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A very good spin off series set in the Buffyverse. An interesting take, a Slayer who was also a watcher. If there is one group who have more reason the hate Buffy Summers apart from the demons and vampire. It is the Watchers.
Nina grew up in the watcher society, now she is one of the few left. Yet she believes with all her heart in the Watchers. What the Watchers stand for. Now with the powers of a Slayer, she starts to see the other side of the story.
This a great story for all Buffy fans. Even before reading the acknowledgments I knew Kiersten White was a Buffy fan. Simply because of her respect for the source materials. Not the the tv show but the extra two seasons that were done in the comic as well. To someone who loves continuity like me this is gold.
I love the brave new world aspect of the story,and finding how the Watchers should fit into this is a great idea. Another good nostalgic touch in this story is Nina is about the same age that Buffy was when she became the Slayer. Yet where Buffy changed from normal to supernatural Nina was raised on the supernatural and it is the only world she knows. Yet she is not accepted into it. Add in her own personal trails and trauma. A great beginning of a new character. Also great side characters.
The only down side I found was a lot dame things keep getting repeated again and again. Example the mothers choice everything seem to keep coming back to that. Yet the character is 16 so as annoying as it can be, if is completely understandable.
If you are a fan of the series this is a great continuation. I am not going to day an ending because in Buffy (like this book) it is never the end.
I found this book profoundly confusing, it's difficult to explain why. There is no real central character, it simply focuses on survivors of the Watchers Council Buffy and the Slayers don't know exist, hidden away in a spell-protected old castle in England, who abruptly discover that all of the rules have changed when Buffy destroys the Source of All Magic post Season 7 of the show.
The book shows that Merrick, Buffy's long gone first Watcher, left a wife and two children behind when he died. But, a flashback to when they were children shows the two children tag-teaming a Vampire and successfully killing it. Years later, when they are young adults? The mother seems to be hell-bent on claiming this is all childhood fantasies and neither child was ever a Potential Slayer. Worse, the sister more likely to have been Called has been told, for years, she is inferior to her sister and will never amount to much-wrongly, it becomes clear. Why? That's not a very good story...
Worse, someone who appears to be a professional assassin has been after one of the sisters for years, the sister likely to be Called, but has utterly failed so many times she's lived to become a young woman. On top of which, the surviving Watchers are trying to carry on as though this is all the way it should be and nothing has changed-yet everything has, only few are capable of seeing history has left the surviving Watchers behind.
Worse still, the Watchers left standing are hell-bent on keeping secrets, manipulating even their own families to achieve goals they see as necessary and have seemingly learnt NOTHING AT ALL after all they've lost and survived...
It's hard to care for these people. Worse? The story just isn't interesting enough for me...
I received a free ecopy of this book in return for an honest review. Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity.
I already had this book on pre-order when I spotted it on Netgalley so I can’t tell you how excited I was to get a pre-pub copy to read. I love Buffy and have followed the new seasons as they have come out in graphic book form. The chance of meeting a new slayer was just too good to pass up. Though I have to say, having seen some other recent reboots and remakes I was worried it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Instead, it excelled them.
*****SPOILER ZONE RECAP: BUFFY SEASONS 7 & 8***** Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: in Season 7, the First Evil blew up the Watcher’s Council, and tried to exterminate the slayer line by killing all the Potential Slayers, Willow helped Buffy to activate all the Potentials into Slayers and the hellmouth was destroyed. In Season 8, a mysterious entity called Twilight lead Buffy into being an Uber-Slayer, and a new dimension was created but this lead to an apocalyptic invasion of numerous huge demons into our world. Buffy destroyed the Seed of Wonder, which was the source of all magic in our world, sealing off the hell dimensions from us, but trapping many of them here. During the fight, the Slayer scythe was broken and Giles was killed by a possessed Angel. ******END SPOILERS*****
I thought this book would be set in a different time frame to Buffy so it felt a bit strange to find out that Buffy was still around with her slayer army, though our hero Athena Jamison-Smythe is not part of that army. If the name Jamison-Smythe sounds familiar to Buffsters with good memories, that is because Athena and her twin sister Artemis are the daughters of Buffy’s first Watcher, Merrick Jamison-Smythe and this not the only familiar name in the book by any means.
Athena (Nina) and her twin Artemis grew up with the Watcher’s Council, the remnants of whom are now in hiding. Nina hates Buffy, whom she blames for the death of her father, among other things, so she is less than happy with the realisation that she is a newly activated Slayer herself. She has been trained as a medic, not a fighter. She has issues with her mother who is keeping secrets and her activation as a Slayer causes a divide with her sister, Artemis. Nina must learn to be something that she hates, connect with the other Slayers and learn that being Chosen means making some heartbreaking choices. Like Buffy before her, she must eventually choose between someone she loves and the safety of the world.
The new Slayer is engaging and her ambivalent feelings are relatable, though I did get quite frustrated and her lack of assertiveness. It seemed to take far too long for her to begin standing up to people. At one point I actually flung my e-reader down in annoyance. There is a lot of scope there for character development.
This insight into the Watcher’s Council next generation is fascinating, unlikely as it was that almost all of the remaining Watchers have surnames we’ve already heard of. Cleverly, the absence of magic renders the previous generation of Watchers obsolete giving the newbies a chance to step up. Similarly Demons and zompires (vamps created after the link to hell was severed) have to be fought the old fashioned way, with weapons. Slayer strength, strategy and wisdom are suddenly so much more important. No magical shortcuts any more.
Buffyverse is a place where the internal history will always be important. Story threads will are often drawn from past events, but there is enough going on here to draw in a new generation of fans. Knowledge of the series is not a pre-requisite for reading this book. I feel existing fans will welcome the chance to revisit this world and few of them will be reaching for their box sets in a burst of nostalgia.
And my favourite part “Slayer #1” which indicates that there is more to come.
’That’s why it’s so important that the Watchers remain. In a world remade again and again, where the rules keep changing, where a Chosen One becomes Chosen Many, where magic disappears, where the old ways are broken, we are the one constant. We still keep watch’.
There are a lot of novels that I’m deeply looking forward to this year but Slayer was definitely one of the top ones and giving it anything less than five stars is actually quite difficult to do. I honestly thought that this was going to be one of my top books of the year – not only is it new Buffy but it’s also by Kiersten White, after all – but for me something was missing, as much as it pains me to say so.
Starting with the positive however, I can quite easily and honestly say that this book managed to capture the overall feel and humour of Buffy quite spectacularly. If there was anything that worried me about this novel, it was that it wouldn’t have that ‘Buffy feel’ to it, but somehow it did. Right from the start it emulated the feel of the show with its mention of prophecies and the rather snide remarks about demons and their love of Latin.
’Of all the awful things demons do, keeping Latin alive when it deserves to be a dead language might be the worst.’
That right there is a quote that wouldn’t feel out of place being spoken by one of members of the ‘Scooby Gang’ and similar comments with that same Buffy feel followed throughout. There were also ties to the show and mentions of past events to further help paint the picture of the universe that this novel is set within. Reading this novel it seemed fairly obvious to me that the author must have loved the show greatly and I’m glad that she was chosen to write it. I honestly can’t believe how spot on the tone of some of the dialogue was.
I’ve noticed that a lot of people seemed to have an issue with Artemis’s hatred of Buffy, but considering what her family had been through I found it perfectly understandable. She lost her father, and the organisation that she grew up in, to Buffy in some ways so her feelings seemed spot on to me. What I did find, towards the end, was that her feelings switched to the positive a little too quickly. I understand how being a Slayer herself would change things but it just seemed too instantaneous for me. Although, that being said, the scene where that happened was incredibly touching for me and quite splendidly written. I just loved the heart to heart that she had with Buffy and can’t believe how wonderfully the author managed to capture such an iconic character’s personality. That scene with Buffy really made me melt inside; I just wish that there had been a bit more of a build up of her feelings softening towards her before then.
I loved reading the points of view of the Hunter that were dotted throughout the novel and can quite honestly say that I didn’t see the reveal of who she was coming. These, again, I thought were splendidly written and I was always eager to see what the next scene from their point of view would bring.
There were several characters that I quite liked although a few others that I wasn’t really a fan of. One of the things that I loved was that Artemis was a Slayer who wanted to heal things, not hurt them; I really felt that it bought a different perspective to things. I found her friend Cillian quite interesting too, as well as several of her other companions. Her relationship with her mother and sister were also both interesting to learn about. I did feel that Athena turned against her a bit too quickly at times however.
As I said earlier there was something missing for me in this novel however, although I really am struggling to put my finger on exactly what it was. I think part of it was that at times I thought there was a little bit too much conversation happening between Artemis and the demons that she encountered during this novel. Yes I liked that she wanted to heal others, not harm them in general but I felt that some of the demons that she encountered surely wouldn’t have just happily discussed things with her; more of them would have tried to fight. I know that in Buffy she was always making witty remarks with demons but that was usually whilst she was kicking their arse. I also feel like maybe the overall tone of the novel was a little too light and younger than I was expecting. Although it caught the feel of Buffy really well, particularly the humour, I felt that it needed a bit more grit.
Overall if it was any other novel I’d probably have given it three stars, not four, as something just didn’t click for me. If it was a little darker and more grown up then maybe it would have been perfect – as I think that’s what felt off to me – but as it stood I found the story fairly interesting but the overall effect somewhat average. Slayer got an extra star for how superbly it captured most of the Buffy feel however, as well as for the Hunter scenes which were a pleasure to read and the beautiful heart to heart with Buffy. I’m still looking forward to reading the next novel, I just really hope it clicks better for me as I love Buffy and some of Kiersten White’s other work so much
As a huge Buffy fan for the last 20 years, I was really excited to read this. Sadly, there is a lot of very lazy writing so I found myself having to push myself to finish it. The first half is uneventful and feels like a broken record going over and over the same emotional feelings with little story progression. The author also has a very annoying habit of writing full names throughout the book when it isn't necessary, particularly Bradford Smythe, who was only occasionally referenced on a first name basis. The most frustrating part of that was when the characters, all within a close knit social circle, apparently referred to each other in full names, which just isn't realistic. It's the equivalent of Buffy talking to Giles and continually calling her friends "Willow Rosenberg and Xander Harris" rather than just "Willow and Xander". It wasn't horrendous, and it was nice to dip back into this world, but overall it felt like it missed literary common knowledge or a good editor.
I was hesitant at first when I heard this was coming out, an official in Canon extension of the buffyverse with a new slayer? So far so fanfic and to be honest for the first few chapters it felt like it too, with what seemed like forced references. Then suddenly something just clicked, the characters became their own and the buggy references just right to provide some fan service and nothing more. Is it without its faults? No, it's takes a while to get going, it's villian is predictable, there are a lot of Americanisms despite it's Irish setting, and it relies on some of the storyline of the comic book series which not everyone will be aware of. My score still stands however as for fans of buffy and indeed Angel you will soon be embroiled in the world once more and look forward to the next instalment of this new slayers story.
I adore Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the world Joss Whedon created and have been a bit empty since the show finished all those years ago (don't remind me how many it'll make me feel well old) I've read attempts at authors taking on the mantel and all have failed miserably... until now.
I've not even finished reading it yet and feel compelled to leave this review (to be fair I'm on here buying brownie making supplies and saw an advert for this book) because I absolutely love it. The characters (bar the girls mum #b*tch), the story, learning about Watcher society (never really thought about it!) and I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't really like Wesley Wyndam-Pryce!
I love Buffy the vampire slayer but was dubious about a soon off book until I read it. I was hooked by the end of the first page. Would highly recommend to any reader and it's good to know that people who have not seen Buffy can still read the book and understand what is happening