The Book of Fours (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) by Nancy Holder
Faith and Buffy have to team up with their predecessors to stop an ancient evil that has spent centuries killing slayers, including India Cohen, the slayer before Buffy, who it hacked to pieces in front of her Watcher.
- It’s Buffy
- Interesting idea for plot
- Nice learning more about previous slayers, including Kendra
- Characters voice isn’t consistent for within the book and for the TV show
- Too much back story
- Unneeded sub-plots
Buffy will forever be my favourite series of all times but I got to say, I was a bit disappointed with this book. I mean, I don’t have particularly high expectations with Buffy books – never have – but this one was kind of worse than the usual ones I’ve read.
There were parts that I liked of the book, the idea of the plot being one of them. The Gatherer, the ancient evil of the story, was interesting and should have been horrifying in its own right – he hacked a girl to pieces for god’s sake- but it wasn’t. It kind of glossed over how India died and more focused on her afterlife – which I admit was well written. There’s one quote which has been stuck in my head which is from that part: – “it’s better to suffer in agony than to be nothing”, great quote, really. The problem was that I got more feeling from that then her dying.
While I liked the idea of the Gatherer there was so much back story that didn’t really explain anything. I think it was meant to show its creation, but it just barely did that. It didn’t explain why it was Slayers it was so interested in or anything about the use of the elemental axes – a whole other thing that I don’t want to get into. The parts in ancient times was more to set up the other villain – Cecile. It went into a lot of detail about her past, more than I think was necessary.
There was a couple of subplots that had nothing to do with the story as a whole like the whole thing with Xander’s cousin and the death of Buffy’s old friend. They did nothing to add to the main plot and just made the book longer than it needed to. Not sure if it was a subplot but there were a lot of mentions of Spike. TBH I thought there would be a big thing in which he would turn up in the end, on the bad guy’s side but it didn’t happen. It felt like there was a build up to it. There’s a mention in a flashback that India met him and Dru, and Spike mentions one of the villain’s of the book but it didn’t follow through. A bit disappointing as he’s my favourite character of the series.
Character wise also not brilliant. Again I liked the idea of India but she felt very inconsistent. On one hand she was a strong female who could beat up any guy but as soon as it came to Kit – who I thought was really good – she turned into a whiny little thing. While killing yourself for the one you love is very sweet if you’re in someone else body, you’re just being selfish, especially since she didn’t try help him first. It was just kind of strange. But her bit in the afterlife was good. It really showed the complexities of some of her feelings about being a Slayer and her feelings towards her Watcher.
Kendra was also interesting. Not sure it sounded like the Slayer I remember but I liked hearing more about her life before dying, even if it wasn’t really needed in the story. There’s a bit about what happens to her parents which again should have been horrifying but it just didn’t make me feel anything really.
All the other characters just didn’t sound right, not like their TV show selves anyway. Giles doesn’t sound British, Angel sounded almost like a love sick teenager, Buffy was close but not quite there and the rest just all sounded the same, no distinctive voice.
All in all, the book was kind of disappointing. It had a couple of good elements but the execution of it just didn’t work.