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Carved in Flesh is the twelfth companion book written for the Supernatural TV series. Released in April of 2013, it was written by Tim Waggoner, who also wrote Supernatural, the Television Series: The Roads Not Taken (Oct 2013) and a companion book for another popular science fiction genre show, Stargate SG-1. Mr. Waggoner teaches a college-level creative writing course and is an established author of fantasy and horror stories.


It stands to reason, then, that a wonderfully descriptive writing style was evident throughout Carved in Flesh. The story took place in Brennan, Ohio. Sam and Dean were hunting an unknown creature that left desiccated corpses in its wake. The plot wound its way through mad scientists, biotechnology, an ancient alchemist and a mysterious, evil power. Meticulous imagery enabled me to visualize each character and each scene, from the mundane to the gruesome, in vivid detail. I shared the thoughts, sights and feelings of the victims as they were stalked and eventually killed. Exhaustive backstories enabled me to truly sympathize with the victims and understand the motivations of both the heroes and villains of the story. One of these backstories included a long and involved flashback of an event that occurred in Sam and Dean’s childhood. While it took a very long time for the significance of the memory to be revealed, it ended up being extremely relevant to the climax of the primary plot. The fact that the story included a rare glimpse into a few days of the boys’ childhood was an added bonus.

As much as I enjoyed the technical writing of this book, though, I have to admit that overall I found it frustrating to read. The primary drawback to the book, or maybe I should say the thing that ruined it for me, was the balance of writing time spent on Sam and Dean vs. the supporting characters of the story. I estimate that at least half of the book was not about Sam and Dean. Rather, it was about the supporting characters, antagonists and victims. While the story methodically developed parallel story lines that converged at various climactic moments, I found I was annoyed trying to slosh through everyone else’s story to get to the chapters that focused on Sam and Dean! Relatively equal treatment of a plot’s diverse characters may work well for original stories, but this story takes place in the Supernatural universe. In that space, and to those fans, Sam and Dean are not simply the heroes of the story, they ARE the story. Everyone and everything else is solely a backdrop for learning more about Sam and Dean. I did not feel that overriding bias was at all understood or adequately delivered by this book. For example, I mentioned the flashback memory of something traumatic that happened to the brothers early in their lives. While appreciated, this story could have been so much more. For one thing, its development was fragmented. I would just get interested in what was happening when the author would switch back to present day and what was happening with the supporting characters. I was happy to spend time in Sam and Dean’s past! I loved reading more about their childhoods and an event that helped shape their psyches. I wanted to linger longer in this story! A great deal of potential for a shared realization or recognition of brotherly support went unrealized.

To be fair, when there was a focus on Sam and Dean, they were accurately and consistently portrayed compared to the TV series. Their internal dialogues, conversations, motivations and actions were true to the prior eight years of complex mythology and character development that Supernatural fans know in intricate, excruciating detail. It was clear that Mr. Waggoner had done his homework. The story took place in season 7 between “Time After Time” and “The Slice Girls” in Sam and Dean’s timeline. There were appropriate references connecting the book’s hunt to the Leviathan storyline. Their reasons for taking time to pursue this hunt were convincing enough that I could accept this diversion from the main myth arc shown in TV series. So again, I found the story to be technically accurate. What was lacking, though, was the sense of emotional drama that is so much a part of Supernatural. For example, Sam gets injured fairly early in the book, but the progression of his plot line was agonizingly slow!  His condition was mentioned quite often but it didn’t improve or deteriorate. The same status was just repeated over and over. Sam is tired in the car, Sam is tired at the crime scene, Sam is tired at the motel. Sam is tired talking to witnesses. Dean wonders why Sam is tired. Sam wonders why Sam is tired! So I continued reading trying to find out why Sam was so tired. This tantalizing plot point captured my attention because it was interesting and obviously important. Instead of focusing on or at least capitalizing on this drama, though, the story mentioned it then switched back to what was happening with one of the antagonists. Chapter after chapter added details to the case while Sam and Dean’s plight was handled logically and procedurally rather than dramatically or emotionally.

The premise of the story’s evil creature was also a bit of a stretch even for the Supernatural world. I won’t ruin it for you because it wasn’t revealed until fairly deep into the story, but I found it a bit ludicrous and at times, even a little gross (I flinched a few times reading those incredibly detailed descriptions). Honestly, I actually felt a little insulted by the choice of “monsters”, as if the author assumed the Supernatural fan would accept even the most bizarre premise. OK, I have to admit that the TV show has gone to some really weird places and we, as fans, have gone there right along with them, so the assumption that we could and would accept even the wildest story wasn’t totally without foundation. I ultimately decided to suspend my extreme disbelief and go along with the lore just to enjoy the book. The logic for the lore was sound so I got past this hindrance.

Overall, this book was acceptably interesting but not my favorite companion story. In fact, bouncing back and forth between the character’s stories and the lack of emphasis on Sam and Dean probably made it my least favorite out of the four I have read so far. Still, it wasn’t horrible to read, so it might be worth your time when you are looking for light reading that happens to involve our favorite brothers. There wasn’t anything inherently bad or wrong with it; it just didn’t excite me. My overall ratings:

Writing style: 6 out of 10 (10 for creative writing; 5 for the Ping-Pong approach to the parallel stories)

Reading Enjoyment: 5 out of 10 (mostly for the time I had to spend on non-Sam-and-Dean detail)


Comments  

Nate Winchester
# Nate Winchester 2014-01-01 11:47
Ah here we go, finally. I've been waiting for this. Here was my review so Nightsky and I can see where we're coming from as we bicker over this. (all in good fun of course) =D

Oh and as I mentioned in my review, I did get a kick out of the parallel this one had to the season 7 as a whole.

Quote:
The primary drawback to the book, or maybe I should say the thing that ruined it for me, was the balance of writing time spent on Sam and Dean vs. the supporting characters of the story. I estimate that at least half of the book was not about Sam and Dean. Rather, it was about the supporting characters, antagonists and victims.
Having read a LOT of what I call "official fan fiction" (and that is what these are) I'll admit this is sort of a trade off with these things. It would suck for an author to put in something about the main characters only for the show to up and contradict it down the road. (i.e. A novel mentions that Dean likes chocolate ice cream, only for an episode to say he likes Rocky Road.) So you kind of have to walk a line of "here are our beloved characters" yet not be too descript in things. It's a fine line to tread.

Quote:
While the story methodically developed parallel story lines that converged at various climactic moments, I found I was annoyed trying to slosh through everyone else’s story to get to the chapters that focused on Sam and Dean! Relatively equal treatment of a plot’s diverse characters may work well for original stories, but this story takes place in the Supernatural universe. In that space, and to those fans, Sam and Dean are not simply the heroes of the story, they ARE the story.
I see where you're coming from, though I liked the style of some of the earlier shows where we got a bit of insight into the people the MotW was affecting, it helped add gravitas to the proceedings and made you WANT the boys to save them. Here lately it's felt to me like MotW are only relevant in how they end up affecting S&D with little or no consideration for other people. I mean I get a show being focused on the protagonists, but I miss the feeling that the guys were part of a larger world, that it wasn't ALL about them. (which then gave later seasons more impact when we learned... oh, maybe it is all about them lol) But that is a preference of styles.

Quote:
Chapter after chapter added details to the case while Sam and Dean’s plight was handled logically and procedurally rather than dramatically or emotionally.
There's probably our biggest difference as I liked that layout and I'm still mastering these hu-mon emotions you speak of. ;-)

Quote:
The premise of the story’s evil creature was also a bit of a stretch even for the Supernatural world. I won’t ruin it for you because it wasn’t revealed until fairly deep into the story, but I found it a bit ludicrous and at times, even a little gross (I flinched a few times reading those incredibly detailed descriptions). Honestly, I actually felt a little insulted by the choice of “monsters”, as if the author assumed the Supernatural fan would accept even the most bizarre premise.
Ok I'm curious but which creature are you talking about? If we think of it in tiers, the BIG bad (t1), the 2nd, most screen time bad (t2), or the lower, more common creatures (t3)? And then we'll have fun trying to talk about this in code. lol
Nate Winchester
# Nate Winchester 2014-01-01 11:47
Ah here we go, finally. I've been waiting for this. Here was my review (www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/article-archives/the-mystery-spot/18026-cure-for-hellatus-carved-in-flesh-a-supernatural-novel) so Nightsky and I can see where we're coming from as we bicker over this. (all in good fun of course) =D

Oh and as I mentioned in my review, I did get a kick out of the parallel this one had to the season 7 as a whole.

Quote:
The primary drawback to the book, or maybe I should say the thing that ruined it for me, was the balance of writing time spent on Sam and Dean vs. the supporting characters of the story. I estimate that at least half of the book was not about Sam and Dean. Rather, it was about the supporting characters, antagonists and victims.
Having read a LOT of what I call "official fan fiction" (and that is what these are) I'll admit this is sort of a trade off with these things. It would suck for an author to put in something about the main characters only for the show to up and contradict it down the road. (i.e. A novel mentions that Dean likes chocolate ice cream, only for an episode to say he likes Rocky Road.) So you kind of have to walk a line of "here are our beloved characters" yet not be too descript in things. It's a fine line to tread.

Quote:
While the story methodically developed parallel story lines that converged at various climactic moments, I found I was annoyed trying to slosh through everyone else’s story to get to the chapters that focused on Sam and Dean! Relatively equal treatment of a plot’s diverse characters may work well for original stories, but this story takes place in the Supernatural universe. In that space, and to those fans, Sam and Dean are not simply the heroes of the story, they ARE the story.
I see where you're coming from, though I liked the style of some of the earlier shows where we got a bit of insight into the people the MotW was affecting, it helped add gravitas to the proceedings and made you WANT the boys to save them. Here lately it's felt to me like MotW are only relevant in how they end up affecting S&D with little or no consideration for other people. I mean I get a show being focused on the protagonists, but I miss the feeling that the guys were part of a larger world, that it wasn't ALL about them. (which then gave later seasons more impact when we learned... oh, maybe it is all about them lol) But that is a preference of styles.

Quote:
Chapter after chapter added details to the case while Sam and Dean’s plight was handled logically and procedurally rather than dramatically or emotionally.
There's probably our biggest difference as I liked that layout and I'm still mastering these hu-mon emotions you speak of. ;-)

Quote:
The premise of the story’s evil creature was also a bit of a stretch even for the Supernatural world. I won’t ruin it for you because it wasn’t revealed until fairly deep into the story, but I found it a bit ludicrous and at times, even a little gross (I flinched a few times reading those incredibly detailed descriptions). Honestly, I actually felt a little insulted by the choice of “monsters”, as if the author assumed the Supernatural fan would accept even the most bizarre premise.
Ok I'm curious but which creature are you talking about? If we think of it in tiers, the BIG bad (t1), the 2nd, most screen time bad (t2), or the lower, more common creatures (t3)? And then we'll have fun trying to talk about this in code. lol
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2014-01-01 17:45
I am currnetly trying to read woke of the books and I really want to like them. Ive started the first chapters of three of them and am encountering the same problems I encountered before in reading the books. The lack of detail and emotional heft of the characters. Now Nate I see your point about them getting too detailed and being contradicted later on in the show. I understand it completely but I still cant get past it. Ive never had problems reading other tie -in books like Star Trek and Star Wars so I'm not sure why I cant get past it in these books. I think its because the world the brothers live in is so small, so circumscribed that its a lot harder to write in their 'verse and kelp that emotional intensity. But I keep getting good reviews of these stories so Ill try again. Sometimes it just has to do with timing whether or not I like a book.
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2014-01-01 17:45
I am currnetly trying to read woke of the books and I really want to like them. Ive started the first chapters of three of them and am encountering the same problems I encountered before in reading the books. The lack of detail and emotional heft of the characters. Now Nate I see your point about them getting too detailed and being contradicted later on in the show. I understand it completely but I still cant get past it. Ive never had problems reading other tie -in books like Star Trek and Star Wars so I'm not sure why I cant get past it in these books. I think its because the world the brothers live in is so small, so circumscribed that its a lot harder to write in their 'verse and kelp that emotional intensity. But I keep getting good reviews of these stories so Ill try again. Sometimes it just has to do with timing whether or not I like a book.
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-01-02 19:49
Quoting Nate Winchester:

Quote:
The primary drawback to the book, or maybe I should say the thing that ruined it for me, was the balance of writing time spent on Sam and Dean vs. the supporting characters of the story. I estimate that at least half of the book was not about Sam and Dean. Rather, it was about the supporting characters, antagonists and victims.


Having read a LOT of what I call "official fan fiction" (and that is what these are) I'll admit this is sort of a trade off with these things. It would suck for an author to put in something about the main characters only for the show to up and contradict it down the road. (i.e. A novel mentions that Dean likes chocolate ice cream, only for an episode to say he likes Rocky Road.) So you kind of have to walk a line of "here are our beloved characters" yet not be too descript in things. It's a fine line to tread.
I didn't necessarily need or want new canon about Sam and Dean. I would have been happy if the book spent a lot more time just focusing on their current hunt - their thoughts, their actions, etc. Fresh Meat, for example, lingered on the brothers a great deal more.

Quoting Nate Winchester:

Quote:
While the story methodically developed parallel story lines that converged at various climactic moments, I found I was annoyed trying to slosh through everyone else’s story to get to the chapters that focused on Sam and Dean! Relatively equal treatment of a plot’s diverse characters may work well for original stories, but this story takes place in the Supernatural universe. In that space, and to those fans, Sam and Dean are not simply the heroes of the story, they ARE the story.


I see where you're coming from, though I liked the style of some of the earlier shows where we got a bit of insight into the people the MotW was affecting, it helped add gravitas to the proceedings and made you WANT the boys to save them. Here lately it's felt to me like MotW are only relevant in how they end up affecting S&D with little or no consideration for other people. I mean I get a show being focused on the protagonists, but I miss the feeling that the guys were part of a larger world, that it wasn't ALL about them. (which then gave later seasons more impact when we learned... oh, maybe it is all about them lol) But that is a preference of styles.
Now that is an interesting point. I guess I've never cared a whole lot about the throw-away characters that needed to be saved in the MoTW stories. I never needed to identify with them. So I guess it makes sense that I didn't need or want to care a lot about the book's characters. For me, I need the secondary story to be believable and plausible...then I want to spend as much time as humanly possible on the brothers! I've never thought about it that way, but the same is true of the weekly episodes.

Quoting Nate Winchester:

Quote:
Chapter after chapter added details to the case while Sam and Dean’s plight was handled logically and procedurally rather than dramatically or emotionally


There's probably our biggest difference as I liked that layout and I'm still mastering these hu-mon emotions you speak of. ;-)
I agree that this is probably a fundamental underpinning of why individuals fans watch the show. I watch for the brothers' emotions, plight, progress, etc. I also LOVE the myth arc of angels vs. demons, God's intention vs. angels' interpretations, etc. The larger the story, the more invested I became. So the tie-in books have a disadvantage for me - by definition they can't progress the myth arc. They must deal only with a MoTW. So the only thing they can deliver for my enjoyment is a Sam and Dean immersion. They do that (with a logical background premise) and I am a happy reader.

Quoting Nate Winchester:

Quote:
The premise of the story’s evil creature was also a bit of a stretch even for the Supernatural world. I won’t ruin it for you because it wasn’t revealed until fairly deep into the story, but I found it a bit ludicrous and at times, even a little gross (I flinched a few times reading those incredibly detailed descriptions). Honestly, I actually felt a little insulted by the choice of “monsters”, as if the author assumed the Supernatural fan would accept even the most bizarre premise.


Ok I'm curious but which creature are you talking about? If we think of it in tiers, the BIG bad (t1), the 2nd, most screen time bad (t2), or the lower, more common creatures (t3)? And then we'll have fun trying to talk about this in code. lol
The BIG bad. I was like, REALLY???
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-01-02 19:49
Quote:

Quote:
The primary drawback to the book, or maybe I should say the thing that ruined it for me, was the balance of writing time spent on Sam and Dean vs. the supporting characters of the story. I estimate that at least half of the book was not about Sam and Dean. Rather, it was about the supporting characters, antagonists and victims.
Having read a LOT of what I call "official fan fiction" (and that is what these are) I'll admit this is sort of a trade off with these things. It would suck for an author to put in something about the main characters only for the show to up and contradict it down the road. (i.e. A novel mentions that Dean likes chocolate ice cream, only for an episode to say he likes Rocky Road.) So you kind of have to walk a line of "here are our beloved characters" yet not be too descript in things. It's a fine line to tread.
I didn't necessarily need or want new canon about Sam and Dean. I would have been happy if the book spent a lot more time just focusing on their current hunt - their thoughts, their actions, etc. Fresh Meat, for example, lingered on the brothers a great deal more.

Quote:

Quote:
While the story methodically developed parallel story lines that converged at various climactic moments, I found I was annoyed trying to slosh through everyone else’s story to get to the chapters that focused on Sam and Dean! Relatively equal treatment of a plot’s diverse characters may work well for original stories, but this story takes place in the Supernatural universe. In that space, and to those fans, Sam and Dean are not simply the heroes of the story, they ARE the story.
I see where you're coming from, though I liked the style of some of the earlier shows where we got a bit of insight into the people the MotW was affecting, it helped add gravitas to the proceedings and made you WANT the boys to save them. Here lately it's felt to me like MotW are only relevant in how they end up affecting S&D with little or no consideration for other people. I mean I get a show being focused on the protagonists, but I miss the feeling that the guys were part of a larger world, that it wasn't ALL about them. (which then gave later seasons more impact when we learned... oh, maybe it is all about them lol) But that is a preference of styles.
Now that is an interesting point. I guess I've never cared a whole lot about the throw-away characters that needed to be saved in the MoTW stories. I never needed to identify with them. So I guess it makes sense that I didn't need or want to care a lot about the book's characters. For me, I need the secondary story to be believable and plausible...then I want to spend as much time as humanly possible on the brothers! I've never thought about it that way, but the same is true of the weekly episodes.

Quote:

Quote:
Chapter after chapter added details to the case while Sam and Dean’s plight was handled logically and procedurally rather than dramatically or emotionally


There's probably our biggest difference as I liked that layout and I'm still mastering these hu-mon emotions you speak of. ;-)
I agree that this is probably a fundamental underpinning of why individuals fans watch the show. I watch for the brothers' emotions, plight, progress, etc. I also LOVE the myth arc of angels vs. demons, God's intention vs. angels' interpretations, etc. The larger the story, the more invested I became. So the tie-in books have a disadvantage for me - by definition they can't progress the myth arc. They must deal only with a MoTW. So the only thing they can deliver for my enjoyment is a Sam and Dean immersion. They do that (with a logical background premise) and I am a happy reader.

Quote:

Quote:
The premise of the story’s evil creature was also a bit of a stretch even for the Supernatural world. I won’t ruin it for you because it wasn’t revealed until fairly deep into the story, but I found it a bit ludicrous and at times, even a little gross (I flinched a few times reading those incredibly detailed descriptions). Honestly, I actually felt a little insulted by the choice of “monsters”, as if the author assumed the Supernatural fan would accept even the most bizarre premise.


Ok I'm curious but which creature are you talking about? If we think of it in tiers, the BIG bad (t1), the 2nd, most screen time bad (t2), or the lower, more common creatures (t3)? And then we'll have fun trying to talk about this in code. lol
The BIG bad. I was like, REALLY???
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-01-02 20:11
#2 Ikeke35 I think Coyote's Kiss had the best, most interesting, supporting character. Enough detail to care about her, but Sam and Dean still remained the core of the story. Carved in Flesh gave an immense amount of detail about it's victims and conflicted characters, but I didn't like any of these people. Their story also up-staged the brothers, hence my problem with the balance. If you want to understand motivation and history, though, either of these books should fit the bill (out of the 5 I've read so far).
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-01-02 20:11
#2 Ikeke35 I think Coyote's Kiss had the best, most interesting, supporting character. Enough detail to care about her, but Sam and Dean still remained the core of the story. Carved in Flesh gave an immense amount of detail about it's victims and conflicted characters, but I didn't like any of these people. Their story also up-staged the brothers, hence my problem with the balance. If you want to understand motivation and history, though, either of these books should fit the bill (out of the 5 I've read so far).
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-01-02 20:14
Side-Note for my readers:
I've ordered a few more of the books from Amazon but they are out-of-stock! Don't want used copies so I'm being patient. Reviews of them will consequently be a little delayed. I may go back and re-read my first 3, though, and do reviews on those so you can compare my reactions to Nates!
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-01-02 20:14
Side-Note for my readers:
I've ordered a few more of the books from Amazon but they are out-of-stock! Don't want used copies so I'm being patient. Reviews of them will consequently be a little delayed. I may go back and re-read my first 3, though, and do reviews on those so you can compare my reactions to Nates!
Nate Winchester
# Nate Winchester 2014-01-02 20:23
Quote:
I didn't necessarily need or want new canon about Sam and Dean. I would have been happy if the book spent a lot more time just focusing on their current hunt - their thoughts, their actions, etc. Fresh Meat, for example, lingered on the brothers a great deal more.
Well (and I only speak as a casual writer), remember that every moment with S&D is technically "adding canon" especially when it touches on inner feelings.

Though I'll agree with you that by far the best bits were the past flashbacks and even the new resolve they have at the end. ("Hey, remember when...?")

Quote:
Now that is an interesting point. I guess I've never cared a whole lot about the throw-away characters that needed to be saved in the MoTW stories. I never needed to identify with them. So I guess it makes sense that I didn't need or want to care a lot about the book's characters. For me, I need the secondary story to be believable and plausible...then I want to spend as much time as humanly possible on the brothers! I've never thought about it that way, but the same is true of the weekly episodes.
Fair enough, different tastes and all. :lol: Though I should clarify that for me it's less "identifying" with them and more just seeing them be characters, to feel like real people. Although I still need to rewatch them, it's part of why I think I always shipped Sarah with Sam more than Madison because the former came off as more like a real person to me while the latter felt like a plot device. ("This week, we're going to get Sam laid...") It's part of why I think Amelia failed as she did.

Now if you allow me to get all snooty and criticy on you... As we can see in probably one of the finest examples they pulled off in the show Metamorphosis, we find that spending time with the side characters actually reveals and shows us more about S&D without being too overt or on-the-nose. Via the other characters we end up spending time on the brothers as by seeing certain traits removed from a familiar context a mirror is lifted up and we are allowed to see a harsh truth our appreciation of the boys may blind us to. For instance in this book, the Mother... well that goes without saying. The business man (and be honest, you agree with me that was the worst death?) shows how Dean's obsession with Dick Roman (remember, S7) can lead to his self-destruction even if he is given what he wants (heh, which I just now realized is what happened in the finale).

But then I could be talking out of my rear but that's just for fun. ;-)

Quote:
I agree that this is probably an fundamental underpinning of why individuals fans watch the show. I watch for the brothers' emotions, plight, progress, etc. I also LOVE the myth arc of angels vs. demons, God's intention vs. angels' interpretations, etc. The larger the story, the more invested I became.
Well I should say I liked the AvD myth arc IN the kripke era. Since then, I think the show's become a little codependent on it and needs to branch out more. Hence why I actually quite enjoyed the myth arc of S7 though am somewhat bored with S8&9 (though S8 could have brought me around had the brothers done the trials together).

Quote:
So the tie-in books have a disadvantage for me - by definition they can't progress the myth arc. They must deal only with a MoTW. So the only thing they can deliver for my enjoyment is a Sam and Dean immersion. They do that (with a logical background premise) and I am a happy reader.
Well you certainly remember how Unholy Cause tried to tie into the myth arc, right? (I... think) War of the Sons does even more (in fact, it does so BRILLIANTLY) and I'd rank it so much higher had they not spoiled out at the end. Heart of the Dragon is MotW that's cleverly tied into the Myth and then of course there's 1 Year Gone.

I almost want to make you read that just so you can know how sometimes being inside the boys' heads in these things can be a bad thing... *evil laugh*

Oh, and you read any of the comics? That's another story...

Quote:
The BIG bad. I was like, REALLY???
This comment has already gone on for awhile so I'll just ask whether you want to spoil things here for the others or if you want to move the discussion to my blog for it?
http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/cure-for-hellatus-carved-in-flesh/

I didn't have as big a problem with it as the one in Night Terrors. And after the "lampshade hanging" they did in Coyote's Kiss (and the episode "Remember the Titans") it's even easier to plug the villain into the canon I think.
Nate Winchester
# Nate Winchester 2014-01-02 20:23
Quote:
I didn't necessarily need or want new canon about Sam and Dean. I would have been happy if the book spent a lot more time just focusing on their current hunt - their thoughts, their actions, etc. Fresh Meat, for example, lingered on the brothers a great deal more.
Well (and I only speak as a casual writer), remember that every moment with S&D is technically "adding canon" especially when it touches on inner feelings.

Though I'll agree with you that by far the best bits were the past flashbacks and even the new resolve they have at the end. ("Hey, remember when...?")

Quote:
Now that is an interesting point. I guess I've never cared a whole lot about the throw-away characters that needed to be saved in the MoTW stories. I never needed to identify with them. So I guess it makes sense that I didn't need or want to care a lot about the book's characters. For me, I need the secondary story to be believable and plausible...then I want to spend as much time as humanly possible on the brothers! I've never thought about it that way, but the same is true of the weekly episodes.
Fair enough, different tastes and all. :lol: Though I should clarify that for me it's less "identifying" with them and more just seeing them be characters, to feel like real people. Although I still need to rewatch them, it's part of why I think I always shipped Sarah with Sam more than Madison because the former came off as more like a real person to me while the latter felt like a plot device. ("This week, we're going to get Sam laid...") It's part of why I think Amelia failed as she did.

Now if you allow me to get all snooty and criticy on you... As we can see in probably one of the finest examples they pulled off in the show Metamorphosis (www.supernaturalwiki.com/index.php?title=4.04_Metamorphosis), we find that spending time with the side characters actually reveals and shows us more about S&D without being too overt or on-the-nose. Via the other characters we end up spending time on the brothers as by seeing certain traits removed from a familiar context a mirror is lifted up and we are allowed to see a harsh truth our appreciation of the boys may blind us to. For instance in this book, the Mother... well that goes without saying. The business man (and be honest, you agree with me that was the worst death?) shows how Dean's obsession with Dick Roman (remember, S7) can lead to his self-destruction even if he is given what he wants (heh, which I just now realized is what happened in the finale).

But then I could be talking out of my rear but that's just for fun. ;-)

Quote:
I agree that this is probably an fundamental underpinning of why individuals fans watch the show. I watch for the brothers' emotions, plight, progress, etc. I also LOVE the myth arc of angels vs. demons, God's intention vs. angels' interpretations, etc. The larger the story, the more invested I became.
Well I should say I liked the AvD myth arc IN the kripke era. Since then, I think the show's become a little codependent on it and needs to branch out more. Hence why I actually quite enjoyed the myth arc of S7 though am somewhat bored with S8&9 (though S8 could have brought me around had the brothers done the trials together).

Quote:
So the tie-in books have a disadvantage for me - by definition they can't progress the myth arc. They must deal only with a MoTW. So the only thing they can deliver for my enjoyment is a Sam and Dean immersion. They do that (with a logical background premise) and I am a happy reader.
Well you certainly remember how Unholy Cause tried to tie into the myth arc, right? (I... think) War of the Sons does even more (in fact, it does so BRILLIANTLY) and I'd rank it so much higher had they not spoiled out at the end. Heart of the Dragon is MotW that's cleverly tied into the Myth and then of course there's 1 Year Gone.

I almost want to make you read that just so you can know how sometimes being inside the boys' heads in these things can be a bad thing... *evil laugh*

Oh, and you read any of the comics? That's another story...

Quote:
The BIG bad. I was like, REALLY???
This comment has already gone on for awhile so I'll just ask whether you want to spoil things here for the others or if you want to move the discussion to my blog for it?
http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/cure-for-hellatus-carved-in-flesh/

I didn't have as big a problem with it as the one in Night Terrors. And after the "lampshade hanging" they did in Coyote's Kiss (and the episode "Remember the Titans") it's even easier to plug the villain into the canon I think.
Nate Winchester
# Nate Winchester 2014-01-02 20:55
Quote:
Don't want used copies so I'm being patient.
Oh so you're too good to borrow mine, eh? :P
Nate Winchester
# Nate Winchester 2014-01-02 20:55
Quote:
Don't want used copies so I'm being patient.
Oh so you're too good to borrow mine, eh? :P
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-01-02 23:36
Quoting Nate Winchester:
Quote:
Don't want used copies so I'm being patient.


Oh so you're too good to borrow mine, eh? :P
You have such an incredible recall of each book, I presumed yours were all dog-eared and highlighted, with "notes in the margin"! : )
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-01-02 23:36
Quote:
Quote:
Don't want used copies so I'm being patient.
Oh so you're too good to borrow mine, eh? :P
You have such an incredible recall of each book, I presumed yours were all dog-eared and highlighted, with "notes in the margin"! : )
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-01-03 00:12
Quoting Nate Winchester:

Quote:
I didn't necessarily need or want new canon about Sam and Dean. I would have been happy if the book spent a lot more time just focusing on their current hunt - their thoughts, their actions, etc. Fresh Meat, for example, lingered on the brothers a great deal more.


Well (and I only speak as a casual writer), remember that every moment with S&D is technically "adding canon" especially when it touches on inner feelings.

Though I'll agree with you that by far the best bits were the past flashbacks and even the new resolve they have at the end. ("Hey, remember when...?")
I guess my initial expectation is that the tie-in books can (and should ) be consistent with canon without adding to it. For example, I would think we could have extensive inner dialog from either Sam or Dean that expresses doubts, fears, confidence, etc. already established in the series. In other words, I would like the authors to repeat/reiterate/use emotions or actions that had already been firmly established in the show. I understand that would be a huge challenge to a writer who doesn't study the show the way we do, but to me, that is the job they signed up for.

The book added new canon with the flashback. That was hugely interesting...but technically risky to the author's on-going contractual relationship with TPTB. Since the new canon wasn't written by show writers, it "doesn't count" and is only even known by the relative few who read the book but I would guess the authors have very extensive limitations (contractually ) with the amount of canon they can introduce.

Quoting Nate Winchester:

Quote:
Now that is an interesting point. I guess I've never cared a whole lot about the throw-away characters that needed to be saved in the MoTW stories. I never needed to identify with them. So I guess it makes sense that I didn't need or want to care a lot about the book's characters. For me, I need the secondary story to be believable and plausible...then I want to spend as much time as humanly possible on the brothers! I've never thought about it that way, but the same is true of the weekly episodes.


Fair enough, different tastes and all. :lol: Though I should clarify that for me it's less "identifying" with them and more just seeing them be characters, to feel like real people. Although I still need to rewatch them, it's part of why I think I always shipped Sarah with Sam more than Madison because the former came off as more like a real person to me while the latter felt like a plot device. ("This week, we're going to get Sam laid...") It's part of why I think Amelia failed as she did.

Now if you allow me to get all snooty and criticy on you... As we can see in probably one of the finest examples they pulled off in the show Metamorphosis, we find that spending time with the side characters actually reveals and shows us more about S&D without being too overt or on-the-nose. Via the other characters we end up spending time on the brothers as by seeing certain traits removed from a familiar context a mirror is lifted up and we are allowed to see a harsh truth our appreciation of the boys may blind us to. For instance in this book, the Mother... well that goes without saying. The business man (and be honest, you agree with me that was the worst death?) shows how Dean's obsession with Dick Roman (remember, S7) can lead to his self-destruction even if he is given what he wants (heh, which I just now realized is what happened in the finale).
I really bought into Madison but I agree that Sarah was a perfect match for Sam. The chemistry was instant and deep. I saw such long term potential there and was very surprised that she wasn't an occasional side character. I read somewhere that the writers really wanted to use her but couldn't figure out how to work it into the story.
And I love when the supporting characters teach or reflect lessons about Sam and Dean. In my vernacular, though, that story IS about Sam and Dean; it is just told by example! If this book was doing that, it took way too long to get to the point!

Quoting Nate Winchester:

Quote:
I agree that this is probably an fundamental underpinning of why individuals fans watch the show. I watch for the brothers' emotions, plight, progress, etc. I also LOVE the myth arc of angels vs. demons, God's intention vs. angels' interpretations, etc. The larger the story, the more invested I became.


Well I should say I liked the AvD myth arc IN the kripke era. Since then, I think the show's become a little codependent on it and needs to branch out more. Hence why I actually quite enjoyed the myth arc of S7 though am somewhat bored with S8&9 (though S8 could have brought me around had the brothers done the trials together).
HAH! ...and I was bored by the arc in S7 and really engaged by the arc in the second half of 8 and now, 9!
Quoting Nate Winchester:

Quote:
So the tie-in books have a disadvantage for me - by definition they can't progress the myth arc. They must deal only with a MoTW. So the only thing they can deliver for my enjoyment is a Sam and Dean immersion. They do that (with a logical background premise) and I am a happy reader.


Well you certainly remember how Unholy Cause tried to tie into the myth arc, right? (I... think) War of the Sons does even more (in fact, it does so BRILLIANTLY) and I'd rank it so much higher had they not spoiled out at the end. Heart of the Dragon is MotW that's cleverly tied into the Myth and then of course there's 1 Year Gone.

I almost want to make you read that just so you can know how sometimes being inside the boys' heads in these things can be a bad thing... *evil laugh*

Oh, and you read any of the comics? That's another story...
I have not yet read any of the three books you cited here because they were the lowest rated by readers. I'm curious now, though.
No, I haven't read any of the comics. Where do you find them?
Quoting Nate Winchester:

Quote:
The BIG bad. I was like, REALLY???


This comment has already gone on for awhile so I'll just ask whether you want to spoil things here for the others or if you want to move the discussion to my blog for it?
http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/cure-for-hellatus-carved-in-flesh/

I didn't have as big a problem with it as the one in Night Terrors. And after the "lampshade hanging" they did in Coyote's Kiss (and the episode "Remember the Titans") it's even easier to plug the villain into the canon I think.
AAWW, keep it here. :D We could always preface our comments with spoiler alerts!
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-01-03 00:12
Quote:

Quote:
I didn't necessarily need or want new canon about Sam and Dean. I would have been happy if the book spent a lot more time just focusing on their current hunt - their thoughts, their actions, etc. Fresh Meat, for example, lingered on the brothers a great deal more.
Well (and I only speak as a casual writer), remember that every moment with S&D is technically "adding canon" especially when it touches on inner feelings.

Though I'll agree with you that by far the best bits were the past flashbacks and even the new resolve they have at the end. ("Hey, remember when...?")
I guess my initial expectation is that the tie-in books can (and should ) be consistent with canon without adding to it. For example, I would think we could have extensive inner dialog from either Sam or Dean that expresses doubts, fears, confidence, etc. already established in the series. In other words, I would like the authors to repeat/reiterate/use emotions or actions that had already been firmly established in the show. I understand that would be a huge challenge to a writer who doesn't study the show the way we do, but to me, that is the job they signed up for.

The book added new canon with the flashback. That was hugely interesting...but technically risky to the author's on-going contractual relationship with TPTB. Since the new canon wasn't written by show writers, it "doesn't count" and is only even known by the relative few who read the book but I would guess the authors have very extensive limitations (contractually ) with the amount of canon they can introduce.

Quote:

Quote:
Now that is an interesting point. I guess I've never cared a whole lot about the throw-away characters that needed to be saved in the MoTW stories. I never needed to identify with them. So I guess it makes sense that I didn't need or want to care a lot about the book's characters. For me, I need the secondary story to be believable and plausible...then I want to spend as much time as humanly possible on the brothers! I've never thought about it that way, but the same is true of the weekly episodes.
Fair enough, different tastes and all. :lol: Though I should clarify that for me it's less "identifying" with them and more just seeing them be characters, to feel like real people. Although I still need to rewatch them, it's part of why I think I always shipped Sarah with Sam more than Madison because the former came off as more like a real person to me while the latter felt like a plot device. ("This week, we're going to get Sam laid...") It's part of why I think Amelia failed as she did.

Now if you allow me to get all snooty and criticy on you... As we can see in probably one of the finest examples they pulled off in the show Metamorphosis (www.supernaturalwiki.com/index.php?title=4.04_Metamorphosis), we find that spending time with the side characters actually reveals and shows us more about S&D without being too overt or on-the-nose. Via the other characters we end up spending time on the brothers as by seeing certain traits removed from a familiar context a mirror is lifted up and we are allowed to see a harsh truth our appreciation of the boys may blind us to. For instance in this book, the Mother... well that goes without saying. The business man (and be honest, you agree with me that was the worst death?) shows how Dean's obsession with Dick Roman (remember, S7) can lead to his self-destruction even if he is given what he wants (heh, which I just now realized is what happened in the finale).
I really bought into Madison but I agree that Sarah was a perfect match for Sam. The chemistry was instant and deep. I saw such long term potential there and was very surprised that she wasn't an occasional side character. I read somewhere that the writers really wanted to use her but couldn't figure out how to work it into the story.
And I love when the supporting characters teach or reflect lessons about Sam and Dean. In my vernacular, though, that story IS about Sam and Dean; it is just told by example! If this book was doing that, it took way too long to get to the point!

Quote:

Quote:
I agree that this is probably an fundamental underpinning of why individuals fans watch the show. I watch for the brothers' emotions, plight, progress, etc. I also LOVE the myth arc of angels vs. demons, God's intention vs. angels' interpretations, etc. The larger the story, the more invested I became.
Well I should say I liked the AvD myth arc IN the kripke era. Since then, I think the show's become a little codependent on it and needs to branch out more. Hence why I actually quite enjoyed the myth arc of S7 though am somewhat bored with S8&9 (though S8 could have brought me around had the brothers done the trials together).
HAH! ...and I was bored by the arc in S7 and really engaged by the arc in the second half of 8 and now, 9!
Quote:

Quote:
So the tie-in books have a disadvantage for me - by definition they can't progress the myth arc. They must deal only with a MoTW. So the only thing they can deliver for my enjoyment is a Sam and Dean immersion. They do that (with a logical background premise) and I am a happy reader.
Well you certainly remember how Unholy Cause tried to tie into the myth arc, right? (I... think) War of the Sons does even more (in fact, it does so BRILLIANTLY) and I'd rank it so much higher had they not spoiled out at the end. Heart of the Dragon is MotW that's cleverly tied into the Myth and then of course there's 1 Year Gone.

I almost want to make you read that just so you can know how sometimes being inside the boys' heads in these things can be a bad thing... *evil laugh*

Oh, and you read any of the comics? That's another story...
I have not yet read any of the three books you cited here because they were the lowest rated by readers. I'm curious now, though.
No, I haven't read any of the comics. Where do you find them?
Quote:

Quote:
The BIG bad. I was like, REALLY???
This comment has already gone on for awhile so I'll just ask whether you want to spoil things here for the others or if you want to move the discussion to my blog for it?
http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/cure-for-hellatus-carved-in-flesh/

I didn't have as big a problem with it as the one in Night Terrors. And after the "lampshade hanging" they did in Coyote's Kiss (and the episode "Remember the Titans") it's even easier to plug the villain into the canon I think.
AAWW, keep it here. :D We could always preface our comments with spoiler alerts!
Nate Winchester
# Nate Winchester 2014-01-03 10:00
Quote:
You have such an incredible recall of each book, I presumed yours were all dog-eared and highlighted, with "notes in the margin"! : )
No actually I just have a mutant ability to retain things I've read. It's especially easy when these things have memorable segments attached to them. Like "Beginning's End - the one where Sam is beheaded". Or "Fresh Meat - the book with 3 hunts stuffed in it". As you can see from my picture here, I try to keep my books in as pristine condition as possible, though I will dog-ear a page or two if it contains a REALLY great quote and even then only so it's quicker for me to find later. I think you've got my email if you want to contact me about getting these shipped back and forth, especially if we're both in the US. (see below too)

Quote:
I guess my initial expectation is that the tie-in books can (and should ) be consistent with canon without adding to it. For example, I would think we could have extensive inner dialog from either Sam or Dean that expresses doubts, fears, confidence, etc. already established in the series. In other words, I would like the authors to repeat/reiterate/use emotions or actions that had already been firmly established in the show. I understand that would be a huge challenge to a writer who doesn't study the show the way we do, but to me, that is the job they signed up for.
It's one of the reasons I liked KRAD as a writer as I thought he had a pretty good grasp of the show.

So, taking in consideration for your grading curve and preferences... I would rank the books of Kripke era that you haven't read on your scale as:

1) War of the Sons
2) Bone Key
3) Nevermore
4) Heart of the Dragon*
5) Witch's Canyon

*Asterisk because, as I said in review, HotD is a mulch-generational story so if you find time spent with say... John or Samuel to be worth substitutes for S&D, then you can bump it up higher.

I also now dare you to read 1 year gone as it is TOTALLY S&D. If a section is not from one perspective, it's from the other. (with very few exceptions and - again - those would have an asterisk)

And of course like I said, most of the post-Kripke books are much closer in quality. It was canon violations and a few narrative & technical missteps that got me to push Fresh Meat below Carved in Flesh. Now what's interesting to me is that your complaints of CiF fit both of John Passarella's books up to 11. If you think the Big Bad of this book was unbelievable for SPN, the one of Night Terror is going to snap your mind. Meanwhile, if you hate spending time away from the boys, Rite of Passage is going to make you throw up. It's like the opposite side of the scale from 1 year gone.

Quote:
The book added new canon with the flashback. That was hugely interesting...but technically risky to the author's on-going contractual relationship with TPTB. Since the new canon wasn't written by show writers, it "doesn't count" and is only even known by the relative few who read the book but I would guess the authors have very extensive limitations (contractually ) with the amount of canon they can introduce.
Which doesn't have to be that big of a deal since the writers did confirm that the SPN:Origin comic series was definitely canon in S3 of the show. Though it's interesting in that I'm pretty sure 1 year gone was supposed to be full canon (written by Kripke's assistant and all) yet has to be completely thrown out with revelations in S7.

Quote:
And I love when the supporting characters teach or reflect lessons about Sam and Dean. In my vernacular, though, that story IS about Sam and Dean; it is just told by example! If this book was doing that, it took way too long to get to the point!
Hah, guess mileage may vary on how overt you like your points. lol ;-)

Quote:
HAH! ...and I was bored by the arc in S7 and really engaged by the arc in the second half of 8 and now, 9!
See, to me once you've done Lucifer & Micheal, every angel/demon story after that is either going to be a retread, or greatly inferior or a combination of both (without even getting into how the more one goes to that well, the more you increase your chance of stepping on religious toes). Yeah I'll admit I wasn't a fan of Dick Roman, but S7 was at least a new and different challenge and stretched things.

Quote:
I have not yet read any of the three books you cited here because they were the lowest rated by readers. I'm curious now, though.
What are the readers grading by? That's why in my reviews (and the ranking article) I always try to make it clear what standards I'm grading by and note that if you prefer or dislike X, Y, Z then you may want to increase or decrease the "score" and judging of purchasing the product.

Quote:
No, I haven't read any of the comics. Where do you find them?
Besides the shops you can also do a search on amazon for "supernatural graphic novel" or go to your local comic shop or ask me nicely to also loan those out to you. Now on my usual ranking scales, I would put them at...

(yeah I'm linking to my amazon associate page, so if you decide to purchase any of these, I can get a cent or two)

1) Origins - A book so important to canon that a mistake which made the initial issue run incompatible with canon was then corrected in the graphic novel.
2) The Dogs of Edinburgh - No it doesn't break any molds and it can still get you drunk in the SPN drinking game, but it still fits within canon and is a charming adventure.
3) Rising Son - Well its canon to the anime. lol I did like how its title took on double meanings by end but this is one of those with a mix of great moments and moments I really don't like (like doing worse to John's character than anything else ever).
4) Beginning's End - Issue #3 is the single best issue of the arc, and all SPN comics as a whole. The rest I do not care for and trying to fit this within canon will just give you a headache.

Now ranking according to YOUR scale...

1) Rising Son - Probably the most examination of both brothers as they grow up with a look at John too. Big on the AvD lore.

2) This would actually be a tie. If you don't care which brother is examined, just that they are, then The Dogs of Edinburgh is good quality time with Sam, yet very MotW. Beginning's End does look at both brothers and is heavy on the AvD arc.

3) Origins - Sam's a baby, Dean's practically a toddler. This is a book focused on John and set ups for S1 pure and simple.
Nate Winchester
# Nate Winchester 2014-01-03 10:00
Quote:
You have such an incredible recall of each book, I presumed yours were all dog-eared and highlighted, with "notes in the margin"! : )
No actually I just have a mutant ability to retain things I've read. It's especially easy when these things have memorable segments attached to them. Like "Beginning's End - the one where Sam is beheaded". Or "Fresh Meat - the book with 3 hunts stuffed in it". As you can see from my picture (https://twitter.com/simplegarak/status/418897584736837632) here, I try to keep my books in as pristine condition as possible, though I will dog-ear a page or two if it contains a REALLY great quote and even then only so it's quicker for me to find later. I think you've got my email if you want to contact me about getting these shipped back and forth, especially if we're both in the US. (see below too)

Quote:
I guess my initial expectation is that the tie-in books can (and should ) be consistent with canon without adding to it. For example, I would think we could have extensive inner dialog from either Sam or Dean that expresses doubts, fears, confidence, etc. already established in the series. In other words, I would like the authors to repeat/reiterate/use emotions or actions that had already been firmly established in the show. I understand that would be a huge challenge to a writer who doesn't study the show the way we do, but to me, that is the job they signed up for.
It's one of the reasons I liked KRAD as a writer as I thought he had a pretty good grasp of the show.

So, taking in consideration for your grading curve and preferences... I would rank the books of Kripke era that you haven't read on your scale as:

1) War of the Sons
2) Bone Key
3) Nevermore
4) Heart of the Dragon*
5) Witch's Canyon

*Asterisk because, as I said in review, HotD is a mulch-generational story so if you find time spent with say... John or Samuel to be worth substitutes for S&D, then you can bump it up higher.

I also now dare you to read 1 year gone as it is TOTALLY S&D. If a section is not from one perspective, it's from the other. (with very few exceptions and - again - those would have an asterisk)

And of course like I said, most of the post-Kripke books are much closer in quality. It was canon violations and a few narrative & technical missteps that got me to push Fresh Meat below Carved in Flesh. Now what's interesting to me is that your complaints of CiF fit both of John Passarella's books up to 11. If you think the Big Bad of this book was unbelievable for SPN, the one of Night Terror is going to snap your mind. Meanwhile, if you hate spending time away from the boys, Rite of Passage is going to make you throw up. It's like the opposite side of the scale from 1 year gone.

Quote:
The book added new canon with the flashback. That was hugely interesting...but technically risky to the author's on-going contractual relationship with TPTB. Since the new canon wasn't written by show writers, it "doesn't count" and is only even known by the relative few who read the book but I would guess the authors have very extensive limitations (contractually ) with the amount of canon they can introduce.
Which doesn't have to be that big of a deal since the writers did confirm that the SPN:Origin comic series was definitely canon in S3 of the show. Though it's interesting in that I'm pretty sure 1 year gone was supposed to be full canon (written by Kripke's assistant and all) yet has to be completely thrown out with revelations in S7.

Quote:
And I love when the supporting characters teach or reflect lessons about Sam and Dean. In my vernacular, though, that story IS about Sam and Dean; it is just told by example! If this book was doing that, it took way too long to get to the point!
Hah, guess mileage may vary on how overt you like your points. lol ;-)

Quote:
HAH! ...and I was bored by the arc in S7 and really engaged by the arc in the second half of 8 and now, 9!
See, to me once you've done Lucifer & Micheal, every angel/demon story after that is either going to be a retread, or greatly inferior or a combination of both (without even getting into how the more one goes to that well, the more you increase your chance of stepping on religious toes). Yeah I'll admit I wasn't a fan of Dick Roman, but S7 was at least a new and different challenge and stretched things.

Quote:
I have not yet read any of the three books you cited here because they were the lowest rated by readers. I'm curious now, though.
What are the readers grading by? That's why in my reviews (and the ranking article) I always try to make it clear what standards I'm grading by and note that if you prefer or dislike X, Y, Z then you may want to increase or decrease the "score" and judging of purchasing the product.

Quote:
No, I haven't read any of the comics. Where do you find them?
Besides the shops you can also do a search on amazon for "supernatural graphic novel" or go to your local comic shop or ask me nicely to also loan those out to you. Now on my usual ranking scales, I would put them at...

(yeah I'm linking to my amazon associate page, so if you decide to purchase any of these, I can get a cent or two)

1) Origins (www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0094NBR60/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0094NBR60&linkCode=as2&tag=huntmuse-20) - A book so important to canon that a mistake which made the initial issue run incompatible with canon was then corrected in the graphic novel.
2) The Dogs of Edinburgh (www.amazon.com/gp/product/1401235069/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1401235069&linkCode=as2&tag=huntmuse-20) - No it doesn't break any molds and it can still get you drunk in the SPN drinking game, but it still fits within canon and is a charming adventure.
3) Rising Son (www.amazon.com/gp/product/1401222056/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1401222056&linkCode=as2&tag=huntmuse-20) - Well its canon to the anime. lol I did like how its title took on double meanings by end but this is one of those with a mix of great moments and moments I really don't like (like doing worse to John's character than anything else ever).
4) Beginning's End (www.amazon.com/gp/product/1401228534/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1401228534&linkCode=as2&tag=huntmuse-20) - Issue #3 is the single best issue of the arc, and all SPN comics as a whole. The rest I do not care for and trying to fit this within canon will just give you a headache.

Now ranking according to YOUR scale...

1) Rising Son (www.amazon.com/gp/product/1401222056/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1401222056&linkCode=as2&tag=huntmuse-20) - Probably the most examination of both brothers as they grow up with a look at John too. Big on the AvD lore.

2) This would actually be a tie. If you don't care which brother is examined, just that they are, then The Dogs of Edinburgh (www.amazon.com/gp/product/1401235069/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1401235069&linkCode=as2&tag=huntmuse-20) is good quality time with Sam, yet very MotW. Beginning's End (www.amazon.com/gp/product/1401228534/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1401228534&linkCode=as2&tag=huntmuse-20) does look at both brothers and is heavy on the AvD arc.

3) Origins (www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0094NBR60/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0094NBR60&linkCode=as2&tag=huntmuse-20) - Sam's a baby, Dean's practically a toddler. This is a book focused on John and set ups for S1 pure and simple.
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-01-03 11:00
Is anyone else interested in this extremely long conversation between two writers on this site, or are we boring the heck out of everyone??? ;-)

Just curious....
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-01-03 11:00
Is anyone else interested in this extremely long conversation between two writers on this site, or are we boring the heck out of everyone??? ;-)

Just curious....
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2014-01-03 18:23
I'm listening...wel l reading. Could be just me though. :-)

Thanx Nate for giving me an IN into the books though. If I change my approach, my thinking to some of the secondary characters I may find a gem. So far the only one I'm really enjoying is Heart of the Dragon and I think its because of the pseudo Asian theme.

Now is anybody else's head totally messed up by the idea of the show having books about the characters and the guys portraying their real selves vs. the canon of the real -life books and real life actors and characters portrayed on the show. I know thinking too hard about it started to hurt my head. Its not so much like Russian Nesting Dolls so much as a bunch of incestuous nesting dolls.
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2014-01-03 18:23
I'm listening...wel l reading. Could be just me though. :-)

Thanx Nate for giving me an IN into the books though. If I change my approach, my thinking to some of the secondary characters I may find a gem. So far the only one I'm really enjoying is Heart of the Dragon and I think its because of the pseudo Asian theme.

Now is anybody else's head totally messed up by the idea of the show having books about the characters and the guys portraying their real selves vs. the canon of the real -life books and real life actors and characters portrayed on the show. I know thinking too hard about it started to hurt my head. Its not so much like Russian Nesting Dolls so much as a bunch of incestuous nesting dolls.
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-01-03 23:08
Nate,
I'm foregoing the quote nesting. It was getting too long! I'm using two computers side by side - one to read your comments and the other to reply in order!

Based on your recommendations , I am going to try some of the Kripke era books. No, John and Samuel are not even close to substitutes for Sam or Dean! I am intrigued, though, by you recommendation list for me!

I had previously decided not to read One Year Gone because I thought it would be too sad for me. Dean thinking Sammy was gone forever! I thought it would be like that chapter in New Moon that was just endless depression for Bella! Now that you say it is all about their thoughts, though, I am tempted. Trucklady said she liked it, but you rated it at the bottom of your list in your book article. Can anyone else weigh in on this? Should I read it, now that we know what happened in S6 and S7? Yes? No?

I actually didn't mind the monster in Night Terror. I read that book strictly for entertainment, before I was paying close enough attention to write a review. It is one of the ones I said I might re-read in order to post a review. As I recall, though, I found it more engaging than The Unholy Cause. I had to continually re-read sections of that to figure out who was what, where? (I think we agree on that point!)

As far as liking S4 and 5 (and 9), I see your point about the angel arc stepping on religion. I have cringed myself several times. I just rewatched "Rock and a Hard Place" and flinched when the script referenced "that hippy from Bethlehem". I am a big proponent/belie ver in angels being good, so I hate that so many of them are portrayed as "douche-bags". I chalk it up to fiction and ignore it, though. They just appeal to my imagination.

Lastly, I am very intrigued by your descriptions of the comics! I will absolutely check those out! Has anyone else read the comics?
nightsky
# nightsky 2014-01-03 23:08
Nate,
I'm foregoing the quote nesting. It was getting too long! I'm using two computers side by side - one to read your comments and the other to reply in order!

Based on your recommendations , I am going to try some of the Kripke era books. No, John and Samuel are not even close to substitutes for Sam or Dean! I am intrigued, though, by you recommendation list for me!

I had previously decided not to read One Year Gone because I thought it would be too sad for me. Dean thinking Sammy was gone forever! I thought it would be like that chapter in New Moon that was just endless depression for Bella! Now that you say it is all about their thoughts, though, I am tempted. Trucklady said she liked it, but you rated it at the bottom of your list in your book article. Can anyone else weigh in on this? Should I read it, now that we know what happened in S6 and S7? Yes? No?

I actually didn't mind the monster in Night Terror. I read that book strictly for entertainment, before I was paying close enough attention to write a review. It is one of the ones I said I might re-read in order to post a review. As I recall, though, I found it more engaging than The Unholy Cause. I had to continually re-read sections of that to figure out who was what, where? (I think we agree on that point!)

As far as liking S4 and 5 (and 9), I see your point about the angel arc stepping on religion. I have cringed myself several times. I just rewatched "Rock and a Hard Place" and flinched when the script referenced "that hippy from Bethlehem". I am a big proponent/belie ver in angels being good, so I hate that so many of them are portrayed as "douche-bags". I chalk it up to fiction and ignore it, though. They just appeal to my imagination.

Lastly, I am very intrigued by your descriptions of the comics! I will absolutely check those out! Has anyone else read the comics?
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2014-01-04 17:23
Ive finished One Year Gone and while it does have bittersweet feel to it I rather enjoyed it. There's a lot of Sam and Dean,there's a lot soulless Sam and his thoughts and Sam Campbell is in it and how they met. There's a lot of Dean interacting with Lisa and Ben and since I like them I didn't find it tiresome. The villains are pretty run of the mill and there's a Hell reference at the end. Its not great but I though it would make a good solid episode of the show if it happened between seasons.
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2014-01-04 17:23
Ive finished One Year Gone and while it does have bittersweet feel to it I rather enjoyed it. There's a lot of Sam and Dean,there's a lot soulless Sam and his thoughts and Sam Campbell is in it and how they met. There's a lot of Dean interacting with Lisa and Ben and since I like them I didn't find it tiresome. The villains are pretty run of the mill and there's a Hell reference at the end. Its not great but I though it would make a good solid episode of the show if it happened between seasons.