In nineteen seventy-seven New York is in melt down, the civil
administration is at odds with its employees and the serial
killer Son of Sam stalks the night. Trying to hold back the
night against the forces of evil Nikki Mavis Wood must balance
her responsibilities as the Slayer with that of being a mother
to her young son Robin. With the battle lines drawn an uneasy
balance of power exists between The Slayer and Reet, the leader
of the New York vampires, but it is a balance that is quickly
shattered when Spike moves in, intent on killing his next
the Vampire Slayer: Blackout is the new genre novel by
Keith R. A. DeCandido, himself a prodigious writer of Buffy,
Marvel and Star Trek tie-in books.
first thing to say is that if you were expecting to read a
story about Buffy then you're going to be disappointed, though
she appears in the forward and epilogue, this is Nikki and
Spike's story. The only reason I can think of, is that the
publishers didn't think that Spike was a strong enough character
to carry his own line of books.
other disappointing thing is that this is a fill-in book.
What I mean is that any fan of the show will know that Spike
killed Robins' mother, in his pre-chip days, so the reader
already knows how the book is going to end. Not that this
is so bad if the author is able to take you on a fantastical
journey, but Blackout is a bit of a paint by numbers
affair. DeCandido is too good a writer to be doing this sort
of fill-in work and it would have been nicer to have discovered
something completely fresh about Spike's past.
is not to say that, ignoring the premise, the writing does
not remain good. DeCandido maintains his easy to read style,
but good writing alone does not make for an interesting or
engaging narrative. Character development is minimal, but
then that's the nature of the beast when you're constrained
by years of television back-story and a publisher's desire
for you to constrict the characters into known parameters.
obviously knows New York and paints the background well, what
doesn't come off so well is Spike's use of language. It's
sad to say that I am old enough to have been around during
the first explosion of punk, and I found little that was intrinsically
accurate in Spike's speech patterns. It might just be that
as an American DeCandido is drawing his inspiration from the
show, rather than from any personal knowledge, but it does
jar when you're reading the book.
it's a book really only for Spike fans. On the plus side the
novel length does allow the reader to get inside Spike's head
and examine some of his motivations, plus the fill-in type
novel appears to be much loved by fans. Star Trek has
hundreds of books which examine every bowel movement that
happened between shows, so why not Buffy as well.
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