I discovered Buffy the Vampire Slayer in my early twenties as a young married woman, but I immediately fell in love with everything about the show. To this day, it remains my favorite television show of all time. With that, of course I had to read Kendare Blake’s addition to the Buffyverse, In Every Generation.
Sadly, I didn’t love In Every Generation as much as I hoped I would. It is not a bad story. Ms. Blake incorporates all of the charm that made BTVS so great. Therein lies the problem though. It doesn’t feel new or original. In fact, it feels a bit formulaic even while it makes fun of itself for being so.
At the same time, Frankie’s voice is just so young. For someone who grew up with Willow Rosenberg as her mother, surrounded by the world of slayers and demons, you would think she would have a bit more world-weariness to her. Instead, she is every bit the ingenue, and I struggled to accept that about her. I still wrestle with the idea that someone with all of her knowledge and close ties to the previous Sunnydale catastrophes would be so clueless or disregard her teachings as much as she does.
Still, the nostalgia factor is huge, and Ms. Blake capitalizes on every bit of it. Nothing is sacred to this brand-new batch of Scoobies. The mocking of slayer/demon romances, fashion choices in the 90s, and references to hyenas, people breaking out into song, and other one-off episodes abound. It is a delight to discover each one of them.
The other area in which In Every Generation excels is the new Big Bad. Ms. Blake’s choice is unique and rather clever given all that Buffy faced. I particularly like the juxtaposition between history and fantasy (and a certain platinum-blonde’s reaction to the mere idea of this foe).
Plus, the story’s overarching mystery captured my imagination. I never knew which way Ms. Blake was going to take the plot. Even now, after reading book one, I see a lot of potential for some amazing stories with the main arc spanning all of them without getting dull. We learn just enough about this Big Bad to know there is danger, but the scale of that danger is as yet unknown.
Perhaps my age is showing, but I cannot say I LOVED In Every Generation as much as I LOVE BTVS. There is a lot to like within its pages, and some problem areas as well. I will say that Ms. Blake’s story intrigued me enough to keep my interest and make me curious about where she plans to take the next installment. It may not be as good as the original, but then again, so few things are.