Supernatural Book Review: “One Year Gone” by Rebecca Dessertine (Excerpt Included)

Supernatural One Year Gone ReviewSupernatural is one of those shows where additional materials – tie-in novels, comic books, etc – make sense. It’s essentially a universe with such a huge mythology that allows the creation of stand-alone stories in media like novels. Titan Books has been releasing novels and season guides over a number of years. The most recent one – released today – is called ‘One Year Gone’, and was authored by Rebecca Dessertine. Rebecca’s intimately involved in the world of Supernatural. She’s been the assistant of the show’s creator, Eric Kripke, for nearly four years.

‘One Year Gone’focuses on those early few months while Dean was living with Ben and Lisa between seasons 5 and 6, as well as Sam after first getting out of Hell. The book, while not purporting to be canon, is likely as close to canon as we’ll ever see to explain that missing time period.

Dean is living in the guest room at Lisa and Ben’s house when the story opens. He’s suffering from horrible nightmares about his brother, who he still believes is stuck in Lucifer’s cage. The guilt is overwhelming to him, which means he’s not spending a lot of his time playing family man. But he soon gets an idea – what if he can use the Necronomicon to help raise Lucifer (and subsequently Sam) from Hell? He packs up Lisa and Ben for a trip to Salem, hoping to find a witch and an authentic Necronomicon to help him. While there, he stumbles across a witch problem that first plagued his Campbell ancestors hundreds of years ago.

Sam, meanwhile, is currently working with Samuel and his Campbell cousins. Samuel says they need to head to Salem to stop witches from making more monsters (although, things are not necessarily as they seem!). The two of them soon become aware that they’re treading on dangerous ground, being in the same city as Dean at the same time.

Meanwhile, we’re also treated to a secondary story involving Nathaniel Campbell and his sons – Thomas and Caleb – who lived in Salem in the late 1600s and suddenly have to deal with a rise of witches.

Having read all of the Supernatural tie-in novels, I can say, without a doubt, that this was my favorite. Of all the authors, Rebecca seems to have the best handle on the characters’personalities. The story didn’t feel like it was trying to force Sam and Dean into a one-off situation just to tell the story of Nathaniel Campbell and the witches. A lot of characters from the Supernatural universe appear throughout the novel and it feels true to what we know about them. Dean’s despair over the loss of his brother manifests itself throughout the book, as does Sam’s ambivalence since he no longer has a soul.

It also helps to fill in some holes that the series didn’t. We read about Sam first waking up in the cemetery after being pulled out of Hell, as well as his first meeting with Samuel. While Rebecca told me during an interview (read it here) that the book is meant to be a stand-alone story that can be rejected by readers if they don’t like how it fits in with canon, I have no problem accepting how she described the missing year. Her story makes sense in the broader context of the Supernatural universe and was not only true to the characters and their personalities, but also true to the overall mythology.

In other words, Rebecca has written a terrific book that may help take away some of the sting you’re feeling now that Supernatural is on hiatus for the summer. If you’re a Supernatural fan, I think you’ll enjoy ‘One Year Gone’.

On the next page we’ve included an excerpt from the book: an early chapter where Dean first gets the idea to go searching for the Necronomicon.

Continued on next page…

clarissa @

  • kelios

    No offense to Rebecca Dessertine, but the premise sounds awful.  Dean just randomly decides to go after the Necronomicon? He's never even heard of Lovecraft! And the Salem witches creating monsters? Seriously? Maybe if the baddies were another Lovecraft tie in but as it is….I might enjoy the Campbell history, but I just don't think the rest of it makes sense or sounds like good story telling.

    It doesn't help that so many of the Supernatural novels (everything by De Candido, for instance) have been so wretchedly awful.  As much as I usually want to support the show, I've learned my lesson: I'm going to have to pass on this one.

    • Clarissa

      Well, I didn't want to spoil anything, but just because Samuel SAYS Salem witches are creating monsters doesn't actually mean they ARE (or even that he's necessarily telling the truth).

      Also, the book is not necessarily supposed to be canon. So, yes, Dean said he didn't know who Lovecraft was in ep. 6.21, and that threw me a bit, but it's not necessarily the Lovecraft connection that is important.  The rest of what happens in the book fits in with what we know about the characters and the circumstances.

    • Dee

      I tried to read one and I just couldn't.  No offense but please leave it at the show.  It's one thing for a book to turn into a show but not vice versa, just doesn't work IMO.

      • timotey

        Honestly, if you don't like the idea of tie-in novels, you obviously won't like a tie-in novel when you read it – that's like watching a soap opera when you don't like soap operas in the first place. Tie-ins are for fans of a show – and of tie-ins, that's a "special breed" of fans, if I can say so.

        I gobble tie-ins to all shows I like: Stargate, Star Trek, Star Wars, Eureka, Psych, Supernatural etc. and so on. So I'll be definitely buying this book. Thank you for the wonderful review :)

  • MJ

    First, obviously when the book was written, the script for 6.22 was not, so the whole "Dean doesn't know who Lovecraft is" criticism is unfair to the writer.

    Second, if you want to take the book as canon, here's what you can do: assume Dean lied. Not the first time Dean lied and I can definitely see him stearing away from the subject so that Sam doesn't discover that he considered raising Lucifer from the cage. Knowing Sam, he'd be pissed.

    I liked these few paragraphs and I'll be sure to get a copy to check it out properly.

    • Clarissa

      Excellent point, MJ!  The manuscript obviously went in before the episode aired (or probably even finalized).  And like I mentioned above, him knowing/not knowing about Lovecraft actually doesn't impact the overall story of the book all that much.

  • SueP

    I'm looking forward to reading this! I've read all the others and am certainly curious about the year they jumped. Dean clearly stated he didn't just give up trying to find a way to save Sam and this seems like a reasonable idea he would come up with. As for the H.P. Lovecraft thing, I kind of assumed Dean knew who he was even tho he denied it. He's a hunter. He's done research his whole life. The name had to have popped up once or twice. Like MJ, I just figured there was a reason he denied it and an attempt to break hi promise and save Sam seems like a pretty 'dean-like' reason to lie. Can't wait for my copy (I pre-ordered it months ago!) to arrive!

  • Ruth

    Well, I just finished it and it was great! Really great! I think it fits in nicely with the series and explains part of that missing year. The situations depicted in the book are ones that totally fit with Dean and Sam and others. It was interesting to find out about how the Campbell's through a journal that Dean locates. It help to flesh out some of their family history. I also got a better understanding of Samuel and his motivations which I felt weren't explored properly on the show. I've always felt this was due to time constraints. I found the book well paced and very easy reading. Great job, Rebecca Dessertine!

  • Sphero

    I think I will read before I critique. I am keeping an open mind understand the tie-in is not absolute. I look more for craft and voice than I do whether we're talking canon or not.

  • Manto

    Hi! I just popped in to say that I think Kripke made a huge mistake in having Dean not knowing who Lovecraft is. One of his favourite bands is Metallica for pete's sake!! The only reason I first heard of Lovecraft was because I listened to Metallica's Call Of Ktulu. So I think the writer was right in having Dean knowing who Lovecraft is. But this is a problem I always had with the show. Just because Sam went to college and had good grades doesn't necessarily mean he's read every book while Dean only magazines. It is a very narrow and false premise.

Premiere Of Disney's "Muppets Most Wanted" - Red Carpet
The 15 Highest Per Episode Paid TV Actors of All Time
Premiere of Magnolia Pictures' "World's Greatest Dad" - Arrivals
The Most Famous Guest Stars to Ever Appear on Friends
TV Shows Set in All 50 States Part Three: From Dawson’s Creek to Longmire
TV News
Superbowl Halftime Show: Live Coverage
"The Master" Premiere - The 69th Venice Film Festival
12 Things You Never Knew about Philip Seymour Hoffman
'Andrew Lincoln and Robert Kirkman Attend 'The Walking Dead' Premiere in Madrid
12 Things You Didn’t Know About Andrew Lincoln
Seven Celebrities With Strange Physical Flaws
20th Annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert - Press Conference
12 Things You Didn’t Know about Claire Danes
Coach Finstock
Coach Bobby Finstock from Teen Wolf Gives the Best Advice Ever
Time to Kill
10 Incredibly Powerful Movies That Center Around Racism
A List of Movies with Numbers in the Title, From 1 to 25
Potter Fan
Harry Potter in Japan: Harry’s Biggest and Craziest Fan in History
Seven Live Performances By U2 That Absolutely Rocked
fall on stage
It Happens to Everyone: When Famous Musicians Fall on Stage
Lady Pank
Obscure 80s Music Videos That Are Extremely 80s
The Clash
International Clash Day: Seattle Honors London Band with Holiday
Ever Wonder Why Peyton Manning Says Omaha All The Time?
Don’t Forget to Watch The NFL Honors 2016 Show
Josh Norman
When Is the Official Super Bowl Kick Off of 2016?
Weiner Stampede
Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials 2016: Heinz “Wiener Stampede” Gets Our Vote

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.