Past Features

Turning Off The TV #10: Supernatural

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Welcome to my regular Thursday feature, Turning off the TV! In this feature I recommend books similar to TV shows or films you may have enjoyed, both series and specific episodes.

The TV series this week is: Supernatural.

Supernatural

Two brothers follow their father’s footsteps as “hunters” fighting evil supernatural beings of many kinds including monsters, demons, and gods that roam the earth.

This is the third of this feature covering Supernatural, as I hope to be looking at this series in more detail. So many creatures and urban legends are featured that it opens up a choice of so many more books!

Enjoyed ‘Provenance’ (Season One, Episode Nineteen)?

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co #1) by Jonathan Stroud

This episode is about a haunted painting that Sam and Dean have to somehow obtain from an auction house, and then dispose of. So what would be a better choice than The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde? This infamous story follows the eponymous Dorian Gray, who sells his soul in exchange for eternal youth and good looks. However, his recently commissioned portrait reflects the extent of his sins, whilst the real Dorian remains perfect – at least in appearance. It was a pretty scandalous book when it was released, and there’s also a fairly recent film adaptation starring Ben Barnes which only builds upon and adds to the scandalous moments. And then there’s The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co #1), the first in a brilliant new series by Jonathan Stroud, about young members of a ‘supernatural agency’. Like the Winchesters, Lockwood & Co have to deal with many haunted and possessed objects. I reviewed this book earlier in the year.

Enjoyed ‘Devil’s Trap’ (Season One, Episode Twenty-two)?

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates

After their father, John Winchester, is captured, Dean and Sam along with Bobby succeed in trapping the demon Meg, who reveals that their father is in Missouri. Unfortunately, he has been possessed by Azazel, the yellow-eyed demon that killed their mother. There are countless books on demons, demon possession and demon worship – and quite a few episodes to do with Ol’ Yellow Eyes throughout the show, so I’ll just recommend three books for now. Firstly, there’s the super obvious one – The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. Do I really need to explain the plot?? A more recent release, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea tells the story of Violet, who lives in a sleepy little town where nothing much happens – until River makes an appearance. It’s a classic tale of that enticing new stranger being not quite what they seem… And finally, The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates describes how a whole town falls under the influence of a supernatural force. Although it’s part of the Gothic Saga, it can be read as a standalone as the series is more a collection of gothic novels by the same author, rather than novels containing the same characters and similar events.

Enjoyed ‘Everybody Loves A Clown’ (Season Two, Episode Two)?

It by Stephen King Joyland by Stephen King Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

The Winchesters investigate a series of murders at a travelling carnival, which turns out to be a Rakshasa (of Hindu mythology), transforming into a clown in order to trick children, before then murdering their parents. Of course, the first book that came to mind linked to this episode was It by Stephen King, which I won’t be reading any time soon thank you very much. Clowns are already creepy enough as it is. Another Stephen King novel with a carnival theme (maybe we should just avoid carnivals and funfairs??) is the more recently released Joyland – now this one I definitely want to read sometime. And now for a non-Stephen King book: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, in which a creepy carnival (*makes a mental note to avoid carnivals in the future*) comes to town, and two young boys have to save their home from its evil clutches.

Are you a fan of Supernatural? Do you have any recommendations to add?

Review

Review: The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co #1) by Jonathan Stroud

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5 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

If you are a fan of Supernatural or BBC’s Sherlock, then chances are you’ll love this.

It feels like a mix of the two shows, a sort of supernatural sleuth story, and perhaps if the characters of the shows were in their teens. It is set either in an alternate present, or not too far into our own future, where it has emerged that ghosts are in fact real – and some are pretty dangerous to human beings. Since a yet unknown and unexplained event in the past, ghosts have been visible and active around the country, and as a result ‘agencies’ have sprung up; agencies that are almost like supernatural police. Armed with various implements made of iron, silver and salt (Dean and Sam would be proud), the agencies take on cases to rid houses or areas of supernatural beings. Lockwood & Co is one of these agencies, albeit a small one, and made up of just three agents: (Anthony) Lockwood himself, Lucy and George.

The characterisation in the novel was fantastic. Lockwood is like a teenage Sherlock: inquisitive, extremely intelligent and passionate, whilst also being perhaps a little socially inept and reckless. He is quite a mysterious character, even Lucy doesn’t know all that much about his background. Both Lucy and George are the Watsons to Lockwood’s Sherlock. George is the researcher of the group, studying and writing, whereas Lucy is the down-to-earth one. She is also the narrator of the tale, and to me her voice even seemed reminiscent of Arthur Conan Doyle’s tone of writing.

As for the plot and events – some of the ghosts the trio encounter were incredibly creepy! It’s impressive that a book that had many humorous moments also managed to really freak me out at some points. And it wasn’t done through the sights, but Stroud’s descriptions of the feelings and sounds that come with a haunting, which really captured an ethereal feeling. The classification system of the ghosts was clever and meant the reader could instantly assess just how much danger the characters were in.

A brilliant take on the paranormal genre, with a pretty unique concept, especially for Young Adult fiction where the concentration seems to be on vampires and werewolves. I’ve always been aware of Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus trilogy, but never read it, and after reading this fantastic book I may now have to reconsider that decision.

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It has the Official Castiel Seal of Approval, so it’s got to be good, right?
Past Features

Turning Off The TV #3: Supernatural

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Welcome to my new Thursday feature, Turning off the TV! In this feature I’ll be recommending books similar to TV shows or films you may have enjoyed, both series and specific episodes.

The TV series this week is: Supernatural.

supernatural

Two brothers follow their father’s footsteps as “hunters” fighting evil supernatural beings of many kinds including monsters, demons, and gods that roam the earth.

This is the second of this feature covering Supernatural, as I hope to be looking at this series in more detail. So many creatures and urban legends are featured that it opens up a choice of so many more books!

Enjoyed ‘Faith’ (Season One, Episode Twelve)?

Then how about Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett, for a more light-hearted look at grim reapers? Or Croak by Gina Damico, about a young girl whose family business is reaping – her uncle is the Grim Reaper himself. And then there’s The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, narrated by Death. The film adaptation has been recently released/will soon be released, depending on where you live. This is one of my definite reads for 2014, perhaps even this month!

Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett Croak by Gina Damico The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Enjoyed ‘The Benders’ (Season One, Episode Fifteen)?

This episode was particularly disturbing. It featured a hillbilly family, Deliverance style, with a taste for torturing humans and human flesh. Although it didn’t ever show cannibalism, it was pretty strongly implied. So if you fancy um, reading some books on cannibalism… here you are. Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun series features cannibalism as a ritualistic practice, used to obtain memories of the deceased. Or if you’re after some YA cannibal fiction (I feel someone is missing out on a niche here? In fact me and my best friend at uni were totally going to write a cannibal love story based off the success of teen paranormal romances like Twilight. I think it will be a major hit. It was also going to be a musical) then Peeps by Scott Westerfeld might be what you’re after: a parasite from a comet causes people to become cannibalistic, and repelled by that which they once loved. And how can we forget Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs, that haunting tale of serial killer Hannibal Lecter, immortalised in film by Anthony Hopkins and more recently by Mads Mikkelsen?

The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe Peeps (Peeps #1) by Scott Westerfeld The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

Enjoyed ‘Something Wicked’ (Season One, Episode Eighteen)?

This episode features a Shtriga, a vampiric witch of traditional Albanian folklore who sucks the blood of infants as they sleep. I’ve only managed to find one book, or rather series, that features this creature: The Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski. It also happens to be the series that The Witcher video game series is based on.

The Last Wish (The Witcher #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski The Blood of Elves (The Witcher #3) by Andrzej Sapkowski

Have you got any other recommendations based on these episodes? Are you a fan of Supernatural?

Past Features

Turning Off The TV #1: Supernatural

tottvheader

Welcome to my new Thursday feature: Turning Off The TV! In this feature I’ll be recommending books similar to TV shows or films you may have enjoyed, both entire series and specific episodes.

The TV series this week is: Supernatural.

supernatural

Two brothers follow their father’s footsteps as “hunters” fighting evil supernatural beings of many kinds including monsters, demons, and gods that roam the earth.

I’ll be covering Supernatural quite a bit in this feature, as there are so many different themes and monsters to discuss – but I’ll make sure to mix it up every week so it’s not just Supernatural for months!

Enjoyed ‘The Wendigo’ (Season One, Episode Two)?

Then you might like these reads that feature a Wendigo in some way. In fact I’m sure almost every Stephen King book could be recommended to fans of Supernatural! I’ve read some of Stephen King‘s work, but sadly not this one – I do like his writing though.

Pet Sematary by Stephen King The Wendigo by Algernon Blackwood The Orphan Master by Jean Zimmerman

Enjoyed ‘Skin’ (Season One, Episode Six)?

Then give these books featuring skin-changers (also known as skin-walkers) a try. Unlike this episode, the skin-walkers are not necessarily the villains. The Sookie Stackhouse Novels by Charlaine Harris is one of my favourite series, if not for amazing writing, then for just being a genuinely fun series to read.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong Skinwalker by Faith Hunter

Enjoyed ‘Asylum’ (Season One, Episode Ten)?

Asylums are certainly creepy places, and have been widely represented in literature. Here are some more stories to make them seem even creepier… Shutter Island is one of those books that really gets you thinking – one minute you’re sure of something, the next you’re questioning whether it’s the opposite.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Are you a fan of Supernatural?