Supernatural: War of the Sons (Book Review)

War of the Sons is book six in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and is co-written by Rebecca Dessertine and David Reed. It takes place during season 5, between episodes 14 (My Bloody Valentine) and 15 (Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid), taking the Winchester brothers on yet another trip across America, this time to a completely different decade.

 

…possible spoiler warning for those not familiar with the TV series…

Continue reading “Supernatural: War of the Sons (Book Review)”

American Gods by Neil Gaiman (Book Review)

It would appear that it’s been quite a while since I last wrote a review, so here’s a repost of an old review from a couple of years ago that was originally on a previous incarnation of the blog.

 

A dear friend of mine purchased Neil Gaiman’s American Gods for me a number of Christmases ago, and with the knowledge that the novel is currently being developed into a TV series, due to air at some point during 2017 [Note: I originally wrote this review back in January 2017], I figured now is the time to finally get round to reading American Gods. [Another quick note: Since this series was on Amazon Prime, I sadly haven’t had the opportunity to watch it].

 

Before I begin my review I’d like to note that the version I am reading is “the author’s preferred text”:

“This version of American Gods is about twelve thousand words longer than the one that won all the awards, and it’s the version of which I’m the most proud.” – Neil Gaiman, excerpt taken from the introduction.

 

After spending three years in prison, 32 year old Shadow Moon is released back into the world. However it’s no longer the friendly, welcoming place that he had expected it to be, filled with love, friendship and brand new beginnings. Two days before his release, Shadow’s wife Laura and best friend Robbie, die in a mysterious car accident, under rather ‘adulterous’ circumstances. With no wife, no job and no ties awaiting him back in Indiana, Shadow soon finds himself in the employment of mysterious stranger Mr Wednesday.

Wednesday is a trickster, a rogue and a former god who Shadow encounters on a trip home to bury his late wife. Seduced into a new life as a bodyguard and errand boy for this rather enigmatic and temperamental ex-god, Shadow travels side-by-side with him across America, meeting some rather obscure characters whose fates are intertwined with that of his own. Meanwhile, the old gods and the new gods are preparing for war.

 

American Gods is a rather difficult novel to review, not necessarily falling into any specific category, instead it transcends all genres, from science fiction, to fantasy, to horror and also mythology. The author’s preferred text is over 600 pages long, and while it takes a number of days to read, the narrative is not boring, or stretched out too far, or even filled with unnecessary detail. Instead it flows along as easily as a paper boat on a little rainwater steam. However, the vast amounts of information contained within its pages may take some time to process properly, resulting in a fascinating, if rather slow read.

I’d rather not focus here on the intricate details of the story, as I do not wish to give anything away or detract from the reader’s pleasure, for those who wish to discover for themselves this bizarre journey before its adaptation adorns our TV screens. However, at 4 out of 5 stars, I can definitely say that it’s well worth a read.

 

For those wishing to indulge in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, you can purchase a copy from Amazon.co.uk here.

 

Favourite Quote:

‘If Hell is other people, then Purgatory is airports.” – Shadow’s inner thought. (p20)

 

Final Note: The author’s preferred copy of American Gods, also contains additional bonus material including an interview with the author, and an American Gods novella ‘The Monarch of the Glen’.

Supernatural: The Unholy Cause by Joe Schreiber (Book Review)

The Unholy Cause is book five in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and is the first of these books to be written by author Joe Schreiber. The monster-hunting duo return for yet another adventure in this unique tale, which takes place at an unknown point during season 5.

 

The Winchester brothers are led to Mission’s Ridge in Georgia, where some civil war re-enactments have become a bit too realistic. With two dead civilians and a pack of demons invading the town, can Sam and Dean figure out how replica weapons are killing people, before they end up arrested by the local Sheriff, Jack Daniels?

 

Favourite Quote:

“War is hell.” – Phil Oiler (p109)

 

At 2 out of 5 stars The Unholy Cause is ok, personally I’m not a huge fan of war re-enactment style novels, and since I’m not American the content doesn’t really appeal to me. However, it’s Sam and Dean Winchester on the hunt of the Supernatural, so I kept an open mind. The story did enough to keep me reading, and I kept waiting for something interesting or exciting to happen, such as a jump-scare scene or super-creepy monster, but sadly nothing of any real substance happened. In truth it was a little boring for me, especially compared with some of the other Supernatural books, and I can’t say I’m all that keen to re-read this one anytime soon.

Joe Schreiber doesn’t offer much in the way of backstory about the Winchester brothers, but since the only people likely to read these books are people who are fans of the TV show, this probably isn’t much of an issue. As far as characterisation is concerned Sam and Dean are portrayed very well, and the overall pace of the novel is quite swift, so I found this to be a relatively quick read. My final negative point is that we don’t know when exactly in the overall timeline this book is set, only that it takes place during season five, and this is a small, niggly detail that the perfectionist in me hates.

 

Anyone interested in war re-enactment style fantasy novels, can check out The Unholy Cause by Joe Schreiber here via this link to Amazon.co.uk.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Nevermore

Supernatural: Witch’s Canyon

Supernatural: Bone Key

Supernatural: Heart of the Dragon

Supernatural: Heart of the Dragon by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Book Review)

Heart of the Dragon is book four of the TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and the third book to be written by author Keith R.A. DeCandido. The monster-hunting Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean, take on another action packed adventure in Heart of the Dragon, which takes place during season 5, between episodes 8 (Changing Channels) and 9 (The Real Ghostbusters).

 

In this Japanese themed story, the boys travel to San Francisco, where an enemy previously thought defeated by both John Winchester, 20 years earlier, and the Campbell family, 40 years ago, has once again returned.

At their Angel friend, Castiel’s insistence the boys drive to California to hunt a demon that has returned to wreak havoc during the Demon-Angel war, which for those familiar with the backstory was accidentally initiated by both Dean, and then later on by Sam’s selfish handiwork – check out season 4 for further details on that.

 

While I enjoyed learning more about Samuel, Deanna and Mary Campbell, as they took down a vampire nest and faced off against the Heart of the Dragon during its first incarnation. This novel is really one story, split into three separate parts, and due to the various different time periods, there are a significant number of secondary characters. As a result Sam and Dean don’t really have that big of a part to play in the overall narrative, and aren’t in the story as much as I would like.

At 2 out of 5 stars I found the Heart of the Dragon to be an enjoyable and interesting enough book, which manages to successfully tie together a very basic story, which is told over numerous different decades. It also provides fans of the show with additional details of the Winchester brother’s family history, which we haven’t previously been offered elsewhere. However, it has a surprising lack of Sam and Dean – as well as only an extremely brief cameo from Castiel – and as most fans will know, the brother’s fraught relationship is a large part of the TV series. Therefore, this book doesn’t quite hit the mark for me.

 

If anyone wishes to check out The Heart of the Dragon by Keith R.A. DeCandido, they can do so via this link to the Amazon.co.uk product page.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Nevermore

Supernatural: Witch’s Canyon

Supernatural: Bone Key

 

Harvest Moon by J.D. Oliva (ARC Review)

I received an ARC of Harvest Moon from author J.D. Oliva and have voluntarily chosen to write this review.

In hindsight, this supernatural police procedural probably wasn’t going to be my cup of tea, but having received an unexpected ARC I decided to check it out.

The plot seemed to be a little confusing at first, over whether the murderer is a copycat, or a man previously believed to be dead. Despite the witness testimony that the supposed murderer had been shot in the head five years earlier, there appeared to be some debate around whether it was possible that he might have survived. No real detail was given to back up or explain why this doubt existed and had I not already seen the werewolf on the book’s cover, I’d have given up reading. However, I persevered and somehow made it all the way to the end of this crazy story.

The novel follows ex-cop Jackson Shane, an unhinged alcoholic, who has been brought out of retirement and asked to assist in a strange murder investigation, which has links to the serial killer he supposedly killed five years before.

The book was ok, but a little boring and confusing in places. The somewhat tedious language wasn’t helped by the countless spelling and grammar errors littered throughout the story – I counted at least 125 – so the book could definitely do with the heavy hand and red pen, of a good editor and proofreader.

I’m giving this 2 out of 5 stars because I made it all the way to the end, and while it wasn’t really to my liking it may be suitable for those who like their police procedurals. Anyone interested can pick up a copy of Harvest Moon from Amazon.co.uk here.

Hunger Games: Book 3 – Mockingjay (Book Review)

Katniss Everdeen’s defiance in the arena during the 74th Annual Hunger Games has had unexpected repercussions. She has inadvertently sparked a rebellion against the Capitol, which has in turn resulted in the destruction of her home District. While those in support of the war have rescued her from almost certain death in the Quarter Quell, her best friend Gale Hawthorne has saved the lives of her family.

Now sheltering in a secret underground bunker, hidden beneath the remains of District 13, Katniss must transform herself into the Mockingjay, spokesperson for the rebels and the revolution. Especially if she has any hope of rescuing Peeta, who has been captured and tortured by the Capitol.

But which side will win this atrocious war?

 

Mockingjay is the third, and thankfully final, novel in the Hunger Games trilogy from Suzanne Collins. I knew going into this trilogy that the books weren’t really to my taste, but the third novel is so dull and monotonous that I struggled to finish it.  Gone are the actual Hunger Games events which provoked the action and entertainment during the first two instalments of the series, instead we are subjected to a tedious rebellion in which rebel forces hide out underground and do very little to attack the Capitol. At 1 out of 5 stars this is a very slow paced and disappointing end to the Hunger Games trilogy.

 

Anyone genuinely interested in these novels can pick up a copy of Mockingjay from Amazon.co.uk here. Or alternatively, you can get all of the movies on DVD via this link.

 

See also:

Book 1: The Hunger Games

Book 2: Catching Fire

Supernatural: Bone Key (Book Review)

Bone Key is the third book in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and the second written by author Keith R.A. DeCandido. Once again we join the monster-hunting Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean, on another action packed adventure. Bone Key takes place during season 3, between episodes 8 (A Very Supernatural Christmas) and 9 (Malleus Maleficarum).

 

In this spooky tale, the boys travel to Key West, Florida, where some famous ghosts are terrorising tourists and murdering people. Can Sam and Dean figure out what’s causing the spirits to become supercharged, and save the day?

 

First of all, with numerous references to prior events, Bone Key isn’t suitable for anyone new to Supernatural, and those unaware of recent plot points which play major roles in the first three seasons of the TV show. Spoilers may ruin the suspense if you intend to watch the show at a later time.

However, for everyone else, this book has a creepy doll reminiscent of Chucky (Child’s Play) or Annabelle (The Conjuring) which I always find very unsettling, As well as famous ghosts, such as Ernest Hemingway and Harry Truman.

With lots of different characters, I found it a little difficult to keep track of everyone, and as far as story goes I’m not sure that it’s quite as strong as Keith’s earlier book, Nevermore. Thankfully though, this time around he manages to get Dean’s eye colour correct, and the characterisations of both Sam and Dean appear much more accurate.

It has a few adult themes that were somewhat questionable, such as the guy who attempts to sleep with numerous women, and unknowingly takes photos of them, just to get back at his ex.

Anyhow, at 3 out of 5 stars I found this book to be enjoyable, but not necessarily a story that appealed to my particular tastes. It had a slowish pace and didn’t have quite as much action as some of the other Supernatural books. If anyone wishes to check it out you can pick yourself up a copy of Bone Key from Amazon.co.uk here.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Nevermore

Supernatural: Witch’s Canyon