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.

 

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.

 

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