Author: Kiersten White
Series: Slayer #1
Genre: YA Supernatural
Release Date: January 8th, 2019
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: ARC traded for on Twitter.
My rating: 5 stars
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.
Honestly, I don't even know exactly where to begin this review. If you know me, you know that I have loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer ever since the show was actually on tv. I fell in love with it, starting with the movie starring Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry - my crush from Beverly Hills 90210, the original. Not to mention that it had the actor Paul Reubens, better known as Pee-wee Herman, whose Saturday morning tv show I used to love.
I wasn't sure if I would like the TV show when I heard about it, because Sarah Michelle Gellar is not at all like Kristy Swanson. Swanson was normal, curvy girl, and Gellar was skinny girl. So I didn't start it right way. But then, on Halloween of 1997, my 2nd year of teaching, when I lived in a small town, and didn't have any kids to hand candy out to, I remember watching the very first Halloween episode of the show.
Well, I was hooked from that episode on. My very first email address that I remember making myself was firstname.lastname@example.org. I've carried that spelling of "Buffy wannabe" through with me all these years. Including on my Twitter and Instagram names. I also had to buy every season's DVD as soon as it was available. They still hold a place of importance on my shelves.
Now, not only did I love the show, I also read every one of the books I could get my hands on. If I couldn't find them in a store, I ordered them into the bookstore where I worked. Here is a picture of my Buffy bookshelf, and yes, I've read every one of the books on the shelf.
When the show was over, I thought I'd be able to follow into the new season with the comics that came out. But no, I soon realized I'm not a fan of graphic novels or comics. I tried, but they couldn't quite relay the same quirky humor and emotion that the show, and even the regular novels, could convey, that I loved so much. And so, I quit reading them about the time that I remember something about Dawn getting really big or something like that? Now, I fear that maybe I there is something I missed at where this story picks up, but the author did a great job of basically filling in what had happened up to the point where this book begins.
What's great about this book is that it pulls on all the Buffy-verse, from the movie, to the tv show, to the comics. I loved that we got the connection to Buffy's original Watcher, Merrick.
This world is when all the magic disappears thanks to Buffy destroying something called the Seed of Wonder. All, or almost all of the Watchers have been killed, and those left have hidden themselves in a castle and are working to figure out how to continue to "watch" over the world and keep it safe. Of course things aren't always as they seem. While this isn't Buffy's story, she's there. Instead we follow two girls, Nina, her real name is Athena, and her twin sister Artemis. Artemis has always been the favorite daughter, the one that their mother saved first from a fire that almost killed them. The one that was chosen to take the test to be a Watcher, even if she did fail the test, surprising since she was really perfect for it. Nine has always been the one that Artemis has had to protect, the one her mother has kept out of the Watchers life, helped her to learn first aid.
Nina soon learns that it is possible there is a prophecy about her and her twin sister. Not only that, but when hellhounds and demons show up near the castle, Nina learns that the strange feelings she's had since right before all the magic disappeared are from the fact that she was the very last Slayer to EVER be chosen. Nina is a slayer. And she hates slayers, Buffy especially. You see, her father was Merrick, Buffy's first Watcher, and so she blames Buffy for his death because he sacrificed his life to save Buffy. And then Buffy is the one who caused all the potential Slayers to become full-blown Slayers, and also caused all the Watchers to be blown up and have to go into hiding. And of course, there is the whole Seed of Wonder thing, taking away all the magic.
It's not just those reasons that Nina is not happy becoming a Slayer, though. It is also because she has spent her whole life learning to heal, to help people. The thought of just killing something because that is her job, it repulses her. She knows the werewolves are humans during the day, and don't always have a choice what they do when they turn. And then there is the demon that shows up at their friend Cillian's house, he's wearing a Coldplay t-shirt. Not killing him gives Nina the chance to interview him and find out more about what is going on. Also to learn that maybe she isn't wrong about not just killing all demons or supernatural creatures right away. It's something that Buffy dealt with. On the Buffy spinoff, Angel, we especially get that some demons aren't so bad.
I loved all of this story. Even at first, when Nina hated Buffy, I liked her a lot. I got her reasons for hating Buffy and the slayers. This book had the humor and the emotion that I loved about the series. It had the teen angst with Nina's past crush on the boy Leo. We also get the family aspect between Nina and her sister. Cillian, can I just say how much I adored him? He is totally the Xander of the group, well, smart-alec comment-wise.
This was one I could have stayed up all night to finish reading. It was so good. Like watching several episodes of Buffy. It has an ending, but it's also left open for a sequel, and let me tell you that I cannot wait for book 2! I'll be spending the next year figuring out how to get on a list to get an ARC of book 2. I'm so happy that my favorite world is back, and that it's being done in a way that I love, if not on tv, then as a novel, and not a comic. This author was the perfect choice for this in my opinion. I've loved her last four books, all retellings themselves.