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The Lost Slayer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer    by Christopher Golden order for
Lost Slayer
by Christopher Golden
Order:  USA  Can
Pulse, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

Set at the beginning of Buffy's college career (the beginning of season 4), at a time when best friend Willow is still romantically involved with Oz, her werewolf boy-friend, this four-part tale presents a fascinating what-if: What if an exceptionally intelligent vampire leader managed to unite the vampires, capture the Slayer, and hold her in captivity, alive? This would ensure that no Slayer would replace her, for, according to Slayer lore, there is only one girl in any generation whose destiny it is to fight against the forces of darkness. And this generation's Slayer is Buffy.

In Prophecies, Buffy is warned by a mystic force that a mistake she makes will result in dire consequences. Desperate to know more, she accepts a terrible risk, and is invaded by the mystic power. Her soul is sent into her body five years in the future. In Dark Times, Buffy struggles to make sense of an ugly future. Her old friends are battling desperately against the evil monsters who now control Sunnydale. She is haunted by the mistake she made that led to this bleak future, and unsettled by the criticism that somehow she should have succeeded in killing herself so that a new Slayer could take her place.

King of the Dead reveals more about the dark world that has replaced our reality; and Buffy regroups her forces to lead a mission into Sunnydale, into the very heart of the evil vampire kingdom. Original Sins sees the end of Buffy's epic battle, not only against the creatures of darkness, but also against her own demons. To be the Slayer, burdened with so heavy a responsibility, is a cruel fate; and one that Buffy bears with courage. However, there are times when she falters; and it is these moments of weakness that define the strength of the character.

Christopher Golden does a creditable job, remaining true to the spirit of the character and the intent of Buffy's creator, Joss Whedon. Fans of the series should be pleased to meet Buffy and her friends again; Golden even includes Angel, Buffy's lost love. The author has also maintained a nice balance between the darkness inherent in the tale and Buffy's indomitable spirit. (Her younger self must struggle against the pessimism of her older self when the two inhabit her body five years in the future.)

Now that the series has left the air, Buffy fans should be pleased to have new adventures in book form, although not all writers share Golden's deftness or familiarity with the characters.

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