Slayer (1) Hardcover – January 8, 2019
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About the Author
- Publisher : Simon Pulse (January 8, 2019)
- Language: : English
- Hardcover : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1534404953
- ISBN-13 : 978-1534404953
- Reading age : 14 years and up
- Lexile measure : 590L
- Grade level : 9 and up
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #118,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I feel like a kid again getting to dive back into a world I loved so much!
“Slayer” sees the world following Buffy’s choice to awaken the Potentials and the aftermath following their fight against the First and her most recent battle that ended with the destruction of magic itself as the few remaining Watcher’s struggle to cope with the new status quo, Athena discovers she’s hiding a dangerous secret and it might not be the gift it’s supposed to be.
Right off the bat I have to say it’s interesting to tell this story from a Watcher’s point of view since we spent so much time hating the council during the course of the series so it really offers up a new perspective especially being that of the children who know nothing but the old ways of teaching and their resentment towards Buffy for breaking the system and getting their comrades killed during her standoff with the First.
That being said I could have done without all the Buffy hate! I understood where it was coming from but this character is so close to my heart that I didn’t want to read continuous criticism of because we as the readers have the knowledge of what Buffy went through in order to make the decisions that she did even though the characters here don’t and I know it’s not fair of me to get annoyed by that but come on how could I not?
The story itself was kinda bland with not much of the classic set up of a big bad or something worth remembering placing this somewhere along the lines of a “Our of Mind, Out of Sight” and less of a “Becoming”.
I’ll probably continue with this because I do love the world and I’m holding out hope that it does improve but as of right now it’s just kind of okay.
I enjoyed the book mainly because I liked the world-building, and the idea behind the main character. What happens if a healer, someone who wants to help others, becomes a Slayer? Nina believes whole-hardheartedly in the mission of the Watchers – an organization practically destroyed by Buffy. She has issues with Buffy and Slayers in general, so when she becomes one, it creates an internal conflict. She struggles with the violence her Slayer powers engender: stake first, ask questions later. Her instinct is to kill any and all demons, and she has to fight that when she comes across a wounded demon. One who doesn’t harm humans and is part of a greater conspiracy that could threaten everyone she cares about. Some readers were annoyed by the fact that Buffy doesn’t take part in the story but is referenced often (usually in Slayer dreams) as a target of anger. That didn’t bother me because it made sense to me that her actions throughout the years would make her a polarizing, even vilified, figure. She did destroy the Watchers and surely some Slayers would not be happy to have that power, and the life-threatening danger that comes with it.
What nearly ruined the book for me was the overwhelming amount of angst. Much more than I’ve encountered in the many other YA novels I’ve read. Nina’s constant self-doubt, and intermittent whining, made it difficult to root for her at times. And, I hated the fact that the characters become conveniently stupid to help propel the plot. Nina immediately puts her trust in people she barely knows because they "believe in her" and are happy she’s now a Slayer. The bad guys are telegraphed so strongly they may as well have had blinking neon signs: “Do Not Trust Me.” And, other characters know she is a Slayer, but dismiss her dreams out of hand even though Slayer Dreams are a critical part of the mythology and Nina has proven at least once that she has them.
Naturally, Nina and her sister are part of a prophecy, and have a still hidden enemy within their ranks, so this is meant to be the first of a likely (YA standard) trilogy. And, I enjoyed the book enough that I would read a sequel. I just hope the author tones down the angst.
And for the most part, I really enjoyed it. It’s not without its issues, but I think most people will like it for its references and fun factor.
Nina is initially weak. Not a Watcher, she spends time healing...which seems to be her calling. Until something big changes insider her. And she becomes more. Along with this new aspect of her comes some changes to her world. The reappearance of demons and worse, her former crush.
So, I could sympathize with her about a lot of things in her life. It wasn’t hard to feel sorry for her. But I also felt her inner dialogue became repetitive after a while. She worried CONSTANTLY about the same things. She also thought the worst about her mother (which I could completely understand).
As she’s trying to unravel the reason for the demons reappearance, she’s also trying to handle her new abilities, find out what her mother is hiding, decipher her feelings on her former crush, etc. There is a lot going on, but it was almost too drawn out at times. This is the first book I’ve read from White, so I can’t say for sure if she’s always wordy, but yeah. I was tempted to skim more than a few times just to see if SOMETHING would happen. Eventually it does, but it’s really close to the end. Probably the last 15%. Which really makes up for the pacing issues I had for the rest of the story.
I wasn’t surprised by the ‘revelation’ towards the end. It’s pretty easy to see coming if you’ve ever read any story in which a character comes off as too perfect. It’s a neon red flag, for real. So while it wasn’t surprising, I was surprised at other pieces. (And omg, the epilogue is GENIUS!!)
Anyway, enjoyable for the most part. You’ve just gotta trudge though a lot of...teenage angst and questioning of themselves. I do look forward to seeing what happens next for the characters and will definitely pick up the next installment!
Top reviews from other countries
Nina grew up in the watcher society, now she is one of the few left. Yet she believes with all her heart in the Watchers. What the Watchers stand for. Now with the powers of a Slayer, she starts to see the other side of the story.
This a great story for all Buffy fans. Even before reading the acknowledgments I knew Kiersten White was a Buffy fan. Simply because of her respect for the source materials. Not the the tv show but the extra two seasons that were done in the comic as well. To someone who loves continuity like me this is gold.
I love the brave new world aspect of the story,and finding how the Watchers should fit into this is a great idea. Another good nostalgic touch in this story is Nina is about the same age that Buffy was when she became the Slayer. Yet where Buffy changed from normal to supernatural Nina was raised on the supernatural and it is the only world she knows. Yet she is not accepted into it. Add in her own personal trails and trauma. A great beginning of a new character. Also great side characters.
The only down side I found was a lot dame things keep getting repeated again and again. Example the mothers choice everything seem to keep coming back to that. Yet the character is 16 so as annoying as it can be, if is completely understandable.
If you are a fan of the series this is a great continuation. I am not going to day an ending because in Buffy (like this book) it is never the end.
I already had this book on pre-order when I spotted it on Netgalley so I can’t tell you how excited I was to get a pre-pub copy to read. I love Buffy and have followed the new seasons as they have come out in graphic book form. The chance of meeting a new slayer was just too good to pass up. Though I have to say, having seen some other recent reboots and remakes I was worried it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Instead, it excelled them.
*****SPOILER ZONE RECAP: BUFFY SEASONS 7 & 8*****
Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: in Season 7, the First Evil blew up the Watcher’s Council, and tried to exterminate the slayer line by killing all the Potential Slayers, Willow helped Buffy to activate all the Potentials into Slayers and the hellmouth was destroyed. In Season 8, a mysterious entity called Twilight lead Buffy into being an Uber-Slayer, and a new dimension was created but this lead to an apocalyptic invasion of numerous huge demons into our world. Buffy destroyed the Seed of Wonder, which was the source of all magic in our world, sealing off the hell dimensions from us, but trapping many of them here. During the fight, the Slayer scythe was broken and Giles was killed by a possessed Angel.
I thought this book would be set in a different time frame to Buffy so it felt a bit strange to find out that Buffy was still around with her slayer army, though our hero Athena Jamison-Smythe is not part of that army. If the name Jamison-Smythe sounds familiar to Buffsters with good memories, that is because Athena and her twin sister Artemis are the daughters of Buffy’s first Watcher, Merrick Jamison-Smythe and this not the only familiar name in the book by any means.
Athena (Nina) and her twin Artemis grew up with the Watcher’s Council, the remnants of whom are now in hiding. Nina hates Buffy, whom she blames for the death of her father, among other things, so she is less than happy with the realisation that she is a newly activated Slayer herself. She has been trained as a medic, not a fighter. She has issues with her mother who is keeping secrets and her activation as a Slayer causes a divide with her sister, Artemis. Nina must learn to be something that she hates, connect with the other Slayers and learn that being Chosen means making some heartbreaking choices. Like Buffy before her, she must eventually choose between someone she loves and the safety of the world.
The new Slayer is engaging and her ambivalent feelings are relatable, though I did get quite frustrated and her lack of assertiveness. It seemed to take far too long for her to begin standing up to people. At one point I actually flung my e-reader down in annoyance. There is a lot of scope there for character development.
This insight into the Watcher’s Council next generation is fascinating, unlikely as it was that almost all of the remaining Watchers have surnames we’ve already heard of. Cleverly, the absence of magic renders the previous generation of Watchers obsolete giving the newbies a chance to step up. Similarly Demons and zompires (vamps created after the link to hell was severed) have to be fought the old fashioned way, with weapons. Slayer strength, strategy and wisdom are suddenly so much more important. No magical shortcuts any more.
Buffyverse is a place where the internal history will always be important. Story threads will are often drawn from past events, but there is enough going on here to draw in a new generation of fans. Knowledge of the series is not a pre-requisite for reading this book. I feel existing fans will welcome the chance to revisit this world and few of them will be reaching for their box sets in a burst of nostalgia.
And my favourite part “Slayer #1” which indicates that there is more to come.
We still keep watch’.
There are a lot of novels that I’m deeply looking forward to this year but Slayer was definitely one of the top ones and giving it anything less than five stars is actually quite difficult to do. I honestly thought that this was going to be one of my top books of the year – not only is it new Buffy but it’s also by Kiersten White, after all – but for me something was missing, as much as it pains me to say so.
Starting with the positive however, I can quite easily and honestly say that this book managed to capture the overall feel and humour of Buffy quite spectacularly. If there was anything that worried me about this novel, it was that it wouldn’t have that ‘Buffy feel’ to it, but somehow it did. Right from the start it emulated the feel of the show with its mention of prophecies and the rather snide remarks about demons and their love of Latin.
’Of all the awful things demons do, keeping Latin alive when it deserves to be a dead language might be the worst.’
That right there is a quote that wouldn’t feel out of place being spoken by one of members of the ‘Scooby Gang’ and similar comments with that same Buffy feel followed throughout. There were also ties to the show and mentions of past events to further help paint the picture of the universe that this novel is set within. Reading this novel it seemed fairly obvious to me that the author must have loved the show greatly and I’m glad that she was chosen to write it. I honestly can’t believe how spot on the tone of some of the dialogue was.
I’ve noticed that a lot of people seemed to have an issue with Artemis’s hatred of Buffy, but considering what her family had been through I found it perfectly understandable. She lost her father, and the organisation that she grew up in, to Buffy in some ways so her feelings seemed spot on to me. What I did find, towards the end, was that her feelings switched to the positive a little too quickly. I understand how being a Slayer herself would change things but it just seemed too instantaneous for me. Although, that being said, the scene where that happened was incredibly touching for me and quite splendidly written. I just loved the heart to heart that she had with Buffy and can’t believe how wonderfully the author managed to capture such an iconic character’s personality. That scene with Buffy really made me melt inside; I just wish that there had been a bit more of a build up of her feelings softening towards her before then.
I loved reading the points of view of the Hunter that were dotted throughout the novel and can quite honestly say that I didn’t see the reveal of who she was coming. These, again, I thought were splendidly written and I was always eager to see what the next scene from their point of view would bring.
There were several characters that I quite liked although a few others that I wasn’t really a fan of. One of the things that I loved was that Artemis was a Slayer who wanted to heal things, not hurt them; I really felt that it bought a different perspective to things. I found her friend Cillian quite interesting too, as well as several of her other companions. Her relationship with her mother and sister were also both interesting to learn about. I did feel that Athena turned against her a bit too quickly at times however.
As I said earlier there was something missing for me in this novel however, although I really am struggling to put my finger on exactly what it was. I think part of it was that at times I thought there was a little bit too much conversation happening between Artemis and the demons that she encountered during this novel. Yes I liked that she wanted to heal others, not harm them in general but I felt that some of the demons that she encountered surely wouldn’t have just happily discussed things with her; more of them would have tried to fight. I know that in Buffy she was always making witty remarks with demons but that was usually whilst she was kicking their arse. I also feel like maybe the overall tone of the novel was a little too light and younger than I was expecting. Although it caught the feel of Buffy really well, particularly the humour, I felt that it needed a bit more grit.
Overall if it was any other novel I’d probably have given it three stars, not four, as something just didn’t click for me. If it was a little darker and more grown up then maybe it would have been perfect – as I think that’s what felt off to me – but as it stood I found the story fairly interesting but the overall effect somewhat average. Slayer got an extra star for how superbly it captured most of the Buffy feel however, as well as for the Hunter scenes which were a pleasure to read and the beautiful heart to heart with Buffy. I’m still looking forward to reading the next novel, I just really hope it clicks better for me as I love Buffy and some of Kiersten White’s other work so much