"Supernatural: Rite of Passage" Book Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Published by Titan Books
Written by John Passarella
2012, 392 pages, Fiction
Book released on August 14th, 2012
Things have been quite unlucky for the residents of Laurel Hill, New Jersey. Contractors are falling off roofs. A man trimming his trees falls into his chainsaw. Car accidents galore. It's just been a bad few days. Luckily, Sam and Dean Winchester, along with Bobby Singer, have hit town to find out who – or what – is causing all of this bad luck. And put a stop to it.
This is the second Supernatural book I have read by John Passarella. In my review of Supernatural: Night Terror, the first, my major complaint wasn't so much Passarella's writing, but rather his inability to capture the Winchester brothers' nuances. There are things that are a big part of the show, like the song choices, Dean's love of food, or simply the banter between the two that make the TV series much more than a couple of guys fighting monsters. Everything else, though, like the violence, the speed at which the book movies, and the gore was spot on. It was just missing that intangible that makes Supernatural...Supernatural.
Passarella has stepped up his game with Rite of Passage. What was missing from Night Terror has found its way into the pages here, and it's very welcome. Granted, this is a book so you it's obviously hard to do musical cues, but Passarella does fit a few in nicely, as well as Dean's love for the greasy spoon. The banter is better, too. It's not the same level as the show, but it's a definite improvement over the previous novel.
In addition, Passerella delivers everything I really liked about Night Terror here. The violence is plentiful, the blood spills and the pacing is quick. All within a good story. I always enjoy tales where bad luck accidents are involved, (comma) be it something like a cursed item or a movie like Final Destination (and its sequels). I love the suspense that builds when you just know someone is going to bite it, but you don't know how and Passerella does an ace job of keeping things tense. Is that character going to slip in that water and land on that knife, or is it going to be something else? Will Sam and Dean escape unscathed in a ten-car pileup or will they be eating some dashboard? Sometimes the people in the book get dispatched exactly as you suspect and sometimes there's a bit of a surprise, and it's all very enjoyable.
Show nuances aside, I have really enjoyed Passeralla's style in these two novels. He's an author whose works I've added to my 'must read' pile, and not in the Supernatural universe. Hell, not in any universe except for his because I really want to read something he has done without a pre-made background because I'm quite sure I'll dig it.
This is my third review of a Supernatural novel from the Titan Books' catalog, and this is the third time I've been impressed with the quality. I've mentioned it before, but I really do have to give the folks over at Titan a lot of credit for picking such quality writers to take part in this series. This could easily be a company to churn these out quality be damned, because there is definitely an audience that will pick the books up. Instead Titan does the right thing and picks fantastic authors to fill that void when the show is on its season hiatus (or hell, maybe to even fill in the void between episodes for some). Either way, as long as they keep picking authors like John Passarella to carry that torch, I'm going to keep reading.