This book (set in Season 5 somewhere in-between 'Forever' and 'Tough Love') is a well-written and thought provoking tale. It centres on Buffy and Anya. Unlike the TV show, here we get to see how Anya thinks and her and Xander's domestic life is - it is sweet and tender and there are a lot of hidden depths to the ex-demon.
Anya, whose full name is apparently Anya Jenkins, gets paid a visit by a former boss D'Hoffryn who offers her, her old job back. This prompts her into a lot of soul-searching. Of course she rejects his offer as she loves Xander - which is a nice tender moment but knowing how Xander cruelly dumps and humiliates her at their wedding, it only underlines how in Sunnydale - all love is doomed.
Meanwhile Buffy must face down a new vampire in town: Celina. Meanwhile as Buffy ruminates on her Slayerness and possible death, there is ominous foreshadowing of her unwanted resurrection in Season 6. Celina and Buffy have a fight, which Buffy loses badly. There is no sign or mention of Glory in this book, which is good as Celina in 240 pages, manages to be more dangerous, menacing and interesting than Glory was in an entire season.
The book has lots of weird and wonderful dialogue:
"If you don't shut up, I'm going to impale you on a low tree branch."
"Xander I want to go home and have sex. Twice."
"You tell me where she is, or I'll shake every vampire bone out of your body and reassemble them into an ugly piece of abstract sculpture."
"How about if I pull out your vocal cords and see if the answer I want is written on them?"
Soon the gang researches and learns just what Celina is. She is in fact Cassia Marsilka, a Greek Vampire Slayer presumed dead since 1527. A brief and dark flashback explains how Cassia the Slayer became Celina the vampire. This revelation prompts Buffy to think about Faith, herself and the very nature of her powers. This book has a greater debate on the dark nature of the Slayer than the TV show ever has done.
Meanwhile a demon named Dunphy kidnaps Anya so he can carve her into steaks and Angel pays a visit to help Buffy. There is much sweet Buffy/Angel stuff, Dawn is in this book as is as annoying and bratty as she is on TV.
So this has a dangerous and ambiguous villain, Buffy/Angel mush, Anya/Xander mush and much ominous foreshadowing for the dark and depressing events of season 6.
P-Con V March 29th/30th 2008