Wow, I had gotten behind on my SPN novels. (3 as of the time of this writing) Well the summer is upon us, time to catch up!
First on our list is Rite of Passage, written by John Passarella. If that names sounds familiar, that is the author of our last outing, Night Terrors.
While the previous book wasn’t bad, it did have a problem with its villain – namely that it was too strong. Oh there wasn’t any issues with the boys defeating it, what strained credibility is that the creature had always been defeated in the past. The circumstances of its rise and defeat were so easy with the former and hard with the latter that logically speaking, it should have “won” several times over in history. (a problem with a lot of fiction that have “historical” or “legend” components) In this book, however, the creature/enemy is tough yet beatable- while something new and never-before-seen.
In fact this book took on whole new unnerving undertones. Why? Well although it was published back in August, I didn’t get around to reading it until April. What happened in April? The Boston Marathon bombings. The creature in this book is very much a “terrorism monster”. I don’t mean it’s an ordinary human terrorist or anything, rather it is a monster which thrives on causing widespread destruction and “feeds” on the death and fear it causes. Needless to say, it was… cathartic to see the boys win against that son of a bitch in the end*.
With all that death and destruction, there is gore in this book, like in the previous book. This author seems to be one who is drawn to the gorier section of SPN, however he doesn’t go over the top to the point that it takes one out of the story. It had a really good balance this time.
There is, however, one thing I have to call out. Early in the book, we get this description of a retired hunter:
It took Dean a stunned moment to process that the man had lost half his left arm, the stump ending above where his elbow would have been.
The character’s name is ‘Roy’. Here is a scene with him just a few pages later:
“Three skydivers,” Roy mused as he cut into his steak. “What are the odds? Never mind.” He held both hands up on either side of his head. “Forgot I don’t want to know.”
It doesn’t happen often, but just enough to jar you out of the story. This is what I’m talking about when I talk about “reinforcement”. If you give a descriptor (like “only one arm”) then have that affect things. So in the above it should be “He held up his hand to the side of his head.” etc.
All in all, if you were to ask me to make a SPN movie that was going to be MotW instead of arc-related… this book would be one of my picks for adaption as it’s really got a grand, movie-esque feel to it. Pick it up if you’re needing your Winchester fix until fall.
*Oh you know the boys are going to win at the end of the books, they have to with the way the historian’s note works out. The question always in these things are “how will they win” and “who will they save”. On that, this book delivers.