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When the female population of Sunnydale starts strutting its girl power, the push for gender equality seems like a normal expression of 90's feminism.  After all, a girl trying out for the football team isn't usually a sign of imminent danger.  But when the guys start acting like powerless pawns and a few even turn up dead, Buffy Summers notices that the local womyn's movement has reached a feverish - and probably unnatural - pitch.

Or so says the blurb on the back says.  While the plot makes this sound more like an episode of Sabrina than Buffy, things are really a lot better on the inside.

Allison Gianakous, a senior at Sunnydale with no friends, decides she has had enough with the way her father has been treating her, and the final nail in the coffin comes when he opens up a Greek restaurant in Sunnydale, even though he can't cook, forcing Allison to be waitress.  Not to pleased with her fathers ideas, Allison jokingly decides to ask the Greek Gods for help, and just like something out of Xena or Hercules, they show up to cause havoc for Sunnydale's population.

Going by the names of Polly and Calli, two girls show up at Sunnydale, instantly being accepted into the inner circle of Cordelia's clique.  Not exactly a big surprise there, until the girls start up their own clique, leaving Cordy alone, with the utter humiliation of Allison and even Willow being allowed to join, but not her.

Meanwhile something mysterious is also going on in a certain Watcher's life, it appears that Giles has become obsessed with the new library supervisor Mo Moon (LOL), who he at first despised.

If that's not enough someone seems to be stalking the male students of Sunnydale, and drowning them, while the Girls of Sunnydale now seem hell-bent on becoming equal to their male peers by joining the basketball and wrestling teams, Willow decides she wants to enter the Sunnydale High Pageant, Xander has become a zombie to the power of the Moon sisters and theres a group of vampires out to get Buffy, so she can help them out with a problem!

With only Cordelia and Oz to help can Buffy solve the problem of the murders, Willow and Xander's love of the Moon sisters, Giles' love of Mo Moon and the vampire threat, or are they all linked together...

Massie is obviously a fan of the show, as the characterization is spot on, and we even get nods to regular continuity, with Willow referenced to being a witch, the mayor mentioned once or twice and Anya and Snyder making appearances. The only problems (yet again) are Joyce's lack of knowledge of Buffy's powers, and a no show from Faith. While the latter could be forgiven, Joyce's knowledge of Buffy's slayer powers came at the end of Season 3, and Faith also made her appearance in Buffy long before Anya.

Apart from that, this is truly one of the shining stars of the Buffy Young Adult range, perhaps not yet up there with Chris Golden and Nancy Holder's book, but it's a start.  And for any book that gets Oz and Cordy into the spotlight a bit more, as well as having a truly chilling ending, it's one you have to pick up now! back to the top

THE POWER OF PERSUASION

Written by ELIZABETH MASSIE

POCKET BOOKS

£4.99


RATING: 8/10

REVIEWED BY: RICHARD MORGAN


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