3 1/2 Star Reads, Book Review

Slayer – Kiersten White

Slayer (Slayer, #1)

Slayer by Kiersten White

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Slayer by Kiersten White is set in the Buffyverse, a world that was built by Joss Wheadon more than a decade ago through Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The series ran for seven seasons and then the story was continued through a number of comic runs, which were considered the eighth through twelfth seasons of Buffy. That is a lot of backstory and plot to incorporate into this new entry into the world, which is why this book is such a challenge to rate. Slayer was an attempt to bring together people new to Buffy, people who were familiar with the show or watched all of it, as well as those who continued to be involved in the stories throughout the various comic runs.

As a result, the author did too much and too little at the same time. The first third of the book was predominantly focused on the world building, giving the readers a little backstory in case they weren’t familiar with that had happened in seasons 8-12 and briefly introducing us to the new characters. Except, you’d need an entire book just to halfway decently describe the plotlines from the comics (which I haven’t read), so she ended up just very briefly mentioning each big event – leading me to just becoming confused about the plot and undereducated. It almost would have been better if she had chosen to only focus on one plot point – the seed of wonder and gave a flashback scene to give us context, and then explain why that was affecting the world today.

Once we got through the recaps, world-building, and set-up for this book – I was intrigued. The author managed to create a new story that felt like it belonged in the Buffyverse, even if it didn’t have the wit and humor of the original Scooby Gang. I didn’t particularly love any of the characters in the book, except for maybe Doug and Kieran, with a small side of Leo. They were just too extreme or bland for me to relate too: Nina was self-deprecating and mopey; Artemis was intense and controlling; their mother was closed off and controlling; Nina’s best friend was too absorbed in his books to be given a personality, and the more secondary characters were given personalities but very little development. I think the time dedicated to backstories gave the author little page space to work on developing her characters and it showed.

That being said, once we got into the action I found the plot to be interesting. There was a mystery element, so you spent the book trying to figure out what was going on and who was behind everything. Overall, the pacing varied between engaging and slow, so it wasn’t a smooth, consistent experience. I would still recommend this book to fans of Buffy, but wouldn’t suggest to put too much pressure on it to amaze.



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