Slayer

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

Confession, I vaguely remember Buffy from my younger days and I mostly read this because I like Kiersten White's writing. So, I was a little confused at the beginning because the backstory made little sense to me but I ended up enjoying it anyway. So, even if you haven't watched Buffy, you can still enjoy this book.

As I said, the beginning was a bit awkward, it felt more like a sequel, because I think I was suppose to know all the terms and names being thrown around. That also might be why I never felt fully invested in the characters. I did however, enjoy that the story focused on the squad involved (Nina and her twin sister Artemis, their friend Rhys and his boyfriend Cillian) and the tiny whisper of a romance was barely a thing. I also loved that Nina was born into this world of slayers and demons but she just wants to heal people and is simply the sweetest bean. She has zero desire to be the "chosen one" and no one else is happy about it either. It's because everyone keeps dismissing her that she finally stands up and says "wait a minute, I've got this, thank you very much". I really enjoyed witnessing that transition because I felt like I could relate to being underestimated. 

I enjoyed the demons and the demon butt-kicking that ensued even if it was occasionally a bit cheesy. And despite it being a bit predictable I found that I was engaged and always interested in returning to the story because it was a lot of fun.

I would recommend Slayer to anyone who loves Buffy, Shadowhunters, or Supernatural.
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I grew up on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the moment I saw this I am pretty sure I literally squealed. In my mind no slayer could ever be as good as Buffy so I found there were a couple times I had to remind myself to stop comparing and focus instead on the new world and characters. This was an amazing book.
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this definitely had that buffy vibe. it's also very reminiscent of the author's paranormalcy series so if you like that, you'll probably love this too.

i was, however, a little underwhelmed. i know how well this author can write from reading the conqueror's saga, but i didn't feel that depth in this book.

the relationships also weren't that great in my opinion. i just didn't like them.

i still found this very intriguing. i read it all in one sitting and i look forward to the next installment.
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I really enjoyed reading this wonderful book! As a Buffy fan, I felt like this book was just perfect and I can't wait to read the next book! it's got a great amount of action and I loved how much I connected with the MC
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Kiersten White is one of my favourite authors, so you can imagine how ecstatic I was to get approved for an ARC of one of her books on Netgalley. You can also imagine how much shame I feel for taking so long to review it.

I’ve only watched 4 ½ episodes of Buffy, so I didn’t have this big attachment to the show going in. I’ve seen fans of the show go either way on this one, so if you’re a major fan I highly recommend reading some reviews from reviewers you trust who are also fans of the show.

Because I had no previous attachment to the show, it took me until 18% of the way through to really get invested in the story. There were a lot of “I should recognize this name but don’t” moments, but it didn’t end up mattering that much once the story got going because I was hooked after that. You don’t actually need to have seen any episodes of Buffy to read Slayer.

The characters were all really complex. I know this because I spent half the book wanting to stab them, and half the book sympathizing with them (not all at the same time of course). In particular, I both hated and loved Artemis depending on what was happening.

I did really love Nina, though. She made some… interesting choices, sure, but based on my Goodreads updates I just wanted to protect her and give her a hug.

I remember the action scenes being great. And by I remember, I mean I have a note from right after I finished Slayer (in January) that says exactly that and nothing else. I can remember what happened in them, but I can’t for the life of me remember what made them so great. I guess you’ll have to read the book for yourself to find out.

The same goes for my last point, which just says “Oh my god that ending”. Apparently the ending was really something because not only does my Goodreads review read “Holy !!!!” (at least before I post this one there), but I also have a couple updates for the end of the book that show how blown away I was. Let this be a lesson to you to not wait too long to write your reviews.

Overall, I really loved Slayer, earning it 4.75 stars out of 5.
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2.5 Stars ( I received an e-arc from netgalley for review)
I read this back in November and my thoughts on the book have gone all over the place. My love of Buffy started almost fifteen years ago and has continued into me reading the graphic novel continuation up until before the most recent run. This book has so many references/Easter eggs to the buffyverse that a casual fan might not be able to recognize. The plot in the story occurs after a certain point in the spin off graphic novel series, which you don't have to read but it does give a lot more context to the story. I do love how the main character and her sister are named after greek goddesses and this book reads very quickly, you get sucked into the story. I did like the banter in between the students/friends but they are no Scooby Gang and the more I keep thinking about the story it's a little messy. Artemis is the perfect can do no wrong sister and Nina is a bit of an outcast, looked over by everyone. Her mom treats her horribly always communicating/ interacting with Artemis but is strict and cold towards Nina. I do appreciate the inclusion of some lgbt content but one of the people in the couples is just a terrible person and is overly dramatic. I did figure out the who the villian was and the romance wasn't super compelling. The ending was predictable but what really annoyed me was it was a decent ending until the very last minute. I had hoped the story wouldn't go that route but it did. That being said I did read this book in one day and stayed up late to finish it. I enjoyed it but would not purchase a finished copy
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer, along with Veronica Mars and the West Wing, is one of my top three favourite TV shows. When I found out about this book, I was equal parts excited and hesitant. This book is definitely for the fans. Someone who has no experience with the Buffyverse would enjoy this story, but probably be completely lost. I appreciated all the nods to both the shows and the comics, but I am still on the fence about this book. I think I need to see where the series is going. This was a solid effort, and I will definitely read the sequel.
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I’m a big fan of Kiersten White, so I was really excited to get a copy of this book, and it didn’t disappoint! I loved it. It stayed true to the “Buffy” franchise, while also bringing Kiersten’s wit and wackiness to the narrative. A great, rollicking read.
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In the first in a new series Kiersten White takes readers back to the world of The Slayers but from a whole new perspective:

Nina and her twin sister Artemis have lived a far from normal life and though they may look alike they are very different people. They are growing up in The Watcher Academy, or whats left of it since Buffy ended magic. Nina has carved out a place for herself as a Medic but everything changes in one instant when she places herself in danger to save others. Nina becomes a Slayer, the last slayer every to be, and now Nina has to wrestle with not only being a Slayer but questioning everything she knows not only about herself but the Watchers place in this new world. Things are never easy for a Slayer and as the bodies start to pile up Nina has to make some hard decision that could affect the world.

So this book is basically calling all Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans which I totally am but of the TV series, I was not into reading at the time of the end of the show so I never kept up with the graphic novels that followed. This is where White makes a few assumptions. First you’re here because you loved and enjoyed Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show, as stated that is why I picked up this book so you have the general understanding of the slayer and watchers, vampires demons etc, so if you never watched this series you may be a bit lost as to the world that was built and everything that really came before. Second it assumes that you continued on with the graphic novels/comic books after the tv series ended which I did not so there are plenty of events that happened in these media forms that I was not aware of. So there were times, especially at the beginning of the book, where I felt a bit lost.

This book was quite a bit darker than I thought that it would be; From the type of demons that are introduced, death of some of the characters and illegal demon fighting, this book does cover quite a bit of dark ground. These are all traits that were embraced by the TV show so I am glad that White kept to these traits. White also does a good job of integrating the mystery and teen genres in this books as well (though at times there was a little bit too much teen aspects for me).

There is a lot of Buffy bashing. To say the main character does not like Buffy and blames her for many of the wrongs in the world and her life is an understatement (She even makes this statement more than once throughout the book). However, Nina who is the main character of this book, does grow and develop as a character and begins to see a different side to the slayer aspect. I really appreciated that White had Nina grow as a character, this was one of the high points of this book.

I was able to figure out one of the big twists but did not see the second one coming which was a great surprise, so I appreciate that White was able to do this. Nonetheless, I am unsure if I will continue on in this series, there were aspects that I liked but there was a bit too much teen drama for me, which probably a teenager would enjoy but reading as an adult it was a bit much.

Enjoy!!!
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"Being chosen is easy. Making choices will break your heart."

Disclaimer: As a 'I-grew-up-with-Buffy The Vampire Slayer' fan, my hopes for SLAYER were... a lot. I was totally bracing myself for major disappointment. But boy, this book delivereeeed! And made me want to rewatch the tv show all over again because the nostalgia is real.

SLAYER was, in some ways, achingly sad. But the mix of humour and romance in the midst of all the supernatural demonic madness felt natural, and the quick pace made it an easy book to fly through. There was a delightful amount of diversity and representation to be found.

I found the first 60% or so was a bit dragging because a lot of characters weren't trusting the MC and she had to go through a lot of re-explaining and re-convincing to make them LISTEN.

But then the last 40% happened and I was so SO HERE FOR IT! What an ending!

So so so definitely need the sequel.
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I really enjoyed this book. I loved the show and I was very excited to dive back into this world. The Buffy references were on point. My only qualm was they were always making Buffy seem like she was spoiled and as a fan of the show I wasn't really to pleased by this. I would definitely recommend people to read this book.
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A nice throwback for the generation who grew up with Buffy but also a great way to introduce new fans into the world of slayers. It was nice to see a vampire book from the opposite side we're usually shown.
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I remember watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a preteen in the late 90's and early 00's so I can say I'm in the know about the Scooby Gang. I can also say that I made my younger sister a forever fan, too. I can also say that I read all the comics, graphic novels, spin-offs, and all that jazz. Am I a super fan? Mmmm. No. I enjoyed the show and all that but I love Supernatural and Veronica Mars more. That being said I was very reluctant to start this book because I'm a traditionalist. I like the original not the fanfiction. No this is not like the Cursed Child, Buffy-style but it isn't written by Joss Whedon. I went into it not expecting to like it much or to not be happy with how some of the original characters are written or portrayed. However. I love Kiersten White and her style of writing badass female characters. If you haven't read any of her novels I suggest you do. They are all fabulous. In the end, I did enjoy Slayer. I liked the characters and the way the story was played out and I will most definitely continue with this series. I think it was fun and uniquely done. I will also gift a copy of Slayer to my sister the super fan I created by introducing her to the show so many years ago. I know she'll enjoy it as much as I did.
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Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for an early ebook. I so wanted to adore Slayer by Kiersten White, but I found it to be just OK. I did not feel any attachment to the characters and found the main character quite annoying. I guessed who was the villain almost from the start (but was still surprised at the end). It was slow and the main character kept whining about Buffy, which annoyed me the most honestly. Anyway, it has a great morale and sets up the second book nicely. I will probably read it too.
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Nostalgia can be a powerful emotion that makes it difficult to rationally and subjectively review a topic or book. So I forewarn you that as a teenager I was heavily influenced by Buffy the Vampire Slayer. By the time Buffy and Angel were done on television I was 21 and had heard the messages of Joss Whedon weekly through my formative years. 

Timeline
I like the choice of time period in Slayer. We are told it happens 3 years after Season 8 ends. Therefore 2 years after L.A. is sent to Hell and shortly after magic has disappeared. Just long enough after for people to have started to adjust (6 months) and set-up what there life is like now without magic. We meet our watcher teenagers that lead the story during a time when they are in hiding and no longer really needed; as there are now a large number of Slayers and no more to be made if magic stays away. If you are familiar with the Season 9-10 comics then you will know exactly when this is likely to be taking place. 

Lead Gal
Like Buffy and her friends our lead gal is a teenager who is frustrated with her life. She hates Buffy (much to my amusement as Buffy was never my favourite character) and blames Buffy for her life being ruined now that there are too many Slayers and no magic left. Unfortunately as Slayer moves through it's narrative our lead gal becomes difficult to sympathize with. She's a bit whiny and certainly needs to get some perspective on what it was like to be Buffy and crew faced with the decisions they were. Luckily perspective is (*cue eye roll*) exactly what our lead gal receives. I can't help but feel it's extremely cliche and boring. 

Watchers
I found it incredibly difficult to feel like the Watchers were as important as they make themselves out to be. Maybe because Scoobies are easily found to do research and a Watcher 'education' is not required? Maybe because I cannot forget how the Watchers showed up that one time on Buffy's birthday and tried to tell her how it was going to be from the helm of the old boys club? Or maybe it's because I dislike the idea that a powerful and strong girl isn't capable of also being smart enough to remember details about demons or do her own research? Perhaps ironically I'm about as far away from being a Slayer as anyone could be. I'm more of a Xander or Willow type that has their nose in a book researching (as many of you reading this review likely are too!). This led to a difficulty to really care about this set of lost Watchers in the woods. In fact they might be as creepy as the watcher in the woods from the movie and book of the same name (and from 90's pop culture). Not only are they undesired by the general public but they are in hiding and trying to influence without being seen.  

The Cameos
I really loved the cameos! We get to encounter all kinds of people we know from the Buffyverse. But here's the thing; what if you read this and didn't know anything about the 'verse, you would be lost. Many characters who 'show up' in some way shape or form (in person, in dreams, in flashbacks, etc.) are never actually named. Now a fan of the show  knows that a dark haired Slayer who says "five by five" is Faith. And we know the significance and intent that Faith may give an opinion or advice from. But for the average reader with limited Buffy knowledge this context would be completely lost. I'm not sure if that is okay or not. I suppose it depends on the purpose you believe this book was written for. Overall if the idea was to bring in a new, younger generation of Buffy fans then this is definitely a huge problem with the set-up Kiersten White went with. 

Purpose
Whether White intended to write this for existing fans or to draw in a new audience, it misses the mark. Slayer really only scratches the surface of what could be and misses out on a lot of the inherent darkness that always existed in Buffy. There is no real character that embodies what a vampire with a soul is like. As the anti-hero is always my favourite this perhaps felt like a bigger miss to me than others might feel. I craved more darkness and moral ambiguity than there was. 
Additionally there are almost no vampires in this book. Weird right? Totally weird. I'm not sure why this decision was made but it felt like the wrong decision. Of course there are a million other demons in the Buffyverse; but I really craved and hoped for a vampire story and instead I got a demon enemy with a sprinkling of vampire on the side; almost as an afterthought. The disappointment at no classic one-on-one vampire vs slayer fights really struck me by the end of the book. 

Comedic Relief
As is often the case in a Whedon built universe 'the' comic relief is one of the most important and interesting characters. In this case our comic relief was very obvious; and I loved the introductory description of our demon in a Coldplay shirt. It greatly amused me and sets up some context for our demon right away. I couldn't help but think of Doyle (from Angel) at times while this demon spoke. There were comments or thoughts that really resonated with me as being something Doyle might have said at some point had they been able to keep his character alive longer in Angel (look up Doyle and the actor if you don't know why he was written out of the show). This was easily my favourite part of the story. In fact without this cute demon I might not have hung in for the whole book. 

Overall
Slayer has all the required elements of a Buffyverse story: gay couple, mysterious outsider, geeky girl, comedic demon, watcher(s), some fighting and a 'baddie' to investigate. Yet somehow it misses something for me. It was fine. Nothing special. In fact if you stripped the Buffy lore out and changed some names it could easily be an average teen novel of today. Maybe this is what bugs me about White's take on the Buffyverse... it's too average. Buffy was a leap ahead of it's time in the 90's and I really wanted this to feel like the next step forward. Instead it felt like we were reminiscing about the past and capitalizing off the reboot fever of the 21st century. 
This won't be joining my Buffyverse, the same as the last couple seasons of the comics don't exist in my brain. You see, I have an idea of Buffy in my brain that may no longer be achievable; and maybe it's the nostalgia of my age and the time when Buffy was new and the best thing ever. Or maybe it's that I've grown past the ability to relate to the Buffyverse and Buffy-style characters anymore. I am 36 years old after all. Whatever the reason this was a miss for me and one I'm disappointed to put to the side and (mostly) forget; but also one where I accept that I may not be the target market and my heart may be too close to this universe to be totally objective. 

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.
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I received this book free from Netgalley in return for an honest review. 

I really enjoyed being back in the Buffyverse.  I love that this book is canon, and has a few of our favourite characters with cameos.  

Artemis and Nina are twins, daughters of Watchers.  When Buffy closed off all contact with the demon realms, all magic disappeared.  The Watchers that remain after a cataclysmic event are hidden away in the outskirts of a tiny town in Scotland.  

Hellhounds and demons start to appear, and one of the twins discovers skills she didn't know she had.  She is the Last Slayer.   

Adventures and danger ensue.  The story is wellpaced, the action well-written.   Lots of fun to read.  I was sad to see my page count remaining dwindling.  I certainly hope there are more books in this world.
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A lot was working against me and this book. I’m a big Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. I don’t read fan fiction and not really into that side of things. I didn’t know what happened in the comic seasons between the tv show and this book. I had a hard time with the writing style. I almost put this book down so many times but I did finish it! It did get better for me, but it was a bit of a painful process.

This isn’t fan fiction, I will clarify, and I know it’s accepted as canon, but it just felt so different to me. Nina is part of the Watchers world – the people who were once tasked with protecting the Slayers. But the Watchers have had a rough go of it since Buffy dismissed herself from their stead. Their headquarters were blown up in the last season of the show, and the few remaining Watchers and their families have been on the run ever since. Now in Ireland, they live in their castle and wonder what to do with themselves without being able to protect the hundreds of slayers that were activated at the end of the show. Nina’s father was Buffy’s first Watcher – the one who told her of her destiny in LA. But he was killed on duty. And then Buffy ended all of magic in order to save the world in one of the comic seasons. All of these happenings mean that Nina really hates Buffy. Like a lot. So much so that she repeats it constantly. So for someone who enjoyed Buffy, to come right into this was kind of off-putting in a way. But it was the repetition that really bugged me.

Anyways. Nina’s been feeling weird lately, but hasn’t told anyone. When she surprisingly took down a hellhound on castle grounds, her worst fears are confirmed: she is a slayer. The last one, in fact, to be activated before magic disappeared. There’s a ton of angst around this, which is to be expected, but it did grate on me after a while. Then there’s Nina’s relationship with her twin sister Artemis and their mother, full of so much tension and confusion. Nina spends the book constantly questioning everything that it gets a little out of control. Everyone expected Artemis to be the star – she’s strong, smart, and a natural leader. Their mother even saved Artemis first when their house was on fire, so that’s left Nina feeling traumatized for sure. With her new slayer power, the dynamic in the family has shifted. I liked this aspect since in the Buffy show, Joyce (
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I'll level with you. I've never seen a single episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not one. I've seen a minute here and there when my sister was watching, but I know next to nothing about the Buffy-verse. Why I requested a spin-off novel, I don't know. But unbelievably I actually enjoyed it!

This series kicks off a few months after Buffy destroyed some seed that removed magic from the world. The Watchers have dwindled to next to nothing, Slayers are nowhere to be found, and with magic gone demons are stuck on earth with nowhere to go. I legit have no idea how much of this is canon. My sister doesn't know either since Netflix pulled the show before she could finish. 

She was kind enough to explain the difference between Watcher and Slayer for me though, because that was not laid out well in this novel. That was one aspect that automatically knocked a star off for me on this book. While it does try to keep the reader on what exactly is up, it's clear this is angled more for those who have watched some of the show. 

I really liked Nina as the main character. I thought her development as a person and her struggle with navigating between being a Watcher and a Slayer was well done. Her sister Artemis had me gnashing my teeth with how protective she is. Rhys and Cillian were cute, but Cillian featured far more than Rhys did. For the most part, a lot of the secondary characters kind of blended into the background. The focus was on Nina and the dynamic she has with her sister and her mother. And I'm okay with that.

This is, shockingly, my first Kiersten White novel. I have several of her books but I've never gotten around to reading them so I wasn't sure what to expect. The style was a little rough at the start. It felt a little ... youngish at the start? But I got used to it and it balanced out as the story progressed. In terms of world-building, I suppose there wasn't much to write home about. A lot of it was already developed for her, I think, and it was more focused on character than setting. I got a wee bit confused in the big final scene, finding it hard to follow, so that knocked half a star off as well. 

I was surprised to find this wasn't a standalone. It looks to be a trilogy, and this instalment left a few storylines wide open and teased a few others. That said, I wasn't sure if I'd be interested in carrying on with the series until I read the last chapter. There is a tiny little reveal of something that threads through the entire story that has got me damn well curious now. 

3.5/5
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Definitely for Buffy fans. I loved watching Buffy, the movie & TV series, when I was a teenager, this book made me want to re-watch the TV series. Action, humour & a few plot twists like the TV series.
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Perfect for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Athena (Nina) and Artemis are twin sisters that grew up in the Watcher Academy after their father was killed while protecting Buffy. Right before all magic was destroyed on Earth, Nina risked her life to protect her twin sister and activated her Slayer powers, becoming the last Slayer on Earth. Nina is a healer and is viewed as the weaker of the twins since her mother pushed her to be a medic rather than train to fight to protect future slayers. Now that Nina is a Slayer, her odds have turned. With incredible new strength and senses, her friends and family now have to see Nina in a different way, where she becomes their leader and takes on vampires and demons to protect the academy and the rest of the world safe from evil forces.

I'm a huge fan of Kiersten White, so even though I've never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I knew I had to get my hands on this book. I sincerely enjoyed the story, the world and the plot, but unfortunately there were some characters and the relationships they had with Nina that I didn't quite enjoy.

Nina goes through an incredible self discovery and gains confidence throughout this book. She goes from the shy and weak girl who believes that she's the least favourite twin, to a strong woman that follows her instincts and isn't afraid to do what is right. I loved Nina as the main character, and I absolutely loved her character building. As for the rest of Nina's family, I'm not exactly happy with them. Artemis is very selfish and choses to take her anger out on Nina multiple times throughout the story. There were moments where the twins were fighting and Nina realizes that she's also to blame for the things she did wrong and choses to apologize, all while Artemis continues to be grumpy and blame Nina for everything that happens, while continuously doubting her even though her newfound senses have proven to be right. I would have been okay with this if the sisters left off on a good note and learned how to work together by the end of the book, but sadly I was a bit disappointed. Nina's mother is a whole different story, but I wont be expanding on why I dislike her story due to spoilers. The rest of Nina's friend group I actually quite enjoyed. They were diverse and different and I found all of them quite entertaining.

The plot was very well written. There was action at the beginning of the book and it continued throughout the story to keep the reader well entertained and wanting to read more. While it was a tad predictable, there were moments where I was pleasantly surprised and not expecting them at all. The book was engaging and story was entertaining, the only thing I would add is a little bit more surprises.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story and will definitely keep reading in the series. I'm excited to see what happens next to Nina.
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