A collection of eight tales, each depicting the Cruciamentum. The trial that each Slayer had to face when she turned eighteen. The Watcher drains the Slayer of her abilities and sends her to fight a vampire using only her wits.
Buffy's Cruciamentum was depicted in the episode 'Helpless' and some fans have speculated that it was Faith's Cruciamentum that made her into such a nutter. Anyway the trial seems like a really stupid idea and seems to exist solely to allow the Watcher's Council to get rid of a Slayer they don't like.
This is not the best collection of stories. Vols 1 and 2 were the best; this is a weak collection with only a very small number of stand out stories.
The stories are:
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MISSION
New York, 1973
This is the story of Nikki Wood. Her Watcher is preparing for Nikki's Cruciamentum but is shocked to learn the Slayer is pregnant. The identity of the father of Nikki's son who grew up to be Robin Wood is never revealed. This is a good story and it makes Spike's gloating over having killed Nikki even more disgusting.
New York, 1952
Zoe wants to be a beatnik poet but she also has to be the Slayer. Her Watcher doesn't care for her or his job and is only too willing to use the Cruciamentum to get rid of his unwanted charge. A sad story with a depressing ending.
Catherine is the Slayer and is brought back to her family farm for her Cruciamentum. This story both sucks and blows. Her Watcher acts weird, her mother is strange, it is hinted her father is a pervert and vampires show up out of nowhere. This story reeks.
Millie is the Slayer who lives in a carnival and a Watcher turned vampire decides to use her Cruciamentum as an excuse to feed. This tale is dull and seems to exist solely because the author wanted to write a scene where a Slayer fights a vampire in a mirror maze.
A Slayer must face her Cruciamentum and protect her Watcher who is afflicted with shell shock. A really depressing tale.
BACK TO THE GARDEN
Beryl is a Potential who runs off to join a hippy commune because she doesn't want to kill. She finds friendship and love in her haven but then one day wakes up as the Slayer. Then her Watcher arrives and everything goes to hell. Another dull tale and Beryl's major personality change seems improbable.
THE RULE OF SILENCE
Esperanza is the Slayer and her Cruciamentum is the worst of all as her Watcher hands her over to the Inquisition. Nobody wants Esperanza to live but she finds salvation in the most unlikely form. An excellent story.
TWO TEENAGE GIRLS AT THE MALL
This excellent but sad tale is told from the point of view of the vampire. She was a teenage girl made into a vampire, starved and then locked into the mall with the Slayer who was a friend of hers.
While not the best collection, it is worth reading for the last two stories alone.
P-Con V March 28th/29th/30th 2008