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HERE BE MONSTERS

Set at the usual vague point during season 3, Here Be Monsters opens promisingly, with another of Sunnydale's doomed teenagers fleeing from a pair of vampires, both of whom dote on their mother, who's also a vampire.

Action sequences sometimes transfer badly to the printed page, so it's nice to see a strong opening, and Heidi Lindstrom actually gets a bit of characterisation, unusual for the Pocket Books' vamp fodder.

Following her disappearance, Heidi's friend Suz Tompkins seeks out Buffy, and after a second meeting, Buffy finds she and Angel face to face with the vamp twins.

Offing these proves to be a bad move on the part of the Slayer as Mama calls up Nemesis, the bringer of retribution.  This retribution takes the form of a trial that the Slayer must undergo alone, with Joyce's life at stake.

After a promising start, I found Here Be Monsters tailed off about halfway through.  Buffy fighting her own personal demons was interesting, but unfortunately, the Scooby Gang ended up with little or nothing to do.  Okay, so Willow casts a scrying spell, but that seemed to be about it.  Some of the other books in the younger readers' range have written out at least one of the Gang, and that might have been an idea here too.

However, it's not all doom and gloom - Buffy gets some reasonable scenes, and one-off character Suz also gets to do something as well, which makes a change from most of the other Pocket Books novels where original characters rarely make it to the final page.

It's not the best Buffy novel out there, but it's far from being the worst either. BACK TO THE TOP

HERE BE MONSTERS

Written by CAMERON DOKEY

POCKET BOOKS

4.99

RATING: 7/10