If ever there is an author with whom I should be best friends given our interests and tastes, that author is Kiersten White. I started reading Ms. White through her Mind Games duology – a twisty mindfuck of a novel – but knew I had found a kindred spirit as she started on her Lada Dracul series. There are not many people who would feel sympathy for Vlad the Impaler, but Ms. White handles the nuances of Lada’s story so deftly that it shows just how much she understands that man made the monster. Her Elizabeth Frankenstein all but sealed the deal for me with her careful blending of Mary Shelley’s original masterpiece into a feminist story that turns the story of Dr. Frankenstein on its head. To find out that she is a Buffy fan is the quintessential icing on the cake.
Because I love every novel of Ms. White’s I have read, I approached the first installment of the new Slayer series much like a little kid on Christmas Eve. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew it was going to be amazing. Of course, Ms. White did not disappoint. I adore how Ms. White brought in key bits of canon and referenced important sections of history without missing a beat. She keeps the essence of BtVS alive in the dialogue, in the action, and in the connections to the beloved television series. The most important thing is that Ms. White makes the story her own without harming the original.
By making the story about a Watcher turned Slayer, we get inside the mindset of both sides of the relationship. We get a deeper insight into the life of a Watcher while also seeing Nina’s internal struggles to accept her new place in the world of good and evil. We get reminders of the loneliness Buffy felt as well as why the show resonated so much with fans. We remember that the battle between good and evil is very rarely black and white and that sometimes the thing we are battling the hardest is ourselves.
Slayer is everything I wanted it to be and everything I didn’t know I wanted. It reminds me of all the reasons I still love BtVS and why heroes like Buffy and Nina are so important to women of all ages. Plus, it is entertaining, high-action fun, and who doesn’t like that?