Despite having never seen a single episode of Buffy…I enjoyed reading Slayer!
And shshhh yes I know you’re going to go yell at me to go watch it…but can we acknowledge how many books there are in the world and that I am trying to read them all? Fitting in tv shows is the Real Struggle.
I really adore Kiersten White, especially after her And I Darken series which was both bloody and badass. I also have her Elizabeth Frankenstein retelling! Which I will get to! (This is why I haven’t watched Buffy ok? So. many. books.)
➸ Is it enjoyable if you don’t know the original Buffy show?
A resounding “YES!” from me. I actually thought it would be about Buffy, but it’s about Nina and her hidden group of Watchers in a castle in Ireland. It’s set after Buffy apparently broke the world and killed magic…so the backstory was a bit hazy to me. But this is where we’re at. Nina hates Slayers because her dad died because of Buffy…but irony is a jerk, so Nina’s destiny is, in fact, to be a Slayer. (I do question why there was ever supposed to be “just one Slayer”. I mean hi @ the rest of the world? Do they just get to drown in their own vampires or…?? Thx, America.)
Ok yes look I know I just said “I have no times for shows!” but I have seen 11 seasons of Superantural in my youth (lol a few years ago). So Slayer had all the trappings of these types of things: (1) secret magical organisation, (2) everyone is steeped in flawed tradition, (3) there are Slayers and Watchers, (4) killin’ demons, researchin’ in the big archaic libraries, (5) let’s leave the saving of the world to a bunch of 16 year olds!
So lots of tropes? Yes. But also lots of heart, diversity, and really relatable messages and great themes. Like even when Nina’s undeniably proved to be a Slayer, people are STILL telling her “Yeah, honey, but you don’t really know what you’re talking about.” Most teenage girls get dismissed like this. Nina is relatable and her decision to take hold of her own fate was super empowering. (Plus Nina is just a sweetie and bubble of sunshine who could ALSO CRUSH YOUR THROAT WITH HER FIST. So! Love her!)
➸ Gonna be here with my new demon hunting crew forever, thanks.
Squad goals! Let’s talk about our crew (and even though there were a lot of characters, I loved their dynamics and didn’t get lost!)
✧ Nina: an awkward bundle of sunshine. Will break your jaw and then say sorrysorry!!!! also has yelled “here doggy” at a hellhound before and nearly died.
✧ Artemis: Nina’s twin sister and The Power Child, favourite of their mother, the one everyone expects to be badass and powerful. Power lesbian with knives. Her and Nina have a complicated sisterhood…relationships are strained here ok.
✧ Rhys: wears glasses, loves books, is apparently a “leader” but would rather snuggle with his boyfriend. 0/10 has no idea what is going on but is very Ernest and Supportive.
✧ Cillian: human boyfriend of said Rhys. British-Nigerian. Has a witchy mother and knows about Slayers/Watchers even though he shouldn’t. Will make puns before they nearly die. Has kept a demon in his shed before and tried to make it comfy. Likes Eurovision. Has 100% more common sense than anyone who’s supernatural and trained in combat.
✧ Leo: old crush of Nina, Latinx, went missing but is now b a c k and hot. Acts smooth and confident but absolutely can’t keep up with Nina at all and is probably exhausted.
I also appreciate that it was squad > romance. The romance thread is tiny and honestly didn’t do anything for me haha. Except for:
Also Nina and Cillian being Best Bros was giving me life in my bones. Basically them:
Nina: can u keep a demon in your shed for me???
Cillian: what would he like on his sandwich!
Cillian: also will he kill me idk might be good to ask this too
➸ As for the plot…
You know that feel when something is super predictable but you love the characters, the writing, the sass, and are just having a good time anyway? This is me here. It was also 400pgs so I think it could’ve been a bit faster/tighter instead of meandering along? But really all I can think about is how I want book 2 so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Slayer is a super enjoyable adventure of magical catastrophes, mistaken “Chosen One” feels, and fighting demons with your friends. (Friends who slay together, stay together!) Overall it was pretty predictable, but sassy and fun. It was like a book of an good ol’ favourite ice cream flavour.
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.
➸ You might also like…
is there a tv show you’d like to see a book spin-off series for? have you seen buffy? is Slayer on your tbr?