“The 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 show. 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.
Article first published as Book Review: ‘The Pretender – Rebirth’ by Steven Long Mitchell and Craig W. Van Sickle on Blogcritics.
The Pretender Book 1: Rebirth
Steven Long Mitchell & Craig W van Sickle
The Centre Universe (2013)
Reviewed by Savannah Mae for Say What? Savannah Mae (4/14)