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Blog Critics Review Rebirth

bc_rebirthThe Pretender may be best known (or remembered) for its four-season run on NBC from 1996-2000. The directors, Steven Long Mitchell and Craig W. Van Sickle, have updated the story of our pretender Jarod, played by Michael T. Weiss, and have released the first novel carrying on this tale of pretenders living among us. Now, it is my understanding that this is not so much a continuation but a new look at a story that millions of fans loved in the TV series. Jarod is our pretender, a brilliant protagonist with the ability to transform himself into any role or person that he wants. Jarod was taken from his parents in 1983 and raised in a think tank at The Centre, a mysterious company that has used Jarod’s abilities for their evil doings. Among other lies and deception, Jarod believed that his parents were dead and when he finds out more details surrounding The Centre, he manages to escape on a mission to find out who he really is and who his parents are. With this newly found freedom, Jarod discovers the simple joys of life, like ice cream and candy, things he was denied at The Centre growing up. Personally, I do not remember this TV sh ow. It is very possible I watched it, but I just can’t recall for sure. What I can say is that from the very first page, I was sucked in and could not put this book down until I was done. The authors have written this book so that every scene is perfectly laid out and it could play in my mind as if I was watching this on TV. There are several key characters in The Pretender – Rebirth, and all are very well developed. Those who may have watched this show on TV years ago will be familiar with the characters, and those who are being introduced for the first time are sure to be fully satisfied. I am more than excited to get my hands on book two, which is not yet available. I have no idea how many books are planned for this series, but I hope there are more than three. I did see some reviews from fans of the TV series who did not like this “rebirth” take on The Pretender. Sometimes people don’t like change. I guess I have the same feelings about Batman. I just cannot accept anyone else but Michael Keaton as Batman. It just isn’t right. I haven’t watched any of the new movies because of my association with Keaton playing the role. Seems like some old school Pretender fans are in that same boat. I think it could really be a hit or miss with the old school fan base, but readers like me — who don’t have any pre-set expectations already established — might just be blown away like I was. Emmy Nominees Steven Long Mitchell and Craig W. Van Sickle have outdone themselves with The Pretender – Rebirth, and I absolutely loved it. 5 stars!     Original review can be found here.

Book-Review-‘The-Pretender-–-Rebirth’-by-Steven-Long-Mitchell-and-Craig-W.-Van-Sickle-Blogcritics

 

Seattle PI Review Rebirth

Book Review: ‘The Pretender – Rebirth’ by Steven Long Mitchell and Craig W. Van Sickle

bc_rebirthThe Pretender may be best known (or remembered) for its four-season run on NBC from 1996-2000. The directors, Steven Long Mitchell and Craig W. Van Sickle, have updated the story of our pretender Jarod, played by Michael T. Weiss, and have released the first novel carrying on this tale of pretenders living among us. Now, it is my understanding that this is not so much a continuation but a new look at a story that millions of fans loved in the TV series. Jarod is our pretender, a brilliant protagonist with the ability to transform himself into any role or person that he wants. Jarod was taken from his parents in 1983 and raised in a think tank at The Centre, a mysterious company that has used Jarod’s abilities for their evil doings. Among other lies and deception, Jarod believed that his parents were dead and when he finds out more details surrounding The Centre, he manages to escape on a mission to find out who he really is and who his parents are. With this newly found freedom, Jarod discovers the simple joys of life, like ice cream and candy, things he was denied at The Centre growing up. Personally, I do not remember this TV sh ow. It is very possible I watched it, but I just can’t recall for sure. What I can say is that from the very first page, I was sucked in and could not put this book down until I was done. The authors have written this book so that every scene is perfectly laid out and it could play in my mind as if I was watching this on TV. There are several key characters in The Pretender – Rebirth, and all are very well developed. Those who may have watched this show on TV years ago will be familiar with the characters, and those who are being introduced for the first time are sure to be fully satisfied. I am more than excited to get my hands on book two, which is not yet available. I have no idea how many books are planned for this series, but I hope there are more than three. I did see some reviews from fans of the TV series who did not like this “rebirth” take on The Pretender. Sometimes people don’t like change. I guess I have the same feelings about Batman. I just cannot accept anyone else but Michael Keaton as Batman. It just isn’t right. I haven’t watched any of the new movies because of my association with Keaton playing the role. Seems like some old school Pretender fans are in that same boat. I think it could really be a hit or miss with the old school fan base, but readers like me — who don’t have any pre-set expectations already established — might just be blown away like I was. Emmy Nominees Steven Long Mitchell and Craig W. Van Sickle have outdone themselves with The Pretender – Rebirth, and I absolutely loved it. 5 stars!     Original review can be found here.

review_seattlepi


Saving Luke: 2nd Fan Review

review

And today’s fan review is from…

RMESPARZA – CALIFORNIA:

Saving Luke is an intellectual adventure true to the core dynamics of the TV series complete with twists and turns, as well as ANSWERS and new questions that will satisfy old and news fans alike!

Saving Luke is ten times as good as Rebirth and I loved Rebirth!  The story is a thrill ride, the Pretends incredible, the revelations about the characters – especially Miss Parker – are fantastic – and the surprises at the end are worth the entire read.  I want more Pretender and I want it now!
Jacob in Dubai

Read more

Rebirth Review by michaelam1978

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michaelam1978

  It’s been a long time coming, but The Pretender is finally back. The story about a genius named Jarod, who has the chameleon-like ability to become anyone he wants to be (surgeon, soldier, policeman, chemist, teacher, FBI agent, etc.), debuted on NBC in 1996. Over four seasons, Jarod traveled the country using his abilities to help those in need. All the while, he was being pursued by agents of the Centre, a corporation that had taken him from his parents as a child and exploited his genius for their own shady purposes, and also searching for the answers to who he was and where he came from. After NBC canceled the series in 2000, cable network TNT picked it up for syndication and, in 2001, produced two movies that continued the story. While a third was planned that would solve the last remaining mysteries and wrap everything up, it never materialized, and fans were left hanging with an unresolved story. For years, creators Steven Long Mitchell and Craig W. Van Sickle promised that they would one day bring Jarod back, refusing to let the story die. Twelve years later, the first in a brand new series of novels, The Pretender: Rebirth, has now been released.

Unfortunately for long-time fans, Rebirth is not a continuation of the television show. From how Mitchell and Van Sickle described it in their announcement back in July, I expected the book to pick up sometime after the final movie, The Pretender: Island of the Haunted, while retconning the backstory and events from the show to a more recent time, as a way to maintain continuity while still taking place in the present. Instead, Rebirth is a full-on reboot, essentially going back to the beginning of the whole story and starting over. Jarod has already escaped from the Centre just prior to the start of the book, and now his chief pursuer, Miss Parker, is called back into active duty by the Centre and charged with tracking down and capturing him. In a way, the book is a reworking of the very first episode, with Jarold arriving in New York and pretending to be a doctor at a prestigious hospital. Several scenes and even entire lines of dialogue from the first episode are recreated almost verbatim, and while the story runs a similar course, it ultimately plays out very differently. If you’ve been a Pretender fan since the beginning, as I have, it won’t feel like you’re just retreading the first episode.

The thing that struck me almost immediately is how easily Mitchell and Van Sickle seemed to slip right back into writing these characters, even more than a decade after they had last written them. Jarod, Miss Parker and Sydney all feel exactly as they did in the show. Their personalities, and especially Miss Parker’s ice cold bitchiness, is spot-on. Jarod is clearly the star of the story, trying to solve a little boy’s disappearance following a tragic car accident, while also pursuing a seemingly-unrelated mystery involving a high level clearance area of the hospital. At the same time, he encounters several patients who play varying degrees of importance to the story. I especially liked his interactions with a young female named Skylar. Jarod was always such a kind, warm-hearted and caring man who refused to stand by and let others be mistreated or ignored, and that side of him is well on display here. Miss Parker and Sydney have a lesser presence, basically stuck in Centre rooms trying to piece together clues as to Jarod’s whereabouts, but the authors set the stage for their characters to be developed in subsequent novels.

Many of The Pretender‘s hallmarks are present, some of them preserved identically. One was Jarod’s discovery of all the things that we take for granted, but are new to him from having been locked away in the Centre his whole life. Just like in the first episode, Jarod discovers ice cream for the first time, as well as PEZ, which sort of became his trademark on the show. He also has the DSAs — Digital Surveillance Archives — that he stole during his escape from the Centre, which he uses to reflect on his past and the various simulations he was forced to run for his captors. Others have been updated for 2013. Whereas Jarod used to keep small red notebooks filled with newspaper clippings related to whatever mystery he was working toward solving, he instead now uses an iPad, with a red cover. To my surprise, the language gets a tad . . . “heavy” at times, both in dialogue and the story itself. It’s not really too excessive, but it’s a little odd when you consider that The Pretender was a pretty family-friendly show in that regard. My only really big complaint is that the plot seems unnecessarily set up in order to lead into a second book, so in a way Rebirth almost just kind of stops rather than ends. But the climactic action, as Miss Parker closes in on Jarod for the first time, is exciting.

Overall, I was satisfied with Rebirth. Despite the occasional grammatical error, and a couple strange passages that are literally written from the POV of a rat(!) that lives in the warehouse where Jarod is staying, the plot was well told and suspenseful. The story kept me fully engaged throughout, which was good considering that it’s not until about halfway through that we finally begin to learn exactly what Jarod is doing in New York in the first place. A second novel, The Pretender: Saving Luke, is due out in December. Mitchell and Van Sickle have stated they have stories for at least a dozen books (that’s not even including the upcoming line of comic book mini-series that will compliment the novels with prequel stories), and while I’m still a little disappointed that they are not a direct continuation of the show, it was a lot of fun revisiting these characters anew. It’s because of that — my fondness for the characters and enjoyment of the overall story — that I’m willing to essentially go on the same journey again. This was a good start, and I can’t wait to see what else is in store, and who. (Mr. Raines? Broots? Angelo? Mr. Lyle? Brigitte?) The Pretender is back, and I couldn’t be more excited.   original review on livejournal can be found here.

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