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Redemption Road

Redemption Road - Various 55 hours.

That’s how long it took me to experience this 650,000 word Supernatural fanfiction. Fifty-five hours filled with so much heartache, pain, happiness and hope.

This story takes place right after season six in the series and only fans who have watched up to this point can understand and appreciate Redemption Road for what it is. This is a large fan-based project that involves more than one writer, with each chapter labeled an “episode” in sentiment to that of a virtual season 7.

I’m not really a fan of fanfiction that is canon/takes place in the same world as depicted in its original production. However, Redemption Road (RR) does a great job creating characters that are consistent with what fans are familiar with. The story is told mostly between Castiel, Dean and Sam. Other secondary characters, notably Bobby, also have a small slice of POV throughout the story. My original concern before starting this project was the use of multiple authors and the possibility of creating fragmented writing. For the most part, the writing IS consistent, with the occasional episodes/chapters (e.g. Journey to the West) where the characters felt a little off from normal. Since this happened infrequently for the number of authors involved, I found myself thoroughly impressed.

While the actual conflict and plot for the story was very complicating, the execution of it did feel flat at times. The use of certain cliché (i.e. everyone but the good guys knew what was going on) and pacing prevented me from really enjoying it. So pretty much, it’s what one would experience watching a normal television season, where nothing really makes sense until the end. There are a lot of details throughout the beginning and middle that I easily forgotten, but was interesting to see the importance it played later on. And I was very shocked with the direction that the story took towards the end. For that, I will definitely applaud the authors!

But despite the care taken to creating such an encompassing plot, I felt RR is still a character-driven story. This is what pushed RR from an “okay” read to an amazing one. I loved how it didn’t make light of the issues regarding PTSD, that the things the Winchester brothers have gone through are not things that can be magically fixed. Nothing is ever completely right with these boys, and the weight of regret pushes redemption and salvation beyond reach.

The story reminds us of that.

And it’s not just the Winchesters, but Castiel as well. And despite the weight of regret and unattainable redemption, we see whether love can become the salvation needed for these broken characters. The love between brothers, of family, between best friends, and that of lovers.
So while the storyline was okay, it was really the characters that pulled me in and didn’t let go. In fact, some of my favorite scenes are in the “DVD extras” where the interactions are more domesticated (don’t skip these parts, they are vital to some of the things that happen later on!). Be patient with this story – there will be episodes/chapters where you’ll be bored, but there will also be ones that have you laughing, crying, and on the edge of your seats as well. And when you’re done with the epilogue, you’ll wonder how exactly things could have EVER been different in the television series. (I’ll probably watch season 9 and wonder why Dean and Cas aren’t a couple, and REMEMBER that the pairing isn’t canon. Ugh.)

Rating: 4.5 stars
There is also a link here to download the whole story as one document as opposed to separate episodes.