This is a spoiler-free review and all opinions are my own.
Title: Slayer Author: Kiersten White Publisher: Simon and Schuster Publication Date: 21 February 2019 Length: 416 pages Into every generation a Slayer is born… And 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.
This is the first book in the Slayer series, however, it takes place in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe.
This book was so much fun. Honestly, I was holding my stomach and shaking my head in amusement at the sheer ridiculousness that sometimes the author allowed to happen. But it wasn’t the cringy type of ridiculousness that comes from trying to be serious and failing miserably. No, Slayer doesn’t seem to ever be taking itself seriously (which is something Buffy never did either) and it somehow works.
It’s a precious book with so much diversity and friendship goals, it’s hard not to like it. I loved Nina and Artemis’ relationship, for one; you really feel like they love each other and want to protect each other and how strong their twin bond is. However, despite being identical, their personalities couldn’t be more different and is that constant clash that makes it all the more realistic.
Another thing I loved is that you never really know who the bad guys really are. Clues are dropped, speculations are thrown around, but you as a reader are kept guessing until the very end. Although some of my hunches ended up being right, I never felt completely sure about them, and that made it all the more exciting.
None of the characters are completely black and white, either – not even the villains – and that was a really nice touch as well. You still see them as completely human (if misguided) and you sympathise with their cause despite yourself.
I find that, in many ways, this book very much feels like Buffy. So if you enjoyed the show, you will adore all the little easter eggs, references and just the overall atmosphere that any fan would be able to grasp at once.
There are many plot twists, most of which I was never able to guess correctly, but the last one was the one that – holy ****** – took me completely by surprise! I practically threw the book across the room in shock :O To be fair, it wasn’t something I’d thought about much throughout the story, even though it was staring me in the face the whole time, but it was just so simple and so unexpected I was blown away.
Unfortunately, the book didn’t have a glorious start.
I felt the humour wasn’t quite as sharp at first and attempted to be clever and witty way too much way too soon. It felt like the author was trying to write one of those hilarious adult paranormals (I’m looking at you, Kate Daniels), then checking herself not to go too far due to the target audience. This resulted in the first half being a bit awkward and clunky, like a teenager still growing into their own body, unsure of who they really are.
Which brings me to the only real issue I have with this book: I only became invested in it around halfway through. I don’t know if it was because the author only managed to become truly comfortable with the writing at that point, or if the characters took a while to grow on me, or if the story just didn’t pick up pace up until that mark… I find that it might have been all three.
The plot does take a while to unfold and there are many unanswered questions that are only revealed at the very end. So it can get pretty confusing. But had I been able to click with the book earlier on, and that wouldn’t have bothered me in the slightest.
I also didn’t like how the author used the dreaded “lack of communication” to produce mystery and tension. It’s just such an old trick that only causes frustration and makes you sound amateurish. Please, please, please authors, find other ways to make your story intriguing!
Slayer was a great read, I just wish I’d become truly engrossed in it from the very beginning and not just halfway through. I’m glad I pushed myself to give it a chance, otherwise I would have missed some epic content!
The diversity was amazing, the dynamics were fantastic, the characters (both heroes and villains) were incredibly fleshed out and easily burrowed their way into my heart.
While the plot did take a while to unfold, and the pace felt very sluggish at first, I feel that once it got going there was no stopping it and I couldn’t have asked for a more entertaining story. Some of the plot twists were excellent and really helped win me over, too.
At one point, I realised that for someone who has never really been a Buffy fan, I would never be able to enjoy this book quite as much as someone who grew up with it. The connection isn’t there and so the nostalgia factor gets wasted. I probably also missed a lot of cool and useful references.
But White herself is a fan and she did her absolute best to make this a worthy homage. In fact, Slayer was so adorable it made me excited to try the show again and see what I’ve been missing!
📖 Do you think nostalgia plays a big part in your reading experience?
📖 Have you ever been pleasantly surprised after giving a book another chance?
Let me know in the comments below! 🙂