After years of confining
their Buffy novels to their own unique season three, Pocket Books
finally seem to have decided to move things on. On top of that,
they're also serving up an increased number of formats these days, with Prophecies
forming part one of the first Buffy serial novel.
Sadly, despite being
written by probably the most successful Buffy novelist out there, it
gets off to a rather uninteresting start.
Set at the start of season
four, Prophecies has the benefit of hindsight with regard to
character development and relationship, but as usual, Pocket Books haven't
gone for this approach. Instead we get a retread of the early season
four episodes, with Buffy obsessing about her studies (including getting
humiliated in front of the rest of her class - again) while Willow is
so cool because everyone at university is only interested in
studying. The other regulars don't fare much better - there's no Riley
yet (thank God), but Anya gets to bore us all with more sex-talk and Giles
gets a visit from Olivia, who then goes up to the attic.
This wouldn't have been too
bad if the serial had started with a bang, but while there's a fair bit
going on, I can't say that I found a lot of it particularly
interesting. After an opening fight scene, my hopes for the novel as a
whole took a bit of a battering with the reappearance of Lucy Hanover and
the whole Ghost Roads idea. I seem to be in the minority of fans here,
but I really don't rate this concept at all, and it was disappointing to see
it used yet again (apart from what seems like countless Nancy Holder novels,
Golden himself also used it in his Blood of Carthage comic story).
There's plenty of other
things that we've seen before on display here as well, and yet another Big
Bad who didn't really interest me at all, while the kidnap of one of the
regulars seems to be becoming the Buffy equivalent of that old Doctor
Who chestnut of capture/escape/recapture.
I won't spoil the ending
for anyone who hasn't read the rest of the book, and it certainly does offer
potential (although since the novels can't really be considered canon, I
could easily be very cynical about it). Hopefully it will provide
Golden with a springboard to better things with the remaining installments.
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PART ONE: PROPHECIES
Written by CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN
$2.99 / £2.99