The 3rd Buffy hardcover is a welcome return to form after the horrible 'Spike and Dru'. This is also a semi-sequel to the 'Gatekeeper Trilogy' and makes reference to the events in 'Spike and Dru'. It is a tale of four slayers: Buffy, Kendra, Faith and India. Who is India? She was the slayer before Buffy.
Set in the third season, Buffy and Faith watch as Sunnydale is wrecked by natural disasters and monsters armed with ancient and evil weapons stalk the streets. It is all part of a millennia old plot by The Gatherer and his evil human servant to kill the two slayers and destroy all life, everywhere.
At long last Faith appears in a Buffy novel, Wesley is never mentioned. The gradual estrangement between her and Buffy is depicted well though. Buffy is troubled by the death of an old friend from LA, Willow is in a car accident and Joyce hangs around being useless. Joyce's death in 'The Body' did nothing for me btw.
Anyway what else happens in this book? Oh Buffy learns of India, we briefly see India and learn what lead to her horrible death, Lucy Hanover returns, Cordelia gets hacked to pieces, Xander's cousin is dying, a debauched civil war cad murders his entire family for power, a Knight of the crusades becomes his own worse nightmare, we meet an early slayer and Buffy has a vision of the slayer yet to come. Also we meet Kendra's watcher, India's Watcher, some old faces from 'Ghostroads' return, Spike and Dru make tiny cameos, Willy shows up, Angel acts macho, we get to see one of Kendra's missions and hell comes to Sunnydale.
There is a lot going on in this 337-page novel which is full of characters, monsters, action, subplots and slayer mythology. It puts season 4 and season 5 to shame. The Gatherer could kick Adam and Glory's asses and not even notice he'd done it. But when will the books move into season 5? As long as they skip season 4 and the whole Riley debacle.
With nice cover art and human and inhuman evil well depicted, this is a classic Buffy book. It is on the same level as the brilliant 1st Buffy hardcover 'Immortal'. This is a book all true Buffy fans must read.
P-Con V March 29th/30th 2008