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The Jason Strain (Friday the 13th) Mass Market Paperback – January 31, 2006
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The idea sounds like a 'can't miss'-A new reality show puts convicts on a island. The last one alive gets their death sentence turned to life in prison. What the convicts don't know, is that Jason is also on the island, and of course Jason could care less about TV shows, rules, cameras....
I was patient with the book well over 100 pages into it. I was fine with meeting all the characters, even though at this point Jason had just made a few cameos in the book. I was counting on the story picking up when the convicts get on the island and face Jason.
But the book chooses to take off with another plot that I could have done without. It's too bad, bacause "Jason on Survivor" could have been cool.
But like other posters have written, this book wants to throw every plot idea in but the kitchen sink. And I agree, that this story didn't need Jason in it at all. He is a wasted after thought. Too bad.
I do enjoy the "Jason X" Books, and the "Nightmare on Elm Street" set as well. So far though, the "Friday" books have been a mixed bag. "Church of the divine psychopath" was the best. "Hell Lake" tried, but was hard to get through-but at leasr Jason IS in that book!!!! I skipped "Hate Kill Repeat", to read this one first. Bad idea on my part.
The next book sounds good-Jason's mother is back! Will this idea be wasted as well? We'll find out.
I believe Christa had already written this story, heard about (or her agent did) the 25th anniversary celebration series and thought well that'll get me more exposure and rewrote Jason into it the story as he really plays no central role or even necessary role in the story for the plot to work and he's not even a main character. On its own, this is not a bad story, granted not an original idea anywhere within (all parts of the story have been done before ie The Running Man by Stephen King and also his book The Cell for the later half of the novel, that half also borrows from every other living dead zombie movie around.) Without Jason, The Jason Strain would be another B grade adventure which probably would have pleased those who stumbled across it, but as the author knew, without Jason hardly anyone would have picked it up.
If you haven't even heard of this book the basic plot is Jason is captured by a television production company and transported to an island off Costa Rica to be the surprise guest on the second season of Xtreme Elimination. Also transported there are a number of death row American prisoners, both male and female. This show takes Survivor to a new level, inmates must kill each other until there is only one left alive. The winner gets their death sentence reduced to life in prison and cushy one at that. Meanwhile a hot female scientist (one of those typical Hollywood written character scientists who just don't seem to know their hot or care) Dr Cain is obsessed with harvesting whatever immortal genetics are in Jason to make a new immortality virus. Of course Jason isn't going to just lie down and cooperate with either of these ridiculous plans.
If this is your first novel from the 25th Anniversary series don't be put off about reading the others. Friday the 13th Carnival of Maniacs by Stephen Hand in my opinion is the best. All books are standalone storylines and do not relate to the other authors novels in the series so you do not need to read them in any particular order.
My love for Christa Faust is split. I loved her novelization for Final Destination 3, but didn't care too much Nightmare on Elm Street: Dreamspawn. This book did nothing to sway me one way or another, which is, I guess, a good thing.
The Jason Strain's plot is relatively straight forward. A twisted television producer creates the twisted television show Xtreme Elimination, which takes death row convicts, tosses them together on an island, and lets them have at each other. Last one alive has their sentence reduced to life in a cushy federal pennetentiary. But this year, the executives decide to shove Jason Voorhees on the island, just to shake things up.
The drawback of having death row cons as your characters: ALL of them are instantly unlikeable, save for Buth, the "Butcher," who may or may not be guilty of the crime for which he will fry. And being death row inmates, nearly nobody can relate to them properly.
Also, Jason seems to have been added as an afterthought. Its like Faust an original story and was told to add Jason Voorhees to make the story marketable. Also, theres a weak subplot about scientists wanting Jason's DNA to use in research for diseases. Fortunately, Jason never quite feels forced into the narrative, but neither, too, did he feel like a natural element of the story.
I really wanted to enjoy this book, and for the most part, I did but not as much as I would have liked. The kills are fun, and the narrative is solid. But its no literary masterpiece. I recommend only hardcore fans of the series (or horror, in general) seek this out.