Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Spark and Burn

Author: Diana G. Gallagher
Pocket Books
RRP 6.99
ISBN 1 4165 0237 8
Available 01 August 2005

In the nineteenth century a boy named William was born. A sweet, gentle boy - no one could have guessed the suffering he'd cause, the pain he'd inflict. When, as a young man, he meets a woman called Drusilla - a strange woman, a woman unlike anyone William has even known - he is fundamentally changed. She has turned him. There will be no more William. He is Spike now...

Spike travels Europe with a band of vagabond vampires. Dru, Darla and Angelus, who instruct him on his new nature. It is from them that he learns about the greatest of vampiric enemies: the girl who is chosen to stand up against them, trained to kill them, endowed with the strength it takes to defeat them - the Slayer. Then and there, Spike decides he'll hunt down those slayers. He'll see how many he can find.

Who would have thought then, that he'd fight on the Slayer's side? Who would have guessed that Spike, once William, would go out and seek his soul for a slayer? Who would have thought that he'd start to dream he'd fall in love with one?

Spark and Burn is an odd little novel. It takes its information mainly from episodes of the show, and plays out scenes well-known to fans, but then intermittently it adds a little something new from Spike's history, that you haven't seen before.

At first, even as a Buffy fan, I found the book quite dull, thinking it was, all in all, just an adaptation of Spike's main scenes from the show. But, as I carried on reading, I found little extras kept me going. Overall I have to say this doesn't offer much new to fans but, for those lovers of Spike, its worth adding to the collection. It flits from the beginning of the final series in the show, using The First's hauntings of Spike when he's in the school basement to take you back to different stages of his life. You're reminded of his human life, pre Drusilla, then his time with her and Angelus in Europe, Angelus' disappearance from the group and then his reappearance during the Boxer Rebellion - all from Spikes point of view.

Of course the best bits are when we uncover a new part of Spike's life. We discover what he did during the World Wars - how he hid from the Nazi demon hunters and had a run in with snake demon Machida before its Delta Zeta Kappa days in Sunnydale. These are the titbits that make this book worth reading.

Overall Spark and Burn isn't an amazing book, but offers Buffy fans a little something new, which I'm sure they'll grab at the chance for since there'll be nothing from the Buffyverse on TV screens anytime soon...

Keri Allan

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