Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

Slayer (Slayer, #1)Slayer by Kiersten White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.

Warnings: physical violence, and gun violence; mild gore, and physical injury; mention of sexual assault by supernatural creature

I’ll start by saying I’ve never seen the Buffy TV series, or any of the subsequent media, so I don’t know where it fits in the timeline, just that this story starts two months after the destruction of the Seed of Wonder. That being said, I didn’t ever feel it wholly necessarily to have any background from the Buffy series, because this book fills in plenty of blanks, except one (what exactly caused Buffy to break with the Watchers’) and I sort of extrapolated from available information for that one; it stands well enough on its own as a story, and establishes enough of the universe to let you enjoy it.

The story is from the point of view of Athena ‘Nina’ Jamison-Smythe, the daughter of Buffy’s first Watcher, and who, now in the aftermath of destruction of magic, is living along with her mother and sisters, and a handful of other Watchers in a castle near Dublin, in Ireland. Nina hates Buffy, because her family became collateral damage, and by extension, hates Slayers because they left the Council; in an ironical twist, she is turned into the Last Slayer just before magic ends on Earth. She is still thinking about how to be a Slayer when the appearance of demons so close to their home base has her investigating the cause and whether they are in danger, and figuring out a bigger conspiracy brewing in Dublin. Between trying to prove she can be a good Slayer, and managing complicated relationships with her mom, her sister and the boy she used to have a crush on, Nina the medic has a lot of growing to do to be Nina the Slayer.

Nina as a protagonist is fun, because she is a sass queen, and interesting, because she is an unwilling choice of destiny (or whatever). Because of an incident in her childhood, she has had poor health and self-esteem, and so part of her struggle with being a Slayer is about reacting to how the other people feel about it; her mother doesn’t want her to a Slayer, so she wants to show she can be a good one, her sister is over-protective about her, she gets a little impulsive with her powers. There’s some pettiness involved too, like how she ‘dislikes’ Leo, or her anger towards Honora that drives a wedge between her and her sister (who crushes on Honora). Finally, I loved the squad – like Rhys and Cillian, Nina and Artemis trying to uncover what’s the deal with Dublin, and how it connects to supernatural threats they have within the castle. The plot isn’t entirely predictable, and the main enjoyment comes from the characters, and the way they run the story. It has a bit of a Shadowhunters vibe, especially with the ending.

Overall, an independent story in a popular franchise that stands well enough on its own, and it quite an enjoyable urban fantasy.

Other books by the author

And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga, #1) Now I Rise (And I Darken Series, #2) The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)

View all my reviews

Buy links

The Book Depository | Wordery

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