his material in some shape of form in this book. I envisioned the potential of putting Sam, Dean and the Impala (yeah, I’m the mook who sees that swank car as a third character) placed in such a situation involving Poe’s work. But after reading this book I only wish the author was as interested in potential as I was. What do I mean by that? Get your rock salt and hunky supernatural exterminators ready, were goin’ hunting!
The storyline goes something along the line of the Winchester boys heading out to the New York City area to check out a rocker house as he thinks it’s haunted. And which deciding if there is even a haunting, they catch word of a couple of college students finding their lives cut short in a macabre kind away. Even more interesting is that this is but one of a string of seemingly related killings that have ties to the scribes of Mr. Poe. Sounds like it has potential right?
So what went wrong?
Well, it seems to me that the author was more interested in the setting than in the characters. Honestly, this book serves as more of a tourist guide to the Bronx and Brooklyn than it does a story about Sam, Dean and Impala. I have nothing against the author’s love for the city or if it’s his hometown in which he’s fondly familiar with (probably both) and wants to tell all about it. But this book size is too short to be going into such details on the city as everything else suffers. I mean I get it; Edgar Allen Poe once lived and died in the Bronx, but all the education on his home was wasted text as it didn’t add anything to the story about the Winchesters or their two cases.
The next issue was the errors and the continuity issues in places. I won’t go into all the details, but as a lukewarm fan of the show (I don’t live for it or watch it over and over again); even I could pick out character errors the author gave about the bro’s. I can imagine that the diehard fans will chew this book up and spit it out for its bitter tasting errors.
The last big issue with me was the lame characters presented around the Winchester boys. While the brothers themselves were written fairly credible to the show (as little as they were actually in it), the remaining cast in this book felt like clichéd cookie cutter characters whom you’ve seen a thousand times before. The book featured these goobers with more book space than the Winchesters got (who’s story is this anyway?) And yet, their extreme amount of trite detailing was even further diminished in the all the exuberant and lavish details of the city itself.
I formed a theory of how this book was written while I read it. I believe that this book was a story written by the author long before he got the job of writing a Supernatural novel. Then he watched maybe a handful of episodes to get an idea of the characterizations of the Winchester Boys, and then shoehorned them into the book. This book feels like the boys were an afterthought in a story that should be about them and their dealing with the supernatural baddies. And finally, the ending was just flat and lame. Was there really even an ending? Did the boys really solve anything? Questions like this does not a good book make.
I can really only recommend this book to those who want to know more about the city of New York as there’s plenty of info about it. Perhaps the author should consider a career as a tour guide; the man knows his city, I’ll give him that! But if you’re looking for a “Supernatural” book, then this is not the droid you’re looking for.
Sadly this book has caused me to lose some of my zest to read the other three. Where was the clever, witty and imaginative nature of the show? Did the WB give any thought to whom they let write this book based on their beloved show? Did they sell out this badly? Well, were gonna find out as I’ve got three more to go. On a bright note however, the other books are all written by different authors, so who knows? This one could have just been a rough start. But I won’t bet the Impala on that thought at this point.
Review by Steven Dawes