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am 19. Februar 2014
The horrible murder of a Drangzorn leads Nick and Hank to a criminal organization, called The Icy Touch. The members are Wesen, and the are threaten other Wesen into the organization. If you won't work for them, you will die a horrible death. While both detectives trying to figure out, how to deal with it, the next victim is hit hard into Monroe's private space, dragging the Blutbad into the investigation and into fatal danger.
But what no one knows is that there's something else going on - something that could cost Nick's life ...
Tie-In novels have a problem: authors have to know the canon of whatever they are writing for. Some tie-in novels are as good as the show or movie they are based of, some led the TPTB into changing their canon just to still be able to disregard the existence of said novel(s). Some of them ...
It's hard to review a novel, which is published as a tie-in but has nothing to do with the original, okay, beside the used character- and Wesen-names. How to spell it out to say, the novel is mostly good written base-work when it's obviously that this novel is not transporting the glimpse of what it was supposed to be about? Over here in Germany, we have a saying for those, in best good-old-school-teacher's behaviour: "6! Setzen!" (F! sit down!).
One of my first short-stories had the same problem, it was, according to my teacher, good written, but it had nothing to do with I was supposed to write about. But, I have to admit, I did this story on perpose, I was bored with the topic we had to write about and wrote down said story instead. For John Shirley I pretty much doubt that he was bored with the background he was supposed to write about. His story tells another story. He enjoyed writing pretty much. Unfortunately he enjoyed it too much and lost control about what he wrote, and he never really got, what Grimm is about.
What is Grimm about? It is about Nick, the Grimm and Cop, the young homicide detective in Portland, who's one of the last descendants of a long line of Grimms, warriors with the ability to see Wesen. Wesen, so we learned during the Pilot, are monsters hidden within the human form. And the old lore and fairytales are warnings not to cross their path innocently. Wesen also have a code, not to show themselves to the humans (or barely).
Sounds simple so far, huh? Well, I thought so too - before I read The Icy Touch.
The novel is readable, no question about that. But it's not Grimm. The characters carry the names of the characters, but you never see them. They are not like they are on the show, you barely able to recognize Portland,, btw. And the Wesen ... well, John Shirley obviously did some base-work, my guess is, he got some material from NBC including episde-guides, but he never watched even one episode. iI's the only way to explain what happened here. Because he didn't get how the whole Wesen-story is working, how the different Wesen-species are, what they are doing and what not.
His baddy is a Hundjaeger, and this guy is also the leader of The Icy Touch. No problem so far. But, here it gets a little tricky, he hates the Royals, is on his own and will establish a, please read out loud, New World Order! What do we know about Hundjaeger? They are mostly working FOR the Royals (in fact, we only saw Hundjaeger who are working for the Verrat, aka the Royals so far. Maybe there are others out there). They are VERY (big time here!) oldfashioned and they are doing EVERYTHING to re-install the Royals as rulers of the world. They are NOT thinking out of the box, my personal guess, if a Hundjaeger would do so, he or she would get killed by his or her family-members.
Another example: Daemonfeuer. What do we know about Daemonfeuer? They are a little nuts - okay, they are crazy. They are addicted to everything shiny, especially copper. They are hiding their treasures in their very own kind of lair. And, yes, they can breathe fire, of course, Mr. Shirley, they can. But they can't breath fire the way it is told during the novel. They are not simply breathing fire, they first have to vaporize their own fat and spit it out with coughing. So, you have a few seconds before you are ending as a barbeque ;). What does that coldblooded Daemonfeuer-killer do during the novel? He simply breathes fire. Oookay, that wasn't exactly what they do.
Another example (oh yes, I could write a book about this novel) is the Koenigsschlange. I get that there's a high chance that Koenigsschlangen are able to produce vernom. We never saw it on screen, that guy never got the chance to bite or spit anything. But what we know is that a Koenigsschlange is most likely the most effective tracker of the Wesen-world. To reduce them into stupid killers ... not working for me.
Unfortunately I also have to say, the main characters aren't working. either. Monroe only has the same name than he has on the show. Rosalee suddenly becomes a cowardish barbie, Juliette is, IF there what she barely is, absolutely terrible, Hank is complaining all the time. And Nick ... Nick suddenly and out of the blue knows things he doesn't know on the show. Out of the sudden he's full aware of knowing and controlling his Grimm-side. No struggle anymore, no regrets - and also his humor went down the sink. Instead he's completely open to Renard, heck, Renard KNOWS about Kelly!, he's still hiding his Grimm-site for Juliette (who's then complaining again about him hiding things for her - oh, what a deja vu!). It was irritating that Nick and Hank suddenly were wearing suits at work, but I could live with that, if the rest would have been okay.
One question on this way: could it be that Howie was Bud? If so ... it was another terrible transition.
So, what to say about this novel? I would like to give Titan and NBC the good advice to go into the fandom. There are pretty great fanfic-writers out there they could hire. Never going to happen, I know. Unless another group of writers will unite, fund a small company and trying to get the rights from NBC I fear The Icy Touch won't be the last not working Tie-Ins for this show. As creative as the comics are, the first novel is the complete opposite.
And this leads us back to the saying: F, sit down! No meaning, The Icy Touch is read- and enjoyable. But it isn't Grimm, it's not even close to Grimm. If you like supernatural crime-novels, you can like it. But don't expect to find anything really Grimm in this book - unfortunately! John Shirley followed his own idea too much, and was never on the track at all.