The Usual Sacrifices is book fifteen in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and is written by Yvonne Navarro. It takes place during season ten between episodes 10 (The Hunter Games) and 13 (Halt & Catch Fire).
…possible spoiler warning for those not familiar and up-to-date with the TV series…
This is the first Supernatural novel to have been written by Yvonne Navarro and I have to admit that I was eager for a fresh perspective, since a lot of the previous books have been extremely unsatisfying. Thankfully, I found The Usual Sacrifices to be a real page-turner.
It doesn’t bore the reader with repetitive details or backstory regarding the Mark of Cain, unlike the two novels I read previously. In fact this is only briefly mentioned, and is probably the only detail in the whole book to give any indication as to what point in the overall timeline that this story is based. If it wasn’t for this, and the historical note preceding the novel, I wouldn’t have known the story was even set during season ten, which is exactly what you want for a stand-alone tale.
Caves are the focus in Yvonne Navarro’s The Usual Sacrifices as we follow Sam and Dean Winchester, as they drive Baby to a small town in Kentucky, where twin girls, Marley and Fallon have gone missing. The brothers discover that there is a long list of missing person’s cases linked to this local community, and that law enforcement appear to be brushing these incidents under the proverbial carpet. Can Sam and Dean discover what’s lurking in the cave system, and find the two young girls before it’s too late? Or will they ruffle the feathers of Sheriff Thompson one too many times and end up lost in the caves themselves?
The Usual Sacrifices has a good story, it’s been done before in a similar fashion, but Navarro puts her own spin on it. It’s good to see ‘Baby’ being given more attention as well, since a lot of writers tend to brush over this aspect, however Navarro’s depiction of Sam and Dean isn’t realistic enough. My main gripe is with the characters dialogue, Dean and Sam constantly refer to each other as “Little Brother” or “Big Brother”, and this is really not in their nature, it would never happen on the show. Also it just sounds really weird, and far more ‘Vampire Diaries’ than Supernatural. However, the book did manage to get Dean’s love of fast food correct much to Sam’s disgust.
At 4 out of 5 stars, I’d definitely recommend The Usual Sacrifices to any fan of the TV show looking for a good additional story to the Supernatural universe, provided you can cope with the character flaws. I’d happily read more of Yvonne Navarro’s SPN tie-in novels in future, if she were to decide to write more of them.