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Quite why Pocket Books chose Spike to appear on the cover of LITTLE THINGS, I have absolutely no idea. Sure, he's in the novel but, since it takes place during the final third of season five, he's only one member of the Scooby Gang rather than the novel's Big Bad.

The cover also promises us that "evil things come in tiny packages", which, along with the title, hints at the nature of the problems facing the Scooby Gang.

In fact, there are several.

Firstly, Sunnydale has been infested by a new troop of vampires - fairy vampires to be exact. This poses a big problem - just how do you fight the little buggers?

The others are more domestic - Dawn is flunking history, Buffy has a toothache, Giles has a parking ticket and Anya and Xander have been invaded by ants.

Apart from the ants and Buffy's toothache, none of these play a major part in the novel, which is just as well. However, the toothache seemed designed to highlight the Summers sisters' financial problems than anything else. The Slayer's quick-healing abilities are referred to, so you do have to wonder why this doesn't refer to her teeth. In any case, eating doughnuts is probably not the smartest move in these circumstances.

Other aspects of the story also smacked of plot convenience. Xander goes out for breakfast, but with Sunnydale swarming with vampire fairies, you'd think he'd wait until after sunrise, but obviously not...

Even as part of the teen novels range, LITTLE THINGS didn't really work as far as I was concerned. Strip away the pointless subplots and it might have made an okay short story, but as a novel - even only a 200 page one - it struggled to hold my interest.

However, there are a few good points. There's some reasonable characterisation and Tara's concern about Willow's use of magic is quite good. On the downside, some of the pop culture references are too clunky, and once again there are too many characters for the plot.

Throw in some plot conveniences and this was another disappointment from Pocket Books. Given that most of the show's audience will have grown up watching it from its earliest days, you do have to wonder why they bother with novels aimed at this sort of age range. BACK TO THE TOP

LITTLE THINGS

Written by REBECCA MOESTRA

POCKET BOOKS

£5.99


RATING: 4/10


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