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

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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.

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

Supernatural: Witch’s Canyon (Book Review)

Witch’s Canyon is the second book in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, featuring another brand new story from the monster-hunting Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean. This book takes place directly after book one, Nevermore and during season 2, between episodes 8 (Crossroad Blues) and 9 (Croatoan), and is written by Jeff Mariotte.

 

After Sam and Dean conclude their business in New York City – see Nevermore for details – they travel to Cedar Wells, Arizona, where once every 40 years, a string of unexplained murders decimate the small American town.

 

Witch’s Canyon didn’t grip me in the same way that its predecessor did, and the story is a bit slow burn for my taste. It takes a little while for events to get interesting, or connect together and gives off a feeling of disjointedness in its concept. Each murder almost appears unique, differing in almost every aspect, which makes it difficult for both the reader and the Winchesters, to visualise and decipher the real source of the mayhem.

The narrative also spends far, far too much time repeating basic background facts about Sam and Dean; including information on John and Mary Winchester, Sam’s girlfriend, Jessica, and their training as hunters. I understand the need to provide key details, especially those that will help unfamiliar readers learn more about the main characters. However, given that the majority of people who are likely to read this book are already fans of the TV series, repeating this information regularly after every few chapters seems to be completely unnecessary. Jeff also gets Dean’s eye colour wrong, which really irritated me.

All in all I think Witch’s Canyon would have been better off as a TV episode, rather than a novel. The overall story is ok, but nothing spectacular. At just 3 out of 5 stars, it’s only for the die-hard Supernatural fans, I think. Those interested however, can pick up a copy of Witch’s Canyon from Amazon.co.uk here.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Nevermore

Supernatural: Bone Key

Supernatural: Nevermore by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Book Review)

Nevermore is the first TV Tie-in novel from the CW series Supernatural, featuring a brand new story from the monster-hunting Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean. This first book takes place during season 2, between episodes 8 (Crossroad Blues) and 9 (Croatoan), and is written by Keith R.A. DeCandido.

 

As a favour to their friend Ash, Sam and Dean take a break from hunting the demon that killed their Mom and Sam’s girlfriend, Jessica, to travel to New York City for a haunting case. Meanwhile, Sam has also noticed some unusual deaths that he feels are worth checking out, being reminiscent of a couple of Edgar Allan Poe stories.

Dean finds himself in his version of heaven – surrounded by classic rock music and great tasting coffee – as the boys stay with rocker Manfred Afiri, guitarist and lead vocalist for a seventies covers band, who happens to have a spirit haunting his house. While Dean loses himself in Manfred’s vinyl collection, Sam visits the Poe Cottage and the locations of the unusual murders.

The boys soon find themselves teaming up with some unexpected allies as they try to prevent more murders from occurring, and purge Manfred’s house of a lovesick ghost. All while learning more about their father’s past.

 

Favourite Quote:

Their father had taken to using the phrase ‘a cup of caffeine,’ since what they usually had was so bad, Dad didn’t want to insult it by calling it ‘coffee.’  – (p61)

 

At 5 out of 5 stars Nevermore is a great addition to the Supernatural series for the hardcore fans already familiar with the Winchesters. With its accurate portrayal of the characters it was really easy to imagine Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki from the TV show driving around in the Impala, and investigating these odd cases, which added to my overall enjoyment of the novel.

The book has a quick pace and didn’t get boring. Although there are two separate stories which don’t really intertwine, the book is very well written with smooth transitions between each narrative. Being a rocker myself, like Dean, I loved all of the references to the classic rock music, and the soundtrack list that the writer created as an addendum was also fun.

 

Anyone interested can pick up a copy of Nevermore from Amazon.co.uk here. This is the first book in a series of tie-in novels, all written by various different people, which leads directly into the second book; Witch’s Canyon by Jeff Mariotte.

 

See also:

Supernatural: Witch’s Canyon – Jeff Mariotte

Supernatural: Bone Key – Keith R.A. DeCandido

The Darkeningstone Trilogy – Michael Campling (Book Review)

Book 1: Trespass

Having been a fan of some of Michael Campling’s other books – The Colony B series, and his LitRPG collaboration with Saffron Bryant, Prison Quest – I really thought that I would enjoy this time travel and historical fantasy trilogy. However, after just reading book one, Trespass, I’m a bit disappointed. The story jumps back and forth between three different time periods, and although that doesn’t really bother me, I do feel that as a result not much of real consequence actually happens.

If I had read the free copy of Trespass that I received direct from signing up to Michael Campling’s e-mail newsletter, I would probably have stopped reading at this point, rating the first book at just 2 out of 5 stars. Unfortunately, I have already purchased The Darkeningstone Trilogy Boxset, so I’m going to persevere and continue reading book two, Outcast and hope that the story improves.


Book 2: Outcast

Outcast continues the interlocking stories of Jake and Cally, which began in Trespass: Jake is lost in the forest, while Cally is working on her University Dissertation.

I found this novel more interesting than its predecessor, but I felt that the Darkeningstone played very little part in this story, which was quite disappointing. I liked the survival techniques that Jake used to keep his spirits up and his body alive while he searched for a way back home, as well as the different tribes people and their primitive ways of life.

It did enough to keep me reading, so I’d rate Outcast at 3 out of 5 stars, but the story is probably more suited to young adults than someone in their 30s. However, having come this far it seems silly not to continue on and read the last part of the trilogy, Scaderstone Pit, and I will reserve final judgement until I finish reading the entire series.


Book 3: Scaderstone Pit

As I began reading this trilogy I wasn’t sure that I was going to enjoy it, the premise seemed interesting – a time travel mystery – however, the constant back and forth between different time periods seemed to really slow down the pace of the book. Just as something intriguing happens, we jump to another time period with different characters and as the major action began there, we would again jump elsewhere.

I felt that despite the deeply intricate detail that went into the crafting of this story, in the earlier books not much seemed to happen, or at least not that much that felt significant. I was tempted to give up reading a couple of times early on, however bearing in mind the respect that I have for some of this author’s other books, I kept on reading.

Having persevered all the way to the end of the trilogy, all I can say is that I’m glad I kept going. The third novel, Scaderstone Pit really tied all of the elements of this story together, and every detail finally clicked into place. Unfortunately, there were a number of spelling errors and missing words which let this entire series down, and this is unusual for Michael Campling.

 

At 4 out of 5 stars, The Darkeningstone Trilogy is perfect for young adult fans of time travel. It’s not perfect but if you can stick with it all the way to the end, you may be surprised by how well each different element blends together.

 

See also:

Prison Quest: A Sci-Fi LitRPG Adventure

Colony B: Book 1 – The Wall