Big Damn Hero is the first of a new line of original novels featuring the Firefly cast. The book is written by James Lovegrove and based on concepts by Nancy Holder and backed by the creator Joss Whedon.
Firefly was an excellent short-lived series and it is a delight to see it revived here. The book takes place sometime between the end of the series and the film Serenity and so includes all of the cast we know and love.
James does a remarkable job of getting the voice of each of the characters so close to those of the actors. Mentally it was possible to visualise the whole story because of the this although some parts of Janes portrayal didn’t quite ring true and Kaylee barely featured.
The story in itself isn’t ground breaking and would have made a solid episode. It charts Mals past both as a youth and during the war as a Browncoat. Its sees him abducted and put in kangaroo court, whilst the remaining crew must handle some radioactive material, hide River from an alliance cruiser and rescue their captain.
This sounds action packed but the Alliance cruiser whilst initially menacing was too easily solved and sucked all the tension from the plot. Pace wise it didn’t drag although a greater focus on Mal and Book and less on the radioactive sub plot could have been useful.
The novel allows a deeper look at both Mal and Books past. It was fun to see Book in action outside of his ministerial role, likewise Zoe and Inara were given plenty to do. With such a large cast it is not always possible to all shine and so I expect future books to feature them more. And more books there are, a second by James Lovegrove is due in March called, Magnificent Nine.
Lovegrove, known perhaps more for his Sherlock Holmes and Cthulhu books is a solid author and produces an above par novel, my experience of series tie in novels is not great, they rarely get the tone right, the characters are usually poorly portrayed and there are usually too many continuity errors, this book suffers from none of this and really evokes the western steam punk style of the show.
I look forward to reading more in the series.