2 Nov 2014

Review - The Road by Simon Guerrier

Title: Being Human: The Road

Author: Simon Guerrier

Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis: Annie has learned quite a bit about her new friend Gemma: she’s from Bristol, she used to work in a pharmacy, and she’s never forgiven herself for the suicide of her teenage son. She also died 10 years ago and doesn’t know why she’s come back through that door. Perhaps it has something to do with the new road they’re building through the rundown part of town. The plans are sparking protests, and Annie knows those derelict houses hold a secret in Gemma’s past. Will stopping the demolition help Gemma be at peace again? Annie, George, and Mitchell get involved in the road protest, but they are more concerned by mysterious deaths at the hospital—deaths that have also attracted the attention of the new Hospital Administrator

My thoughts:
I just finished the fourth season of Being Human the other week and I’m already missing Annie, George and Mitchell, so it was no question I purchase this book. I had various experiences with spin-off novels before (I’ve read Doctor Who and Torchwood books) therefore more or less I knew what to expect when I picked up The Road. I have read good books of this sort, but I’m also aware they are never really perfect as a whole somehow. They have parts that I enjoy and then parts that are disappointing and at times a stupid plot or some bad characterization puts me off these novels for a while.

Luckily I didn’t find anything ‘that bad’ about The Road. The story starts with a domestic scene that is way too adorable for words (it creates the first season’s atmosphere, which is my favourite of all): Annie’s making the boys breakfast, Mitchell is all giggly, George is worried about being late for work… Soon the boys are off to the hospital and the story begins. 

The book introduces a new character, Gemma, who is a ghost herself and, for some reason or another, comes back from the other side through a door that leads to Annie’s living room. The housemates immediately assume she has an unfinished business and when they slowly find out little details about Gemma’s life, they realize her business has something to do with the new road, which is just about to be built on the other side of Bristol. Meanwhile in the hospital everyone is afraid of finding themselves out of their jobs, as the new administrator monitors every staff member closely and so George and, especially, Mitchell is struggling to keep a low profile while digging out information about certain patients (to solve Gemma’s mystery). 

The story flows well enough to keep a fan intrigued and, the most important thing, Simon Guerrier has a very good grasp on the characters. There are some ghostly ghosts in the story – translucent, gleaming ones–, which is also a plus (frankly, they are spookier than an Annie-like ghost). Throughout the novel, in the hospital everyone seems to think that George is gay for Mitchell & vice versa – I found this hilarious. By the way, Annie has a closer relationship with George than she has with Mitchell here, so George/Annie shippers, there’s a treat for you!

The book is not flawless though. At some points the writer forgot he was writing mainly for fans and put down obvious information that those who watched the show regularly would know – like that Annie makes tea all the time even though she doesn’t drink it – and this can be annoying after a while. Also, the physical description of the characters in the beginning is not quite accurate (George is not taller than Mitchell)… Oh, and I know Mitchell smokes a lot, but I don’t see him as a chain-smoker, while Guerrier apparently does.

All in all I liked the story very much and I’ll definitely check out Chasers, which is the second book in the series.

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