My rating: 5 of 5 stars
As a huge BtVS (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) fan, I loved this book. I’m always skeptical of media tie ins and how well they actually tie into the source material. This book was perfect. It takes place alongside the comic continuation of the series flawlessly.
This story follows a new slayer and still manages to include Buffy herself in other ways. The new characters introduced into the Buffyverse are all interesting and likable. I was worried at first that I might find it a bit annoying because the main character Nina is very much a teenager and speaks like one. Very quickly though thought passed. Everything about this book felt exactly like watching a season of BtVS.
I enjoyed the surprise reveal of villainy as well and how the book ended setting up the next one.
I am a HUGE fan of all things BtVS. This book was perfect in every way. Reading this was like experiencing a season of the show. This book stays well within the boundaries of the series as it continues on from season 8 to season 12 in comic books.
The events in this book take place 2 months roughly after magic has been cut of from the world. If memory serves, and it often doesn’t, this is somewhere in season 9 of the series. Nina, the main character of the book, is the last slayer ever called before the source of magic on earth is cut off by Buffy. Nina and her twin sister Artemis are a part of the last remaining Watchers group alive.
At first, I was worried I would get annoyed at how much like a teenager Nina spoke. The book is told from her point of view. That actually did not last beyond the first page. I instantly adapted to her speech because it was exactly how I would expect the show to feel. Nina is a lot like Buffy in many ways. She’s self deprecating until she learns her self worth. Her sister Artemis, is her opposite. She’s trained to be a skilled Watcher and someone everyone depends on. Yet, she couldn’t become a full fledged Watcher because she was unwilling to sacrifice her sister, even in a test.
The story is filled with tension and secrets, so many that it’s frustrating in the best way. Everyone is keeping secret from everyone. Some secrets are new while others have been held onto for years. Since everything is from Nina’s point of view we only see things the way she sees them. Naturally we can tell what she isn’t seeing or understanding so we’re forced to ride that wave of naivety and youth.
The “big bad” of the story being the person Nina trusted most was not really a surprise. I found it the most likely choice simply because I know how Buffyverse stories normally work. Her mother also not being an awful as Nina always felt was also not a huge surprise. I still enjoyed this despite that and I was able to still be genuinely surprised by some of the other details that came about, like their mother being the daughter of a Slayer.
I really liked Nina’s sister Artemis a lot and actually do wish I could read more about her. She had very interesting character development as well as Nina and I actually couldn’t figure out where she stood morally by the end of it. This was a fact that I liked.
The final couple of chapters had me on edge. Nina loosing her power was actually a surprise twist I did not expect, but her getting them back was something I did expect. (Not only because this is book one of a duology.) The story ended by wrapping up the main story nicely while leaving so many open doors for the next one to take, including turning the Watcher’s into a haven for all beings needing safety and Nina still needing to learn more about being a slayer.
While yes I am slightly biased on the content of the story, it was a solid book with writing that fit both as a teen/young adult book as well as a new installment to the Buffyverse with well written characters and a thrilling story. It’s a must read for long time fans as well as a good jumping in point for people wanting to get involved in the fandom.