War of the Sons, written by Rebecca Dessertine and David Reed, is the sixth novel tying in to the TV series Supernatural. In it, the Winchesters are sent by an angel named Don to the 1950s to find an ancient scroll containing the means to stop Lucifer. Totally out of their depth in the fifties, the brothers soon have to face all kinds of setbacks including losing their demon-killing knife, but are finally able team up with other hunters. But can they really trust their colleagues once it is revealed what the scroll is actually saying, and will they be able to fight off Lucifer’s wife who is also on the hunt for them?
This novel is a mixed bag. There are certainly some good things in War of the Sons, but on the other hand there are also things that drag it down. One thing that irks me the most is that the whole time jump thing feels a bit gimmicky; it doesn’t seem to be much more than a plot device to show the boys in the 1950s. Another thing is that the novel draws very much from the TV storyline, but on the other hand it doesn’t really adds anything to it. That said, some of the scenes with the Winchester brothers in the 1950s work really well, and in these moments I was really sucked into the narrative somewhat, but they’re too infrequent to make War of the Sons a real page-turner. The story as a whole remains somewhat flat and doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. The writing style is competent enough, but a certain spark is missing to really ignite the imagination of the readers.
Where War of the Sons gains some points is the character work. While the brothers and their relationship are characterised competently enough for the most part, the stronger parts of the character work are their dealings with the characters from the fifties, most importantly with their hunting colleagues Walter and Julia. It’s still only solid, and there are some parts I didn’t really like that much, but it’s where War of the Sons is saved from a truly bad rating. Most importantly we see a different approach to hunting with those two: where most of the hunters we have seen so far are pretty much lone wolves, Julia and Walter are part of big community. While this part of the narrative takes a turn to the bad in the end, it was nice to see a little variety here nonetheless.
Overall War of the Sons is a mediocre novel and the weakest of the line so far. If you search for a novel adding something meaningful to the Supernatural myth you’re wrong here, but if you search for a filler to shorten the wait for the next Supernatural episode I guess War of the Sons can fulfill that role somewhat.
War of the Sons (by Rebecca Dessertine, David Reed) was released by Titan in June 2010.