Sunday, February 07, 2010

Being Human: The Road – review

Author: Simon Guerrier

First Published: 2010

Contains spoilers

The blurb: 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 ten years ago and doesn’t know why she came back through the door…

Perhaps it has something to do with the new road they’re building through a rundown part of town. The plans are sparking protests, and Annie knows those derelict houses hold a secret to 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’re more concerned by mysterious deaths at the hospital. Deaths that have also attracted the attention of the new hospital administrator…

The review: Never has a blurb nearly got the details right and yet got them so wrong as in this case – though I don’t intend to correct the niggling errors in this review.

This is the first of the Being Human books and, for those who have not seen any of the currently airing (as this review was written) Season 2… look away if you don’t want spoilers…

The book falls awkwardly between episode 2 and 3 (from memory). Annie has become less solid again after her first brush with the door and the men with sticks and ropes trying to get her back in. Nina has left George, but he is still a porter and Mitchell has not yet unwittingly gained control of the Bristol vampires.

The book does feature all three characters but the story is ghost based and centres on Annie. We did get one aspect re Mitchell I was unhappy with, the book suggesting that he regularly stole blood packs from the hospital in order to fend off the craving. We saw him do this in the pilot and he stole blood in season 1 once, for Lauren. We have never seen him steal blood, through season 1 and 2, for himself and the inference (in series) is that he is completely off blood in any form. (In Being Human blood packs are ‘dead blood’ for vampires and taste wrong, offering no sustenance). Further the book confirms that Mitchell does not show on CCTV, which blows the only doesn't reflect/appear on silver backed surfaces and film based photography discussed at the end of season 1.

Story and writing wise… it was okay… but… there is a series of comedic misunderstandings that I could almost imagine working in series but just failed to make me titter in prose (possibly it missed the actors’ delivery) and whilst the concept of the story is rather dark the atmosphere generated in prose fails to meet the deeply dark tone of season 2. It was also a very light read, talking only a few hours to demolish. There was, however, one line within that really underlined, in an unusual way, the vampiric condition: “Being a vampire didn’t mean living for ever, it meant retaining independence.”

Fans, I am sure, will want to read this to get their George, Mitchell and Annie fix and I have read worse tie ins. 4.5 out of 10.

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