Slayer by Kiersten WhiteSlayer by Kiersten White

Slayer

byKiersten White

Hardcover | January 8, 2019

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about

A New York Times bestseller
A Publishers Weekly bestseller

From bestselling author Kiersten White comes a brand-new series set in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that introduces a new Slayer as she grapples with the responsibility of managing her incredible powers that she’s just beginning to understand.

Into every generation a Slayer is born…

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.
Kiersten White is an author of fantasy books including And I Darken, Now I Rise, the Paranormalcy trilogy, Mind Games, Perfect Lies, The Chaos of Stars, and Illusions of Fate. She also co-wrote In the Shadows with Jim Di Bartolo.
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Title:SlayerFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:416 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.4 inShipping dimensions:8.25 × 5.5 × 1.4 inPublished:January 8, 2019Publisher:Simon PulseLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1534404953

ISBN - 13:9781534404953

Appropriate for ages: 14

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A For the Lover of Books Review *Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are honest and my own. 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.
Date published: 2019-06-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great addition to the Buffy-verse White has managed to pull in TV show canon quite nicely, and yet tells a completely unique story. It takes place after the end of the series, and is told from a young teen’s POV. Nina is a part of one of the original Watcher families, and has a lot of baggage related to that. She hates Buffy for the chaos and death she has brought to Nina’s family, and pretty much feels the same way about all the other Potentials/Slayers. So when Nina becomes a Slayer herself… well, emotional upheaval would be an understatement. Nina is a great character, but at times I just wanted to smack her; her insecurities were CONSTANTLY cropping up, which made her act like a total doormat. But her progression into a confident woman was well done - it felt natural and not abrupt at all. The only bummer with this book was how fast I spotted the villain - which doesn’t usually happen to me! It kind of killed the suspense, unfortunately, and I found myself getting impatient while waiting for the characters to catch up. But I still enjoyed it - this a great start to a new series, and a worthy continuation of the show. I’m looking forward to the next book!
Date published: 2019-04-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Nostalgic but not much else 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.
Date published: 2019-02-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from High Expectations Were Definitely Met As many of my friends know, my hero is Buffy Summers. I wrote essay after essay on why she was so important to me. I had several seasons of both Buffy and Angel memorized. I drafted letters to the creators and show runners. I avidly read the comics every month. She is and always will be my number one idol. So to say I went into this book with the bar high is to put it mildly. Slayer follows Athena (aka. Nina) as she is constantly brushed aside by the rest of the remaining Watchers, her mother included. After Buffy threatens the world again, Nina ends up as the world’s newest, and final, Slayer. As if things couldn’t get any worse for a girl who’s whole life has been ruined by Buffy Summers time and time again. I won’t lie, this book started off a little rocky, and I was concerned I wasn’t going to get into it since I had a hard time connecting to Nina in the beginning, but the second the ball really gets rolling, I was hooked. Nina’s struggles to come to terms with being the Slayer were really interesting to me because I’d never really seen anti-Slayer attitudes from anyone but bad guys in the show. The rational of the Watchers was really interesting and what I loved the most was that Kiersten White tied it in to the movie!!! I know next to no people who have seen the terrible Buffy movie but I love it and was so happy that it’s properly tied into the canon along with the connections made to the comic books. For all y’all new fans, knowledge of the show is recommended, but not necessary. Same goes for those who haven’t read the comics. It’s a great way to dive into this 90s classic and I hope it inspires people to go back and watch the show regardless of whether they’ve seen it already or not. I’m so happy that this turned out well and can’t wait for book two in the series.
Date published: 2019-02-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A fast-paced read that’s definitely meant for fans of Buffy only A companion novel to Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 8, Slayer details what happens when Athena Jamison-Smythe, daughter of Watchers, becomes the last Slayer to ever be called before magic is destroyed from Earth. Athena, or Nina, is one of the twin daughters of Merrill Jamison-Smythe, who was Buffy Summers’ first Watcher. Her mother is also a Watcher, and Nina grew up with her sister Artemis learning the traditions and rules of the Watcher’s Council. All of that changed when Buffy came along and broke with the Council, then erased magic. Suddenly, there are thousands of Slayers and demons all trapped on Earth, and no way to get to other dimensions. In the midst of this, the Watchers have been decimated and their families destroyed. So yeah, Nina kind of hates Slayers – and Buffy in particular, for ruining her life. While Nina and her sister love each other, they’ve been caught in roles that have always defined them: Artemis as the protector of Nina and the one who always belonged as a Watcher-in-training, and Nina as the one who was always weak, shunted to the side, told not to train or get ready to be part of the Council. When Nina discovers that she’s a Slayer, though, and her mother hid her potential, suddenly the tables are turned. Artemis (who isn’t a Watcher) and Nina don’t know how to deal with this new information, and with Nina being the stronger twin. Nina is dealing with that revelation and a whole host of other emotions when a demons start showing up around the castle where she and the Watchers are hiding out. It’s up to her to figure out how she’s going to save her family and what forces are at play. I wish I’d liked Slayer more than I did. It’s fast and there’s a ton of plot. Kiersten White did a great job inserting this story into the Buffyverse – there are Easter eggs for fans, and it emulates the fun and silly dialogue that Buffy creator Joss Whedon is known for. I also liked that this story featured the Watchers and a whole different perspective on what happened in Buffy seasons 7 and 8. That said, I found myself not too invested in Nina or Artemis – in fact, I pretty much hated Artemis through most of the story for her overprotective attitude. I also felt that Nina was kind of whiny and way too angsty during the book. As a huge Buffy fan, I did like how the story unfolded and its emphasis on strong female characters, but overall, it was just okay for me. There are some cute moments with Nina’s new Watcher, her former crush Leo, but even that felt a bit forced. Everything about this story just felt like it was trying to hit certain beats, and I just couldn’t quite get into the character because of that. THE FINAL WORD: Slayer is a fast-paced read that’s definitely meant for fans of Buffy only. Yes, you’ll be able to read it as a standalone, but honestly, why would you? There’s way too much backstory for a non-fan, but for fans, it’s fun and different from the primary storyline. I would call this a library read for people who are super into the Buffyverse.
Date published: 2019-01-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The same old Buffyverse we love, new characters to adopt Trigger warning: death, violence, mentions of torture 4 ⭐️ If there's anything that can catch my eye on the first try, it's something about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'm a lifelong fan and will try anything that is related to the Buffyverse. Which is why I was extremely happy to get an eARC for this book! And it's a great novel! For people who already know the world in details... I know a lot about Buffy. In fact, I can tell you which episode from which season is a single scene. That's how much I know the TV series (much less so the comics, but that's another subject). So this novel, with its numerous hints about the original series and the comics, might not be so good for newcomers. And I don't know just how much teens today know about the TV show. They didn't grow up seeing it on TV. Did they watch every season on Netflix? Do they know enough about Buffy to understand just how much this novel fits in? When they read "five by five", do they immediately know it's Faith talking? Do they link the description of the demon who feeds on emotion and kittens with Clem? Because a lot of Slayer by Kiersten White is based on knowing everything about the Buffyverse. I don't know what to really think about this book. There are a lot of good things, like the references to the original world and how Nina despises Buffy for her choices, then comes to understand them. She hates Buffy for who she is and what she did to her father, but she gradually realizes that a Slayer's life is never easy and Buffy was never happy about the hard choices she made. That was probably my favourite part of the storyline. I lvoed the way Nina slowly comes to term with what being a Slayer means. But the novel is not all perfect, mainly because of the childish way the characters behave. Ironically, Nina, Artemis, Rhys, Leo and Honora are about the same age Buffy and her friends were in the first few seasons of the TV show, yet they act in a much more childish way. The main plot revolves around the lack of communication between the characters. I hate when books do that, because it basically means that, if they actually talked to each other instead of keeping secrets in their own corner, there would be no plot. If the characters had shared their secret and their doubts with each other, the book would have been finished in 100 pages and Cosmina would have been saved. As for the characters themselves, Nina is pretty much the only character I really liked. Her mom was the worst mother figure ever, even with the ending revelation. Rhys was #1 (precious boy!), but not present enough in my opinion. I had a good opinion of Leo, until the end... Artemis was a horrible twin, and Honora was just... I can't even begin with her, despicable girl. I'm a tiny bit iffy about some of the details, such as the "ancient power" instead of "The Powers That Be", and Merrick having more than one Slayer under his charge going against the original Buffy lore (1 Watcher = 1 Slayer, because it's too hard to lose your Slayer). Thankfully, those were quite minor details. I was surprised by the twists I didn't see coming. Refreshing when I can usually see a plot twist coming from a mile away in YA books. All in all, it's not a bad book. It's even really good. But it felt to me like the Hocus Pocus sequel: a YA book actually meant for the grown ups who read YA and are fans of that world. So a YA book, but not meant for an actual Young adult audience. Unless they've seen the TV show and read at least season 8 in the comics, and have seen the spin-off (Angel).
Date published: 2019-01-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The same old Buffyverse we love, new characters to adopt Trigger warning: death, violence, mentions of torture 4 ⭐️ If there's anything that can catch my eye on the first try, it's something about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'm a lifelong fan and will try anything that is related to the Buffyverse. Which is why I was extremely happy to get an eARC for this book! And it's a great novel! For people who already know the world in details... I know a lot about Buffy. In fact, I can tell you which episode from which season is a single scene. That's how much I know the TV series (much less so the comics, but that's another subject). So this novel, with its numerous hints about the original series and the comics, might not be so good for newcomers. And I don't know just how much teens today know about the TV show. They didn't grow up seeing it on TV. Did they watch every season on Netflix? Do they know enough about Buffy to understand just how much this novel fits in? When they read "five by five", do they immediately know it's Faith talking? Do they link the description of the demon who feeds on emotion and kittens with Clem? Because a lot of Slayer by Kiersten White is based on knowing everything about the Buffyverse. I don't know what to really think about this book. There are a lot of good things, like the references to the original world and how Nina despises Buffy for her choices, then comes to understand them. She hates Buffy for who she is and what she did to her father, but she gradually realizes that a Slayer's life is never easy and Buffy was never happy about the hard choices she made. That was probably my favourite part of the storyline. I lvoed the way Nina slowly comes to term with what being a Slayer means. But the novel is not all perfect, mainly because of the childish way the characters behave. Ironically, Nina, Artemis, Rhys, Leo and Honora are about the same age Buffy and her friends were in the first few seasons of the TV show, yet they act in a much more childish way. The main plot revolves around the lack of communication between the characters. I hate when books do that, because it basically means that, if they actually talked to each other instead of keeping secrets in their own corner, there would be no plot. If the characters had shared their secret and their doubts with each other, the book would have been finished in 100 pages and Cosmina would have been saved. As for the characters themselves, Nina is pretty much the only character I really liked. Her mom was the worst mother figure ever, even with the ending revelation. Rhys was #1 (precious boy!), but not present enough in my opinion. I had a good opinion of Leo, until the end... Artemis was a horrible twin, and Honora was just... I can't even begin with her, despicable girl. I'm a tiny bit iffy about some of the details, such as the "ancient power" instead of "The Powers That Be", and Merrick having more than one Slayer under his charge going against the original Buffy lore (1 Watcher = 1 Slayer, because it's too hard to lose your Slayer). Thankfully, those were quite minor details. I was surprised by the twists I didn't see coming. Refreshing when I can usually see a plot twist coming from a mile away in YA books. All in all, it's not a bad book. It's even really good. But it felt to me like the Hocus Pocus sequel: a YA book actually meant for the grown ups who read YA and are fans of that world. So a YA book, but not meant for an actual Young adult audience. Unless they've seen the TV show and read at least season 8 in the comics, and have seen the spin-off (Angel).
Date published: 2019-01-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Buffy-verse is back, baby Voice galore, and with all the Slayer goodness I wanted it to be, SLAYER was most definitely an excellent continuation of the Buffy universe. And who else could've written this besides Kiersten White? Fleshing out 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. I'm level ten excited to see where White takes this story next!
Date published: 2019-01-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great Potential to a Fun New Series Like many others I grew up watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's a huge part of my childhood and while Slayer was not a book I intended to read I did enjoy my time with it. I like the concept of taking something on screen and giving it more story in book form. Living up to its name, Slayer was full of action. Although the plot wasn't super engaging there were bits of humour sprinkled throughout the story. I laughed hard! It was also fun to pick up on references to the show. Whether it was the brief mentions of the characters or recaps of old events I was overcome with nostalgia. I'm sure the tv series talked about Watcher history but I appreciate the closer look at them in the book. Their organization is impressive even if their ranks have been diminished/is diminishing. Despite the debate over the usefulness of Slayers and Watchers in a magic-less world, I love what they represented for humanity. They are knowledge and protectors at their core. Nina has a kind heart but so much self-doubt I felt frustrated with her constant despondent thoughts. I gave her the benefit of the doubt given her past trauma and the Chosen One bombshell but I really wished she'd had more confidence. Her growth near the end was incredible so can we have more of that in the next book please! There was a range of secondary characters. I loved how fiercely protective Artemis was of Nina. As a twin myself their tight yet volatile bond was very accurate. The rest of the characters didn't feel all that necessary (*cough Honora cough*) but the surprising developments at the end of the story has me curious. I see great potential in Slayer (pun absolutely intended)! Fans of the tv show will like this continuation while newcomers just might fall in love with the superpower badassery ;)
Date published: 2019-01-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Buffy Spin-off Look, I've never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not one episode. But I liked this, and that's about the highest praise I can give.
Date published: 2018-12-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Buffyverse is back! OH.MY.GOD.  I am back in the Buffyverse, this is a fangirl dream.  When I heard this book was coming out I was wary but excited and, of course, requested the arc. Full disclosure, I'm a mega Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan - I've seen the series more times then I'm willing to admit and I quote and talk about the show all the time, even to this day.  It's literally my all-time favorite series so I was quite nervous that Slayer would be a hot mess, not even going to lie.  Thankfully I was wrong. We start the story with the Watchers hideout, which I thought was a really cool idea.  We've never really seen what goes on or what all comes into play for all the people training to become a Watcher, and even more interesting, how everything that Buffy and the Scooby gang decisions affected them in the long term.  The story sets up all the characters and gives us some background of what has been going on in the Buffyverse, which is pretty essential for the readers who have never watched the show because it does take place AFTER the series.  Kiersten lays it all out for you though and it's very accessible.  We meet our slew of characters, obvious new Scooby gang potentials and throw in a demon or two and we have our plot line for the first in the series. Nina, the Watcher's resident medic and over-sheltered young girl turns out early on to be the Slayer.  What I particularly liked is that it didn't play out the exact same way as the first season of Buffy.   She had similar but different obstacles and she has a support system from the very start, unlike Buffy.  Nina is also not quite as impulsive as Buffy but she's certainly as stubborn. I did want to slap her a few times but not as much as I constantly wanted to slap Buffy, so that is a bonus right there! The side characters are all enjoyable for the most part and they all had very distinct personalities.  I can't say that I love them like I love the original Scooby gang but I think they are off to a good start.  My one problem with this book was the watcher/romance.  Nina's Watcher wasn't very cool - he was very typical in many of the YA series love interests we see and it felt pretty bland for me.  The romance didn't take up a great deal of the book though and I did like how it ended. Overall, I think this is a very nice start and for all you Buffy fans - YES! There are lots of mentions of Buffy and the gang (yes, even Spike!) and past situations they were in.  There is no shortage of fandom love.  Kiersten White knew her stuff and she didn't forget to give the long-time fans lots to get nostalgic over. Thank you Simon Pulse and Netgalley.  ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2018-12-17
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Mini review on GR! Mini review: Trigger warning: Mention of world ending, mention of fire, attempted murder, and seemingly neglectant parent. Up till the point I read. DNF I received this E-ARC via Simon and Schuster and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Two years ago I attempted to read And I Darken by this author. It didn't work for me. Though I really liked her writing style and kept on eye on her works. Slayer sounded mildly interesting. Although I am not a Buffy fan (never watched the show and don't plan too). I figured it could still be good. Unfortunately it didn't work for me. The beginning was really good! Something I've noticed with this author. I was hooked and intrigued! Then there was the first chapter. Nina apparently really hates Buffy and mentions so about 5 times in one page. Now I know that I've never seen the show, but this was still a huge turnoff for me. That and Nina just wasn't that interesting of a character. There is some information about the world and the events of Buffy to go on. So it's not necessary to watch the tv show. Upon getting a good idea of the world I found that I wasn't that interested. I feel that I have read better worlds. One thing I will give this book is that it's an easy read. I probably could have read the entire book. Also I did like the other characters. Just not Nina. There's good chance she will develop. I'm just not interested. Overall this was personal. I do still recommend. This'll be great for Buffy fans.
Date published: 2018-12-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Buffyverse is Back! OH.MY.GOD.  I am back in the Buffyverse, this is a fangirl dream.  When I heard this book was coming out I was wary but excited and of course, requested the arc.    Full disclosure, I'm a mega Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan - I've seen the series more times then I'm willing to admit and I quote and talk about the show all the time, even to this day.  It's literally my all-time favorite series so I was quite nervous that Slayer would be a hot mess, not even going to lie.  Thankfully I was wrong.   We start the story with the Watchers hideout, which I thought was a really cool idea.  We've never really seen what goes on or what all comes into play for all the people training to become a Watcher, and even more interesting, how everything that Buffy and the Scooby gang decisions affected them in the long term.  The story sets up all the characters and gives us some background of what has been going on in the Buffyverse, which is pretty essential for the readers who have never watched the show because it does take place AFTER the series.  Kiersten lays it all out for you though and it's very accessible.  We meet our slew of characters, obvious new Scooby gang potentials and throw in a demon or two and we have our plot line for the first in the series.  Nina, the Watcher's resident medic and over-sheltered young girl turns out early on to be the Slayer.  What I particularly liked is that it didn't play out the exact same way as the first season of Buffy.   She had similar but different obstacles and she has a support system from the very start, unlike Buffy.  Nina is also not quite as impulsive as Buffy but she's certainly as stubborn. I did want to slap her a few times but not as much as I constantly wanted to slap Buffy, so that is a bonus right there! The side characters are all enjoyable for the most part and they all had very distinct personalities.  I can't say that I love them like I love the original Scooby gang but I think they are off to a good start.  My one problem with this book was the watcher/romance.  Nina's Watcher wasn't very cool - he was very typical in many of the YA series love interests we see and it felt pretty bland for me.  The romance didn't take up a great deal of the book though and I did like how it ended.  Overall, I think this is a very nice start and for all you Buffy fans - YES! There are lots of mentions of Buffy and the gang (yes, even Spike!) and past situations they were in.  There is no shortage of fandom love.  Kiersten White knew her stuff and she didn't forget to give the long-time fans lots to get nostalgic over.     Thank you to Simon Pulse for an advanced copy of Slayer, in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2018-12-03

Read from the Book

Slayer 1 OF ALL THE AWFUL THINGS demons do, keeping Latin alive when it deserves to be a dead language might be the worst. To say nothing of ancient Sumerian. And ancient Sumerian translated into Latin? Diabolic. My tongue trips over pronunciation as I painstakingly work through the page in front of me. I used to love my time in the library, surrounded by the work of generations of previous Watchers. But ever since the most recent time the world almost ended—sixty-two days ago, to be exact—I can barely sit still. I fidget. Tap my pencil. Bounce my toes against the floor. I want to go for a run. I don’t know why the anxiety has hit me differently this time, after all the horror and tragedy I’ve seen before. There is one possible reason that tugs at my brain, but . . . “That can’t be right.” I peer at my own writing. “The shadowed one will rise and the world will tickle before him?” “I do hate being tickled,” Rhys says, leaning back and stretching. His curly brown hair has once again defied its strict part. It flops over his forehead, softening the hard line of his eyebrows, which are perpetually drawn close to his glasses in thought or concern. After we finish this morning’s lessons, I’ll tidy up my small medical center, and Rhys will train for combat with Artemis. I shake out my hands, needing to move something. Maybe I really will go for a run. No one would miss me. Or maybe I’ll ask if I can join combat training. They’ve never let me, but I haven’t asked in years. I really want to hit something, and I don’t know why, and it scares me. It could be the demonic prophecies of doom I’ve been reading all morning, though. I scratch out my botched translation. “As far as apocalypses go, tickling’s not the worst way to die.” Imogen clears her throat, but her indulgent smile softens the severity. “Can we get back to your translation, Nina? And, Rhys, I want a full report on half-human, half-demon taxonomy.” Rhys ducks his head, blushing. He’s the only one here who’s in line to be a full Watcher, which means he can join the Council one day. Someday he’ll be in charge, part of the governing body of the Council. He wears that weight in everything he does. He’s the first one in the library and the last one out, and he trains almost as much as Artemis. Watchers were meant to guide Slayers—the Chosen Ones specially endowed to fight demons—but over the centuries we evolved to be more hands-on. Watchers have to make the hard decisions, and sometimes the hard decisions include weapons. Swords. Spells. Knives. Guns, in my father’s case. Not all of us train, though. We all take our education seriously, but there’s slightly less pressure for me. I’m just the castle medic, which doesn’t rate high on the importance scale. Learning how to take lives beats knowing how to save them. But being the medic doesn’t get me out of Prophecies of Doom 101. I push away the Latin Sumerian Tickle Apocalypse. “Imogen,” I whine, “can I get something a little less difficult? Please?” She gives me a long-suffering sigh. Imogen wasn’t supposed to be a teacher. But she’s all we’ve got now, on account of the regular teachers being blown up. She teaches for a few hours every morning, and the rest of her time is spent managing the Littles. Her blond ponytail swings limply as she stands and searches the far bookshelf. I hold back a triumphant smile. Imogen is always nicer to me than to anyone else. Actually, everyone here is. I try not to take advantage, but if they’re going to treat me like the castle pet just because I’m not all with the stabby stab, at least I should get some perks. The shelf Imogen is searching is technically off-limits, but since Buffy—the Slayer who single-handedly destroyed almost our entire organization—broke all magic on earth a couple months ago, it doesn’t matter anymore. The books that used to pose threats such as demonic possession or summoning ancient hellgods or giving you, like, a really bad paper cut are now as benign as any other book. But that doesn’t make them any easier to translate. “Magic is still broken, right?” I ask as Imogen runs her fingers down the spine of a book that once killed an entire roomful of Watchers in the fifteenth century. It’s been two months without a drop of magical energy. For an organization that was built on magic, it hasn’t been an easy adjustment. I wasn’t taught to use magic, but I have a very healthy respect-for-slash-terror-of it. So it’s creepy seeing Imogen treat that particular tome like anything else on the shelf. “Fresh out of batteries and no one can find the right size.” Rhys scowls at his text as though insulted by the demon he’s reading about. “When Buffy breaks something, she breaks it good. Personally, I think that if confronted with the Seed of Wonder—the source of all magic on earth, a genuine mystical miracle—I might opt to, say, study it. Research. Really think through my options. There had to be another way to avert that particular apocalypse.” “Buffy sees, Buffy destroys,” I mutter. Her name feels almost like a swear word on my tongue. We don’t say it aloud in my family. Then again, we don’t say much in my family at all, besides “Have you seen my best dagger?” and “Where are our stake-carving supplies?” and “Hello, my twin daughters, it is I, your mother, and I love one of you better than the other and chose to save the good twin first when a fire was about to kill you both.” Okay, not that last one. Because again: We don’t talk much. Living under the same roof isn’t as cozy as it sounds when that roof covers a massive castle. “Think of all we could have learned,” Rhys says mournfully, “if I had had even an hour with the Seed of Wonder. . . .” “In her defense, the world was ending,” Imogen says. “In her not defense, she was the reason the world was ending,” I counter. “And now magic is dead.” Imogen shrugs. “No more hellmouths or portals. No more demons popping in for vacations and sightseeing.” I snort. “Foodie tours of Planet Human are canceled. Sorry, demonic dimensions. Of course, it also means no current tourists can get back to their home-sweet-hellholes.” Rhys scowls, pulling off his glasses and polishing them. “You’re joking about the disruption and destruction of all the research we’ve compiled on demonic traveling, portals, dimensions, gateways, and hellmouths. None of it is current anymore. Even if I wanted to understand how things have changed, I couldn’t.” “See? Buffy hurts everyone. Poor Rhys. No books on this subject.” I pat his head. Imogen tosses a huge volume on the table. “And yet your homework still isn’t done. Try this one.” A poof of dust blows outward from the book; I flinch away and cover my nose. She grimaces. “Sorry.” “No, it’s fine. I actually haven’t had an asthma attack in a while.” It’s fine that my asthma mysteriously disappeared the same day Buffy destroyed magic, the world almost ended, and I got showered in interdimensional demonic goo. Totally fine. Has nothing to do with the demon. Neither does the fact that I’m desperate to go running or start training or do anything with my body besides snuggle up and read, which used to be its primary occupation. I pull down my sweater sleeve over my hand and carefully wipe the leather cover. “?‘The Apocalypses of . . . Arcturius the Farsighted’? Sounds like the dude just needed a better prescription for glasses.” Rhys leans close, peering curiously. “I haven’t read that volume.” He sounds jealous. Notes have been scrawled in the margins, the handwriting changing as it moves through the centuries. On the last few pages there are orange fingerprints, like someone was reading while eating Cheetos. The Watchers before me have made their own notes, commenting and filling in details. Seeing their work overwhelms me with a sense of responsibility. It’s not every sixteen-year-old girl who can trace her family’s calling back through the centuries of helping Slayers, fighting demons, and otherwise saving the world. I find a good entry. “Did you know that in 1910, one of the Merryweathers prevented an octopus uprising? A leviathan demon gave them sentience and they were going to overthrow us! Merryweather doesn’t give many details. It appears they defeated them with . . .” I squint. “Lemon. And butter. I think this is a recipe.” Imogen taps on the book. “Just translate the last ten prophecies, how about?” I get to work. Rhys occasionally asks Imogen questions, and by the time our class period is almost over, he has what looks like half the extensive shelves piled on our groaning table. In years past, Rhys and I wouldn’t have studied together. He’d have been in classes with the other future Council hopefuls. But there are so few of us now, we’ve had to relax some of the structure and tradition. Not all of it, though. Without tradition, what would we be? Just a bunch of weirdos hiding in a castle studying the things that no one else wants to know about. Which I guess is what we are with tradition too. But knowing I’m part of a millennia-long battle against the forces of evil (and apparently octopuses) makes it much more meaningful. Buffy and the Slayers might have turned their backs on the Watchers, rejecting our guidance and counsel, but we haven’t turned our backs on the world. Normal people can go on living, oblivious and happy, because of our hard work. And I’m proud of that. Even when it means I have to translate dumb prophecies, and even if I’ve wondered more and more the last few years if the way the Watchers and Slayers fight evil isn’t always right. The library door slams open and my twin sister, Artemis, walks in. She takes a deep breath and scowls, crossing past me and tugging open the ancient window. It groans in protest, but, as with all things, Artemis accomplishes her goal. She pulls out one of my inhalers from her pocket and sets it on the table beside me. Everything in this castle runs because of Artemis. She is a force of nature. An angry but efficient force of nature. “Hello to you, too,” I say with a smile. She tugs my hair. We both have red waves, though hers are always pulled back into a brutal ponytail. I have a lot more time for moisturizing than she does. Her face is like looking in a mirror—if that mirror were a prophecy of who I’d be in another life. Her freckles are darker from spending so much time outside. Her gray eyes more intense, her jawline somehow stronger. Her shoulders are straighter, her arms are more defined, and her posture is less snuggly and more I-will-destroy-you-if-it-comes-to-that. In short, Artemis is the strong twin. The powerful twin. The chosen twin. And I am . . . The one who got left behind. I don’t just mean the fire, either. The moment when my mother was forced to choose to save one of us from the terrifying flames—and chose Artemis—was definitely life changing. But even after that, even after I managed to survive, my mother kept choosing her. Artemis was chosen for testing and training. Artemis was given responsibilities and duties and a vital role in Watcher society. And I was left behind on the fringes. I only sort of matter now because so many of us are dead. Artemis always would have mattered. And the truth is, I get it. I was born into Watcher society, but Artemis deserves to be here. She sits next to me, pulling out her notebook and opening it to today’s to-do list. It’s in microscopic handwriting and goes past the first page and onto at least one more. No one in this castle does more than Artemis. “Listen,” she says, “I might have hurt Jade.” I look up from where I’m almost finished with this book. Every other prophecy had margin notes detailing how that particular apocalypse was averted. I idly wonder what it means that this is the last prophecy. Did Arcturius the Farsighted finally get glasses, or was this apocalypse so apocalypse-y that he couldn’t see past it? It also has no Watcher notes. And Watchers are meticulous. If it doesn’t have notes, that means it hasn’t been averted yet. But my own castle emergencies are far more pressing. “And by ‘might have hurt Jade,’ you mean . . .” Artemis shrugs. “Definitely did.” On cue, Jade limps in. She picks up her tirade midargument. “—and just because magic is broken, doesn’t mean that I should be Artemis’s punching bag! I know my father worked in special ops, but I don’t want to. I was good at magic! I am not good at this!” “No one is, next to Artemis,” Rhys says. His voice is quiet and without judgment, but we all freeze. It’s one of the things we don’t talk about. How Artemis is inarguably the best, and yet she’s the assistant and Rhys is the official golden boy. Watchers excel at research, record keeping, and not talking about things. The entire organization is ever-so-British. Though technically Artemis and I are American. We lived in California and then Arizona before coming here. Rhys, Jade, and Imogen—who all grew up in London—still laugh when I treat rain like a novelty. It’s been eight years in England and Ireland, but I adore rain and green and all things nondesert. Jade flops down on the other side of me, hauling her ankle up onto my lap. I rotate it for range of movement. “That one translates as ‘Slayer,’?” Artemis says, peering over my shoulder. She crosses out where I had mistranslated a word as “killer.” Same difference. Jade yelps. “Ouch!” “Sorry. Nothing is broken, but it’s swelling already. I think it’s a mild sprain.” I glance at Artemis and she looks away, guessing my thoughts as she so often can. She knows I’m going to tell her there is no reason to train this hard. To hurt each other. Instead of rehashing our usual debate, I point to my translation. “What about this word?” “Protector,” Artemis says. “That’s cheating,” Imogen trills from where she’s reshelving. “It doesn’t count as cheating. We’re practically the same person!” No one calls me on the lie. Artemis shouldn’t have to do my homework on top of everything else, but she helps without being asked. It’s how we work. “Any word from Mom?” I ask as casually as I can manage, probing around the topic even more gently than I’m probing Jade’s ankle. “Nothing new since Tuesday. She should finish up South America in the next few days, though.” Artemis planned our mother’s whole scouting mission. I haven’t heard so much as a word from her since she left seven weeks ago, but Artemis merits regular updates. “Can you focus?” Jade snaps. She was on assignment in Scotland keeping tabs on Buffy and her Slayer army antics. It didn’t do us much good. Buffy still managed to trigger an almost-apocalypse. Now that Jade’s back at the castle without any magic, she’s not happy about it, and she lets us know. Frequently. “Rhys,” I say, mindful that Artemis would do it in a heartbeat, but her to-do list is already super full and I don’t want to add to it, “can you go to my clinic and get my sprain pack?” Rhys stands. He shouldn’t have to run my errands. He ranks far above me in pecking order, but he puts friendship before hierarchy. He’s my favorite in the castle besides Artemis. Not that there’s a tremendous amount of competition. Rhys, Jade, and Artemis are the only other teens. Imogen is in her early twenties. The three Littles are still preschoolers. And the Council—all four of them—aren’t exactly BFF material. “Where is it?” he asks. “It’s right next to the stitches pack, behind the concussions pack.” “I’ll be right back.” He saunters away. The medical clinic is actually a large supply closet in the opposite wing that I’ve claimed as my own. The training room is amazing, naturally. We prioritize hitting, not healing. While we’re waiting for Rhys, I elevate Jade’s ankle by propping it on top of books that used to contain the blackest spells imaginable but now are used as paperweights. George Smythe, the youngest of the Littles, bursts into the library. He buries his face in Imogen’s skirt and tugs on her long sleeves. “Imo. Come play.” Imogen puts him on her hip. During teaching hours, Ruth Zabuto is in charge of the Littles, but she is as old as sin and far less pleasant. I don’t blame George for preferring Imogen. “Are you done?” she asks me. I hold up my paper triumphantly. “Got it!” Child of Slayer Child of Watcher The two become one The one becomes two Girls of fire Protector and Hunter One to mend the world And one to tear it asunder “There’s a postscript, like Arcturius can’t help but comment on his own creepy-ass prophecy. ‘When all else ends, when hope perishes alongside wonder, her darkness shall rise and all shall be eaten.’?” Imogen snorts. “Devoured. Not eaten.” “In my defense, I’m hungry. Did I get the rest?” She nods. “With help.” “Well, even with Artemis’s help, it doesn’t make sense. And it doesn’t have any calamari recipes.” I tuck my papers back into the book. Rhys returns with the supplies just as the other two Littles break into the library and swarm Imogen. She’s the busiest person in the castle, other than Artemis, who has already left to prepare lunch for everyone. Sometimes I wish my sister belonged as much to me as she does to everyone else. Rhys strides toward me with the sprain pack. Little George runs at his legs, and Rhys trips just before he gets to me. The pack flies out of his hands. Without thinking I lunge and save the kit in midair with one hand, the whole motion feeling surprisingly effortless for my usually uncoordinated self. “Good catch,” Rhys says. I’d be offended by his surprise if I weren’t experiencing another ripple of anxiety. It was a good catch. Way too good for me. “Yeah, lucky,” I say, letting out an awkward laugh. I break the ice pack and wrap it into place around Jade’s ankle. “Twenty minutes on, an hour off. I’ll rewrap you when the ice comes off. That will help with the swelling. And rest it as much as possible.” “Not a problem.” Jade leans back with her eyes closed. She’s substituted all the time she used to spend on magic with sleeping. I know it’s been rough on her—it’s been rough on everyone, having the entire world change yet again. But we do what Watchers do: We keep going. My phone beeps. We avoid contact with the outside world. Paranoia is a permanent result of having all your friends and family blown up. But one person has this number and he’s the highlight of our tenure here in the forest outside a sleepy Irish coastal town. “Cillian’s almost here with the supplies.” Rhys perks up. “Do you need help?” “Yes. I don’t know how I’d manage without you. It’s absolutely essential that you come out with me and flirt with your boyfriend while I check over the boxes.” The great hall of the castle, always chilly, is lit with the late-afternoon sun. The stained-glass windows project squares of blue, red, and green. I fondly pat the massive oak door as I step out into the crisp autumn air. The castle is drafty, with questionable plumbing and dire electrical problems. Most of the windows don’t open, and those that do leak. Half of the rooms are in disrepair, the entire dorm wing is more a repository for junk than a living space, and we can’t even go in the section where the tower used to be because it isn’t safe. But this castle saved our lives and preserved what few of us are left. And so I love it. Out in the meadow—which has finally recovered from having a castle magically dropped into the middle of it two years ago—old Bradford Smythe, my great-uncle, is sword fighting with horrible Wanda Wyndam-Pryce. Though sword bickering would be more accurate, since they pause between each block and strike to debate proper stance. The mystery of the Littles escaping is solved. Ruth Zabuto is dead asleep. I watch her across the meadow to make sure her chest is moving and she’s only dead asleep, not dead dead. She lets out a snore loud enough for me to hear from this distance. Reassured, I follow Rhys to the path outside the castle grounds. I can still hear Wanda and Bradford arguing. Cillian is on a scooter, boxes strapped to either side. He lifts a hand and waves brightly. His mom used to run the sole magic store in the whole area. Most people have no idea that magic is—was—a real thing. But his mom was a decently talented and knowledgeable witch. And, best of all, one who could keep her mouth shut. Cillian and his mother are the only people alive who know there are still Watchers in existence. That we didn’t all die when we were supposed to. We haven’t told them much about who we are or what we do. It’s safest that way. And they’ve never asked questions, because we were also their best customers until Buffy killed magic. But even now, Cillian still makes all our nonmagical supply deliveries. Weirdly, online retailers don’t accept “Hidden Castle in the Middle of the Woods Outside Shancoom, Ireland” as a proper address. Cillian stops his scooter in front of us. “What’s the story?” “I—” There’s a flash of movement behind Cillian. A snarl rips apart the air as darkness leaps toward him. My brain turns off. My body reacts. I jump, meeting it midair. We slam into each other. The ground meets us, hard, and we roll. I grab jaws straining for my throat, hot saliva burning where it falls on me. Then I twist and snap, and the thing falls silent, still, a dead weight on top of me. I shove it aside and scramble to my feet. My heart is racing, eyes scanning for any other threats, legs ready to leap back into action. That’s when I hear the screaming. It sounds so far away. Maybe it was happening the whole time? I shake my head, trying to force the world back into focus. And I realize there’s a creature—a dead creature, a creature I somehow killed—at my feet. I stagger backward, using my shirt to rub away the hot sticky mess of its drool still on my neck. “Artemis!” Bradford Smythe runs up. “Artemis, are you all right?” He hurries past me, bending down to examine the thing. It looks like hell’s version of a dog, which is accurate, because I’m almost certain it’s a hellhound. Black, mottled skin. Patchy fur more like moldy growths. Fangs and claws and single-minded, deadly intentions. But not anymore. Because I killed it. I killed it? Demon, a voice in my head whispers. And it’s not talking about the hellhound. “Nina,” Rhys says, in as much shock as me. Bradford Smythe looks up in confusion. “What?” “Not Artemis. That was Nina. . . . Nina killed it.” Everyone stares at me like I, too, have sprouted fangs and claws. I don’t know what just happened. How it happened. Why it happened. I’ve never done anything like that before. I feel sick and also—elated? That can’t be right. My hands are trembling, but I don’t feel like I need to lie down. I feel like I could run ten miles. Like I could jump straight over the castle. Like I could fight a hundred more— “I think I need to throw up,” I say, blinking at the dead thing. I’m not a killer. I’m a healer. I fix things. That’s what I do. “That was impossible.” Rhys studies me like I’m one of his textbooks, like he can’t translate what he’s seeing. He’s right. I can’t do what I just did. Bradford Smythe seems less surprised. His shoulders slump as he pulls off his glasses and polishes them with resignation. Why isn’t he shocked, now that he knows it wasn’t Artemis? The look he gives me is one of pity and regret. “We need to call your mother.”