SLAYER by KIERSTEN WHITE releases January 8, 2019.
Author: Kiersten White
Released: January 8 2019
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Goodreads Rating: 3.84 (of 56 ratings)
I was a late-comer to Buffy. One day, I was prowling around on Netflix, wondering what I should feast upon for the day. I heard heard Buffy references before, I had especially seen some gifs on Tumblr, but I’d never really planned to watch the show. The vampire craze was over by that time, and I’ll admit it: I didn’t want people to find out and be like, “Oh, you’re still into vampires, huh.”
But in the comfort of my own home, I decided to hit play on Netflix, curl up on the couch, and give this so-called “cult classic” a try.
I ended up meeting my female idol.
Buffy is unapologetically Buffy. She loves boys who don’t always love her the right away, she befriends people who betray her trust, she cares for her family with more than her heart and soul, she keeps her friends close, and she just really wants to go to a party sometimes, okay? The snark, the unabashed reality, the “this is teen life and oh yes also vampires” was so purely good I finished the series in about three weeks. (It was also exam period, so some breaks were required.)
Here are my favourite Buffy the Vampire Slayer moments. (Spoilers ahead.)
The Scooby Gang
Its members changed slightly over the years, but the unwavering loyalty to keeping the earth safe from bloodsucking demons and intense support for each other’s personal struggles never shook. Each member of the gang brought their own flare and skills.
Anya (and reforming villains)
An ex-demon, Anya was one of my absolute favourite characters. One of the best things BtVS did acknowledge the origins of reformed/reforming villains. Anya was once a demon: even though she ends up helping the Scooby Gang, she retains her questionable morals. (And fear of bunnies?) ^^ Gif above is Anya playing the Game of Life. BtVS acknowledges the grays in life, there is no black and white in human morality.
BtVS doesn’t make vampires sexy (even though there are indeed some sexy vampires), since for the most part, they are dead husks embodied by demons. Magic and the supernatural all have dark and dangerous consequences that the show explores in depth. Enter at your own risk!
I know that is Spike in the gif! I couldn’t find a gif with Buffy and Joyce. Those two had the best on-screen relationship for a mom and daughter (who saves the world). Joyce’s struggle to accept that her sixteen-year-old daughter goes out to stake vampires was tough to watch (literally including a grounding) but was also really raw and realistic.
Representations of Grief and Loss
Dealing with the end-of-the-world on the daily doesn’t come without dangers. BtVS can be lighthearted, but the show also includes several major deaths. The characters grieve over several episodes, unraveling and questioning the meaning of life in the face of dark times.
Trust me when I say I could GO. ON. The humour is always on POINT with that show. It’s the witty, snarky little comments that get me each time. In-references and prods at the very ridiculousness of BtVS’ own universe. Buffy being so STRONG, not just physically but emotionally, and how her emotions are so beautifully crafted throughout the show.
Also the fact that at the end of season two I was crying actual tears and had to go cry in bed for a good half hour because I was so emotional. It got me THAT BAD. Future seasons did not treat me better.
Did Kiersten’s Slayer do this series justice?
The first answer is that Kiersten’s Slayer is its own world (within, of course, the BtVS world). Buffy is no longer the heroine. As readers, we need to let Kiersten do her own thing, give her some wiggle room … but expecting a little OG BtVS wouldn’t be too great a hope.
In Slayer, there’s a lot of the classic BtVS wit (mostly seen with side characters). Main character Nina is a lot more serious than our Buffy ever was, but she bottles her emotions in a similar fashion.
I didn’t get a strong Scooby Gang feel in Slayer. Nina played a lot of the book as a solo star, never confiding in any one person. I really hope this changes in the sequel, not only because BtVS showed how enjoyable a supportive team makes a show/book, but because Nina herself could use some emotional back-up.
The book starts slow, but once action starts it’s true to the “end-of-the-world-everyday” nature of BtVS. Thank goodness we have Bu– I mean, Nina here to save our butts.
Have you seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer?