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It could have been totally lame. A shy student transfers to Sunnydale High and finds a mentor in a fellow dinosaur fanatic who's working at the Sunnydale Museum of Natural History, something which conjures up images of the Buffster getting a few roundhouses in on a T. Rex. Fortunately it manages to rise above the dodgy premise to provide a pretty enjoyable read.
Not for the first time in the BUFFY novels we get a new, or at least previously unheard of, student hooking up with a supposedly responsible adult to unleash a bit of mayhem on Sunnydale. However, unlike the equally familiar idea of possession which we saw in THE EVIL THAT MEN DO, it leaves the characterisation of the Scooby Gang unaffected, and the characterisation has always been one of the TV series' strong points.
Of course, there's a few handy coincidences - such as Daniel Addison's discovery of a battered notebook that contains the way to resurrect something with Kevin's ownership of dinosaur eggs for it inhabit - at work but that's the Hellmouth for you I guess.
The revival and subsequent destruction of the dinosaurs is the main plot, although you do have to worry what on earth the citizens of Sunnydale are on when they fail to spot this sort of thing going on around them. Even worse is the ability of anyone at Sunnydale High to spot the rapidly growing dino that Giles has got locked up in the weapons cage. Possibly the most obvious place to lock it up except that it makes getting to the weapons a tad difficult...
There's also a secondary plot with the Dingoes getting approach by a potential manager who promises to help them on their way to stardom, with jobs for Angel, Willow and Xander thrown in for good measure. She wants them to sign immediately but Oz isn't so sure that she's all she seems.
A chunk of the main plot is carried by Buffy and Oz - which was good to see, although the other featured regulars are all pretty well catered for as well and the characterisation is better than in many other BUFFY novels.
Some of the action scenes seem a bit unbelievable - especially those in the library and the swimming pool - but that's only to be expected with the Buffster up against some demon infested dinosaurs. Having said that, the TV series featured Buffy being chased through the school by a giant snake so it's not as though it's something completely outrageous.
I'm not as big a fan of the BUFFY novels as some fans, but PALEO is still a pretty enjoyable read. BACK TO THE TOP