Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Stake Your Destiny - Colony

Authors: Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz
Pocket Books
RRP 5.99
ISBN 1 4165 0238 6
Available 03 October 2005

Because of the high incidence of death and violence, the Mayor of Sunnydale has invited a woman called Belakane to speak at Sunnydale High School. Her program, "Be the Ultimate You," builds self-esteem in teenagers. But Belakane is a demon ant like queen, whose test - and subsequent nurturing of the skills she discovers - is simply part of her plot to enlist workers to build her colony, and to find mates to help her populate it. Soon Sunnydale High is full of kids with only one trait each: aggressive Slayer, brainy Willow, helpful Oz... and Belakane has only just begun...

If, like me, you grew up on Ian Livingstone and Peter Jackson's fantastic range of Fighting Fantasy books then you'll slip easy into this new range of Buffy books. While the Buffy versions are not quite as complex as the Fighting Fantasy books (you don't need dice to battle your enemies, nor do you ever get any more than two choices) they are still just as much fun.

The whole idea behind the Stake Your Destiny range is that you become the main character in the book and can, to some extent, control the events that unfold as you progress. For the most part this works really well, and you do get the feeling that you are taking part in your very own adventure - one where you call the shots.

On my first attempt I decided to go on patrol instead of hanging out at The Bronze. My reason for this was that I knew I had to find a leprechaun type monster known as a Sleaninhnam and I figured that I should go patrolling instead of drinking with my pals. A logical assumption, I think you'll agree... but, no. That turned out to be a totally wrong move. I'm not complaining because, just as in real life, what seems the most logical decision doesn't always turn out to be the correct one.

The authors have also managed to get their Buffy speak spot on. The characters reactions and dialogue was believable, and I laughed out loud on more than one occasion.

The biggest problem I had with Colony was down to no fault of the authors. Whoever wrote the blurb on the back of the book, reprinted at the top of this review, should be taken out and shot. I've reprinted it here, as it's pretty safe to assume that most people skim the synopsis anyway, and by the time you get around to buying the book you'll probably have forgotten what it was about anyway.

Most people read the back of books to get a flavour for a story before they buy it and delve into it. The synopsis above spoils a huge part of this book. If you don't know what is going to happen then important plot developments, like why everyone is acting so strange and why Angel and every other male seems to fancy Belakane, are ruined by the thoughtlessness of whoever wrote the above copy.

Other than that moan, Colony is a pretty engaging read. I can't think of a better way of keeping the Buffy books alive than with this format.

Pete Boomer

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