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BOOK REVIEW: FTN reviews Supernatural: Rite of Passage

September 2nd, 2012 by Big Phil Comments

Supernatural: Rite of Passage
Written by:
John Passarella

As young children, Sam and Dean lost their mother to a mysterious supernatural force. In the years that followed, their father taught them about the paranormal evil that exists in the dark corners of America, and taught them how to destroy it. As adults, after their father’s demonic death, they eventually discovered that they were descended from a long line of hunters and now continue their mission. Laurel Hill, New Jersey, is beginning to look like one of the unluckiest places on Earth when a succession of mishaps, outbreaks and disasters hit the town. But Sam and Dean Winchester suspect that the events are more than just bad luck and decide to investigate. Along with Bobby Singer, the brothers question witnesses and check accident scenes and soon realize that a powerful Japanese demon is encouraging the chaos. But the demon has bigger plans than just spreading disorder and carnage, and Sam and Dean are going to need to make their own luck to stop the impending catastrophe.

In the quiet town of Laurel Hill, New Jersey, a number of “accidents” have occurred. Experienced roofers falling to their deaths, an anaesthetist slipping on wet tiles from his shower and cracking his head, a smoker falling asleep whilst his lit cigarette starts a housefire. All of these seemingly random incidences wouldn’t make the average residents in the town think twice.

But then again, Sam and Dean Winchester are neither residents nor average. Fresh from hunting a trio of harpies and accompanied by their good friend Bobby Singer, they follow a trail of seemingly unrelated coincidences in the town of Laurel Hill.

Unsure who or what may be causing these, they soon find that they may be in over their heads as the coincidences vastly escalate from one random death to a scale of carnage neither of them has seen before. Can they stop the creature before it strikes again? Perhaps, but first they have to find out what it is and more importantly, in a pattern of seemingly random acts, how can you predict where it will strike next?

Supernatural: Rite of Passage is set in the seventh season of the series between the episodes  Time for a Wedding and How to lose Friends and influence Monsters. Throughout the novel, the writer constantly refers to events in the seventh series; the Leviathans and their hunt for the Winchesters, Sam’s flashbacks and the alternate reality with Lucifer and Dean and his drinking.

It’s these little touchs that firmly plant the reader in the here and now. If you are a fan of the series, then this book is the perfect extension to the Supernatural world of the Winchesters. The dialogue and banter between the main characters Sam, Dean and Booby is exactly what you see onscreen. With film and television references galore, the state (and humiliation on Dean’s part) of the vehicles they are forced to use, right up to the research of the creature that they must hunt.

This novel also has some interesting characters that have never been seen, well onscreen, before. There is an ex-hunter Roy Dempsey, an amputee who has lost more through the life than just his arm and who has given up hunting for personal reasons. Though for all of his lack of interest on this job, he lends a hand where he can.

There is also the local law enforcement character called Sgt. James McClary who is trying to make sense of what is happening and greatly accepts the assistance and later insight that FBI Agent Willis, that’s Bobby Singer to you and me, provides.

But most importantly we have the creature.  The detail provided in the book is truly superb, in which the author describes every little facet of the character. The unusual height and strength he possesses. His immaculate dress sense from the black suit and white pressed shirt, to the Bowler Hat and pristine iron handle cane and tip. Indeed, throughout all of the series of Supernatural, this is certainly one of the most complicated and dangerous individuals the Winchesters have ever faced.

The book reads like an episode of the series, flowing at a sensible speed and never really adding anything that isn’t part of the intricate plot. The by-characters are there for a reason and don’t feel like filler as is the case in some novelizations. The attention to detail though is what sets this novel apart. From the first page the reader is literally sucked into the world of hunters and the extraordinary. Yet, thanks to the familiarity of the main cast and the brilliant description of their surroundings, this all feels normal.

This was the first Supernatural book I have ever read, and therefore have nothing really to measure it against. I do, however, love the series and this book is just like watching that. It ticks all of the boxes that makes the series so watchable and popular and in that sense, I can not find fault in the book.

If you are a fan of the series, then this book is perfect for you. If on the other hand, you have never heard of the Winchesters, hunters or perhaps not seen the seventh series so far, then this book may not be the companion for you.

Phil Wilce
4 out of 5 Nerds

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I arrived on Earth in 1977 and have virtually devoted my entire existence to cult films, television programmes and cartoons. I am a very big fan of Star Wars and Star Trek; I may struggle with foreign languages but I can order live Gagh in Klingon! I’m the Nerd that knows the trivia but I’m hopeless at sport!