The Angel Chronicles: Vol. 3
Author: Nancy Holder
I’m giving this one four barrels, though as far as straightforward novelizations go this one will probably be tough to beat. It’s not really a surprise, as reliable author Nancy Holder was tasked with combining three of the ten best episodes of the series (that also fit very well together) into one installment.
I recently saw a website picking the best season of every famous tv show and even before opening it I knew season 2 of Buffy would be their choice (and it was their choice). I think most fans would have it as their consensus choice as it featured the great villains of Spike and Drusilla and later Angelus. While season 3 (Faith, the Mayor and graduation) was every bit as excellent it lacked the gut punch the end of season 2 had.
Three of the four best episodes of the season are revisited in Angel Chronicles: Volume 3 with the only one missing being the season finale. The first two are episodes 13 and 14 which were the rare “to be continued” two parter and the last was episode 17 which had the pay off to the prior two. Here you’ve got Angel and Buffy’s last perfect night together, the switch to Angelus and the biggest death of a central character yet on the show (and for my money the best done death outside of “The Body”).
The two episodes skipped through on the way to Passion were an Oz then Xander centered stories which while fun episodes were easily enough skipped with one line of exposition by Holder (“since then Willow had gotten a boyfriend”).
The reason this only gets four stars is that while the source material is awesome and the execution is spot on, as with all of these there’s not much added to what we already saw on the screen. There’s 2 pages of prologue and two pages of epilogue that frame the boom but don’t add to it and any additional benefit is in characters’ inner monologues which are fairly sparse. In other words, for die yards only.