Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Grimm: The Icy Touch Review


Review By Patrick Scattergood

Written By
John Shirley

Published By
Titan Books

Genre
Action, Thriller, Fantasy, Supernatural, Television Tie-In

Synopsis

There once was a man who lived a life so strange, it had to be true. Only he could see what no one else can: the darkness inside, the real monster within. And he’s the one who must stop them.

This is his calling. This is his duty.

This is the life of a Grimm.

When a torched body is found in an underground tunnel, Portland Police Captain Sean Renard takes one look at the victim’s burned claws and assigns the case to homicide detectives Nick Burkhardt and Hank Griffin. They soon discover that a criminal organization known as The Icy Touch is threatening Wesen into joining their illegal drug-smuggling operation, and brutally murdering those who refuse. But as Nick closes in on the gang’s charismatic and ruthless leader, the Grimm uncovers an ancient—and deadly—rivalry…

A brand-new original novel based on the hit NBC series.There once was a man who lived a life so strange, it had to be true. Only he could see what no one else can: the darkness inside, the real monster within. And he’s the one who must stop them.

This is his calling. This is his duty.
 
This is the life of a Grimm.

When a torched body is found in an underground tunnel, Portland Police Captain Sean Renard takes one look at the victim’s burned claws and assigns the case to homicide detectives Nick Burkhardt and Hank Griffin. They soon discover that a criminal organization known as The Icy Touch is threatening Wesen into joining their illegal drug-smuggling operation, and brutally murdering those who refuse. But as Nick closes in on the gang’s charismatic and ruthless leader, the Grimm uncovers an ancient—and deadly—rivalry…

A brand-new original novel based on the hit NBC series.

Review

As a fan of the television show the bends reality with supernatural fantasy, I was very eager to get my hands on this, the first tie-in novel based on the series.  With a name like John Shirley attached as the writer, I had some very high expectations for the story itself but at the same time, I was worried whether or not they would manage to capture the things that made the show so popular.

I'm always a bit weary of tie-in novels whether it be for television shows, movies and pretty much everything in between.  They always seem to one of two ways.  They either are remarkably true to the source and read pretty much like a continuation or they feel massively out of place.  That begs one question.  Where does this tie-in fall?

Well to be honest, and yes I am fully aware of how much of a cop out answer this is, this one falls straight in the middle.

There are some absolutely fantastic and gripping moments through out the story that really had me just itching to turn the page to see what would happen next and that's down to the writing by Shirley, a man who has a good reputation for writing exciting stories.  If this had have  been one of his own books and not one based on existing characters then I feel it would have worked much better than it did.

The place where it falls down is one of the most important in a book of this kind and that's the characters themselves.  With a tie-in book, you will live and die by the characters.  The fans are quite unforgiving in that aspect.  If you get them wrong then it will be the first thing they pick up on by far and that's what happened here.

In 'Grimm' it's the characters that drive the show and their relationships with the world around them, not the fantastical things that happen.  Here the characters just seem a little bit off in their portrayal and that's a shame because in his other books, Shirley has a knack for creating well rounded and fully fleshed out people that you care about.  Here, Hank seems a hell of a lot more argumentative and sometimes even sulky, which is quite different from the show itself.  The relationship between Nick and Juliette, which is the linchpin of the show, is treated very differently here.  It's on then off then on then off to such a degree that it even becomes quite distracting.  There are a few more instances but I don't want to make this one bit rant about it not being the same because I find those sort of reviews unhelpful.

Another thing that hurt this book was the fact the time line in relation to what we have seen on our screens isn't really made clear.   At some points it feels like it is taking part midway through the second season and in other places it feels like it's a story that's been lifted from earlier.

The fans of the show will like this book if they can look past the few flaws here and there with the characters and the settings but beneath that there is a very interesting story.  If this story had have been one of Shirley's own creations and not a tie-in to a television series then I think it would have worked  a hell of a lot better than it does.  Maybe only really worth a look if you're a hardcore fan of the show.

Story 6/10
Characters 6/10
Cover 7/10
Recommended 6/10
Overall 25/40

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