Read Heart of the Dragon by Keith R.A. DeCandido Online


A Supernatural novel that reveals a previously unseen adventure for the Winchester brothers, from the hit CW series!When renegade angel Castiel alerts Sam and Dean to a series of particularly brutal killings in San Francisco's Chinatown, they realise the Heart of the Dragon, an ancient evil of unspeakable power, is back! John Winchester faced the terrifying spirit 20 yearsA Supernatural novel that reveals a previously unseen adventure for the Winchester brothers, from the hit CW series!When renegade angel Castiel alerts Sam and Dean to a series of particularly brutal killings in San Francisco's Chinatown, they realise the Heart of the Dragon, an ancient evil of unspeakable power, is back! John Winchester faced the terrifying spirit 20 years ago, and the Campbell family fought it 20 years before that - can the boys succeed where their parents and grandparents failed?...

Title : Heart of the Dragon
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781848566002
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 310 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Heart of the Dragon Reviews

  • Kaisa
    2019-04-04 04:40

    I decided to not do a video about this book, simply because I didn't feel like ranting negatively about it on my channel. So, instead, here's my written review on Heart of the Dragon:I've read two of Keith R.A. DeCandido's Supernatural books before, Nevermore and Bone key, and though I didn't love them, I thought they worked as a decent passtime, when I wasn't able to watch the actual show.Heart of the Dragon, on the other hand, is a really really really bad book.WARNING!!! This review will definitely not be positive..The book starts off by introducing our main supernatural spirit during the time he was still alive. The story tells us that he was a samurai who'd lost his master, turning him into a lowly ronin, wandering from town to town in search of work. His nickname was Heart of the Dragon, given to him because of his above average skills in swordsmanship.-------- But one day he was double crossed by a demon, and subsequently was burned alive by an entire village of idiots. The demon then laughed and said: ”I have bigger plans for you.”This premise----we find out later in the book--- is vapidly stupid.The author throws in a number of japanese words into the book. Not only in the beginning, but throughout the entire story. Sometimes it makes sense, like with "ronin" or "bushido". But other times it makes less sense, like with "gaijin" or the constant mentioning of "Heart of the Dragon" in semi japanese. Yes. Heart of the dragon couldn't just be written in english, it had to be in japanese.. because it sounds cooler that way???? *shakes head* Unfortunately, the author didn't even think to google the japanese word for dragon.. or maybe he did google it, and that was the problem. He writes "Doragon Kokoro". For those with minor skills in the japanese language, you would know that kokoro means heart and that doragon is simply the japanese pronounciation of the english word dragon. Now, I am not a smart person ----just recently I said that Brazil was a europeean country---- but even I know that samurais ceased to exist somewhere around the 19th century, and I'm assuming that this samurai existed way before that... and I really don't think that the japanese people of that time used english words in their day-to-day language. And you know, the japanese people actally do have their own word for "Dragon".Ugh, the reason I'm bringing that up is because they say it over and over again, and it's the friggin title of the book!!It bothered me, to say the least.Now, the book is split up into three parts. You've got the first part, which is about Dean and Sam's grandparents, and their mother, hunting the heart of the dragon. Then you've got the story of how John Winchester, their father, also hunted the dragon 20 years later.. finally we get Sam and Dean's story at the end. This means that Sam and Dean, the main characters of the show, are only in the book in the last 7 chapters. Sure, this idea would work, IF 1) the other characters were interesting enough, 2) the story of what those characters did wasn't so unnecessary, repetitive and predictable, 3) the book was longer 4) the writing wasn't so dull and unimaginative and 5) THE ENTIRE PLOT WASN'T SO GOD DAMNED CONVENIENT!!!Let me explain: As read in a !!!!library book!!!, and told by all people in chinatown (shrug) the dragon can only be summoned by someone blood related to him, to be used as a killing spirit in revenge plots or whatever other ways you might use a burning samurai spirit. If the spirit is cast away by someone, using a spell in japanese (that is also conveniently written in this library book) and a sword, the spirit will go away for 20 years, before it can be summoned again..... Why?... Because it has to be that way in order for the Winchesters to skip a generation of course.... Otherwise, it makes absolutely no sense.Was this the big awesome ”plan” that the demon had for this spirit?No. ****SPOILER ALERT****Actually, –-and this is a spoiler, but really, if you're reading this book waiting in suspense to find this out, you need to find some real literature-- the demon wants to use the spirit in the apocalyptic war against the angels. BUT of course, he can't summon it, and the whole 20 years thing is screwing it up for him.... this makes me wonder the following:WHY did this demon think that a subpar SAMURAI would be of much help in the apocalypse??? REALLY!!! Think about that for a second. He went through a lot of trouble to kill this guy.. so that he could use him sometime in the future for something vague in the war against the angels. WHY??And why can he be summoned as an angry killing spirit by his family anyway?? Can everyone do that to any ancestor? Can I summon my great grandmother and command her to kill people?? Will she then disappear for 20 years after that??NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE!!!And don't say that he's special because he died wanting revenge. All through the book he's whining about not wanting to do what he's doing.. He wants to move on, but he can't, because he keeps getting summoned!! So why can he be summoned and controlled like this? The only reason I can think of is that the demon fixed it somehow... But that doesn't make sense either, because by doing that he's making it more difficult for himself to control the spirit later.I just don't get it.And by the way, the heart of the dragon seems to be a story told by everyone in chinatown (which, yeah, doesn't make sense.) so they know that the person who summoned this guy is family to the samurai.. the main evil guy is half chinese/half japanese, living in china town, and for some reason, everyone knows he's a half breed. Why? I don't know. He lost his job because of it, and everyone keeps saying: I heard you were half japanese.. WHERE DID THEY HEAR THAT? They're not in school, I'm pretty sure he could keep that a secret. But so later when the heart of the dragon shows up, and he keeps getting summoned every 20 years, WHY ISN'T ANYONE SUSPICIOUS OF THE ONLY FRIGGIN JAPANESE GUY IN CHINATOWN, WHO JUST HAPPENS TO KNOW AND HATE ALL THE PEOPLE WHO ARE GETTING KILLED???!!I mentioned the writing before... and I called it dull. When reading his past books I could deal with that, simply because those books had actual story lines, and included a lot of charming dialogue between the two brothers. In this book, you get none of that, because the time era switches too fast.Sometimes we get chapters with overly detailed explanations of characters we know are gonna die. Like seriously, these characters we don't care about get more backstory and personality than the actual main characters... and yet we don't care, because we know that at the end of the chapter, this person will die in a very vague and boring way.In the TV show, they do something similar, but there it works.. because they have visuals. They can show the monster and make it scary and ominous. This book, on the other hand, has no chance of ever scaring me. Don't give me some random guy's life story and then kill him off in three seconds without description!!That's bad writing.Ugh, I have to stop writing now, but seriously, there is so much that is wrong with this book, I can't even begin to show my frustrations. If you want to read a supernatural book, go ahead and get his other books, Nevermore or .. Bone key.. or whatever else he's written. Because Heart of the Dragon --Or "Doragon kokoro"-- is pointless. It has no story whatsoever, the characters seem flat and boring, and whatever they do doesn't matter because we know exactly what's going to happen because of the outline and stupid repetitive plot of the book. AAARGH!!!!!!!

  • Linda Bakker-Zwakhals
    2019-03-24 01:23

    I didnt really get into the story in the beginning. Maybe because It has been a long couple of days and I was tired. But I think it was mainly because I realised they would kill the demon three times and I was only interested in how Dean and Sam would accomplish the deed. But around half way through it did pick up and it turned out to be a Nice read

  • Inga Ingvarsdóttir
    2019-03-31 23:31

    This book opens with a chapter set in 1859 Japan and tells of the origin of the Heart of the Dragon. This opening is, in many ways, well-written but it's pretty dense and not likely to hook readers who aren't super-keen on reading the book and/or are pretty knowledgeable about the Tokugawa period in Japan. Which I am so I knew what a daimyo is and so on. Being somewhat knowledgeable about Japan also has me griping about the Japanese. There isn't much Japanese but since the Heart of the Dragon is Japanese, the Japanese name is used. Well, almost 'cause it's grammatically wrong. In the book it's Doragon Kokoro. It should be Doragon no Kokoro and since the Heart of the Dragon receives his moniker before the reopening of Japan so the likelihood of a word of English origin being used is doubtful. So something like Ryu no Kokoro would be better. This would be trivial if this wouldn't relate directly to the title of the novel.There is actually a lot of good things about this book. The non TV-canon characters are pretty vivid and well-fleshed out and the pacing of the plot and the different points of views keep things interesting. I really liked seeing the Campells in actions. Mary is written totally kick-ass but also a very believable 15 year old girl. John Winchester isn't as compelling but then again John Winchester on a solo hunt, has to be pretty single-minded and driven. Not much room for great character insights there.I would have preferred if the story had been clearer on how the Heart of the Dragon was this great demon weapon. We only ever got to see how the spirit was controlled by Albert Chao and how it served his petty revenges and so on. There's this bizarre epilogue where it's obvious that the Heart of the Dragon was a threat to the angels.For the most part Sam and Dean are pretty consistent with the TV-canon (and let's not get into how that itself can be inconsistent) but there are couple of exceptions.Let me quote from p. 223:He [Sam:] was tempted to suggest the Starbucks--thanks to Dean's poker winnings, they could actually afford it--but decided not to open that particular can of worms. They'd been back hunting for a while now, and things were going well. But the wounds were still relatively fresh. It was not so much that Sam had started the Apocalypse.No, Sam thought to himself, that sucks, but what really hurt Dean was that I trusted Ruby more than I did him. I lied to him, and I betrayed him. He should have known better.If there's one thing we've got to remember, it's that we are better together than we are apart. So he decided he didn't need to go to Starbucks.This isn't so much characterization inconsistency rather than a sheer WTF thing. What has Starbucks to do with anything? Did I miss the bit where Frappuccinos are really demon blood or did Dean say to Sam that he couldn't get a latte venti until he properly atoned for betraying him?If the author (and I suspect he is) is trying to convey that the bond between Sam and Dean is still fragile, then he did a very poor job of it.Another thing that really bothered me is that while Dean is one man pop-culture reference machine, the author kind of makes him go overboard with it when he's addressing the Asian-Americans he's dealing with (calls them Jackie Chan and Charlie Chan and thinks of one woman as a Lucy Liu lookalike) so it gets almost an ethnic slur slant to it. I don't know, Supernatural the show doesn't have the best track record when it comes to these things but the main characters have never been blatantly racist. Maybe I'm reading too much into it. However I cheered when Dean called the samurai spirit (the Heart of the Dragon) Yojimbo (in my mind Dean loves Toshiro Mifune as much as I do).In short, in many ways this is a pretty good tie-in novel which delivers a great background story on the Campells, has intriguing non TV-canon characters and is exciting. Still there are few things that really didn't work and unfortunately it took a bit from the enjoyment of the novel.

  • Hayley Phillips
    2019-03-29 04:29

    Award winning author Keith R.A. DeCandido has produced yet another phenomenal science fiction novel. The book takes place mostly in a flashback to when the famous Sam and Dean's family came across a deadly samurai warrior who left his victims sliced to pieces. The Campbells and John Winchester were only able to banish the spirit for 20 years at a stretch. Now, Sam and Dean need to lay him to rest once and for all. The book is well written, and there are only a few characters that aren't necessary for the plot. The author also further expanded the depth of the character Deanna. This novel would appeal to a wide range of audiences, however the only cautions are reference to drugs, and language. Overall, this is yet another fantastic adventure of Sam and Dean's, and we also get to see how their family handled the situation back in their hunting days.

  • Matt Spaulding
    2019-03-21 04:46

    I have read a few of these Supernatural tie-in books now and this is by far the worst. The writing is pretty flat and the story is a jumbled up mess.The plot focuses on a problem that has been plaguing the Winchester family since Sam and Dean's grandfather was alive and hunting, which is the first problem. This breaks the plot up into three separate storylines and places too much focus on two flashbacks that take up large, ultimately repetitive and useless chunks of the book.The second major issue with the story is that it relies very heavily on the overarching storyline of the season in which this book takes place, tying it too closely to the show rather than standing mostly on its own as the other books I have read do. If the reader hasn't seen season five lately, a lot of the things they mention in the book are fuzzy memories and this really weakens the story.I can only hope the rest of the tie in books are like the ones I have read prior to this and not more like this one.

  • Josh
    2019-03-28 00:25

    I wondered when a new Supernatural novel was going to be released. I had read all three previous books and then waited and kept waiting for a new book in the series. I figured that the books weren't all that popular, so no more books were going to be published. You can imagine my excitement over the news that three new Supernatural books were going to be released in 2010. I love the television show and have generally liked the books which have ranged from being mediocre to really good.I would put this one into the Really Good category. At first, I wasn't entirely thrilled knowing that Sam and Dean only appear in the last third of the book, but I did enjoy getting the backstories on the brothers' grandparents and parents. I ended up liking the book more because of this. The entire Winchester family battles the spirit of a Japanese samurai who was falsely accused of a crime by a demon with far reaching plans. Keith R.A. DeCandido expands the world of the brothers by delving into the histories and including many of the most popular characters from the tv show. He also faithfully sticks with what is currently happening in the 5th season of the television show - the Apocalypse and the battle between angels and demons.The book can be read as a stand alone novel by a reader with no knowledge of the characters or their interactions. However, many things make more sense and click if the reader is familiar with the world of the Winchester brothers. Because this is Mr. DeCandido's third Supernatural book, I feel he is finally getting a grasp on how to write the characters and the situations they find themselves in. He is able to now write with the voices of Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Misha Collins, and Jim Beaver coming out through the pages. We, as the faithful viewer, know these characters and know how they will act. Any deviation angers us, but DeCandido sticks with what we know and love about the show.A fast and fun read.

  • Forgotten Realms Queen
    2019-03-29 21:35

    I discovered the Supernatural books about a year ago, and fell in love with them. I totally admit that they are not literary masterpieces, nor will they go down in history for their characters, story or prose, but they are still wonderful books.Basically this book, as will all the others, gives us a side story of the Winchester brothers hunting down things that go bump in the night around the events that happen within the television series. This particular installment deals with them destroying the spirit of a Japanese ronin.When alive, the ronin was approached by a demon and as usual given an offer he was not supposed to be able to refuse. Surprisingly he did, and this caused the demon to rile up some locals against the ronin, leading him to be burned alive, and the demon subsequently enslaving his soul to eventually be used in the Apocolypse. Every twenty years the spirit is summoned by a blood descendant, and eventually come out in the time of the brothers. They of course chase it down and lay the tormented spirit to rest.What I love most about these books is that they tend to bring you closer to the characters. Because all you see on the show is their actions and reactions, whereas the books let you into their thought processes and feelings. This makes a greater connection than watching them ever could.This is a fun, easy read for any and all fans of the Winchester brothers. Looking forward to the rest!

  • Nacho Gamboa
    2019-04-15 02:36

    La cuarta fue la vencida... Después de 4 novelas (3 de ellas de DeCandido, terriblemente malas todas), pues decidí que si voy a malgastar mi tiempo no será con esta porquería... Ni si quiera sabría por donde empezar... Tal vez por la insistencia de el autor de mezclar cultura japonesa y china como si fueran la misma cosa, con una gran cantidad de palabras en japonés que probablemente ni el mismo DeCandido sabían que significan (y en otras partes pone la pronunciación japonesa del inglés, no DeCandido dragón en japonés no es "doragon", es Ryū, una simple búsqueda en el traductor de Google habría bastando)... DeCandido es terrible, pésimo, aburrido... No hay suficientes adjetivos para describir lo mucho que detesto la forma en que escribe, las excesivas descripciones (calles, casa, música, muebles, ropas y NADA SIRVE PARA LA TRAMA)... Poniendo de parámetro este señor cualquier analfabeta puede ser escritor.

  • May B
    2019-04-08 01:39

    I wish that this could have been written as just a campbell story or just a john story instead of trying to put the boys in. It just... it was hard to read it because it was too much going on. But hey thats the curse of this type of story right, you have to do what you're told :) All and all ok, just felt rather like watching the shows, too much crammed into too short a time.

  • Iben
    2019-04-16 01:26

    Meh. Not horrible, but not very good either. Dean and Sam are barely in it, with most of it taking place in 1969 and 1989

  • Carol
    2019-03-25 21:17

    I feel I should preface this review by saying that I do believe if you are a huge fan of the show Supernatural, on which the book was based, you will most likely enjoy this book much more than I did. I enjoy the show, I've seen all the episodes, and I am going to keep watching it until the final season. It's a fun show with solid storytelling and the monsters and magic in the show are pretty creative. With that said, however, I don't love the show, and there are some issues that keep me from singing too many of its praises. I wouldn't name my first born Sam or Dean, and I wouldn't shell out the cost of airfare and a hotel room to go to the Supernatural Convention. If you're one of those people who seriously love the show, and I have several friends in this category so it’s a love I understand, I think you'll enjoy this book. But if you're in the middle ground like me, I wouldn't recommend it. And here's why.But first, let me mention some of its good points. DeCandido seems to have the ability to be a pretty decent storyteller, as evidenced by his character Yoshio Nakadai, our sympathetic “monster” of the tale. Nakadai is an honorable samurai from 1800s Japan whose soul is bound by a demon to do its evil bidding. This character is very interesting. He's new (not from the show) and is given a believable backstory. We don't get too much of the book from his perspective, but what's there is enough to make a connection between him and the reader. Or at least it was for me. I wanted to know more about him, I wanted Dean and Sam to save him from this demonic curse, and I was invested in finding out about his fate. And this is really the only reason I finished the book.Albert Chao, another a new character and one of the villains of the story, is also well-written. He summons and controls Nakadai throughout the story as a tool for vengeance. If the demon who trapped Nakadai originally is the main villain, then Chao is in second place. He's a selfish and cruel man, but is portrayed in a slightly sympathetic light, which makes him more interesting. Is he a little cookie-cutter? Yes. But I understand what got him to this point and why he makes the choices he does. Even though he is in the wrong, it's interesting enough to read as his petty vendettas lead him down the criminal path in the life he's chosen. We even get some character development from him by the end of the story. We follow Chao and Nakadai through all their years together, even before Sam and Dean face them, which is pretty cool. But that's where the good points stop. I pretty much enjoyed all of the “new” aspects of the book and found the characters and stories from the show tedious at best and downright boring at worst. The whole book feels trapped by the original Supernatural story, which I understand that DeCandido must follow and present in order to make this a Supernatural book. Heck, it's why we're even reading it in the first place, right? But it's just not executed very well, in my opinion. Whenever we got to characters from the show, it felt like one really slow and painful review. Now if you seriously love the characters, you may enjoy reading about them in this context, despite the same old information we've already rehashed to death on the show. But as for me, I certainly did not.Spoilers start here, so if you aren't caught up with the show and care about such things, then I wouldn't read any further.(view spoiler)[Yoshio Nakadai, aka the Heart of the Dragon, and Albert Chao, are not very good at going about their evil business unnoticed. Their first rash of killings is found by Sam and Dean's maternal grandparents, who are also hunters. Samuel, Deanna, and their daughter Mary (Sam and Dean's mom) take on the hunt to stop the Heart of the Dragon in 1969. This is the part that was the most tedious for me to get through. These three are so cookie-cutter it's ridiculous. And I think it's mostly because the show doesn't spend too much time on these characters, particularly Mary and Deanna. They just don't get much screen time, so it's understandable that DeCandido didn't have much to go on. Samuel is the tough guy with trust issues. Mary is a teenager, who loves her secret action-packed hunter lifestyle but part of her wants to just be a normal girl. She likes popular music and butts heads with her parents sometimes. She's doe-eyed over the attractive young hunter, Jack, who helps a little on the case, but that dead-ends real fast because, of course, we all know she's going to marry Sam and Dean's dad, so why bother? Deanna is the understanding mom who tries to keep the peace between her headstrong daughter and husband. Sure, they kill vampires and other creepy-crawlies sometimes, but I knew that already. I've seen 9 seasons of Winchesters (and family) killing things. There's nothing new here, just typical family dynamics in the setting of a fast-paced career choice. They eventually figure out what we already know about Chao and Nakadai and temporarily put a stop to their rampage.Then we proceed to the '80s, where John Winchester, Sam and Dean's dad, take a crack at it. We get a good, hard look at his motivations, since this part is from his perspective. We don't get too much of him in the show either, but we hear a lot about him from various parties, giving enough content to make a pretty strong case for his storyline. So, this part was more interesting to me than the first. However, we spend a lot of time rehashing what someone who has seen the show already knows. Mary is killed by a demon, setting John and sons on a long mission to kill it. John's mind is pretty much on a single track - find the demon by doing as many hunts as possible to search for evidence. Even to the point where he leaves his sons for long periods of time, barely being in their lives. It's pretty painful how little he cares about them. He's consumed by thoughts of revenge, and it made me not like him very much. He's a much more mysterious character in the show, so I didn't feel quite the same dislike. In season one, the boys are trying to find John Winchester; he's a goal, a prize. Sure, we hear all about how his hunts kept him away from his family. But when you read things like “He and Mary had saved plenty of money – okay, so it was originally earmarked for Dean and Sammy's college funds, but that was less of a priority now – so after she died, he'd been able to finance his hunt for vengeance.” it really hits home. He's a horrible parent! Horrible! So while John is more fleshed out than his wife and in-laws, I found myself really disliking his character.How much the reader likes a character isn't a problem with the book, though. I'd actually say this is a good point. It made me feel something for this character, so that's great. The problem, like I mentioned above, is how much recap we get. Every single piece of Supernatural backstory that is even slightly relevant to the characters is explained in detail. Nothing is taken for granted. The author assumes we know nothing about the story and the characters. This is #4 of the Supernatural books, by the way, taking place in season 5. If you've never seen the show, I'll bet you've read the other 3 books. Otherwise, you really deserve to be confused by just jumping in the middle. Same goes for reading this without having watched through season 5.Either way, I think it's safe to say the reader is going in with a good knowledge base. Why are the Winchesters hunters? Because a demon killed their mom. What was the result of this? Their lives are thrown upside down as John uproots his family to hunt monsters across the country in an attempt to find her killer. Who is Bobby Singer? The guy closest to being Sam and Dean's father figure, at least in practice. We know. We really, really know. We don't need to start from the beginning. This information isn't what I care about. I care about this new adventure, the Heart of the Dragon, and the story of Nakadai and Chao and how the Winchesters interact in this situation. And while that's present in the book, you have to push through a whole bunch of fluff to get to it. And I call it fluff because in the story of the hunt for Nakadai and Chao, that's what it is. It isn't relevant. I could cut out whole pages of this book and still get the same effect.The chapters with Sam and Dean as adult hunters searching for the Heart of the Dragon are better than the backstory. It references relevant information without going into too much detail. It mentions Castiel and Rudy and the apocalypse without giving us a play-by-play of season 4 and the parts of season 5 before the book is supposed to take place. Which makes me wonder, why couldn't the rest of the book have been written the same way? But putting that aside, with these chapters not being devoted to backstory overkill, we're left with Sam and Dean being Sam and Dean. Which is fine. Their interactions are believable and true to the show. But that's where things take another turn for me. Like I said, I enjoy the show but there are a few issues I have with it that keep me from loving it. Like how it's kind of emo (you know it's true). Sam and Dean fight and get back together more than the characters on an episode of Vampire Diaries. They speak solely in pop culture references and smart-ass remarks. Well, Dean, Bobby and apparently this demon character who first enslaves Nakadai, if not Sam, I cannot express how annoying I find this. It was funny the first couple seasons. Then it was kind of cute for a few more. Now it's just obnoxious. And reading it, rather than watching the words come out of Dean's handsome face, makes it way worse. But this is a book for the show. So truth be told, the book does well to emulate it. That's what it's supposed to do – be a new adventure of Sam and Dean, being Sam and Dean. So while these things made me, personally, like the book less, that doesn't mean that true fans who don't have the same complaints I do will find it as a negative aspect. This is why I say those fans will probably like this more than I did. People who like the show just okay might not be thrilled and may be better off picking up a different book.(hide spoiler)]

  • J.L.
    2019-04-11 01:22

    I usually avoid reading other reviews of books before writing my own, but for some reason I scrolled down when getting the links for this book. While it looks like the majority of the ratings are positive, the top few reviews that showed up on Goodreads absolutely trashed this book, which is unfortunate. You might take this to mean that I have poor taste in books, but I'd like to think that I really enjoyed this novel because it takes risks and breaks the mold of what is expected from most media tie-ins.If you're looking for a book about just Sam and Dean Winchester, you're going to be disappointed (as, apparently, many reviewers were). The Winchester brothers certainly appear in the book, and they definitely save the day (as they ought to), but this book is also about their family. I genuinely enjoyed this triptych of stories that include not just Sam and Dean, but also their father, mother, and grandparents. As a set of characters on an adventure, I thought the section with Samuel and Deanna Campbell and their daughter Mary was my favorite bit of the book. Not only is it fascinating to see aspects of hunting accomplished in an unfamiliar time period, but the interactions between an entire family of hunters (rather than bickering brothers) was a nice change of pace. I was worried that I would be disappointed, since it's obvious from the structure of the book that the Campbells don't defeat the Big Bad, but the way it lives on does not diminish the work the Campbells complete.John Winchester's section beautifully embodied pretty much everything I despise about the character of John Winchester, and what more can you ask from an author?The best part of the concluding section is that it's not just Sam and Dean swooping in to save the day. Who the "bad guy" is becomes fairly muddled, and I like that the narrative ties into the larger story line of the television show regarding the war between angels and demons. As usual, I give mega bonus points for the inclusion of non-Western mythology. The book's opening, from the perspective of the man who does become the "Big Bad" of the book, also intrigued me and sucked me in. The downside to this book, I felt, was that so many scenes had to be from the point of view of supporting characters for the reader to take in and appreciate the entire story. This is fine in a television episode, but I'm reading a book specifically to spend more time with the heroes I care about, not waitresses and mediocre gangsters. I love Supernatural, but not enough to hunt down all the media tie-in novels. I'd definitely read more of them written by this author, though.

  • Devi R. Black
    2019-04-21 04:31

    I have to write this:When I first started looking for books to read and came across the Supernatural's stand alone, I choose by reading reviews and started this a bit dissapointed from what other people though of this one. What you need to know about this book is: YES the japanise/chinese words that the author likes to use are a bit too much, as I rememeber myself starting to read and finding words so out of contexted that I'm still trying to get the meaning of. But besides that, It's a good book, I bit of a slow plot but what I liked about is this look I got from the Cambells and how they worked as a familly, hunting, traveling and having a life; a young John Winchester, torn between his revenge and the love for his sons but being an idiot, as usual. Of Bobby loving and caring but like any parent/uncle and the end of his wits.You have to read with the knowledge that while this is a Supernatural book, Sam and Dean don't come out much, the story is more about a family's mission and unsolved case that the brothers brought to a close, where the protagonist is a poor soul condemned because a demon was bored and, I think most importantly, a look into the past of the Cambell/Winchester hunting life. There're mistery, supernatural happening, demons, angels and a bunch of bodies but nothing for the reader to try and discover.And lastly, never forget that this is a background story that is by no means canon, so yes the Lucifer's vessel and Michael's sword things are confusing.So yes, I enjoyed the book, enough that I was walking while reading.

  • Jennifer Newmark
    2019-04-16 05:34

    SPN fans beware. I will read almost anything, I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt and I've done beta reading and provided suggestions to authors on how to improve their writing. My suggestion to Mr. DeCandido is: watch the series (more than once) before you attempt to write in the Supernatural universe.I can't remember when I last returned a book. I returned this one. It was not worth what I paid for it.Way too much of characters I really didn't care about. Plot that DIRECTLY contradicts what we know of the Supernatural universe and mythos. Seriously. A demon cannot lure an honorable man into a situation, frame him with a crime, whip up a frenzy in the crowd who then burn him at the stake (really? In Japan?) and then capture his soul as his tame murderous monster. It doesn't work that way. Really. You can either tie him to an earthly object, in which case you will end up with an INSANE murderous monster who probably doesn't follow orders very well, or you can make a demon deal and mess him up that way. But lured, framed and wrongly condemned? Don't think so. Not nearly enough of the characters we're READING THE FREAKING BOOK FOR. Characters out of character. Words and phrases they would never say, actions they would never do. I'm not going to go into details here... it was simply painful. If you are looking for good Supernatural stories, there's some awesome fanfic out there. I hear there are some pretty good books (I'm still looking). This wasn't one of them.

  • Taylor
    2019-04-19 05:45

    this is the fourth supernatural book i've read and i had a lot of hope for it because it was written by the author of the first book who provided the KILLER playlist. I feel so much more cultured. But this one SUCKED. a lot. I was originally going to give all of the supernatural books 5 stars by association to sam and dean but this one DOESN'T DESERVE IT. like no. Sam looks like a doofus on the front cover too. The SUPER ANNOYING THING was that it did a whole narrative from Samuel Campbell and mary and and like !!! sure it was interesting to see mary but I hate samuel!!! so that sucked!!! it was boring and dumb and i love my boys!! and then it did the same thing with their dad and i was like NO!! horrible. just include a storyline with the boys next time thanks. i stg i am embarrassed for sam on the cover of this book the poor dear he looks like a weird AU version of Nick h. THat took me an embarrassingly long amount of 6 days to read

  • Megan Peters
    2019-04-11 03:35

    This is the first review that I've had the privilege to write. I'm sure it will turn into a very nit picky rant because I was extremely disappointed in this book. Ordinarily, a novel like this, which my junior high school English teacher would undoubtedly dismissed as "fluff", would take me three days to read, max. After about two months I couldn't, however, even bring myself to finish this. It just made me so irritated every time I tried.I picked this book up randomly in a used book store in Tokyo. Being a big fan of the TV series, I was very happy to stumble upon it in a country where English novels are pretty slim pickings. It was my first time reading a Supernatural novel, I had no idea that they even existed. Unfortunately it was bad enough to turn me off of the series, especially other novels by this author. I am surprised that the CW even endorsed a novel that was so poorly written and inconsistent. I imagine there are a plethora of better-written fanfictions available on the Internet.The thing that bothered me the most was the unnecessary over-use of Japanese terminology. I gathered from the dedication in the beginning of the novel that the author is into karate. Perhaps that was his inspiration for this story. However, as someone who lives in Japan, speaks the language, and has knowledge of Japanese history, I found it pretty offensive. His over-use of the word "gaijin," meaning foreigner, was especially offensive to me. He probably meant no harm by it and perhaps doesn't realize just how derogatory that term is. It is a deviation of the proper term, which is "gaikokujin." I get called a "gaijin" on an almost daily basis and it is incredibly frustrating. "Gaijin" is a blanket term that Japanese people use when describing anyone who is non-Japanese. It is a racial slur used to further perpetuate the feeling of xenophobia that exists to this day (whether intentional or not); separating the "us" (Japanese) from "them" (non-Japanese). Even if they know one's nationality they continue to call them foreigners. For a character who grew up in the States, who struggled with being called a "half-breed" himself, I find it hard to swallow that Chao would see non-Chinese as foreigners. Outsiders, perhaps, but certainly not foreigners. At one point he even has a Chinese man using the Japanese word, which is ridiculous.I liked that he gave us a background story on Yoshio, however I felt it was a little flat. This author is not very good at giving depth or life to his characters. He probably assumes that the readers have previous knowledge of the series' characters, which is highly likely, but not a good excuse to skimp on descriptions and details. During the backstory he again uses numerous Japanese terms that may or may not be known by the readers without giving them any explanation. It is the readers' responsibility to look up the words if they are so inclined, which is irresponsible of the author. It's their job to paint a picture for the reader and help them bring their own stories to life.As other reviews have also pointed out, the use of "Doragon Kokoro" is historically inappropriate. During the Edo Period, Japan was under "sakoku," which was the closing of the country to other nations. This policy was not lifted until the ports were forced open by Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853. The Westerners who were allowed to trade with Japan during this time were limited to the Dutch and the Portuguese, neither of which uses the English word dragon (according to Google the Dutch word is "draak" and the Portuguese "dragão"). Trade was also mainly limited to the Nagasaki region which is on very south end of Japan, very far from Edo (modern-day Tokyo) and it is unlikely that Yoshio or people around him had much contact with Westerners at that time. Therefore, a more appropriate handle for Yoshio would have been "ryuu no kokoro;" "ryuu" meaning dragon in native Japanese.The story itself was shallow and predictable. We have the antagonist, Albert Chao, who happens to be a half-Chinese and half-Japanese descendant of the master-less samurai who was burned at the stake during the Edo Period. That conveniently allows the author to set this story in San Francisco's Chinatown, which I frankly found incredibly tacky. Chao's motives for summoning the spirit of Yoshio are also shallow and not explained very well. The author gives too few details about Chao's past. What motivates this man? How was he pushed so far that he would wish to summon a vengeful spirit? Why is he so desperate to lead the Chinese mafia? We get none of this in the novel. He was picked on and belittled for being mixed-blood, okay, but not to the extent that he should have taken such drastic measures. It would have been great to have more insight into Chao, but there was little for the reader to go on.Overall, because of this novel's absolute flatness and lack of detail, I personally think it would have been better had the author decided to stick with two generations fighting the same spirit; be it the Cambells and John Winchester or Winchester and sons. I feel that the author stretched himself too thin by including three generations in a story that was flimsy and predictable to begin with. I really wouldn't recommend this book, especially if you have any knowledge of Japanese culture and/or language. You'll probably just find yourself frustrated like me.

  • Kerry
    2019-04-08 03:23

    I usually love the Supernatural books b/c they're like an episode in book form. This one, however, didn't quite hold my attention like the previous books I've read. Maybe b/c I don't care for Samuel Winchester at all. He's a douche! The storyline to this one was ok. Interesting but I just didn't quite care for this book so much. Maybe someone will find it more interesting than I did.

  • Crownoyami
    2019-03-23 04:20

    I loved how this changed through three generations trying to get rid of the same spirit! (Four if you count the original man dying). I really enjoyed the changing of perspectives, it made it an easy read, highly recommended for any SPN fan (Season 5 spoilers)

  • Ana_sadkova
    2019-03-21 00:19

    Barely read it, okay, but could be so much better

  • Jack Smith
    2019-04-05 05:42

    HistoryLoved the book, first I've read that includes all the family, from Samuel, Deanna, and a 15yo Mary, to John with young Sam and Dean, to Sam and Dean with Cass. Great book.

  • Freyja
    2019-03-29 22:22

    Liked the book. Felt just like the tv series. Go the winchester boys. They always succeed were others fail.

  • Kenkiki
    2019-04-11 04:42

    actually terrible, only read for sam, dean and cas (even though they spell it as CASS in the book)

  • Janice perry
    2019-04-19 23:25

    too much flipping around, this one I really did not like.

  • Clover
    2019-04-09 05:41

    Chapter 1 – Rundown of how a noble and honorable samurai is turned into the Heart of the Dragon by a demon a few centuries ago.Chapter 2 – Castiel asks Sam & Dean to help with a spirit/weapon that only comes to this plane every 20 years. Bobby, who uses a wheelchair in this book, has some newspaper clippings about the previous fiery murders 40 years ago, and lo and behold, grandpa Samuel is in one of the pictures.Chapters 3-9—Set in 1969 with Mary as a teenager, hunting with her parents. These aren’t terribly exciting chapters, but are interesting to have a glimpse of Mary. She is a cool balance between both of her sons’ personality characteristics. I like the way she is written, as well as her thoughts on hunting, her parents, and boys … especially one shy mechanic. The main nemesis who called forth the Heart of the Dragon is a bumbling teenager who doesn’t quite know what to do with the power he has summoned. The Campbells manage to banish the spirit, but not eliminate it so it will resurface in another 20 years.Chapter 10—Bobby gives Sam & Dean an inscribed sword that their father used 20 years ago to banish the samurai.Chapters 11- 19--It’s 1989, following John’s hunt for the spirit/weapon. Again, it’s fun to see John in full action as a younger man. There are also glimpses of very young Dean & Sam and how John feels about leaving them with Bobby as he flies to San Francisco. The nemesis is 20 years older & more cunning and nasty as he has been waiting for the re-arrival of his weapon. I like that character growth, even in a baddie. It’s amusing that John knows other hunters went after the weapon 20 years ago, but he has no idea it was Mary. I’m roughly 200 pages into a 300ish page book and I’m getting a little anxious to get on with the part with the boys as Sam & Dean are who I really want to read about.Chapter 20—The Heart of the Dragon resurfaces. Nemesis is now much older & wiser & formidable. He had been studying demonology as well & is a little more equipped. Nice character progression.Chapter 21—There the boys are. On their way to San Fran & still having a few issues between them for the whole sneaking off with Ruby & starting the Apocalypse. And speaking of the Apocalypse, the original demon who first created the Heart of the Dragon has come to collect her weapon she made just for this time. She’s not at all pleased that the nemesis has control of it. Two Baddies at odds. I like that. Could get a whole lot more dangerous.Chapter 22—Sam’s hurt. Yikes, poor face. Sword’s gone. Chapter 23—Nemesis knows it’s John Winchester’s kids & is excited to see if they are as tough as their dad was. That doesn’t sound good.Chapter 24—Angels are involved now? Not so much, they are just getting killed by the demon who wants the samurai, showing how BA she is.Chapter 25—Sam & Dean are on their way to talk with a hunter/professor who understands the sword’s inscriptions. Of course the demon kills him before they arrive.Chapter 26—Face off with the demon chick. She lobs a few insults about Sam’s bruised face & him being Lucifer’s vessel, but takes off when Dean pulls out Ruby’s knife. Cas shows up. It still bothers me that in all the Supernatural books they spell it as Cass. That’s just wrong. His name is not Casstiel. Nemesis sends The Heart of the Dragon to kill the brothers, but since Cas is there, he restrains him, though barely. However that gives the samurai a chance to tell them that he doesn’t like doing the Nemesis’s bidding & he actually tells them how to free him, not just banish him for another 20 years. Seriously? That kind of bugs me. Way too easy. Whatever.Chapter 27—Showdown between the demon and Nemesis. Fairly ingenious. More humorous than exciting. The Heart of the Dragon is summoned to them. Sam, Dean & Cas show up. It’s the big climatic scene where all three threats are taken care of, but unfortunately, even though everything is tied up nice and tidy—it’s not all that climatic. After wading through two-thirds of Campbell & John past, I was hoping for more. This was just meh. Epilogue—Zachariah ruminates about his part in secretly leaking the information about the samurai’s return to Cas to get the Winchesters to play their part. This last chapter is actually the most chilling.I do recommend Heart of the Dragon. Don’t hate it, just not jumping up and down enthusiastic over it.

  • Sodapop13
    2019-04-10 00:32

    I very much enjoy these books. This one takes place during season 5 so you might want to watch all of those episodes before you read this. I liked the way the story would flip between Mary and her mother and father and then to John Winchester and then Sam and Dean. You felt like you got to know them a little. They have to fight the same thing that reappears every 20 years. Very good!

  • Honya
    2019-04-12 02:26

    My experience with media tie-in novels has been extremely patchy, with some being little better than poorly-researched fanfiction (minus the fandom) and others actually being great stories in their own right. I thing Heart of the Dragon is a surprisingly good story . . . if you love the TV series and know what’s going on. And I do have to say, watching the show up to season 5, episode 8, is basically essential to really get much out of this book. But within that context, I was actually really impressed and enjoyed this book quite a lot. I felt like DeCandido got a much better feel for who the characters are than he did in his previous novel Nevermore (which didn’t really impress me). The characters don’t just have a few phrases or stereotypical elements that typify them; they act and talk more like I expect Sam and Dean and the rest to act and talk on-screen. Plus, I thought the plot was interesting. I’ve heard people complaining that there’s just too much going on or that only a small portion of the story actually focused on Sam and Dean. True on both counts, but I enjoyed having a story that spanned from Mary and her parents to John and Bobby to Sam, Dean, and Castiel. Plus, the author did a great job of bringing in authentic period detail in relatively subtle ways to help keep the time jumps distinct. My biggest complaints are probably just me being snobby, honestly; for instance, the author uses “Cass” instead of “Cas” for Castiel’s nickname–he claim’s it’s what’s officially in the scripts, but I’ve never seen that actually used anywhere. Why would you even? But truly, I really enjoyed Heart of the Dragon for both its great characterizations and its interesting plot . . . but mostly for the characters.

  • Laura Summers
    2019-03-29 02:22

    Reviewed for (5 out of 10 on the blog)This is the fourth in a series of spin-off books from the Supernatural TV series. It takes place in the fifth series and is a filler between episodes. The beginning of the book says that the novel takes place after the episode 'Changing Channels' (episode 8 of 22).I'm a huge fan of the TV show, well Dean alone need I say anymore! But like with Buffy before it, one of my previous spooky TV favourites, I've never really been tempted to read any of the spin-off stories. Which left me wondering what I'd been missing.It's worth saying that the author has without a doubt assumed the reader has watched the TV show. However, I haven't read any of the previous three books in the series, and didn't feel feel like I'd missed any of the storyline because of this. For those unfamiliar with the show, it follows two brothers, Sam and Dean, who travel about America slaying demons and evil, supernatural beings.The story is split into three parts. It begins with fallen angel Castiel warning Sam and Dean that the Heart of the Dragon has risen again, then we're quickly transported back forty years to 1969 and the dragon's first rising.The first part of the books tells the story of Sam and Dean's grandparents Samuel and Deanna (yes really) and their mother Mary, a teenager at the time, who are called to China Town to investigate a slew of supernatural murders and end up facing the Heart of the Dragon. The hippie setting of the story is fun, but I found the first part of this book slow. I didn't really engage with Samuel and Deanna that much and if I'm honest I found Mary quite irritating.The second section takes place twenty years later when Sam and Dean are just children and their father John, a man obsessed with revenge. He regularly abandons them as he obsessionally hunts demons and fails to come to terms with his wife's death.It was interesting to get some insight into Sam and Dean's life as children, their strained relationship with their father and the impact this had on them. John is a man consumed with single-minded determination and regularly sacrifices his children's well being to banish both his own and the real life demons. Bobby (another demon hunter and character from the TV series) makes an appearance as the put upon friend and surrogate father to the brothers and I enjoyed seeing this warmer side of him.Then the book takes us up to the present day and the part you've been waiting for - Sam and Dean's section. While Samuel and Deanna and John went up against the Heart of the Dragon, they only succeed in banishing it, and as it rises again forty years it's up to Sam and Dean to complete what their family have been unable to do and destroy it completely.There are some genuinely good bits of the story, particularly the Japanese legend and the young Sam and Dean, but a lot of it was quite slow going.The biggest thing is I felt that the book missed the humour that I love in the TV shows. We all love the relationship between the two brothers and it was very much skimmed over or there was just not enough of it.VERDICT:All in all I would summarise this book as OK. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. The author tried very hard to recreate the setting of this much loved TV show and while he nearly achieved it, I don't think it quite got there either.

  • Tasha
    2019-04-17 05:21

    For this review I'm assuming knowledge of the TV shows - if you've not watched them, there may be spoilers to follow.Forty years ago Samuel and Deanna Campbell along with their daughter, Mary, fought the Heart of the Dragon. They thought they'd defeated it but only banished it for twenty years. On it's return it was John Winchester's hunt. He too could only send it away for the same period of time. Now it's Sam and Dean's turn. Can they succeed where their parents and grandparents couldn't?I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I absolutely love the TV series and I think I'd prepared myself for the book to not be so good, kind of like a defence mechanism so I wouldn't be too disappointed as I usually find the book to screen adaptations and vice versa are often a let down. Honestly, I don't think I would have been disappointed even if I'd been expecting great things from this book!After a chapter at the start about how the Heart of the Dragon came to be, the book is essentially a three-part story, tied together by Sam and Dean's research into the past. The first part is about their grandparents and mother. It was interesting to read about this part of the brother's heritage as it's something that fans of the series don't know all that much about (as neither do the brothers). I'm not going to give too much of it away but I really enjoyed reading about fifteen-year-old Mary hunting with her parents.The second part of the book is a little more familiar with John Winchester taking over the hunt. John knows that the Heart of the Dragon was banished by hunters twenty years previously, he just doesn't know that one of them was his wife. This part of the story is set around six years after Mary's death. John is still learning the ways of a hunter, mostly by trial and error and with a little help fro Bobby Singer. Sam and Dean make an appearance as a six and ten-year-old and as ever it's cute to see their relationship as kids. Dean's thoughts about his Dad provide some emotion as well.The brother's take over the story in the last part of the book. This section is based part way through season five of the TV show, so although it's a stand-alone story in that, it's not necessary to read it for the series to make sense, I was glad to see how well it fitted in nicely with the overall plot. It links to the Apocolypse stuff going on in the show and all of the characters are written in keeping with what we see on TV. The only minor downside is that I couldn't see the pretty or the awesome facial expressions of the actors, lol!When I started this book and first got to the Sam and Dean parts I did feel a little bit like I was reading fanfic, not because of the writing (which is actually really good) but I think just because it was TV characters in text form. I've always found it the same with the Buffy books. There was even a little part with Dean and Castiel which had me half expecting some slashiness. =DOverall it was a really enjoyable read. I read it through pretty much in two reasonably long sessions over two days (and probably would've read it straight through in one sitting had I not needed to sleep!) so it really must have captured me. Itt really is only a book for fans of the TV series though as references are made to things without much explanation behind them. In fact, there's one that I'm still trying to figure out, lol!

  • Tanja
    2019-04-08 23:17

    >>Diese Rezension und viele mehr findet ihr auch hier: Zusammenfassung:In San Francisco rufen eine Reihe seltsamer Mordfälle Castiel auf den Plan. Er schickt Sam und Dean dorthin, weil er hinter der Mordserie das so genannte "Herz des Drachen" vermutet, ein einstiger Samurai, der von einem Dämon gebunden wurde und der nun nur von einem seiner Nachfahren kontrolliert werden kann. Da die Gefahr besteht, dass die Dämonen den "Drachen" im Kampf Himmel gegen Hölle auf ihre Seite bringen könnten, müssen Sam und Dean den Samurai unschädlich machen, könnte er allein doch die epische Schlacht von Gut gegen Böse entscheiden. Auf der Suche nach dem "Drachen" wandeln die Brüder mehr oder weniger unbewusst auf den Pfaden ihrer Eltern und Großeltern, die bereits vor ihnen den Kampf gegen den "Drachen" aufgenommen haben ...Fazit:Als Fan der TV-Serie Supernatural war ich schon ein Weilchen neugierig auf die Bücher zum TV-Format. Zumindest was dieses Buch betrifft, war meine Neugier nicht so ganz gerechtfertigt. Nicht nur, weil mein Interesse an Asien mehr als überschaubar ist und ich mich noch nie so wirklich für Japan oder China begeistern konnte. Nein, auch die Geschichte an sich verlief doch recht schleppend und erinnerte mich zu großen Teilen an eine Fanfiction - also eine Geschichte, geschrieben von einem Fan der Originalserie, der sich die Protagonisten ausgeliehen hat, um sie in eine eigene Geschichte zu packen. Nicht nur der Schreibstil gefiel mir weniger gut als bei so manch "echter" Fanfiction. Auch der Spannungsbogen lief irgendwie auf gar nichts hinaus, wie mir schien.Zudem waren die diversen Zeitsprünge und Sichtwechsel einfach anstrengend. Und auch der Showdown war so gar nicht Supernatural-würdig, kam fast schon ein wenig lächerlich daher in seiner Einfachheit. Alles in allem könnte ich mir fast vorstellen, dass unser Superfan, Becky, aus Supernatural dieses Buch genauso gut hätte schreiben können, so seltsam feminin und Fan-verrückt wirkte auf mich der Schreibstil leider nicht selten. Dennoch für den aufwendigen Story-Aufbau und die gegen Ende doch stark an Supernatural erinnernde Atmosphäre vergebe ich noch wohlwollende ...

  • Lisa
    2019-04-15 03:35

    Having spent the last few days immersing myself in the world of Torchwood novels...reading Heart of The Dragon was like coming home to old friends. There is a such a sense of familiarity in this book and it comes from knowing the world and these characters as though they were real and something tangible you can touch everyday. Keith R.A. DeCandido has been my favorite author for this verse since the first book was published. While there are times that small details may be missed or are wrong? I cannot fault his overall feel and enthusiasm for these characters. Dean and Sam come to life in my head as I read and in Heart of The Dragon, that experience expands out to include Castiel, Bobby, John and the Campbell family too. I found myself really enjoying reading about Mary and her parents hunting as a team. They worked like a well oiled machine, just as you would expect a family of hunters should...and yet, you just knew that this lifestyle was already wearing on Mary. The chapters covering John were excellant too, painting a true image of a man driven to avenge his wife's murder, while feeling the loss of time spent with his boys too. Bobby's impatience and long suffering rang true with me who hasn't felt frustrated at times with family, which is what the Winchesters are to him. And then we have the boys. Facing the Apocalypse, dealing with the aftermath of Lucifer being unleashed on the world...tired and hurting, yet fighting on side by side with Castiel and Bobby's help. It was like watching an episode of the show in this sense and the characters were spot on. I definitely recommend this book and it's going to be one that I'll enjoy reading over and over again. My only regret? Is that it was over so soon....