Slayer by: Kiersten White

Summary:

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.

The Review:

I am a Buffy fan. I love the show, I have watched the entire series so many times now that I cannot even count the number of times. I still almost cry during Becoming and The Body. So, of course I was excited that a book set in the Buffyverse was coming out and also written by one of my favorite authors, Kiersten White who wrote the And I Darken series.

It starts with Nina or Athena as her full name, whose twin sister Artemis is training to become a member of the Watcher’s council who are tasked to guide the slayers as they hunt the demons and the vampires. The story is set at least 3 years after the Buffy series finale, in which she saved the world, but it had a price and with what happened at the end of the series, which had every young girl become “chosen” to be a slayer which resulted in too many slayers and not enough watchers. What surprised me, was how much the characters really hate Buffy, it was almost too funny to believe, but it added a lot to the story and created kind of deconstruction of Buffy as a character through the eyes of others.

With Nina, while her sister is training at the Watcher Academy, she is being trained as a healer, but in a course of events has her become chosen to be the slayer, a job she definitely has not trained for. Nina is a very different character from the Buffyverse, in which she is not prepared to take on this responsibility. While Buffy in the TV show has done the same, it took Nina a long time for it to get through to her. Throughout the book, she is trying to figure out her place in the slayer world, mainly because she spends most of her time blaming Buffy for the death of her father, who was her first watcher before Giles.

This book also had a few Easter eggs to the Buffy verse, my favorite was the Wyndham Prices, who are related to Wesley, who was mentioned as a watcher in training who moved to LA to work with a vampire. Also a dark haired girl, who is basically Faith.

The supporting characters were also good, There is Leo who is a watcher in training who is helping to train Nina, and there are also Rhys and Cillian. They reminded me a little bit of the Scoobies from Buffy and with the setting of the Watcher Academy, we got to see the research in what goes on with the world of the demons, from Buffy.

My main criticism, with the book was the pacing. The beginning of the book, was very info dump heavy, and I think it was made for people who aren’t familiar with the Buffyverse, and the book was not as plot heavy and it was mostly character focused, hopefully with next book we could also see more vampires which was lacking in this book.

In the end, I really enjoyed Slayer, I think it is a great series for those who are fans of the Buffyverse. It did a good job at introducing the new status quo in the world, and I kinda want to see more of what the world has to offer.

Grade: 4/5

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by: Holly Black

Summary:

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Review:

The Cruel Prince was the first book I read by Holly Black, and since I loved that book so much, and I cannot wait for The Wicked King to come out, I decided to start reading some of her early work.

This is a stand alone, which is very unusual for me to read, because I do like reading series most of the time, but this one caught my eye because it was about vampires.

In this book the Vampires lived in a sort of closed off place away from the rest of the world in a place called Coldtown. I like that within the story, Vampires were basically the product of a plagued. But not only does Coldtown inhabit Vampires but also humans who have been bitten but not turned yet. With her writing, Holly Black does a good job in describing Coldtown to the reader. I also love the Coldtown reality show, it really adds to some to the meta humor.

I also love the first chapter. It had a really good eerie feel to it, in which Tana wakes up and sees a whole bunch of corpses from a late night party, and her confusion and dismay for the events that have been taken place. Like I said earlier, it is a great testament to her writing and her lyrical style.

A weak aspect I had with the book, was mainly its characters. Particularity Tana. I didn’t really feel a connection with Tana, like I did with other YA protagonists. I think a lot of her story arc took place around her. Some aspects I did like, was her relationship with her mother, and feeling that her mother’s death was kinda of her fault even though it wasn’t in the end.

There is Aidian, Tana’s ex boyfriend. I didn’t feel like he had an arc and was more of a plot device just to get Tana to Coldtown, to try to get him some help because he was bitten.

Gavriel, is sort of the Vampire bad boy, who has to guide Tana through Coldtown. I did like his backstory and his relationship with his maker, Lucian. I did really like his story line and I kinda wish his character was a bit more fleshed out.

I thought some of the other supporting characters were fine, like Valentina, who I really enjoyed reading about and Jameson.

While I did enjoy the book, I did feel that it wasn’t as good as The Cruel Prince. I kinda wish this book wasn’t a stand alone, and we could learn more about Coldtown, the Vampires and the Vampire hunters. The ending felt sort of rushed because of it, with Lucian a pretty cool antagonist being nothing more than a monster of the week.

In the end, I enjoyed The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Holly Black’s writing was really good and her descriptiveness helped really drive in the setting. I felt the characters were not as fleshed out as her other character’s and I really felt more stories set within this universe would have fleshed them out a lot.

Grade: 3.8/5