Looking at my records I realize I haven’t reviewed the final two Supernatural tie-in novels.
I usually grade the tie-in books on 4 categories, each one capable of scoring 0, 1 or half a shell.
- Canon – How well does this book fit into the show’s canon for when it takes place (I do not count later season revelations against it).
- The Brothers – How well does the book depict our main characters and the position they should be in at this time.
- World Fit – Even if it doesn’t violate canon, or mess up our main characters, how well does the story as a whole fit into Supernatural?
- General craft – How well does the book work as a whole? Is the story engaging? Plot well done? This category can go up to 2 shells for its score to give a book a maximum potential of 5 shells.
Now for the book, Joyride.
Overview: One night an entire town falls asleep right at midnight. Now folks in that town are acting erratic and lashing out, harming others and themselves. Sam and Dean head there to figure out what’s going on and uncover what secrets the town may be hiding.
Canon: This book takes place between 12.19 “The Future” and 12.20 “Twigs & Twine & Tasha Banes.” Some comments are made about the Men of Letters and what might happen with Lucifer’s son but only for an early chapter before being dismissed to focus on the MotW. Score: 1.
Brothers: Fairly standard and consistent interpretation of Dean and Sam here. They’re not out of character, but neither do we get much insight into their thoughts and feelings. You could insert this book in between almost any two episodes from any season and barely change anything to have it fit. In this category, the best books really give you a sense of where Sam and Dean are in their journey through the show, not have them acting pretty generic. Score: ½.
World: The monster in this story does make sense with what we know of Supernatural and I could easily see this being a produced television episode. Score: 1.
General Review: This is one of those stories where it’s not explicitly bad but feels very generic and forgettable. Although it is well crafted and there’s no faults to be found in the prose itself or the actual execution of the story.
If you’ve read the other Supernatural books, this one will definitely remind you a lot of “Witch’s Canyon” even though it was written by a different author. Again I want to stress that there’s nothing bad from a crafting perspective in this book, but at times it feels like its own story with the Winchesters showing up to guest star in it. This is especially notable near the end which runs two climactic plotlines simultaneously. One climax involves the boys, the other climax involves book-only characters. You can understand why an author might do this as we know the brothers must survive the story, so why not set up an alternative climax with original characters who’s fate is unknown? And it works in that regard. However it heightens the impression of the Winchesters being guest stars in a book with Supernatural in the title when they don’t get to solve the principle crisis themselves.
The mystery itself hangs together just enough to work, but shows some weaknesses when you try to reflect more deeply on the story (like the phenomena having limits to the town border). One could easily see this being an episode or tie-in book with The X-Files requiring minimum rewriting. Not a bad outing but not an exceptional one either. Score: 1
Final Score: 3.5 / 5
I would recommend this for hardcore fans needing their Sam and Dean fix who also enjoy the episodes where the boys have to uncover a mystery, but you won’t miss much if you skip this one too.
Find more Supernatural tie-in and graphic novel stories that might interest you with The WFB‘s Supernatural Novel Reviews!