Slayer by Kiersten White sat near the very top of my want list at San Diego Comic-con last summer. I fought pretty hard to get an ARC (with some help from Christine) and I had really high hopes because I know that White is a big Buffy fan! I also read and loved The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein so I trusted her to bring some truly spooky vibes to the Buffy-verse with this novel. So did I enjoy it?
Click here for the Synopsis!
Into every generation a Slayer is born…
Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.
Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.
Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.
As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…
But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.
One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.
A Watcher who is also a Slayer? Ok, color me intrigued.
First some info on my history with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I watched a little when I was younger, but I didn’t keep up with the show. Then about 6 years ago, a good friend made me watch every episode on Netflix. I also watched all of Angel…which I don’t recommend. Not a fan of Angel. Buffy however really speaks to me on a deep emotional level. The interpersonal relationships on that show meant more to me than some of my friendships with real people. xD Also I have a Buffy tattoo, no big deal.
Slayer starts just a few months after the end of the TV show. It is canonical, and heavily references events of the show. If you are currently watching the show and want to avoid spoilers for Season 7, I wouldn’t recommend reading the book or reading the rest of my review yet.
Turn back now, or you will be spoiled for the ending of Buffy!
After the Seed of Wonder is found and destroyed, the world’s remaining Watchers have a whole host of new issues to deal with. Nina, the book’s main character, soon discovers that she was a potential slayer and gained slayer powers before the Seed went poof. Unfortunately, Nina and co. have an extreme dislike of slayers. This is something that’s reiterated several times in quick succession in the first 100 pages or so. It started to get on my nerves a little bit. I love Buffy! That’s why I picked up the book, so it’s hard to relate to this group of people constantly berating Buffy and her choices. In general, the opening 100/150 pages were slow and full of info dumping. I struggled a bit there, but things turned around after that!
Anyone who’s watched a lot of Buffy knows that it has its own set of flaws. Some of those include hanging plot lines, campy dialogue, and questionable life choices. Slayer delivers on all of those things and I honestly loved it for that. Personally, I felt that it used elements like this to stay true to the feel of the show. I really started to enjoy the cast of characters, and what they all meant to each other around the 1/2, 2/3 mark. It did take a little while for me to get to that point, but now I just have so many feelings!!
The plight of the Chosen One has always been of great importance, and it’s no different for Nina in Slayer. She constantly questions what her new-found abilities could do to her decision making and general behavior. Similar to the TV show, her powers are somewhat analogous to a terminal illness thematically. It’s fascinating to see how she responds to the pressures and expectations of wielding Slayer powers.
“I’ve wondered more and more the last few years if the way the Watchers and Slayers fight evil isn’t always right.”
The mystery of the Big Bad in Slayer kept me guessing. I did get thrown for a loop once…or twice, and that’s always a pleasant surprise! I’m already thinking of doing a reread after I get the finished copy. If you can hold on through the campiness and some exposition overload, then I would recommend this to you. It was amazing to feel like I was back in the Buffyverse, and if you loved the TV show you will find a little piece of the show within these pages for sure.
Do you love Buffy? Let me know your favorite episode in the comments! I would also love to hear your thoughts on this book. It hits shelves on January 8th!