Books · Reviews · Spoiler-Free

Slayer by Kiersten White: A Slow Build-Up Into Fun Awesomeness

Thank you so much to Simon and Schuster for kindly providing me with an ARC of Slayer.

This is a spoiler-free review and all opinions are my own.

Slayer by Kiersten White

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 Oneβ€”she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.
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previous-installments

This is the first book in the Slayer series, however, it takes place in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe.

sweets-bits

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.

bitter-bits

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!

overall

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!

3-5 donuts0


πŸ“– Do you think nostalgia plays a big part in your reading experience?
πŸ“– Have you ever been pleasantly surprised after giving a book another chance?
Let me know in the comments below! πŸ™‚

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40 thoughts on “Slayer by Kiersten White: A Slow Build-Up Into Fun Awesomeness

  1. I also loved that White managed to get the campy feel of Buffy, but was a *little* concerned that it was a bit too campy and sometimes cheezy. But as a long-time Buffy fan, I didn’t enjoy it a whole lot more than you. I don’t think you missed out on anything, really.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha I agree, but I didn’t mind it to be honest. It was a very entertaining read for that reason, although it only got to that point about halfway through.
      That’s a shame! I’ve seen some reviews where Buffy fans explain they liked it mostly because it was an extension of their beloved universe and one they’d been hoping to get for a very long time… That’s disappointing then 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it at lot! But I thought it was as good as an introduction to the universe as it was an extension of it, if that makes sense. There wasn’t all that much “fan-only” content.

        Like

        1. Yeah I completely understand. It’s interesting to hear that… It makes me think I might have been a bit too lenient when it comes to some of the things that happened in Slayer xD
          Regardless, though, I still found it a very entertaining read so I’m glad it was written and published, and that it ended up in my hands of course ^^

          Liked by 1 person

  2. As someone who’s never watched Buffy, I feel like this book could be good for me. I’ve heard similarly mixed things about it though, so I’ll be tempering my expectations going into it. πŸ˜‰ Excellent review!

    (P.S. I just noticed the chocolate graphics; they are suuuper cute and totally fit your blog theme. ❀ )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I mean I enjoyed it and I rarely ever watched Buffy πŸ™‚ There are a lot of mixed reviews, absolutely, both from fans and non-fans so I guess in the end it really is up to taste!

      I hope you enjoy it even more than I did, and most of all have fun because it’s just one of those books where the journey is certainly more important than the destination. You should be up for the ride, because not a lot will be explained or made apparent right away.

      Thank you so much, lovely, that is so kind of you to say πŸ™‚ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! It’s good to know that it’s one of those books I can just turn my brain off and go along for the ride; I won’t have to try too hard to understand it then even if it doesn’t make perfect sense! πŸ˜†

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        1. Oh yeah, I think so! A few bits and pieces I was a bit clueless about, like certain demons and characters whose ancestors had been in the Buffy show. I was like “who are all these people?” xD And I didn’t feel emotionally connected to them, either, which may be a problem for some readers but in this case worked out okay.
          The author was pretty cool and made sure to put us up to speed with most things from the Buffy universe, anyway. Not in an info dump kind of way, just casually mentioning it and then continuing on with the scene hahaha
          Overall it’s just plain fun and mystery and good against evil – the works! πŸ˜‰ Hope you love it ^^

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Reading this made me want to go and watch Buffy.

    It’s a shame it took a while for you to click with one. I sometimes find that reading something where a world I know so well on screen is transposed into a different format, with different characters, is hard to get into right away. It’s like the efforts that the author is making to fit into the world – as much as they are appreciated – are also clunky and having the opposite effect of taking me right OUT of the world. If that makes any sense, haha.

    That said, I do really want to read these. I didn’t watch Buffy when it was first on, but I got very into it when I was at university. I feel like I’ve got enough distance from it now that I’m ready to jump back in!

    Like

    1. Same! I barely remember it, just watched a few episodes here and there but never felt the pull… Always looked a bit too cheesy for me xD Although I was somewhat aware of the various relationships and the lore. Though it was still challenging to remember (or know) some of the concepts mentioned in the book.

      Total sense! I’m not sure wthat’s what happened to me but yeah, it was hard to get into it…

      You can definitely read it without knowing anything / knowing a bit about Buffy, and you can read it being a huge fan. I’ve seen both types and they all seem to produce different results XD

      I hope you enjoy it, Lydia! It sure is a fun book πŸ™‚

      Like

    1. Thank you! ^^
      I’ve only read the Frankenstein one and really enjoyed it, but yeah this one was a bit hard to get into at first… Of course, a million factors could have come into play for that, including my mood. So it might not even be the book’s fault!
      I hope you love it if you pick it up, Raven πŸ™‚

      Like

  4. Great review! I also never grew up with Buffy (it’s not that I dislikes it, I just never really watched it) so I don’t think this would be for me, but it sounds fun and really in the spirit of the show.

    Btw, by the dreaded β€œlack of communication” do you mean when a misunderstanding or lack of communication between two characters is used to create conflict, or when the author very obviously withholds information from the reader to try to create mystery? Both things frustrate me in books, but I was just curious which one you meant.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much, Nicola! πŸ™‚
      Yeah I think the fact that the author was a longtime Buffy fan certainly helped shaped the book in the show’s image.

      I think a bit of both, to be honest? On one hand, characters were keeping information from one another (and the reader) for reasons that may or may not be understandable or easily resolved. And when revealed, they didn’t even make that much of an impact in my opinion? Or maybe I was just over it by that point.
      On the other hand, the writing itself seemed to be purposedly ommiting certain things that the reader should be able to know in order to avoid getting frustrated. At least that’s how I felt… It might just be me getting impatient over it xD

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah yes I think I understand what you mean – and I can see why that would be frustrating! I’ve encountered a few books where I felt a bit like that, and if they’re too much that way I get impatient too. Maybe it’s my personality but I’m particularly fussy about characters communicating logically/clearly with each other, and if they don’t it really rubs me up the wrong way!

        Like

        1. Exactly! But at the same time it wouldn’t feel natural to just be super logical and clear, now would it? Human beings don’t work like that xD You would probably end up with a really bad, script-like dialogue that would irk you as well.
          But yeah, just finding a balance between the two would be ideal! I’m a naturally blunt person (though not to the point of being annoying, just like to go straight to the point) so when people don’t do the same it annoys me! I have to remind myself we’re not all alike. But characters, man, they annoy me the most xD

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I have often pushed through a start I wasn’t a fan of and found some great story!! That’s why I don’t DNF often. And even when I do I normally regret it hahaha. I’m so glad that after such a rocky start Slayer got better for you! I enjoy when the villains are melded in with perceived allies and it a bit of a reveal who is behind all the trouble. So that part sounds neat. ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, same here! I know people say to just stop reading a book if you’re not enjoying it at all, and I totally understand that. I will certainly drop a book that is making me mad or sad or just plain miserable to read.
      But when it’s a case of feeling like a book just hasn’t reached its full potential yet and will very likely get better if you keep pushing, then I’ll probably keep reading.
      That’s what happened with this one and I’m so glad I stuck around πŸ™‚ Yeah, it wasn’t stellar but it was entertaining and fun and just a good enough story for me.
      Definitely love it too! I mean, the book keeps you guessing throughout and you might figure it out sooner than I did but overall, it was pretty cool to feel that expectation and uncertainty πŸ™‚

      Like

  6. Slayer doesn’t seem to ever be taking itself seriously…. I was thinking Buffy didn’t ethers I read that line… and then you wrote it! Lol.
    Sounds like a mixed bag but fun read none the less. I’m in love with your chocolate review system. πŸ™‚

    Like

    1. Hahaha well great minds think alike! πŸ˜›
      Yeah it was certainly fun and entertaining, and it’s not like we need complex and serious books all the time.
      Just wished the pace had been more consistent so I’d been able to enjoy it from the beginning!
      Aw that’s so kind, thank you ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have yet to read any books by this author. I do like the sound of this book being in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer world. I watched that show before. The things you loved sounds tempting but it’s bad that there are The things you don’t love either haha Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha there’s always going to be something, unless the book was absolutely perfect (which is rare) πŸ˜›
      I think if you liked the show, you’ll probably enjoy this book. But I guess there’s only one way to find out!
      Thanks so much, Jasmine ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I am so happy that this one turned around for you once you got into it. It is always a great payoff when you invest a little more time in a book and it turns into a winner. I hope that you love the next book as well! The concept is really incredible and I enjoy those Buffy vibes as well. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely! I always try to finish off books provided by the publisher so as to give them an actual chance, but I might not be as lenient with other books.
      I really loved the concept, I think the fact that the author was a true fan of the show really helped make it as wholesome as it was. But then again, I’m not a fan myself so I’m not sure how accurate it really was. I just enjoyed revisiting the universe! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think so! The show is great for the nostalgia it brings, but the book does a great job at explaining certain concepts and family trees based on Buffy’s universe. You might be a bit confused at first, but you’ll find your footing soon enough.
      I barely watched the show, remembered close to nothing about it, and didn’t feel like that spoiled my reading experience πŸ™‚ Hope it helps!

      Like

  9. I still haven’t read it because as a huge Buffy fan I’m scared that I’m not going to enjoy it. I’m glad it has a good friendship. I always hoped Buffy to have better friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it can happen! But I’ve seen the opposite happen more frequently… I can’t guarantee you’ll enjoy it but I certainly hope you will! πŸ™‚
      Buffy isn’t actually in this book, it’s a complete new set of characters, but she is mentioned and… Who knows, maybe she even shows up πŸ˜‰
      But I found the friendships very balanced and so adorable, too. The type of friends everyone deserves to have!

      Like

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