Slayer by Kiersten White

If the apocalypse comes, beep me. Meanwhile, I’ll be reliving my Buffy fangirl days after reading Slayer by Kiersten White, a perfect homage to the beloved TV series and a fitting continuation of the Buffyverse for fans both old and new.

Into every generation a Slayer is born…

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.

This book was a blast to read. As a long-time Buffy fan, it was delightful revisiting this world through a new lens. White deftly conveys the mood and humor of the original series, while imbuing the book with her own style and finesse.

The first few chapters did feel a little clunky with explanations and backstory to make sure the uninitiated were up to speed on the Buffyverse, and making sure loyal fans could figure out where in the Buffy timeline this story fits in (about two years after the TV series finale). But once the groundwork was laid, the story flew by and it was just as much fun as watching some of my favorite Buffy episodes. Plus, all the little references to the series made me feel like I was in a secret club!

It was also really cool reading a story about the fallout of what happened at the end of the series. (I know there was a graphic novel continuation, but I didn’t stick with it.) This might actually be my favorite series finale of a TV show ever, but we all know actions have consequences. When Buffy and Willow turned all potential Slayers into actual Slayers, they stopped the First Evil and saved the world — but they also changed the world, and Slayer shows some of the fallout that the TV show skipped past.

Honestly, if there was ever a hit TV show tailor-made for the YA world, it has to be Buffy. She’s the OG “strong female character,” and I always admired the way she shamelessly embraced her femininity while also kicking ass. And while the characters did age up as the show progressed, they started out as high school students, trying to juggle homework, parents, and saving the world.

Slayer brings back that winning combination, as we see Nina struggling with her familial relationships, finding her place in the world, and also discovering new Slayer powers and trying to save the world. (That’s a recurring theme in the Buffyverse; saving the world.) And we also get a complex character; she’s not just another strong female with powers. Nina finds out she was made to kill (to slay, as it were) — but she actually wants to be a healer; she wants to prevent death — not cause it.

There’s romance, humor, action, and heart — all the things you’d expect from the Buffyverse, with a whole new cast of characters to embrace. I can’t wait to see where this series goes next.

Look for Slayer in stores January 8th.

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