Book Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

Slayer by Kiersten White is a brilliant addition to the Buffyverse.

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About the Book: 

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.

My Review:

I have big love in my life for all things Buffy, and this novel is no exception. I loved the way this slotted seamlessly into the world of Buffy, and built on it in a new and exciting way. Being such a huge fan of the original Buffy,  I was nervous that this wouldn’t live up to my hopes, but that definitely wasn’t a concern. I was hooked from the start.

The book does delve a lot into Buffy’s history and I think it would be tricky to understand parts of Slayer without knowledge of Buffy’s story. It also adds a layer of humour to the book that you might otherwise miss, like when the Watcher’s are mocking Wesley for going to work with a vampire named Angel.

Nina is very serious, and carrying a lot of anger and bitterness. She loves the Watcher’s and the Academy which has been her home since her dad died, but she hates the slayers and everything they stand for. More than anything, she hates Buffy. Her sister, Artemis is more of a Slayer; strong, powerful and very protective. So, it’s something of a surprise to discover that Nina has become the last ever Slayer.

Nina is hugely conflicted. Dealing with becoming the thing she hates most in the world is a lot for her, and on top of that she has raging mummy issues and her old crush is back in her life. There is a great emphasis on the burden of being a Slayer. Nina wants to be a healer, which is in direct conflict with what she sees as the role of the Slayer. She is questioning everything she knows about herself; it is this internal struggle that takes centre stage in this book, not the battling of external demons. 

Her friendships play a great role in this book: Gillian and Rhys are brilliant. I loved them both. They are so supportive and reminded me of the original Scooby Gang. On a less positive note, Nina’s relationship with her twin sister, Artemis, is increasingly strained. Nina is living her sister’s dream, and it is really sad watching this drive a wedge in their once close relationship.

Slayer is gripping, mysterious and brutal. It packs a real punch. This is a great addition to the Buffyverse, and I am really looking forward to more in this series.

 

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