Well I’m not sure if you’ve taken my advice and watched this show or not but from this point on I’m afraid I can’t really resist giving you some spoilers as each episode very much does build upon the previous like a Lego tower.

If you recall from my previous post I mentioned that there was a new character introduced into this long running show and that he would change our perceptions of not only the brothers but their fight forever. Well the new character is an angel… literally an angel from heaven! His name is Castiel and he was responsible for raising Dean from Hell. The raising is what caused the explosion around Dean’s grave as I mentioned in my previous post and his voice is what caused the windows to shatter. To say that he has power is to be a little bit less than melodramatic.

Today however the boys have been contacted by Bobby as he needs their help to find out what is killing the hunters around town. Actually all around the state. As the brothers investigate they discover that some of their own ghosts from the past are hunting them also and they don’t know why.

When they finally meet up with Bobby  in the process saving him from some of his own nightmares they investigate some markings that they saw on the bodies of the ghosts and realize that these are the markings of the “witnesses“. This is a sign of the upcoming apocalypse and again goes to explain what Castiel and the other angels are doing now on Earth.

The witnesses all accuse the boys and Bobby that they had the chance of saving them, but they failed and when Bobby does his investigation he realizes that they have literally been driven mad by the spell used to raise them and that is why they have a brand on their hand.

Bobby comes up with a plan to release the witnesses but to do that they all need to escape from the panic room that Bobby has created and they are currently hiding in. Bobby it seems is nothing if not paranoid.

As Bobby is preparing the spell, the brothers search through the house for the ingredients fighting off ghosts in the process and then they have to hold off the ghosts while Bobby completes the spell. Just before Bobby throws the concoction into the fire to activate it, Meg attacks and almost kills him but Dean is able to save the special powder and throws it into the fireplace destroying the ghost.

Later Castiel appears to Dean in a dream and reveals that the rising of the witnesses is one of many – 66 (… I wonder if there is another six in there somewhere that they just haven’t mentioned?) – seals that are stopping Lucifer from escaping hell. Castiel says that they lost six other angels in this battle and that their numbers are not infinite… He indicates that Dean is back for a specific reason and they need to stop what is happening to protect the Earth.

Review

Okay I think I managed to get the most of this episode covered here so whatever I’ve missed I apologize however the one thing I do need to say is that the show … holy cow it’s just getting better and better. I hope you’ve been reading some of the posts that Nia has been putting up you really need to see where they came from to understand how good they are now and its only by looking at their past that this will become obvious. Bobby has always been a solid father figure to both of the boys and Castiel although only two episodes in it’s somebody I really I’m enjoying learning about

One thing I have noticed over the course of seasons is that it seems the power available to the monsters seems to grow… Once upon a time the ghosts were not really able to do physical damage to anyone but over the course of many seasons this has changed.  In this episode you almost feel sorry for the “monsters” as you know that they were in some ways good people and they are acting in the way they are simply because they have been coerced.

When Meg launches into Sam about him letting Ruby run around in different bodies you really see where she’s coming from and do you tend to agree with her to be honest. Hell, Ruby might be helping for whatever reasons she has – which we still don’t really know and you have to wonder what is her real reason and while Sam as I didn’t mention previously in last episodes encounter at the diner is obviously using his powers in the fight against evil… the question of course what is he becoming? And will he be someone on our side or against us?

I think I spoke about Kindle Unlimited in a previous post so I won’t go into all of my negatives on it here as you can read about them in that post.  One good thing I will state about it though is that it does help to introduce you to new authors that you might not have read previously and one of these for me is Tim C. Taylor.  Tim has a bunch of books accessible on Kindle Unlimited and the first that I read was Marine Cadet.

In the not too distant future Earth was approached by an Alien Superpower.  In exchange for Earth’s survival, millions of children were sold into slavery to found the Marine Corps.  These “children” without any knowledge of Earth would change/grow and develop over the centuries to come into an enhanced race of warriors – and while most of their enemies see them as nothing more than cannon fodder with third rate weaponry and training, over time that changes.

Marine Cadet tells the story of a young 17 year old boy – Arun McEwan still in the early stages of his Marine training in strange and hostile universe.  We get introduced to several other aliens in this novel and also get a glimpse of Arun’s possible future as the leader of a human rebellion.  However the pace is somewhat slow – especially in comparison to books 2 & 3 – and it seems to take forever for anything of significance to happen.

While part of that is because we’re being introduced to the characters and the whole underlying story its been done better – Old Man’s War by John Scalzi for example has a similar theme.  However that’s probably my biggest gripe with the book to be honest.  The characters are interesting and you definitely want to see what happens to them in the future. You have your usual mix of characters – bellowing Marine Sergeants, bullying peers etc… – but the aliens are a good addition and Pedro especially is quite likeable.

Arun is different to the other marines and while his hormonal impulses do get annoying for an outsider to read, realizing that he is only 17 years old in the story helps to put them into perspective!  While some of the scenes with him are cringe inducing they somehow do make sense.  The idea of “Culling” while also cringe inducing (but for perhaps different reasons) makes sense in the context of this world and for that matter the way that human castoffs are treated by their overseers tends to reinforce this idea even more.

Cover of "Ender's Game (Ender Quartet)"
Cover of Ender’s Game (Ender Quartet)

Weaponry and the suits that the Marine’s use, along with their inbuilt AI is not too far off by any means and don’t seem in any way to be magical.  Even the space drives while they don’t get into the specifics are not warp capable as travel between different stars requires the marines to go into a form of hypersleep for the duration of the journey.

There isn’t anything “new” introduced in this book, however Tim does make it work and while at times the pace can be a bit plodding (as mentioned above), the underlying development of Arun and the rest of his comrades does keep you coming back for more.  I think I’ve already alluded to the fact that this book is different to #2 and #3 – the primary difference being the pace so I’m very glad to see that Tim obviously took into account feedback from his readers.

The battles when they do finally arrive are written well and are extremely believable.  While there is some allusion to a game – similar to Ender’s Game and the mock battles played by the boys perhaps? – this is explored only peripherally and could have probably been expanded upon.  We get some insight into why Arun is so important but this book very much serves as a jumping off point for the volumes that follow as the conspiracy is only lightly touched upon here.

 

Overall recommendation –

By itself I probably wouldn’t recommend this book.  There are others that have the same or similar themes that are written better and have more interesting characters and content.  However taken as a whole – as part of a larger series which this is, yes I’d probably get it.  Especially if you can grab it for free as I did on Kindle Unlimited (well not really free, but you know what I mean).  It’s good enough to get you through to the end and books 2 and 3 are definitely more action packed.