Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

A fantasy set in the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Universe

Slayer

by Kiersten White

Narrator: Madeleine Maby

Genre: YA Fantasy

Setting: Buffy Universe

Source: Audiobook, Library

Publishing Date: 2019

404 pages (12 hours)

Synopsis: Into every generation a Slayer is born…

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.

My Thoughts

Before I started the book I hadn’t realized the book was actually in the Buffy universe. That was something I really enjoyed. I liked the glimpses we got of Buffy and I liked that this book is mostly from the Watchers point of view. The book starts after the TV series ends, I think. (I haven’t watched any Buffy for a long time.) Might need to re-watch some of it since I really did enjoy it.

I thought this book had lots of promise. A watcher becomes a slayer! That sounds so great. I also liked the idea of hearing from the watcher side of things.

Too much angst

This book was a little too angsty for me. That’s why I don’t enjoy YA books very much anymore. I must confess I’m tired of all the teenage angst most of them have. I don’t mind reading about young protagonists, but I want some of the second-guessing themselves, constantly changing their mind and worrying about how they look all the time as well as the forbidden lovers trope kept to a minimum. This had a little too much of all that for me especially at the end. (However, this is more my problem than the book’s problem! But it is why I don’t read many young adult books.)

Characters don’t listen

I was also irritated when Nina wouldn’t listen to people. Sometimes you need to go your own way or follow your instincts, but if Nina had listened more and thought about things she wouldn’t have made some of the choices she did. Artemis, her twin sister, also irritated me by not listening to people—especially not listening to Nina whom she was supposed to love so much and whom Artemis had spent her life protecting. That was really irritating.

Bottom line

I listened to the audiobook and I thought the narrator did a good job. However, I probably won’t continue reading this series. It’s just not the series for me.

My Rating: B-
Narrator Rating: B+

Review: An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris

Distopian urban fantasy set in the SW United States with lots of action, great characters and a good story

An Easy Death
by Charlaine Harris

Series: Gunnie Rose #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy, dystopian, alternate history

Setting: Texoma (combination of Texas and Oklahoma), Western United States, Mexico

Source: Ebook, Library

Publishing Date: 2018

336 pages

Synopsis: Set in a fractured United States, in the southwestern country now known as Texoma. A world where magic is acknowledged but mistrusted, especially by a young gunslinger named Lizbeth Rose. Battered by a run across the border to Mexico Lizbeth Rose takes a job offer from a pair of Russian wizards to be their local guide and gunnie. For the wizards, Gunnie Rose has already acquired a fearsome reputation and they’re at a desperate crossroad, even if they won’t admit it. They’re searching through the small border towns near Mexico, trying to locate a low-level magic practitioner, Oleg Karkarov. The wizards believe Oleg is a direct descendant of Grigori Rasputin, and that Oleg’s blood can save the young tsar’s life.

As the trio journey through an altered America, shattered into several countries by the assassination of Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Depression, they’re set on by enemies. It’s clear that a powerful force does not want them to succeed in their mission. Lizbeth Rose is a gunnie who has never failed a client, but her oath will test all of her skills and resolve to get them all out alive. 

My thoughts

I’ve read quite a few Charlaine Harris books–the Aurora Teagarden series, Lily Bard series, Sookie Stackhouse series as well as other books she’s written. This is one of my favorites that she’s written. The book has an interesting story, engaging characters and really good world building.

Gunnie Rose

Gunnie Rose is so much fun to read about. The book is written in first person and Ms. Harris really does a great job making Gunnie Rose unique. Part of doing that is the language and also the way she talks and thinks:

“I don’t want to have nothing to do with you,” I said. My mother would have given me the evil eye for bad grammar, but she wasn’t there and I was out of civil.

Lizbeth Rose aka “Gunnie Rose” is a gunnie who makes her living using her guns to protect other people and/or caravans of goods–basically anyone who will pay for her for protection.

It was going to be that kind of day. Brushed my teeth, didn’t die. Stepped outside, didn’t get shot. Ate breakfast, didn’t get poisoned. Got in our hotel, nobody waiting.

Alternate history

I like the way Charlaine Harris weaves in history we’re familiar with into this world. For example, the Russian Revolution occurs, but much of the west coast of the United States is now the Holy Russian Empire where what was left of the royal family escaped. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President of the United States, but was assassinated in the 1930’s.

Bottom Line

This book has lots of action, magic, great characters and a twisty story. And an important aspect for me–I really want to read the next book!

I’m very happy that the second book in this series–A Longer Fall–is slotted to come out in January 2020.

My Rating: B+

Have you read this book or any other books by this author? Did you like them?