The 2nd in the alternate history trilogy is a pitch black tale that is far, far superior to 'The Darkening'. Willow has gone completely irrationally crazy and the Scoobies in fighting her cause more than their own share of death and destruction.
Willow is utterly obsessed with resurrecting Tara and enslaves more coven members and keeps Tara earth-bound to make sure that happens. Whenever Tara's ghost tries to tell her that resurrection won't work, Willow refuses to listen.
Willow has a new plan to take out the Scoobies and creates a golem to destroy them, bringing the mud creature to life with a recently departed human soul. The identity of that departed soul is rather interesting and creates more nice scenes.
Meanwhile the Scoobies try to fight Willow and find themselves having to sink to dark acts to fight Willow and can't face the nasty consequences of their actions. The Willow Vs Scoobies feud is causing a lot of casualties and I'm intrigued as to how Navarro will wrap up this story in 'Broken Sunrise'.
This story centres mostly on Buffy and Willow, with some Giles thrown in. The rest of the gang get to be helpful, do magic and utter oneliners.
There are however some problems with the book. In one glaring moment of continuity error, Dawn is attacked by the golem and has most of the skin and muscle ripped off one arm but is seemingly perfectly fine a chapter or so later. Also Spike and Oz are still imprisoned by Willow and kept in almost permanent catatonic states, they are only mentioned in passing in this novel and one has to wonder - what is the point of their inclusion?
Then comes the biggest flaw of all: Willow is supposed to be bad, evil and the trilogy is called WICKED Willow but she seems incompetent. She keeps on about raising Tara and getting revenge on the Scoobies and seems incapable of either action as her coven and magical summonings keep turning on her. Sheesh Eric Cartman got better revenge on Scott Tenorman that Willow gets on Buffy.
Still flaws aside, this is a very good book with a nicely dark mood. It has hideously bad photoshopped coverart but that is just par for the course with BTVS novels.
Roll on book 3.
P-Con V March 29th/30th 2008