Book Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

“In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the slayer.”

Welcome back to the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer…minus Buffy. In Kiersten White’s new young adult series set in the same universe, Buffy may be gone but a new slayer is picking up where season 8 ended. (For those unfamiliar with season 8, that’s because it exists in comic book form instead of on TV)

Nina and her twin sister Artemis have grown up in the Watchers Academy where they are trained to act as guides to the slayers. The girls’ mother serves on the Watcher’s Council alongside some familiar Watcher families, and Nina really wants no part of the lifestyle. Artemis has always seemed born for the storm, not her.

To top it off, Nina’s hatred of Buffy runs deep – when Buffy destroyed magic, it prevented witches from using their powers, ended the slayer line and also deeply impacted Nina’s life in more ways than one. So when it’s Nina instead of Artemis that begins to manifest slayer powers, it’s a shock to everyone at the Watchers Academy. And she really, really does not want to become a slayer.

In the first few chapters, White does a great job of catching up readers who might be unfamiliar with the Buffyverse and even though this is an original story, it fits in nicely with the tone the TV show set for it.

And just because Buffy is gone, she’s definitely not forgotten; her presence can be felt in a big way within the story, especially when Nina and her friends start taking down demons and vampires.

Slayer kicks off a new and exciting young adult series that should appeal to fantasy fans even if they didn’t grow up watching BTVS. A solid first effort.

 

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Me at Buffy’s House in Torrence, CA

 

Books I Can’t Wait to Read in 2019

It’s a new year and that means I have a new reading goal! For 2019, I’ve upped the number of books I want to read to 70. Like all avid readers, there are some books I’m more excited about this year than others, and that list is sure to grow as more releases are announced. Here a few that I am MOST excited about in 2019.

Continue reading “Books I Can’t Wait to Read in 2019”

Best Books of 2018

Is it really time to start compiling my favorite books I’ve read this year? Where did 2018 go? This year, I set a Goodreads goal of reading 65 books and as I’m writing this with about a month left to go, I have managed to surpass that and am at 67 books total! I will probably hit 70 before the end of the year, so it looks like for 2019, I’ll need to up my goal a little bit.

Continue reading “Best Books of 2018”

Book Review: ‘A Spark of Light’ by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is one of the best fiction writers out there today. Never one to shy away from controversial topics, she has a gift for presenting both sides of an issue and leaving readers to decide for themselves which point of view is the correct one. In her new novel, A Spark of Light, she confronts abortion and a woman’s right to choose head-on.

A gunman has burst into Mississippi’s only remaining abortion clinic, killing several staff members and wounding some of the patients. Not everyone is there for an abortion; some are only there to receive medical care or birth control. The story is told in reverse, allowing readers to trace back to what caused such a tragedy and how the cast of characters arrived at the clinic that fateful day.

For A Spark of Light, Picoult interviewed both pro-life and pro-choice advocates and loosely based one of her characters on the Christian abortion doctor, Willie Parker, who compares abortion restrictions to slavery and believes he is doing moral good by providing women with abortions. Picoult also shadowed Parker when researching her novel, watching as he performed three different abortions – one at five weeks, eight weeks and fifteen weeks.

Picoult includes in her author’s note at the end of the book that for the early stage abortions,  she “saw the products of conception, and there was nothing to suggest, to the naked eye, a dead baby.”  These observations are worked into the story, and at times the novel can be quite graphic, especially with the fifteen week abortion, which is described in detail and was quite frankly, emotionally draining to read. Picoult herself even admits that among the remains of that procedure are “tiny, recognizable body parts.”

She spoke with over 150 women who have terminated a pregnancy – the majority think of their choice daily but only one told the author that they regret that choice.

Surprisingly, there is no anti-gun rhetoric in the novel, especially since it centers on a shooting at the clinic.

A Spark of Light is not a beach read. The subject matter is heavy, yet engaging and opens up all kinds of moral discussions for either side of the abortion debate. Picoult does a pretty good job at balancing viewpoints, however  readers will be able to tell which side she favors based on the way some of the characters are portrayed.

What left me as a pro-life advocate especially sad was that even after observing several abortions and admitting a fetus is a life, Picoult still believes that the rights of women should be protected over that of an unborn baby. In her end notes, she uses the age old argument that criminalizing abortion won’t stop women from getting them and by keeping it legal, we are protecting women from complications and even death from at home attempts to terminate pregnancies.

Picoult also laments that both sides hold deep and unshakable convictions that they are right. Instead of shouting at each other or “demonizing” the opposing viewpoint, she suggests we talk with each other, listen and respect opinions even if we don’t agree with them. That’s refreshing to hear, especially in this current, toxic war between liberals and conservatives.

While I don’t share Picoult’s views on a woman’s right to choose, I applaud her for tackling a tough issue, writing about it in a fairly balanced manner and showing kindness to the pro-life movement.

4 out of 5 stars.