Buffy the Vampire Slayer: No. 1: Night of the Living Rerun; Coyote Moon; Portal Through Time by John Vornholt, Arthur Byron Cover and Alice Henderson

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: No. 1: Night of the Living Rerun; Coyote Moon; Portal Through Time by John Vornholt, Arthur Byron Cover and Alice Henderson

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Buy Buffy the Vampire Slayer: No. 1: Night of the Living Rerun; Coyote Moon; Portal Through Time by John Vornholt, Arthur Byron Cover and Alice Henderson at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: A chance for Buffy fans to meet up again with all their favourite characters in three exciting tales.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 704 Date: September 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0857070609

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There is something really satisfying about a huge brick of a book: the prospect of settling down for hours and hours of reading pleasure is very tempting. And this book offers an even more tempting lure for Buffy fans, because it contains three whole stories, adding variety to the mix. It's absolutely ideal for a holiday read.

The Buffy phenomenon is a definite brand: a mix of delicious horror, desperate battles where the heroes almost always survive (but only just), and wry, throw-away humour. Even the best people don't escape unscathed: Giles spends half his life, it seems, having his head bandaged, and Xander splits his time between falling in love with unsuitable girls and walking into sharp objects. Although these three stories will give enormous pleasure to readers who are already fans of the TV series, there is sufficient information here for those new to Buffy (can such people exist?) to join in the fun.

In Coyote Moon, the young people of Sunnydale, Xander and Willow among them, are charmed by carnival folk into assisting them in raising the dead – and a particularly nasty dead, too. Here we see Buffy alone, unable to relax and join in the fun because of her status as the Slayer, forced to suspect the worst in people. She's usually right in that, mind! There are lovely atmospheric scenes in graveyards (why don't Buffy's friends smell a rat when they discover that's the location for their dates?), terrifying transformations and an ingenious solution to the problem on Giles' part. The only reservation with this particular story is that the ending, when it came, was a bit quick, as if the author had reached his allotted word count and felt obliged to stop.

Night of the Living Rerun is a different kind of spooky. Buffy and her friends start to relive the Salem Witch Trials in their dreams, and end up fighting several armies of zombies (cue lots of gruesomeness: bits dropping off, disembodied hands doing their best to throttle the good guys). The setting is pure Americana: a truck stop called, with typical irony, Billy Bob's Steak House. Saturated fats, mind-control and rotting corpses all feature on this story's menu.

Best of the three stories is Portal Through Time. A clever vampire discovers how to time-travel, and decides to kill Buffy before she becomes a Slayer, so his Master can rise – in the current timeline Buffy defeats him. Little Buffy has to endure some nasty deaths before the undead Lucien realises this is not the way to go, and decides to target past Slayers. If these girls die before their time, there is a good chance another girl, not Buffy, will be Slayer when the Master rises – a weaker, less capable opponent for the vampire lord. We are treated to several trips into the past: first century Wales during the Roman invasion of Britain, the ancient Sumerian town of Uruk, the American Civil War and, lastly, Paris during the French Revolution. There, Buffy meets her most challenging enemy of all time, and has to make a heart-breaking decision.

Buffy fans will love every page of these three stories, and for sheer fun and thrills the book deserves to be awarded a five. What prevents that is the problem that afflicts a lot of fan-fiction: the characters and plots are great, because they spring from a popular and well-structured series, but the actual writing tends to be a little clumsy, even clunky at times. It is as if the various authors and editors think there is no point in trying too hard because the readers will buy the books anyway. One wonders if this book would have got published in its present form if the TV Buffy were unknown. Still, as a holiday read it has a lot of merit, and it will be well worth paying the extra weight tax at the airport.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: For more girl-battles-the-undead-and-other-nasties, try Wicked: Witch and Curse by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie, Glass Houses: The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine, and You Are So Undead To Me by Stacey Jay.

Buy Buffy the Vampire Slayer: No. 1: Night of the Living Rerun; Coyote Moon; Portal Through Time by John Vornholt, Arthur Byron Cover and Alice Henderson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Buffy the Vampire Slayer: No. 1: Night of the Living Rerun; Coyote Moon; Portal Through Time by John Vornholt, Arthur Byron Cover and Alice Henderson at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Buffy the Vampire Slayer: No. 1: Night of the Living Rerun; Coyote Moon; Portal Through Time by John Vornholt, Arthur Byron Cover and Alice Henderson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Buffy the Vampire Slayer: No. 1: Night of the Living Rerun; Coyote Moon; Portal Through Time by John Vornholt, Arthur Byron Cover and Alice Henderson at Amazon.com.

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