I really enjoyed this book, if it was at times sort of above my head.
I took the book as three side stories woven together to form the book: 1). the history and descriptions of the monsters they fight and the exorcism rituals, tools, weapons, and they use to fight them; 2.) the story of Mary’s death and how John moves forward without her; and finally, 3.) the story of Dean and Sam growing up as hunters alongside John.
The information included about all of the types of monsters, ghosts, demons, and angels the Winchesters encounter is seriously comprehensive. It was fun to read through some of the descriptions and actually remember the episode that monster appeared in. The above my head stuff was about a lot of the spells and rituals to either kill, exorcise or send back to hell the demons and ghosts. Irvine painstakingly writes out a lot of the incantations in Latin, and I have done some research on them and he has them down to a science. If you read them with Supernatural episodes playing in your head you can really picture the Winchesters using them.
Irvine has John recounting the years, on an anniversary basis, since Mary’s passing. He cites the various gifts they would be getting for each anniversary year, though at the beginning he seems much more emotional and expressive. You see the hardness and lack of emotion appear in his writings; as the years pass, his entries become less and less informative until we are down to just a few words, if more than one.
John, via journal entries, also tells the story of Dean and Sam growing up, and his struggles with leaving them alone and going out on the road. He talks of Sam becoming defiant and refusing to go along with the hunts, his desire to go to school and ultimately Sam’s leaving the family to pursue a college education. He writes of Dean’s coming of age and his burning desire to carry on the family business.
I don’t want to give away too much more than I already have – but most of what I have said about the Winchester family story most of us already know from the show.
I thought it was a really interesting read, and I highly recommend it to all Supernatural fans. People who are not fans of the show probably wouldn’t consider it a must-read, but it is full of all kinds of neat information about different types of demon lore and ghost myth.
On a side note, I got the Young John Winchester, Mr. Matt Cohen himself, to sign it for me at the Salute to Supernatural Convention in Toronto in October 2011.