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July 08 2016

Ten Buffy novels you should read (if you haven't already). What no "The Lost Slayer" or "Spike and Dru: Pretty Maids All in a Row"?

"The Lost Slayer" and "Blackout" are my all-time favorite Buffy novels. The latter focuses on Nikki Wood and the late 70s blackout in New York City. Thrilling read.

I also have a fondness for the Tales of the Slayer paperback books. There were some hidden gems in there. Jane Espenson wrote a short story where S6 Buffy gets transported back to her S3 body; this was, I believe, an omitted episode idea.

[ edited by Charlie on 2016-07-09 07:22 ]
I'd forgotten I'd read so many Buffy novels. 'The Lost Slayer' was my favourite, along with a 'Tales of the Slayer' volume. I still wish I'd gotten the one with Jane Espenson's story though. I wonder why they didn't go with that episode idea. I like Season Six, but a breather in the second half of the season would have been nice.
My favourite was always Immortal. And now I see I have some reading to catch up on.

And I agree about that Tales of the Slayer was amazing! And reminded me of how terrifying iron maidens are.
Wow, kind of surprised at Spike & Dru being left out.
Aside from that one, the ones from this list that I've read (or at least definitely remember reading) I do recommend - Sins of the Father, Book of Fours, and These Our Actors.
The four volumes of Tales of the Slayers are also very enjoyable!

[ edited by a little pez witch on 2016-07-09 03:13 ]
@Bluelark - you should check out "Wisdom of War" when you get a chance. That's another great one set in S5. And Faith shows up.

Christopher Golden was the superior Buffy novel writer, in my opinion.
I was sad that Christopher Golden never wrote an Angel Tie-in. He wrote a short story for the one Angel anthology that came out, but that was about it. Funnily enough, he seemed to have the best handle on him than the other writers.

Then again Christopher Golden's stuff is pretty good in general. I really recommend his Shadow Saga if you're in the mood for a good vampire yarn.
These Our actors disappointed a bit because of how they just retreaded stuff form the show for Tara's involvement. but , no Cecily never "became" Halfrek; Hlafrek was around during t he Crimean war, a decade before William was turned. Cecily could have been a disguise of Halfrek, according so I'm told to Jane's commentary, but in "Lies My Parents Told Me, and show is authoritative over consomme, William's mother knows Cecily's family.
Gatekeeper trilogy and Book Of FOurs were good, but Tancred such big disasters and took so much time to occur they aren't compatible with canon, or any non-canon which takes S3 as shown. Have missed some of the others. Liked Sins Of the Father.

Maybe it's a combined effect of my 1-love of big fantasy set-ups in out-of-the-way places 2- obsessive Willow-Tara I'shipping, but my favorite was Monster Island. Also love Tempted Champions and well, Blooded is not too bad.
Glad one of the novelization authors played with time travel; MArk on MArk watches was disappointed they never did an actual pisode. I played with it ina small way in an unposted fic
So for a couple summers in college, I worked in a used bookstore. I was still watching BtVS for the first time through -- gradually working my way toward S6, where I'd started. (It's a long story.) [Got introduced to the show with "Once More With Feeling."] Apparently not that long.) The store wasn't getting a lot of business, and I'd often spend long hours alone in the store. One day, as I was alone shelving books, the song "I Only Have Eyes For You" came on the radio. Having only ever heard it in the context of the BtVS ep, it was incredibly creepy. It was easy to imagine Angelus or Dru coming through the door, looking for knowledge or trouble or a snack.

Anyway... I think I saw a couple Buffy books go through the store. The only one I remember is "The Book of Fours." I didn't read it -- although one of the perks of working at the store was that we could take home anything we wanted to read, as long as we either brought it back or paid for it later. My main reasons for not reading it were mostly a) Joss didn't write it and b) I identify the Scooby Gang characters so closely with their actors. I can't even watch the original Buffy movie because it doesn't have Gellar in it. But I was intrigued by "The Book of Fours" because of the possibility of learning more about the pre-Buffy Slayer and the Slayer line in general.

Later on, I did read the comics (well, Season 8 and Tales of the Slayers) because Joss was writing them, and because after the first few I could more-or-less hear the dialogue in the actors' voices.

So here's my question. How well did Golden, Holder, and company do with making the characters sound right? Because if they did that tolerably well, I might check these out. "Blackout" sounds interesting for several reasons.

And why is "The Lost Slayer" earning high marks from so many of you? I've never even seen it on the shelves, so I'm curious.
Honestly? Golden and Holder's books, IMHO, were the best of the bunch. Golden was even the writer of the first run of Angel comics too, and wrote several arcs of the Buffy comics.

Mel Oldam was pretty on point too.
The novelization of Chosen was spot on as well, and illuminated some scenes quite well. Monster Island was great as well- Tara played a larger role in it and they did a great job of illuminating some aspects of things between her and Willow very nicely.
@Charlie, Interesting. I'll remember 'Wisdom of War' if I ever get a chance to get hold of it.

I agree that Christopher Golden was the best of the authors I read. The characters were convincing enough for me to enjoy the books even if the dialogue wasn't as snappy. I think he captured their voices better Nancy Holder. The books were no substitute for the TV show, but they were fun.

I liked 'The Lost Slayer' because it felt epic, with time travel and an alternate reality and prophecies. More like an 'Angel' plot, actually. Like some of the novels, it had appeal because it could tell the kind of story that would take up a miniseries with a large budget. This article has reminded me that I liked how the books developed some of the mythology. They had Buffy seeing other slayers in dreams, which was hinted at in the series (when she shared her dream with Faith in S3) and possibly in the original movie, if I remember correctly?
Golden and Holder's work was very good. Seperately, but especially when they wrote together. My favourite story was always the 'Gatekeeper' trilogy. Hard to believe it's been fifteen years since I read it.
I believe 'Monster Island' is the only Buffyverse-novel I own in the original language. Other than that they are translated versions bought in local book stores.
I read a lot of the books, I'm sure I'll remember more but I think my favorite of all was Blackout. Excellent in every way.
Pretty Maids was also a great read but contradicts Canon since it was written pretty early on. It was still a great read.
Xane I reconcile Pretty Maids All Ina Row by hearing Giles in "School Hard" saying "Spike's battled several slayers, killed a t least two we know of."
Queen of the Slayers wasn't very good, in my opinion, although it did have its moments. But it was head and shoulders better than Chosen, which was nothing more than a synopsis of Season Seven, apparently written from shooting scripts by several different people who couldn't be bothered to make a real effort. Shame, because there were some fanfic authors that could have done a better job.
I've read Portal Through Time and thought it was lousy. One of the best that I've read, One Thing Or Your Mother was omitted from this list.

My reviews of both here, if you're interested.
Haven't thought about these books in years but I'm surprised just how much I remember about them. Some were pretty bad, but others were a pretty good way to pass a couple of hours time. I'll echo what other posters have said, Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder together made something quite special.

The Gatekeeper Trilogy sticks out as a particular favourite. Aside from that I enjoyed The Power of Persuasion for it's sheer camp, Immortal, The Evil that Men Do - even though it's opener was tasteless and it's villains were a carbon copy of Spike and Drusilla - and on that note, Spike and Dru: Pretty Maids all in a Row occupied the top spot.

The Lost Slayer is another favourite and one I'd actually loved to have seen the show do. It's a little too close to the concept of The Wish to have ever transferred onto screen, but it's a great read and it's concept raises the stakes.
@Apocalypse - Right there with you on The Lost Slayer.

There was one particular part -- I won't say which one -- where I felt Stephen King-level tension. Golden did a marvelous job of stacking the odds against Buffy. Not even the show made her battle seem so hopeless. I was scared for her! Seriously. Can't recommend this book enough. It really shows what Buffy is made of.

Also, it's extremely ambitious. And the payoffs are well-earned.
The Lost Slayer was a bit too convoluted and depressing for me. I didn't care for it at all but I'm not a straight up horror fan. Comedy horror I can handle.
Wisdom of War and Tempted Champions I recall enjoying too. And These Our Actors. Blackout and Pretty Maids won the re-reading championship though.
I wish there were still novels being written. I could really get lost in them in a way I can't with comics. They felt more real to me.
From what I recall when I read the novels, I agree that The Lost Slayer and Spike & Dru: Pretty Maids All In A Row were my favorites.

It was always nice to read the novels when I ran out of episodes to watch. Any new Buffy story I could get my hands on was a fun story for me.

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