This world is full of big, bad things.
The second collection of short stories that tell tales of slayers past and present. This is a good book, far superior to the flood of badly written BTVS novels that have filled shelves lately. This book has heart, something sadly lacking from the show itself since season 3.
Anyway the tales are:
ALL THAT YOU DO COMES BACK UNTO THEE, 2000
Josh, a bullied UC Sunnydale student, unleashes an evil Egyptian spirit. Buffy has to clean up the mess. An okay tale that hints at Willow's darker side and Tara's fate but this tale isn't all that memorable.
LADY SHOBU, 980
15 year old Kishi Minomoto is taken from her home to be a Handmaid at the Imperial Palace where only by night can she answer her true calling as The Slayer. A good but not very happy tale about a Slayer trapped by courtly etiquette.
Just because a girl is called as The Slayer doesn't mean she is a good person. Eliane forsakes her calling for her husband and two children refusing to aid her neighbours as they are slaughtered by a vampire. Eventually she realises her mistake but it is too late for her and those she loves. A dark tale with an unnerving ending.
BLOOD AND BRINE, 1661
Robin is The Slayer and a Pirate Ship Captain and she loves her work. Then her crew encounter a drifting Spanish galleon which only has one living soul aboard - a beautiful Spanish lady and Robin, her Watcher and those around them are drawn into betrayal, mystery and a fight with a dread sea beast. Rollicking good fun with an interesting sexual subtext scattered on top.
THE GHOSTS OF SLAYERS PAST, 1843
Charlton is the nasty uptight Watcher of Catherine the Slayer. Charlton is persuaded to change his ways when he is visited by the Ghosts of Slayers Past, Present and Future. A humorous tale with sombre touches but the funniest bit is when the Watcher meets the Future Slayer (Buffy) and her incoherent rambling about the 'Mr Hanky swimteam backstroking down the street' sends him screaming half naked into the night a changed man. Funny and enjoyable.
THE NEW WATCHER, 1864
Frankie is The Slayer and is also fighting for the North in the Civil War, then her new Watcher shows up to take her away. A well-written tale with a very neat twist ending. Good.
HOUSE OF THE VAMPIRE, 1897
Angelique is The Slayer and along with her Watcher and her three friends, she battles evil on the streets of London. Then she encounters the legendary Dracula and her world falls apart. A good but sad tale about the absolute loneliness of a Slayer's life.
THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES, 1922
Sally Jean is a small town girl who comes to New York and longs to be just like the beautiful and adored dancer Ardita. But Sally Jean soon uncovers some unpleasant truths about Ardita. A good tale about how others perceive The Slayer.
STAKEOUT ON RUSH STREET, 1943
Betty is The Slayer as well as a Private Eye and she battles a vampire working as a hitman for the mob. Betty has a husband, a job, nice shoes and she doesn't whine (take note Buffy) A good tale that would have Marlowe spinning in his grave.
The best tale of the collection. A magic spell sends Buffy, Willow and Xander back to the Sunnydale of 1999 a few months before Graduation. This is a heartbreaking tale as the contrast between Season 6 and 3 is shown in dramatic detail. Xander sees the living ghosts of all those who'll die at Graduation, Willow can't relate to Oz anymore and Buffy faced with Joyce and no Dawn doesn't want to go back. The scene where an angry Buffy tells Giles the events of intervening years is dark and nasty. The last few lines are a killer in the utter abject bitterness. My only complaint is why no mention of Cordelia or Wesley?
A must buy, I hope Vol 3 would feature some stories about Kendra and Faith.
P-Con V March 28th/29th/30th 2008