Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

Title: Slayer
Author: Kiersten White
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Publication Date: Jan 8, 2019
GoodReads

Synopsis:

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.

Review:

Let’s be real, our first thought at the end of the day wasn’t, “Wait, what about the Watchers?!” When the final credits rolled for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, we were wondering whether she’d be back in Angel, how we’d get over Spike’s sacrifice, and where all these slayer-powered girls will go from here.

Slayer takes place two months after the apocalyptic fight in Sunnydale and the question no one was asking is answered – are the Watchers okay?

When we meet MC Nina, it doesn’t seem like it. The Hellmouth is gone, but so is all the magic – what held together a lot of the old traditions for the Watchers. Now they have books that are more paperweight than educational, and Nina, a failed watcher turned makeshift nurse who can’t speed heal to everyone’s dismay. However, when Nina comes into her Slayer powers after a Hellhound attack, Nina finds herself questioning her identity as a healer and Watcher.

I really liked Nina as an MC, and I think her character development was done really well. She makes a few mistakes, she gets herself in trouble, but I think the whole Slayer thing is something that she grows into. That being said, Nina hasn’t had the best childhood – she witnessed the Watchers’ fall, the magic die; lived through her father’s passing, the neglect of her mother; and found herself an outcast when she wasn’t allowed to take the Watchers test. Nina dwells a lot on these things throughout the book – time and time again coming back to them. She dreams about it, she complains about it in the narrative, she’s jealous of her sister because of it, and it becomes this whole thing that you just start skimming over every time she thinks about it. I’m not faulting her for dwelling on it, and I’m not mad that this is what made her who she is, but it was just too much too many times – it started bogging down the story and taking away from the areas of the story I wanted more of.

The world building is well done – Nina paints us a clear picture of the Watchers’ current living situation, as well as the cities she ends up visiting. Even her dreams are vividly described and I really liked that I got to dive deep into the world with the narration.

The action – when there was action – was good, like so good. It made me exceptionally happy and it was what kept me pushing through the book. Nina’s not a natural fighter – so seeing her train, and jump into action was a lot of fun. The last 100 pages got me so fired up. I was so mad when the book just ended and I realized I had to wait for the next one.

All in all, Slayer is a good starting point for this series – it has the necessary character development, a clear and immersive world, and a lot of demony action that fires you right up and throws you back into the world of Hellmouths and Slayers. I won’t lie and say that I wish there had been a little more action and a little less moping, but it was definitely something that contributed to the character development. I’m so ready for the next book, because that end got me shook. Nina is going to be a bomb Slayer is all I’m saying.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
World Building: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Pacing: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.78/5

eARC obtained via Simon and Schuster Canada and Simon Pulse via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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