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Witch`s Canyon review

Thoughts on the second SPN novel: Witch`s Canyon

- The plot worked well enough for me and the ending was a lot more climatic and suspenseful than in "Nevermore" where I sadly felt the intriguing Poe-story fell flat in the end.

Characterization-wise it was a bit weird.

- Sam`s POV struck me as downright anti-canonical sometimes. He thought about hunting as a calling? A mission as in mission of revenge I could get but the show could hardly have made it any more clear that Sam didn`t feel hunting was his calling. I felt that in Season 2 he mellowed out on his former "only non-persons do it" stance and saw value in it but to resign yourself to never being able to have what you see as your "calling" aka a normal life and therefore trying to embrace what you apparently seem destined to do is very, very different from seeing it as a calling.

And he sees Dean as all soldier and businesslike? That kinda reminded me of that one ep review where it went "seeing the usually somber Dean crack a smile". I think Sam is aware that compared to Dean he is the fun-police. :)

Then there was the weird reference from Sam to Dean possibly not even thinking about saving people first. Except when he gave you the big honkin speech on it, dipshit. The saving-people-mantra has been a part of Dean since the beginning. That doesn`t preclude him wanting to be where the action is. Job entails both if it`s well done.

He also feels he needs to boss Dean around because Dean thrives on orders. Okay, strike one: the seeing Dean as a soldier-drone to that amount belongs in the first half of Season 1. Secondly when has Sam ever bossed Dean around? To me they mostly worked as equals and if anything Sam`s resentments would go in the him being bossed around by Dean-category. See also Crossroads words.
And the weird thing was Sam`s apparent bossing around extended to "lets turn in for the night" or "lets go eat something" or some nagging. Like those are the big leadership decisions. Boy, have I bossed people around then.

I kinda felt like I had stumbled into a BDSM fanfic on occassion with Sam being all grabby hands with Dean and forever pushing and pulling at him. Uhm no? There was an improv by Jared in the Pilot, Raggedy-Andy of Faith, the wall-slam of Salvation and the recent thing in "Sin City." Apart from that Sam has always been hands-off. He hardly initiates physical touching. Ever. See the manlove metas for it. Dean is the herding sheep-dog. So nope, don`t buy it.

And the biggest and baddest mistake of them all, Sam wanted to EAT something. I mean, has the author even watched the show? Our little Sammy is anorexic. :-p

Other stuff was rather sweet and in-character so the WTF-moments stood out even more. And this being Season 2 shouldn`t Sam be in general all worried and self-loathing with the "oh my, will I or won`t I go evil?" Instead of being kinda full of it?

- Dean`s POV was better, even though I don`t believe even our resident king of guilt would feel that if he hadn`t gotten Sam, Jessica would have lived. I`m pretty sure he assigns blame fairly where it goes there: the yellow-eyed son-of-a-bitch.

Though there was much less running commentary from Dean on Sam. Kinda shame. Some insight would have been nice. The most we got really was Dean musing on Sam`s face and the family resemblance. Admittedly I don`t have siblings but after twenty years would you just randomely go and think "hm, his face looks like that and mine looks like this..."? Odd.

And he was a bit too much with the "but why...and how...and when...you got an idea, Sam?" First, Dean has usually gut instincts as well and secondly even if he has nothing he wouldn`t turn to Sam all the time for answers. He`d bluster at the very least.

- the OCs were nicely executed though there was a bit much on them

- too much needless exposition - and then there was the fire where bla bla happened which led to bla bla
Either find a way to fit it in in an exciting way or leave it out.

- on the matter of needlessness, what was up with the gratutious flashbacks of Marine!John the mini bootcamp abuse? Now I`m not saying stuff like that didn`t happen but to that extent? And what was the purpose of those scenes? They didn`t have anything to do with the case at hand, didn`t tie into anything.


So, in my typical manner that read like I hated it again, I guess. :-p I didn`t. I felt it was okay, in some ways better, in some ways worse than Nevermore. In any way not doing it for me like fanfic.

Comments

( 8 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )
albeitslowly
Nov. 5th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)
Hee! Thanks. I haven't read either of the books. Not saying I won't just haven't felt compelled to. I do like to hear what fans of the show think of it, though. It rather did read like you hated it, LOL, but I don't think that's uncommon. I can't find anything I like as much as fanfic. I was in Barnes and Noble the other day, picked up like a dozen books, read a half page of each and went, bleh, to every one. I'm so jaded. *sniff*
astri13
Nov. 6th, 2007 12:36 am (UTC)
It rather did read like you hated it, LOL,

Heh. This is just how I operate. It`s high praise when I love something so much - either all the way or certain parts of it infinitely, I only gush about it. When I find something merely okay, it always look like this because I tend to list my nitpicks. :)
When I downright hate something there are a lot more swear words and general keysmashing. *g*

I can't find anything I like as much as fanfic.

I can still enjoy books and all, just not apparently for shows where I read fanfic. Because that will ALWAYS cater more to my tastes. I can pick and choose writers I only will write the characters the way I like it. So far I`d put down both authors as clearly favoring Sam and have it showing.

I`m an avid reader of the Star Wars novels and they`re doing just fine for me. However I also don`t read SW fanfic.
albeitslowly
Nov. 6th, 2007 01:10 am (UTC)
Haha, I used to read those SW books all the time. I had my mind set to have them all, but then they started popping up too fast for me to keep up and I got frustrated. LOL. I can only read my old standbys for fiction anymore. Stephen King, Catherine Kerr, and well, that's about it, since mostly I'm a classics girl. *shrug*
aizjanika
Nov. 6th, 2007 03:17 am (UTC)
The problems you had with this book are very similar to the ones that I had with it, with varying degrees of annoyance.

I think I also felt the same way at the end. I didn't hate the book, and I also thought it was somewhat better than Nevermore, but also...well, worse. *g* That's a very good way of putting it.

I mean, has the author even watched the show? Our little Sammy is anorexic. :-p

Bwah!

Admittedly I don`t have siblings but after twenty years would you just randomely go and think "hm, his face looks like that and mine looks like this..."? Odd.

Actually, I do! *g* My younger sister died some years ago, but my older sister and I look remarkably alike after all these years, barring ways that we wear our hair and our varying weights at times.

on the matter of needlessness, what was up with the gratutious flashbacks of Marine!John the mini bootcamp abuse? Now I`m not saying stuff like that didn`t happen but to that extent? And what was the purpose of those scenes? They didn`t have anything to do with the case at hand, didn`t tie into anything.

hehe Wow. That's somewhat what I thought. It was just odd.

This whole book was like that. It had a better story that didn't hold up well, but I wouldn't have cared too much if I'd been intrigued by the characterizations, but at times it felt like he was writing about "our" Sam and Dean, but then he threw in those odd bits that didn't make sense and seemed to go against established canon quirks or traits of the characters. Weird.

Yours is the first review that I've read, and it's actually kind of cool to see that your thoughts were pretty close to mine.
astri13
Nov. 10th, 2007 12:24 am (UTC)
This whole book was like that. It had a better story that didn't hold up well, but I wouldn't have cared too much if I'd been intrigued by the characterizations, but at times it felt like he was writing about "our" Sam and Dean, but then he threw in those odd bits that didn't make sense and seemed to go against established canon quirks or traits of the characters. Weird.

I was a bit disappointed because I`d hoped to find an author who`d "nail" the boys. But I guess I need to stick to fanfic. Where they even actually nail them. *g*

The case story was fine but frankly like the show itself, the case stories itself were never all that well-written. Even the characters weren`t but they lucked out on casting and chemistry. Seeing it all in written lacks the important part of J2 bringing it to life.
kentawolf
Nov. 10th, 2007 12:02 am (UTC)
Wow. Almost the exact same way I felt about the novel.

I just didn't see the (in what I would think) obvious raising of voices/general anxiety/ uping-the-stakes-because-losing-mass-amounts-of-people-would-freak-at-least-Dean-out
sort of feel when people began to drop like flies. They were all like, "back to the libramabarry." Okay, so I appreciated the frustration with Baird feeding them info one little rice grain at a time, but it seemed counter to what I would think the Winchester boys would do, which is more action-oriented and angsty. Maybe I'm just projecting my want of Winchester angst into things.

Admittedly I don`t have siblings but after twenty years would you just randomely go and think "hm, his face looks like that and mine looks like this..."? Odd.
Oh, well. Just like your later mentioned "needless exposition" and the rather lame way that it was communicated, it's almost like pulling teeth for me to get through the first thirty or so pages of a media-based novel because of the "necessary" exposition about eye/hair color and relationships. Which I don't feel is necessary. Plenty of great novels I don't remember/ don't care about eye/hair color. Admittedly, the brother relationship is a HUGE part of Supernatural, but it could have been handled in a more subtle way than the "Oh. I just acquired the fundamental theory of genetics and realized that Yes, my brother and I have similar features. And now I will extrapolate those features. In my head. Clearly. As if I'm typing them."

the OCs were nicely executed though there was a bit much on them
Felt that way, too. I mean, I know the need of the author to elbow out some creative space. But do that in the excellent prose execution of the boys more often than not, eh?

on the matter of needlessness, what was up with the gratutious flashbacks of Marine!John the mini bootcamp abuse? Now I`m not saying stuff like that didn`t happen but to that extent? And what was the purpose of those scenes? They didn`t have anything to do with the case at hand, didn`t tie into anything.
I kept on anxiously waiting for those scenes to culminate into a Winchester angst/man communication scene (i.e., much yelling) to help the personal, "internal-struggle" plot along.

I felt that internal journey side of the plot/story was sorely missing.
astri13
Nov. 10th, 2007 12:21 am (UTC)
Oh, well. Just like your later mentioned "needless exposition" and the rather lame way that it was communicated, it's almost like pulling teeth for me to get through the first thirty or so pages of a media-based novel because of the "necessary" exposition about eye/hair color and relationships.

And then they even get that wrong. I mean "Nevermore" gave the guys the wrong eye-colour and WC posited the Sam of the round face. Sorry, Mariotte, but if you want to make a point about how the character is soft and sensitive, you can`t alter their physical resemblance willy-nilly.
That`s like saying "Dean was a hardass...with a hard, angular face". This isn`t made-up Manga. Those guys already have set appearances.

I mean, I know the need of the author to elbow out some creative space. But do that in the excellent prose execution of the boys more often than not, eh?

Hehe. True. Which is why fanfic will always pwn tie-ins for me. I can pick and choose and once a fanfic author gets too enamored with their OCs, I`ll drop the story.

The one thing I will credit WC with is that however downright boring the extended OC scenes sometimes where, it was less boring to me than a living street map of Brooklyn. It`s nice the author hails from there and bad they have a problem with parking spaces but why do I, as a reader, need to know that exactly?

I kept on anxiously waiting for those scenes to culminate into a Winchester angst/man communication scene (i.e., much yelling) to help the personal, "internal-struggle" plot along.

I foolishly awaited it to play a significant role in the end fight, like have the guys running through something akin to the training course to save their lives. And then they reminiscince on Dad and Dean takes Sammy out for Snickers.

Whenever I have random little scenes in fanfic my betas ask me where they lead, how they`ll tie in to the rest etc. So having practically filler-stuff startles me.

I felt that internal journey side of the plot/story was sorely missing.

Very true assessment. It`s not ridiculously bad like some of the Buffy novels I`ve read but it also didn`t touch even average fanfic.
kentawolf
Nov. 10th, 2007 02:26 am (UTC)
I mean "Nevermore" gave the guys the wrong eye-colour and WC posited the Sam of the round face.
How hard is it to Google the boys?

The one thing I will credit WC with is that however downright boring the extended OC scenes sometimes where, it was less boring to me than a living street map of Brooklyn.
Haha! Wasn't it, though? I got the message the first time. I live near San Francisco. Anyone near any major city knows this. Anybody who drives knows this.

I foolishly awaited it to play a significant role in the end fight, like have the guys running through something akin to the training course to save their lives. And then they reminiscnce on Dad and Dean takes Sammy out for Snickers.

All I have to say is: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Much amusement. Snickers. *snort*

Whenever I have random little scenes in fanfic my betas ask me where they lead, how they`ll tie in to the rest etc. So having practically filler-stuff startles me.

It was like he threw those scenes in to appear like there was some emotional continuity with the show. Which pissed me off.
( 8 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )