This book differs from Volume 1 and Volume 2 in that it is composed of four novellas. This is a good addition to the 'Tales' saga. These four tales tell of very different Slayers in very different times:
DARK OF THE MOON, 1250
The Slayer Dark of the Moon is the guardian of the Anasazi tribe. This is a dark tale of a doomed people and a Slayer who does not really know what she is or what she is fighting. This tale cuts very effectively and oozes despair. Good.
CH'ING SHIH, 1856
The weakest tale in the book. The Slayer Xiaoqin lives in squalid seedy Shanghai fighting to protect those who depend on her unaware of what she is. Then she meets her Watcher and faces the biggest battle of her life. This tale is rather too long but it does portray the Slayer's bleak life well.
VOODOO LOUNGE, 1940
A direct sequel to the novel 'Spike & Dru: Pretty Maids in a Row'. Eleanor survived the unholy carnage at the end of 'Spike & Dru' to become the Slayer. Now as the shattered Watcher's Council attempts to rebuild, she and her Watcher visit LA to find a missing Watcher. The trail leads to an underground club where Eleanor gets caught up with murder, vigilantes and revenge. A very good story with a nice nod to the 'Angel' series, Eleanor makes a wonderful Slayer and I would like to read more stories about her. I do think however that the date of this story and the dates in 'Spike & Dru' don't match up.
THE CODE OF THE SAMURAI, 1993
A prequel to the novel 'The Book of Fours'. India Cohen is the Slayer and unknowingly is Buffy Summer's predecessor. Living in Japan on a military base, she and her Watcher answer a call for help from a family plagued by their vampiric ancestors leading to a fight in a snow covered graveyard. This is very good. In 'The Book of Fours' India came across as an idiot, here she is slightly better written though her cow-eyes mooning over her Watcher is slightly unnerving - dude she is 15 - eeewww!. The author makes some very clumsy allusion to the 'Buffy' series but they can be overlooked. The minor character of Kohana is very interesting. This was my favorite story.
A good read even if none of the stories can match the power of 'Again' from Volume 2. This tome is very much recommended. I hope Volume 4 will deal with all those Slayers created as a result of the episode 'Chosen' and that Faith and Kendra will at last get a story.
P-Con V March 28th/29th/30th 2008