Grimm Tie In Novel #03
Softcover: 272 Pages
Published by: Titan Books
published September, 30th 2014
A new deadly Wesen is in Portland, already started to leave a bloody trail of victims. While NIck is also battling his inner demons, he has to face possibly the worst of all his enemies. Not only to save Portland but also his friends ...
First of all my apologies for being late. This book was laying on my table since it was published but I never made it behind the first chapter. I wish I could blame my weird working schedules for this, but I have to confess it was more the time Waggoner set his story between: episodes 3.03 and 3.04. People knowing me also know that 3.03 is in my opinion most likely the worst episode of the whole show, while 3.04 for me is more of a shrugging off-episode - and yes, I still believe 3.03 is worse than 3.22. Nevertheless it took me a while to finally take the book and read it.
The problem with hired writers is that they tend to ... well not really absorb the material they have to work with. Yes, as a contracted writer you will get some background material about what you are about to write about. How to use this material is up to you. You can be the lucky one who also falls as much in love with this basics as the fans you are writing for, or you can shrug it off, write down the story and take the cash, not really interested in what you just did. For Grimm so far the fans had to deal with both sides of this coin: while John Shirley's Icy Touch was more of an original novel with a really ... open interpretation of what Grimm is about, John Passarella's Chopping Block was as close to the canon as possible. With Tim Waggoner there comes a third author to the playground and it was surely interesting to read his interpretation of Grimm.
First of all, the novel's good written, the story is actionpacked and you recognize the setting. When it comes down to the characters they are recognizable too but ... more about this part a little later. Waggoner obviously did some digging, he established a new Wesen (about this later as well) and the story was, talking Grimm-verse, logical in season 3 manners. But, here she comes, the Bad!Hyn, it's not as good as The Chopping Block.
Talking about writers there's always one sentence every writer should first keep in mind before even starting his major work: write what you know about. As a writer you have to know everything, you have to have reasons and explanations, you have to keep your work as logical as possible. There might not be much but there are readers out there appreciating good and hard work and one thing for sure, every reader will stumble about something that's not fitting right. So the major work for a writer is to KNOW everything and every character he or she writes about. If not, it will come back at you.
While there are small publishers out there which are really care for what they are publishing (Stargate's Fandemonium Books come to my mind here, or the German publisher and game developer FanPro) huge publishers like Titan are simply hiring and let the novels approve by the writers of the shows/movies the novels are about. Those writers are often enough also hired and have ... already hard work to do, so they are barely really looking into those novels then - IF they read at all. And even if the hired writer's work is read by an official writer who's carrying for what he or she does, it might be another insight of what's in the novel. At least it comes down to a "it's hired work not original work" and money unfortunately counts often more than the result.
To be honest, the novel's good written. If I would have been stumbled about it on one of the fanfic-sites, Waggoner would have gotten tons of kudos from me, only for his work on Nick's character. Unfortunately Waggoner's insight of season 3 Nick doesn't go along with the real deal we all saw during the 22 episodes the season lasted. The Nick on the show was as naive as possible, he didn't have to battle inner demons for what he'd done when he was zombified. When did the audience see or recognized remorse? During 3.02 and 3.07 when Nick's going after the Gallumcides. Everything else he was acting like nothing has ever happened, he even made fun out of the fact that his metabolism wasn't human at all anymore.
The Nick Waggoner is writing about cares for what he'd done, has a bad conscience that he killed a man while he was zombified. Yes, he's snarky too, acting before he's thinking it through, but he's a bit more reluctant than he'd ever been on the show. That's not a bad thing, as I've said above, if this review was about a fanfiction, I would have loved to read it, especially when it comes down to Nick.
Waggoner, as I've said above, did some digging, but obviously he never got really into the show - or at least not in the first two seasons. What he let Nick and the others recall from those events is blurry in best case, completely out of canon at the worst. Juliette forgetting about Nick after Adalind poisoned her is a topic (no wonder with a setting this early in season 3), but the cat is suddenly erased. Bud, who's playing a key-role in the novel, is barely recognizable (but here I feel with Waggoner as Bud Wurstner is really hard to write), the buddy-evenings at Monroe's with beer and the watching the Portland Timbers on TV never happened. Instead Bud is suddenly afraid of Nick, doesn't want to come really close to him. Nick and Hank having heavy conversations about the meaning of life is new to me as I more think Nick would, if only, having those conversations more with Monroe than with Hank.
Monroe and Rosalee, we remember, Monroe just asked Rosalee during 3.03 if she would move in with him, are suddenly friends only who are just starting to get cuddly and having a love-relationship (actually a sort of awkward sex-scene is within the novel when Nick encounters both having sex at the SpiceShop). Renard is basically recognizable, as long as he isn't woged. Might be my personal opinion but as long as I remember, Hexen- and Zauberbiests are looking like rotten corpses not like someone had first beat them up and then cut some flesh out of them. Monroe's glowing red eyes never appear and Skalengecks have out of the sudden tails.
There are lots of small little flaws which, if they wouldn't have such an amount, not really bother. But as a whole they leave the impression during the reading that the author never actually WATCHED more than, most likely one or two episodes. While Waggoner does work with nitpits which surprised me (for example the fully woged Jagerbaer mother during 1.02) he's surprisingly reckless the most other times, especially when it comes down to details.
And of course the German plays a role in this too - or better the pluralization (;)) of the Wesen-names. No, Mister Waggoner, not every Wesen-name is multiplied with "en", for the most of them the good old English "s" does its best. True: 1 Blutbad - 10 Blutbaden. False: 1 Skalengeck - 10 Skalengecken. The Plural of Skalengeck is simply Skalengecks.Geier, if at all, goes the same way, same for Jagerbaer. The desease which is hitting Portland during the novel is called "Ewig Woge", correct it should be "Ewige Woge". Nitpits, I know. but the amount to this nitpits is what finally counts.
Now talking about the big bad new enemy. I hope no one gets spoiled when I reveal what's Nick's problem during the novel. It's a Wechselbalg, a shapeshifter. While in the legends a Wechselbalg is a creature which is taking place for a child, while the real child is getting in worst case killed, in best case raised by the otherworlders, Wechselbaelger (see, correct plural again) causing havoc when they are growing up and tend to destroy families. Well, this Wechselbalg is a bit different from those you've possibly heard about. What still makes me think is the ... let us say base form of the Wechselbalg. A silvery shimmering creature without any features, shimmering like liquid metal. Terminator Judgement Day anyone? Sounds to me remarkably like Robert Patrick's T1000, doesn't it? While it's common among writers that you might be inspired by creatures/characters from other shows/movies/books, you should be able to rewrite your inspiration good enough to make it unrecognizable - or maybe the writer thought not everyone has watched Terminator2, who knows?
What leads to the resumee. Unless my rantings, The Killing Time isn't bad. It's not as good as it's predecessor The Chopping Block but it's not as far away from everything Grimm as The Icy Touch was. As I've said before, if I'd stumbled about it at one of the fanfic-databases I really would have loved it. Waggoner's strength is to write especially actionpacked scenes, and The Killing Time is filled with different, mostly bloody and messy fighting scenes. The show is mostly recognizable, but the little bit, this loving feeling I had during reading The Chopping Block, this urge need to continue reading, never stopping and starting fresh after reading it once, that's not there. It's an ordered novel, it's base work with a little bit too much flaws that unfortunately tells too much about the writer than about what this novel should be about.
So I would put The Killing Time right in the middle between the quality of the first two Grimm tiein novels. Unfortunately it looks at the moment as this would be also the last novelization of the show. So, picking up the Star-system, The Killing Time will earn 3 of 5 stars for me.