Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

Slayer (Slayer, #1)
Slayer
by Kiersten White

Slayer is a great introduction to a new series set in the slayer verse. As a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I was very happy to be back in this world and White does a great job of creating much of the same feel and humour. It is a little slow in the beginning but with likeable characters and an addictive story it was an enjoyable read.


THE BLURB

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.

MY REVIEW

Confession time, I am the biggest fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I love the original movie, was completely addicted to the show when it was first aired and I don’t even want to count how many times I’ve watched it again since (I very probably know some of the scripts). Needless to say when I heard Kiersten White, author of one of my other fave YA series, was writing a brand new story set in the slayer verse I knew I had to read it. I just couldn’t wait to see what she would do with it.

As you can probably imagine when my netgalley request was approved I was literally jumping up and down. This total fangirling pretty much lasted through a substantial chunk of the book before I managed to settle enough to read what was on the page. I can’t guarantee that my review will not be coloured by my love of the show or that non fans will feel the same about it but I thought the author did a pretty awesome job.

It’s not perfect but White has certainly managed to capture the feel and the humour of the show. The story is a little on the predictable side and it reads on the younger side of YA but the writing is great and once it hits its stride there’s plenty of action and twists to keep you hooked.

While it is set in the Buffy universe, there’s a whole new cast of characters to follow in this and they’re very easy to like. I will admit I was hoping for some of the original cast to play a part but while there’s the odd reference to what happened to them (I am not happy with some of that) and maybe a cameo from one or possibly two this is a whole new story and it’s a good one.

Magic is broken, the watchers are very nearly extinct, there are some strange goings on (hell hound attacks) and mysterious deaths. Main character Nina has just discovered she’s the last slayer, something she and her family are less than pleased about, so it’s up to her to learn how to use her new powers to figure out what’s going on and protect those she loves.

I will admit I kind of figured things out pretty early on but the story was no less enjoyable for it. Nina is a likeable character and I loved the way she developed over the course of the story. She did drive me a little crazy at times with her swings between not wanting to be the slayer and going on about how much she loved her new powers but given her family history I could understand a bit of internal conflict.

Speaking of her family, I loved that Nina had a twin sister although at times the relationship between them (and also between Nina and her mother) frustrated the hell out of me. Both Artemis and their mother treat Nina like she’s useless and the changing power dynamic doesn’t really seem to make any difference. I could certainly see why Nina turns more to her friends (and pretty much any random stranger) rather than her family.

There is a little suggestion of a romance in this but unlike some YA books it doesn’t take over the story and Nina mostly manages to keep her head when her childhood crush (and source of one of her biggest embarrassments) returns to the watchers institute and I really liked the relationship that developed between them.

Like all good slayer stories however romance needs to wait as there’s an apocalypse on the horizon and a big battle that Nina has to fight, and it is suitably epic. It wraps things up for the most part but leaves lots of room for more in the books to follow in this series.

As you would expect from Kiersten White, the writing is pretty good but the one niggle I did have is that there’s a lot of back story at the start. The slayer verse is pretty extensive and the author had to do it but I will admit to finding it a bit slow. I’m sure it’s useful for those who haven’t been watching the show on repeat for years but I mostly wanted to know what had happened to the original cast in the interim and for this new story to get going.

Overall though, this is a great introduction to what could be an exciting new series in the slayer verse and now that a lot of the back story is out of the way I’m hopeful it’ll really take off in the next book.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy. This has in no way influenced my review.

3 thoughts on “Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

  1. I’m a fan of buffy too and like the idea of returning to that world 🙂 It’s so great this captured a lot of the humour from the show!! It’s great that the story was enjoyable, even if you figured it out. And I’m especially glad Nina was so likeable 😀 It definitely sounds like it’s an exciting new series. Awesome review!

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  2. I’m more familiar with Buffy through pop culture osmosis, as I’ve only seen a few episodes, so I like the idea of this book focusing on brand new characters and not falling back on established faves to carry it. I like the sound of this book, but aaagh, the family dynamics sound so toxic and frustrating, I’ll have to skip those scenes, lol.
    can I ask what tidbits of info about the pre-existing Buffyverse characters didn’t please you? I’m nosy like that 🙂 (and totally fine with spoilers)

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