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Author: Kiersten White
Publication Date:
February 2019
Simon & Shuster
Courtesy of the Publisher

“Slayer” is the first novel in a young adult spin-off series set in the Buffyverse. Although the novel relies a little too strongly on readers already being familiar with the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it’s still a lively and engaging read which should appeal to many fantasy readers.

It can be hard to write in an established world, due to contractual restrictions and fans who don’t want an author to stray from established canon.  White minimises those problems by setting the novel some time after the events that closed the TV show, and by making the majority of characters from the show peripheral to the events of this novel. This also makes the novel more accessible to readers who aren’t familiar with the show – indeed, if you’d never seen it at all you could still enjoy this novel, although the background might not make as much sense.

Some time after Buffy awoke all the potential Slayers in the world, she led the majority of them into battle against a massive evil. Thousands of Slayers died, and Buffy accidentally destroyed all magic in the world. The majority of Watchers had already been wiped out in the lead up to the disastrous battle.

So Nina and Artemis, children of Watchers, are growing up in secrecy. They’re attending the Watcher’s Academy, but it’s been reduced to a mere shell: less than a dozen Watchers and Watchers in training. They’re all in hiding, terrified of discovery. Nina hates Buffy; her father died protecting her, and then Buffy went on to destroy almost everything else in Nina’s world. And then one day, Nina discovers that she’s a Slayer. Worse still; because Buffy has destroyed magic, Nina is the last Slayer there’ll ever be.

Nina has little time to adjust to this change. Magic may be gone, but demons and vampires and werewolves continue to stalk the world. Family tensions, conspiracies within the Watchers, and a teenage crush all combine to make Nina’s life feel harder by the minute.

This is both a well written and fast moving adventure story and an exploration of a young girl maturing and learning to make her own decisions and choices, and take responsibility for them.

The story is pegged at young adults, and is likely to have a particularly strong appeal for them because of the themes around maturing and entering adult life. However, the plot and characters are both strong, and many adult readers will enjoy it for those. The messages to younger readers are not so blatant as to turn adults off.

White writes well, and has a knack for accurately depicting teenage angst without it being annoying. Some readers who remember the show may feel that this novel misses some of the snarky humor that was a feature of Buffy, but “Slayer” has a relatively light touch overall. Despite the fact that no-one in the novel has much fun, it’s still enjoyable for readers.

Readers unfamiliar with Buffy may find the concept of the Watchers confusing and some of the references to Buffy and other characters a little obscure. While this would probably lessen some enjoyment – and maybe be a bit distracting – most of the references to characters can be simply skimmed past, and the ideas and characters that matter eventually become clearer. This is probably not a big issue, because I suspect most readers are likely to pick this up because they’re already Buffy fans.

“Slayer” is a good novel – it’s enjoyable to read, it has something to say to its’ intended audience, and it makes effective use of an established world. I’d recommend it to Buffy fans, and in general readers of young adult fantasy.

This guest review was submitted by Lorraine Cormack, one of our long-time Beauty and Lace Club members. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Lorraine.

Kiersten White can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and her website.

Slayer is published by Simon & Schuster and is available now where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster 15 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading Slayer so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

14 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Slayer

  1. Beauty and Lace Book Club March 9, 2019
    Book Review; Slayer. By Kiersten White.
    This book is created as part of the ‘Buffy the Vampire’ world. As new threats occur can Nina and her twin Artemis adapt to being a watcher and slayer with all their combined strengths and skills. A terrific young adult book showing how being chosen is easy but making the tough choices is hard. I recommend this book to anyone whom has a love of fantasy and fast paced action.
    Thank you Beauty & Lace and Simon and Schuster Publishers for the opportunity to read and review Kiersten White’s book ‘Slayer’

  2. I loved Buddy the Vampire slayer so this book was really easy for me to get into ,although the books demographic is far younger than me I found it interesting and a great story.
    Buddy fans will love it!!

  3. Into every generation a slayer is born…. Buffy The Vampire Slayer fans can rejoice as over twenty years after the show started, there is a novel! While the comic series continued well after the tv show ended, it wasn’t something I could get into as I’m not into comics. Slayer is first in a series that continues after the comic is written by YA American author, Kiersten White, a self confessed Buffy fan. At first, I was a little nervous with being left in the dark but White did a brilliant job of incorporating that storyline into the book. It became a much needed return to the world I grew up in as a teenager with some changes that bring with it a breath of fresh air.

    The biggest change is that the main protagonist is no longer Buffy. While this was difficult at first, I came to love that Slayer starts as a story about the Watchers. While the t.v show was centered in America, the scene has shifted to Britain, the home of the Watchers, and at times, Ireland. Through Nina and her sister, Artemis, I was able to enter the Watchers secret world as I had never been able to before through the show. I was able to understand the history and motivations that made the Watchers who they are, even though I didn’t always agree with their choices. Just like Buffy, Nina, a medic, and her twin sister are 16 years old and dealing with all that comes with being a teenager, including relationships. With their mother, the siblings live in the Watchers Academy, a place where future Watchers train. The Watchers Academy glory days are long behind it though, after Buffy destroyed magic. With the destruction of mystical forces, the Academy has fallen into decline and Slayers are a thing of the past. Things are not what they seem and when Nina’s life is put at risk, she triggers her Slayer powers. For Nina is the last Slayer. Ever. Nina couldn’t have been a more perfect recruit. Family history have led her to being filled with hate and anger towards the Slayers. Nina sees Slayers as choosing death while she, as a medic, chooses life. For much of her journey, Nina does not want the gifts that have been unexpectedly bestowed upon her. To make matters more complex, Artemis, has embraced the life of a Watcher while their mother is a Watcher. Artemis is the good girl who sticks to the rules and guidelines, protecting Nina for much of her life. When Nina becomes a Slayer, their relationship is put to the test. Their mother puts duty before her daughters and as a result, has maligned them both. All Nina and Artemis want is their mother but she is unable to give them this.

    Woven through out the story line is constant references to the t.v show that only Buffy fans will appreciate. From Gwendolyn Post to five by five, all these little moments put a smile on my face. The biggest smile appeared when Buffy pops up in Nina’s dreams. This gives me hope that Buffy may have a bigger role to play in the future. This won’t make reading Slayer more difficult for those who missed the t.v series but it adds extra depth for everyone else.

    For fans of Buffy, get your hands on a copy because you won’t regret it!

  4. Being a huge Buffy fan from way back, I was super excited to hear about this book and even more so to be selected to review it.

    Aimed at the young adult market this book hits the mark. Falling back into the world of Buffy is like coming home but to a new and improved version. The weaving of the old story with the new is done seamlessly and for those who are true Buffy fans, the links are there to tickle you.

    I love the character development and how easily you fall back into the Buffy world, the story line is well developed with twists and turns to keep you well entertained.

    Enjoy the read, the walk back in time, and the opportunity to again walk with the ‘watchers’.

  5. Set in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ‘Slayer’ by Kierstan White is a young adult fiction with themes of family, sacrifice, love and trust. The main character, Athena (or Nina as she is begrudgingly referred to) faces many teenage dramas of crushes and issues with her Mum while also having to navigate her identify as a medic, Watcher and now Slayer. There is plenty of action, twists and little pieces that all come together for a fast paced easy read. Said to be the first in a spin off series, even those unfamiliar with Buffy, like myself, are given enough backstory to develop an overall understanding of the context and be swept up in the narrative. Now to wait and see what comes next for White…

  6. OMG!!! I loved buffy the Vampire Slayer whilst growing up. I never missed an episode (and have secretly loved watching the reruns on TV recently). Yes, I’m an adult and yes this book is aimed at Young Adults (Ummm teeens perhaps) just like the TV show perhaps was. But is was AWESOME.

    It so took me back to those days. The characters are new, with the focus on nina, her twin sister Artemis and Leo the Watcher, but still the story line continues the Buffy path. As this is the first book, the character development and buildup was essential to understand them. Slayers, Watchers and Vampires oh my. The focus on understanding the Watchers, the fall out from after Buffy and getting to know the new characters. I loved the quirkiness of the humour form them.

    The action, the dialogue was exactly how I would want to imaging it. In my head, this was a new Buffy episode. Loved it!!!!

  7. Absolutely loved the Buffy series so was excited to be selected to read this book.

    Definitely recommend those who loved Buffy to get their hands on this book as I think they will love it as much as I did!

    Thank you for the chance to read this book!

  8. I had really high hope for this because I loved the Buffy series, but sadly I did not love this book.
    I felt like the plot and characters were lacking. I did enjoy the humor of the book, it had the wit and satire the show had but it stopped there for me, unfortunately.

  9. This was a good return to the Buffy universe 20 years after the TV show originally aired. I was a big Buffy fan growing up and being ranked still as one of my favourite shows of all time means this book had a lot to live up to.
    This book is set after Buffy’s time but her legacy is still linked to a lot of what is happening in the present day. The story follows Nina who lives in The Watcher Academy with her family and is a medic. When her slayer powers are triggered and she becomes the last slayer everything starts to change for her. This is a story filled with Buffy references for the fans but the young adults that it’s written for will still enjoy the story without having to know the history as it follows a lot of typical YA themes.
    I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to Buffy fans and lovers of ya fantasy.

  10. Athena and Artemis twins born into the world of Watchers and Slayers devastated by the actions of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Never having read a Buffy book or watched the TV series this book was new to me. Action and adventure and a continuing battle between good and evil but with the underlying message the the lines between good and evil are blurred and you ‘cannot judge a good by its cover’ and so you cannot judge a demon or the one that looks after the Littles likewise. Recommended for teenagers and buffy fans of course. A good read. 8.5 / 10.

  11. Slayer by Kiersten White is the first novel in a young adult series focusing on Nina and her twin sister Artimis, whom have grown up in the path of destruction caused by Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The actions of Buffy ultimately lead to the death of their father, the end of magic and the activation of all the potential Slayers in the world. The sisters live in a secret training school for watchers, Artimis has trained her whole life to support the watchers society and slayer, both in combat and a knowledge of the supernatural. While Nina choose a different path focussing on healing. After growing up loathing Buffy, Nina is now the last slayer, she is forced to deal with not only the challenges of being a teenager but the challanges of her new slayer powers. This fast past supernatural novel is for younger readers, it is easy to follow providing enough background knowledge for non Buffy fans. Looking forward to the next book in the series

  12. Before the possibility of a sparkling vampire was ever dreamed up, 20 years ago there was the world of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. Every week I tuned it to watch Buffy with her wooden stakes, angst riddled romance with the vampire Angel and her motley crew of witches, watchers and end of times storylines. So, it was with a great deal of nostalgic anticipation that I cracked open Kiersten Whites ‘Slayer’ thinking it would be fun to once more step back into Buffy’s world. While soundly in the world of Buffy, this new story focuses on the Watchers with the main plot centering on Nina and her twin Artemis. The evolution of their relationship changes in tandem with the changes Nina discovers in herself and while full of Buffy references with more than a few whiffs of romance, the story is quite fast paced and easy to read. However, I think for any YA taking their first foray into the Slayer world it could be difficult a little difficult to connect to the characters as a standalone with no prior knowledge. The characters and plot sadly missed the mark for me and it fell short of finding a home for the stakes that Buffy left behind. Although frequent references to previously aired Buffy plot lines may help old fans reconnect, it could also result in ostracizing newcomers to the world with too many links disconnected. Based on that, I’d recommend to old fans for a nostalgic read if you are ready to step back into some YA angst, but I think it may be a bridge to hard to cross for any newbies. Thanks for the memories!

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