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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. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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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