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Buffy novel - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Buffy novel
I read a Buffy novel today--it was really, really slow, and a new one (Portal Through Time) came in that had an interesting looking plot... and failed to note that it's apparently part one of two, which kind of annoyed me.

Plot: During season two at some point (I assume, as the master is dead, but Buffy seems not to have encountered Angelus yet), a couple of the Master's acolytes decide to try and bring him back to life by going back in time and throwing off the Slayer lineage so that someone else would be active at the time Buffy was called. Buffy and the others realize it and get the spells and boom, are able to follow. Angel stays behind.

I'll probably read part two, but mostly because I always have to know what happened. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't... hmm. I wasn't expecting greatness, so it's not a complaint that it's not great. It just felt a bit off.

I guess the first annoying thing was most likely out of the control of the author, in that it was set in series time rather than in continuing time (and from what I've heard of the post-series novels--Queen of the Slayers, I think?--I should probably be glad that it's not in that continuity). I think I'll want to read Whedon's graphic novel.

There were a lot of places where some of the action could have been sacrificed to have some character stuff. Not all of it, obviously; it's doesn't operate on fanfic rules (or lack thereof), and therefore needs to have a requisite, episode-like amount of action. But there were places that were promising, like Buffy's fascination with an ancient Sumerian location, that just didn't go anywhere, and a lot of ideas that kind of fizzled.

It also lacked the kind of snappy, cool dialogue that makes Buffy, well, Buffy. There were a few attempts at it, but most of it fell flat. It also didn't seem to have a very accurate observation--a jewel is described as "being the size of a housecat," but is welded somehow onto something the size of a dagger. (Of course, I'm wondering if the housecat in question is Jelly or Cin, one being about half the size of the other. With really good practice, Cin might be able to hang off the tip of a dagger...)

After establishing that Buffy wanted her friends with her, the only use she could find for Xander was actually getting them in trouble. During the first adventure, Xander and Willow were literally whisked off the page, where they proceeded to do nothing at all. Willow got a chance to show off in the second section, though she seemed to be doing magic that was beyond what she could do at that point. In the third time period, Xander is immediately hurt and needs to hide through the beginning while Buffy goes off and fights, and Willow just doesn't have anything to do. As much as I like Xander and Will, honestly, on this one, Buffy (and the story) would have been as well-served to go back in time with just Giles as advisor and translator, and Willow and Xander could have had a B-plot in Sunnydale, maybe trying to find the artifact that the vamps were using to travel in time, rather than just taking up space because someone assumed that having them in the book meant having them with Buffy all the time. It's an obvious enough "Huh?" factor that it makes me wonder what the writers' guidelines have to say; maybe they have a rule about not splitting up the Scoobies, even if you can't think of anything to do with them. Has anyone requested them from the editor?

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Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 7th, 2007 08:21 am (UTC) (Link)

Don't know much Buffy but wanted to wish you well.

Hi Fern I have been swept up in the Holidays and am just getting back to one of my favorite pass times (reading your writing) and was rereading Law & Aurors.

I love the direction you are going BTW. I almost fell over laughing to think of the look on Kingsley's face when he was told that he could not just obliviate a crowd when ever he felt like it. ; )

I just wanted to take time out to wish you all the best for this new year. I hope the holidays have treated you well. And you have had lots of good times.

Katsulas

P.S. How is your book going from NaNo? I didn't see anything lately and I hope it is going well. I hope I get a chance to ask for a challenge item next time you are "bored". I enjoyed a great deal of the christmas challenges especially the ones with the Smeltings teachers, twins detention with Remus, Lupinets, House & HP X-over, Remus & Sirius @ X-mas and More Smeltings teachers. Thanks again for you writing.
ladylavinia From: ladylavinia Date: January 8th, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh. It's a story from the early years of BUFFY. Oh well. Too bad.
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