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With no budgetary or logistic constraints, Pocket Books appear to be embracing the concept of BUFFYverse crossovers with gusto.

Once again, Pocket Books are placing this in an "alternate continuity". It would be nice to know how this continuity differs from the one we're familiar with, but the chances of that happening are probably zero. Whatever the differences, it's difficult to see how it can explain the fact that CURSED is supposedly set during the fifth season of BUFFY and the third of ANGEL (it's definitely set during the latter as it features Connor).

Continuity problems aside, the crossover this time around is pretty limited. Desperate for some cash to help out Buffy (no doubt using the logic that getting into her good books will help him get into her knickers), Spike travels to Los Angeles to help a group of demon steal something.

Meanwhile, Angel has received a tip-off from Giles that a mystical object is arriving in LA. It doesn't take a genius to realise that these objects are connected, although the reader learns this long before the characters do.

It transpires that the objects are only two of seven, and that when placed together they become the Bridge of Journeyhome, which will allow a group of gypsies to return home ("not an entirely original name," notes Cordelia).

As you'd expect from a novel featuring both Angel and Spike, there are plenty of flashback sequences, although obviously these feature Angelus and Spike. The two vampires, along with Darla and Drusilla, have encountered these objects before, and these scenes are amongst the novel's best, especially when Spike gets wound up by Dru and ends up going on a rampage.

Spike is the best thing about the novel as a whole. Few novels have played up the romantic side of his nature (in fact, only the 19th century scenes in THESE OUR ACTORS have really attempted it), but it's a major factor here, and Odom captures this side of him well.

In fact, this probably saves the novel from only getting an average mark, and the rest of it is nothing new. By season 3, ANGEL has a sizeable cast to deal with but when the story concentrates on Angel and Spike, there's not a lot for some of the others to do. The addition of Connor means that Cordy and then Fred have little to do but hold the baby, and with the exception of Lyanka, the guest characters are nothing particularly special.

Overall, it's not great, but reasonably entertaining. Spike is very good, and fans of the character will probably get something extra out of it. BACK TO THE TOP

CURSED

Written by MEL ODOM

POCKET BOOKS

£6.99


RATING: 6/10



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