Top critical review
A Promising Start, A Disappointing Finish
Reviewed in the United States on June 17, 2017
One part Warehouse 13 and one part Supernatural, Bookburners is one extremely long wild ride in pursuit of books and artifacts bent on destroying the planet. This novel was originally publish in serial format and Saga Press compiled Season 1 into a single book for better or worse.
At the start, Bookburners shined. Episode 1 drew me in with the known (a cop trying to rescue her brother) and the unknown (a secret Vatican agency hunting demons). Each installment or episode was another adventure. Each story was contained with a few short chapters with a bit of backstory about each team member slowly leaked out creating a cohesive story. Sure some of the stories were stronger than others (the story in Scotland about Ashanti’s mentor was a bit of a mess), but I enjoyed them like a binge reading fool. It also helped that there was a bit of dark humor and religious philosophy to keep the mind thinking and mulling over deeper elements hidden between the lines.
But in the end, Bookburners is just too long. It clocks in at over 800 pages, now I’m not afraid of big books, especially since my goal every year is to read 20,000 pages. Right around episode 10, the mood and focus of the book changes. With few hints that the big baddie from episode 1 has returned, suddenly Bookburners wants to become a cohesive novel with a single overarching storyline. By about episode 13, I repeatedly checked my percent progress through the book because the elements I loved about the first 9 episodes were gone.
If Bookburners had remained truly episodic and maintained its lighthearted dark humor nature through all 16 episodes, I would be more likely to explore this serial further. As it stands now, I can’t honestly recommend all 16 episodes of season 1 because of the poor connection between episode 1 and the later episodes in the serial. The attempt to create a novel out of serialization failed in Bookburners and left me upset the tone and direction of that the story changed so dramatically between page one and page 800.