Books based on movies are never nearly as satisfying as a) the movies the books are based on, and b) an original book based on nothing. But what about a book featuring characters you're already familiar with from a movie? Or a TV show? Titan Books takes on (once again) a novelization of the CW's hit TV show SUPERNATURAL and took the 'based on a show' genre to the next level, delivering an original story that fits nicely within the confines of the series.
According to the "Historical Note" at the beginning, SUPERNATURAL: WAR OF THE SONS (BUY IT HERE) takes place in the middle of Season 5 after the "My Bloody Valentine" episode, but honestly, that doesn't matter. Authors Rebecca Dessertine and David Reed managed to take the essence of the show and the show's basic formula into the story of WAR OF THE SONS so much so that you only need to be a fan of the series and have (at a minimum) just one season under your belt to enjoy the story play out as an episode. In other words, it's not like walking into the middle of a season and being completely lost: if you know the characters, you'll be able to jump into the story without any difficulties.
With a tried and true formula structured just like an episode, the novel goes a little something like this: Sam and Dean Winchester are sent back in time to the 1950s to retrieve the (missing) pages of the Dead Sea Scrolls that reportedly has instructions on how to kill Lucifer once and for all. While in the '50s the two encounter Hellhounds, demons, Lucifer's many whorish wives, and two other "supernatural hunters" who are more trouble than they're worth. Lots of action and supernatural shit ensues.
At a solid 330 pages, WAR OF THE SONS is a fairly fast read, not only because of the writing style (at about an 8th grade reading level), but the story flows at a steady pace with lots of cool stuff happening throughout, just like an episode of the show itself. The "war of the sons" is about the chapter in the Dead Sea Scrolls they're trying to re-capture, and not about a war between the Winchester brothers. If you were worried about that, then don't be: the duo are as united as ever, with just the right level of attitude and back-and-forth bantering to keep things entertaining.
Books are a bit different to review than movies (or TV) because you devote so much more time and effort into taking on a whole book, but I can say this: WAR OF THE SONS was always engaging, felt like a genuine SUPERNATURAL episode, and had a story telling style that kept me turning the page at a furious rate. It's an easy read without being too easy, if that makes any sense. Not quite the Stephen King level but scores above Stephanie Meyer. And actually, my only real big issue with the book is the lame-ass cover art, art that's not only generic, but manages to make Sam and Dean look like a couple of tools from the mid-'90s.
If you're a fan of the series and want more than what just the show offers, then I'd recommend picking up WAR OF THE SONS and see what happens when the Winchesters jump in the '50s and do battle without the use of cell phones or the internet. The story is pretty cool and it's an "easy read": if you took this on a plane to travel from coast to coast, you'd likely start and finish it before landing. It's as true to the characters and the SUPERNATURAL universe as any episode of the series, but it doesn't require you to be caught up on every season to enjoy it: just try to have (at least) the first one under your belt and you'll be just fine.
Book Rating: 3/4