Summary: Announcing the release of the twenty-fifth book in the Supernatural Romance series by Carver Edlund.
You and Me is the twenty-fifth book in the Supernatural Romance series, which began as a spin-off of a dark fantasy franchise by the same author (sold as The Winchester Gospel here in Canada). Supernatural Romance focuses on the love story of Dean Winchester, monster hunter, and the rebel angel, Castiel.
At the end of the last book, Dean Winchester and his brother Sam had decided to go their separate ways, having disagreed about how best to fight the Apocalypse. Feeling lonely, Dean forgoes his usual habit of picking up one-night-stands, and instead focuses on his friendship with Castiel, the falling angel who rescued him from Hell.
Working together in an attempt to gain tactical information about the Apocalypse, Dean and Castiel set a trap for the Archangel Raphael. However, when Dean realises that Castiel is likely to die at Raphael's hands, he swears that his angel will not die a virgin. Thus begins an epic night of romantic adventuring, which is interrupted not once, but twice. First, by Raphael arriving sooner than expected, just as Dean is about to make good on his promise, and then by Castiel going into supernatural labour and birthing the soul baby that he and Dean inadvertently conceived when Dean's soul and Castiel's grace merged during their escape from Hell.
Hunted by enemies on all sides, they decide to hide the soul baby -- who doesn't yet have a corporeal form -- in Dean's dreams, warded against Archangels and Demons with Enochian magic.
As for Castiel's virginity, much to the disappointment of all, the angel's virtue remains intact, at least until book #26.
The romantic relationship in You and Me is sweet and nuanced, as we have come to expect from this well-written series. Castiel, in particular, is a dreamboat, and it's easy to see why Dean has been slowly falling for him since the start of the series. Here we finally see him really embracing it for the first time, almost done with the gay freak-out of the last three books, although there are a few moments when it returns to complicate matters. His love rings so true -- and not in the overwrought way of many so-called romance novels -- that the idea of Castiel dying is really heartbreaking, and I couldn't help but feel for Dean, especially when this love is so newly found, and he's lost so much already.
For a romance, You and Me has a lot of action and conflict, which is par for the course in this series. Some people criticise Edlund for moving the romance forward too slowly (with some credence: twenty-five books and Dean and Castiel have barely kissed yet!), due to the focus on the supernatural plot elements. I disagree. The romance feels more real, and more touching, because it is hard-won, and because the characters have lives outside of each other. In my opinion, this is some of the best writing Carver Edlund has done -- it's light years beyond the original dark fantasy franchise, to the extent I almost wonder if the Supernatural Romance spin-off series is ghost written. There is nothing at all formulaic about this novel: the love story is riveting, and there's still enough magic, adventure and supernatural creatures to keep the plot racing along.
I highly recommend You and Me. It's definitely in the top ten of romances I've read this year.
The score: 9.5/10
~Love's Arrow, May 2013
The Water Cooler, part 1
"Have you...?" demanded Hadraniel, wings twitching with anticipation.
Sariel nodded, eyes wide. "I finished it just before we were called to battle!"
Hadraniel clutched her arm. "Can you even believe it? Dean took him to a den of iniquity!"
"I know!" Sariel happily clutched back. "And when that didn't work, Dean was going to keep his promise himself! They were just about to have sex! Real, actual sex!"
"About time, too," Hadraniel said. "It's been twenty-five books of eye-sex and dream-sex and soul-grace bonding! Time for some action, if you know what I mean."
"Castiel could use some hard-core loving; might loosen him up a bit." Sariel frowned. "If only Raphael hadn't interrupted them."
"Fucking Raphael always spoils everything."
"I can't believe Castiel called him his little bitch!"
They both snickered over the mental image of Castiel trash-talking an Archangel.
"So," Sariel said, giving Hadraniel a meaningful look, "how long do you think Castiel can hide their soul baby in Dean's dreams?"
"I don't know," Hadraniel said. "I just wish they'd have sex already so that the poor thing can finally incarnate into an actual body."
"Yes. And also," Sariel said yearningly, "if they have sex we get to read more about Dean's penis."
"Totally," Hadraniel agreed with a heartfelt sigh.
The Confusion of Fantasy and Reality
"Dean," Sam said, ambushing him as soon as he rolled out of bed, before he'd even managed to get his first coffee of the day. "You know you can tell me anything, right?"
Dean paused mid belly-scratch and stared at him. "Jesus Christ, Sammy. Give it a rest. There's no such thing as soul babies!"
Sam gave him the puppy-dog eyes. "Dean."
"Sam," Dean growled.
"Why would Chuck lie about it?" Sam said, as though this logic was unassailable.
Dean rolled his eyes. "Because he's a hack with no sense of ethics. And don't say he's sending us a share of the royalties -- I don't even care. If he hadn't moved to Canada, I'd break his kneecaps. Freaking soul babies."
"No. Such. Thing."
Sam crossed his arms. "Fine. If you say so." His bitchface was epic in its eloquence: It's not like I'm invested in the idea of being an uncle or anything, Dean. I just wanted to know the truth.
"How is this my life?" Dean asked the ceiling, before heading off to the bathroom, and pointedly slamming the door behind him.
Title: A Father's Love
Characters: Dean and the Soul Baby
Notes: OMG. Mpreg is canon! This is my take on the kitchen inside Dean's head -- it even has the window that Cas likes to look out of when he's sad. Thanks to cascade_o_lovecascade_o_love for audiencing.
The Water Cooler, part 2
"We should try to find Dean Winchester. If we have the soul baby, we'll have an immense advantage over Castiel," Nathanael argued.
Omael shook her head. "We can't take a baby hostage, Nathanael. It's going too far. The last time we started down the road of hunting Nephilim, Gabriel ended up lost to us. We shouldn't go anywhere near that path again."
"We could take the child without harming it," Lamechial said. "And Nathanael is right, it will give us the tactical advantage we sorely need. Too many of our brothers and sisters have already died in this war."
Appearing suddenly in their midst, Raphael roared, "Stop being so ridiculous! For the last time, there is no such thing as soul babies!"
Nathanael, Omael and Lamechial all stared at him. Then Omael reached out and stroked his wing.
"We have not forgotten the loss of your own fledgling," she said, soothingly. "This is not the same thing at all."
Pulling his wing free, Raphael said, "It's like I'm talking to Humans. You refuse to listen to sense. Those unholy books have rotted your minds."
"Brother!" Lamechial protested. "They are the word of the prophet."
"The word of the profit, perhaps." Raphael sneered. "Whoever is composing this apocrypha is a superior talent to the prophet in every respect, except for authenticity. Their styles aren't even the same!"
"The prophet's writing style has matured," Nathanael agreed.
"Especially the erotic scenes," Omael said, her faces somewhat aglow.
"Dean's penis is rather evocatively described, isn't it?" Lamechial said, also rather lucent.
"I despair, I really do," Raphael snapped, and with a flap of the wings disappeared as abruptly as he'd arrived.
Lamechial shook his head. "He's really not over Castiel calling him his little bitch, is he?"
A Word From the Author
"That freaking soul baby," Dean snarled at Castiel the moment he appeared in the motel room. "I told you it was a bad idea!"
"You did," Castiel said sympathetically. "Is Sam still giving you trouble?"
"Understatement. It's bitchy McBitch morning, noon and night. Even Bobby's giving me hurt looks about it now. It's like his biological clock has ticked right over to Grandpa. What the hell am I supposed to tell him?"
"I'm sorry, Dean. I know this situation has been difficult for you."
"I hear a giant 'but' in there somewhere."
"But," said Castiel, mouth quirking up slightly, "our misinformation strategy is working. I have overheard nine different conversations since I last saw you, in which angels loyal to Raphael have been debating the pros and cons of trying to kidnap the child. It has them distracted and divided."
Dean sighed. "Fine. I guess I can live with the fucking soul baby for another book or two. But!" He pointed at Castiel. "Only for as long as it's giving you a strategic advantage. I still reserve the right to give it a dramatic and tragic death before the series ends."
"Speaking of which," Castiel said, and lay his hand on Dean's computer, causing it to thrum softly for a moment. "We are a book closer to that goal. I've completed most of the next draft. It just needs your magic touch."
"So everyone isn't speaking like they have a stick up their ass."
"As you say," Castiel agreed, without taking offence.
"You'd better have put in the orgy scene with hippy future you."
"Of course. And you save me from myself with your magical healing penis, just as we agreed."
"Don't say penis. Not sexy, dude." Dean narrowed his eyes thoughtfully. "You know, I think I'm going to declare my undying love, while holding future you's dying body in my arms."
"That's very romantic, Dean."
"I know, right?" Dean reached out and slung his arm over Castiel's shoulders. "Come on, buddy, let's go get a beer. All this imaginary gay romance makes a man thirsty."
"I have a little time before I must go back," Castiel agreed. As they walked out the door he added, brow furrowed in puzzlement, "Dean? Why isn't 'penis' sexy?"
This entry was originally posted at http://cupidsbow.dreamwidth.org/363732.html.