Supernatural: The Unholy Cause (Book)
Reviewed by Mr. Dark
Written by Joe Schreiber
Published by Titan Books
There are many fans of "Supernatural" wandering the haunted halls of Dread Central, but I'm willing to bet I'm the biggest. Despite this, I have to confess I wasn't aware there are novels set in the Winchesters' universe, until now. While author Joe Schreiber is no prophet of the Lord (that's a show reference, for those of you in Rio Linda), he's spun an enjoyable tale that any fan of the show should check out.
The Unholy Cause finds Sam and Dean in Georgia, following a case that's solved by a familiar face as soon as they arrive. That individual sets them on another, much bigger trail, and our adventure begins.
Large numbers of Civil War re-enactors gather in Mission's Ridge to recreate a major battle, but things go very wrong as replica weapons suddenly become deadly and a mild-mannered history buff becomes a cold-blooded killer. It all ties back to a Confederate captain named Jubal Beauchamp and a relic called a Judas Knot that was involved in some dark mojo towards the end of the War Between the States. What first appears to be the usual demonic shenanigans turns out to be a much bigger game played by several different parties with Sam and Dean's apocalyptic destinies as the pawns.
As you might guess from that synopsis, this book takes place somewhere during the current season of the show. By placing the tale firmly within the ongoing story arc of the season, it gives things a certain weight they otherwise might not have had. While nothing game-changing happens, for obvious reasons, all the high points of this season's storyline are touched on and factor directly into the plot of the novel. What could have been a throwaway 'one-shot' story becomes a piece in the bigger puzzle, and the book benefits from it.
The tale is a good one, and you see plenty of familiar faces, so much so that, to be honest, there's nothing here for people who aren't already familiar with the show. This is definitely not a 'jump on' point to get your feet wet with the "Supernatural" world. If you haven't seen any of the last couple of seasons, you'll have a few head-scratching moments before the tale is through.
There are also a few rough patches where the book feels like it was a bit rushed. Based on my recent conversation with the author, I think there's some evidence to back that theory up. The issues are minor, though, such as a character repeating herself within a paragraph or two and an early scene with Castiel that seems a little clunky and awkward given what we know of him.
My only other complaint is that the book's major subplot involving Castiel seemed to fizzle out a bit. One can understand, after reading it, why the confrontation at the end of that plot couldn't come to the conclusion we'd all like, but it's still a bit of a letdown in the speed and ease it's glanced over in favor of the main plot line. It's quite a setup with fairly little payoff.
Those complaints are minor in light of the overall package here. You have what you'd hope to see: a solid new 'episode' of the series that's too big and too spectacular to film for the show. Action, drama, horror, humor, and pop-culture references ... everything we want to see from "Supernatural".
If you're a fan of the show, this is something you'll really enjoy. If not, what the hell is wrong with you? Go grab the series on DVD, throw yourself a marathon, and catch up with the cool kids ... then read this book!
4 out of 5
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