Night of the Living Rerun
Author: Arthur Byron Cover
Release Date: March 1998
I feel guilty giving any book one star because nobody sets out to write a bad book. Unfortunately this book was a perfect storm of elements that made it a slog to get through despite being less than 200 fairly small pages.
I’ll be the first to admit that season one of Buffy was the worst, featuring characters that hadn’t yet found their voice, a generic big bad (The Master) and ill fitting plot points from the movie worked in. However, despite all that I’ve enjoyed books like Coyote Moon that felt true to the characters at that point and told a fun story.
Here, the plot is set into motion by dreams, the most boring thing in fiction (books, movies, etc). Buffy dreams of being a witch slayer, Xander dreams of being a witch, Giles and the Master dream of even less interesting stuff. As each dream sequence began I thought “here’s another stretch of pages that aren’t about these characters and have zero risk of affecting the story.” It turns out all the characters are reliving the Salem Witch trials, and it’s part of some once every 300 year (give or take a few) opportunity for the master to ascend.
With the lame plot in motion one would hope the characters act at least true to their tv counterparts. No such luck here as Giles asks “how do you Americans say this” and Buffy kills the master using a steak knife and the entire timing of the book is vague as Buffy makes a joke about dying (“been there done that”) putting it after the season finale but the Master is still trying to ascend from below ground.
The entire read was tedious and frustrating, sadly my least favorite book in my chronological run through so far.