Tales of the Slayer Volume 2

Tales of the Slayer, Volume 2

-Various Authors
-351 Pages
-January 2003

  Summary:

All That You Do Comes Back Unto Thee by Todd A. McIntosh
- It's the year 2000 in Sunnydale and Buffy is the slayer. A fellow student at UC Sunnydale named Josh decides to stand up for himself against the mean jocks and summons an ancient Eygptian spirit to do his bidding. Only the spirit doesn't want to play along and is in search of his mummified body which is currently located in Sunnydale's museum. It's up to Buffy to stop this spirit from inhabiting his old body, but it turns out that Xander, despite his mummy fears, saves the day.

Lady Shobu by Kara Dalkey
- Japan 980, Kishi Minomoto is a brave girl born into a warrior clan who is suddenly called to serve as a lady in waiting for the Great Lady Ankimon-in. Her summoner, Bennin, claims to be her Watcher and informs her of her duty as a Slayer. He teaches her precious little concerning the demons around her as well a her predecessor before sending her to wait on the Great Lady. Kishi does her best to locate the demons which have been surrounding the Palace only to find out that Bennin is not who he says he is nor is the Great Lady who was originally the Watcher of the past Slayer. Bennin, is actually Migoto, his brother, who has been sacrificing Slayers to a dragon in order to maintain his immortal life.

Abomination by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz
- France, 1320 - Eliane and her Watcher have spent years training together, but as the years go by and Eliane becomes older they begin to suspect that she will never be called as a Slayer. Eventually she and her Watcher fall in love, get married and form a family. When she finally reaches the age of 20, she is abruptly called to her duty and her husband is taken away from her for violating codes of conduct with his charge. Eliane refuses to accept her duty until her husband has returned to her even though Tatoul, a particularly vicious vampire plagues her city. When the demon finally steals her five year old child and turns him into a vampire, she begins to fight back. But it may be far too late.

Blood and Brine by Greg Cox
- The Caribbean, 1661 - Robin Whitby is the captain of a schooner titled Neptune's Lady. She has been passing herself off as a man in order to be accepted by her crew. While sailing the seas, they come about a boat called the El Dorado which is strangely free of any crew members, save for a young Spanish girl. The boat is loaded with gold and treasures and in particular, an ugly little idol. After a brief mutiny on board her ship as soon as the crew realizes that she's female, half the members take the other boat and set off. However, the boat becomes plagued by the kraken, a water monster with fangs and squid-like arms, and Robin heads back to fight for the crew that once betrayed her. In a fight with the kraken, Robin loses her right forearm to the beast, losing a part of herself, yet still not defeating the hideous monster.

The Ghosts of Slayers Past by Scott Allie
- London, England, 1843 - The current Watcher of the current Slayer (who is from the run down east end of London) has absolutely no sympathy for his charge until he is visited by two Slayers from the past who show him what he is doing wrong, but it isn't until one Slayer from the future makes an appearance that the Watcher learn the error of his ways.

The New Watcher by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
- Atlanta, Georgia 1864 - Pauline Francis Bernard is passing herself off as a man under the name of Frankie Massey in order to enlist in the army. Her Watcher long dead, a new Watcher arrives in her town in search of a woman. Her general as secretly known that Frankie is in fact a woman but wants her on his side and the Watcher is sent off without ever finding his Slayer.

House of the Vampire by Michael Reaves
- London, England 1897 - Dracula has come to England, even after his supposed death years ago. Angelique Hawthorne, the current Slayer, must determine if she's under the thrall of Dracula himself and how to defeat him. She also learns a hard lesson about keeping friends in her field.

The War Between the States by Rebecca Rand Kirshner
- New York, 1922 - A young woman named Sally Jean comes to New York and becomes awed by a flapper named Ardita O'Reilly who is in fact the current Slayer. Sally Jean becomes completely enthralled by everything that Ardita possesses, until she learns what exactly Ardita is and what she does.

Stakeout on Rush Street by Max Allan Collins with Matthew V. Clemens
- Chicago, Illinois 1943 - The new Slayer is in fact a private eye who goes by the name Betty. She has ties to the mob currently in Chicago and has helped them out on several occasions. When she learns that one of their current employees is in fact a vampire, she informs the mob boss who agrees to pay her a large sum of money in exchange for her killing the demon.

Again by Jane Espenson
- Sunnydale, California 1999 - Buffy, Willow and Xander are sent back into their 1999 bodies back in high school. They have all the knowledge of what is to come because they are actually from the year 2001. Willow and Xander are both disturbed and want to go back to the present time but Buffy is determined to stay in the past where her mother still lives and her life isn't nearly as complicated as it had become in the future.

   
  Rating: 3/5
   
  Review

All That You Do Comes Back Unto Thee: This short story SUCKED. Like unbelievably sucked. It was written with a 5 year old's vocabulary; the writer appears to have no storytelling skills at all; the story was choppy and unpolished. It could have done with a billion revisions. The story was stupid and a complete rehash of the episode "Inca Mummy Girl", except that they made Xander a fearful little boy anytime the word "mummy" was mentioned. The "gay boy is beaten up theme" was way too overwrought and the interactions between the characters was horribly written. Giles wasn't Giles, he was just some stupid guy that could barely talk properly and had ridiculous interjections that had absolutely nothing to do with the main storyline. And why oh WHY did they do a story about Buffy? This is supposed to be about past slayers (or so I thought.) What an awful way to start off the novel.

Lady Shobu: Much, much better than the first story. This one was a tad confusing and I wasn't too fond of the battle scene as well as the ending. Yet the beginning of the story was quite intriguing, I just wish they'd elaborated more on the competition that she was supposed to have been involved in. They could have had some creative scenes involving that. However, still an interesting tale, and much more along the lines of what I've come to expect from Tales of the Slayer.

Abomination: Great story. I loved hearing that a Slayer would fall in love with her Watcher (no worries, he was only 3 years older than her. Which, in itself, is strange, considering that most Watchers were a great deal older than their Slayers.) Anyway, as much as I didn't understand Eliane being selfishly consumed with her family, so much so that she wouldn't fight back against the vampires, I still enjoyed this story tremendously. It was an interesting twist to make her 5 year old son into a vampire. However, I don't think a five year old, vampire or not, would have been able to take down a Slayer.

Blood and Brine: Not so much a fan of this one. I'm not into the whole pirates deal and if I heard any more pirate slang like "ye" and "avast ye mateys" or anything else to that extent, I might have driven myself mad. I also didn't like that Robin had to pass herself off as a man in order to be accepted, but I guess that was the way back then. As painful as it was to read, and strangely appropriate for a pirate, it was interesting to see the Slayer sacrifice her forearm instead of her life. Not that a forearm is more important than a life, but for a Slayer I'd say it's pretty crucial. Anyway, this story is more for the... "landlubbers." *shudder*

The Ghost of Slayers Past: One of the better stories in this novel and definitely fascinating, although they failed to give enough detail about some of the past Slayers. However, still entertaining. Also kind of a harsh story... to learn that a Watcher would actually beat their Slayer is beyond disturbing. This one also mentioned other Slayers that tried to pass as men in order to pass without suspicion. I thought it was hilarious how Buffy went back into the past just in order to freak the Watcher out. Absolutely hilarious.

The New Watcher: A really short story and this one again deals with a Slayer passing herself off as a man. I though it was interesting that a Slayer would want to enlist in the army, especially since they're already so involved with death as it is. I also liked that the commander or general or whatever, knew about vampires and knew better than to suspect a woman of having lesser power. Nicely done. However, I'm not a fan of the continuous vein in which Slayers are passing off as men. It kind of discredits the fact that they ARE female.

House of the Vampire: Dracula is brought back again... and she supposedly kills the unkillable. But since he comes back on Buffy years later I guess it's safe to say that she didn't actually kill him. However, the battle scene ended a little too quickly and left much to be desired. I did like the allusions they made towards Sherlock Holmes over on Baker Street. They also used a character called Springheel Jack which has been used in other stories. Turns out there isn't just one Springheel Jack, but rather a race of demons that continues to pass themselves off as the new Springheel Jack. Interesting.

The War Between the States: This story had without a doubt, the stupidest title because it's entirely irrelevant (unless I REALLY missed something.) I liked how this was told as a story that was alongside the current Slayer, instead of focusing entirely on her. Sally Jean's obsession with Ardita became nearly psychotic at one point and I actually thought she'd try to kill Ardita in an attempt to become her. But the story took a different turn when Sally Jean realized that Ardita was a Slayer and that demons did actually exist. This was an excellent story.

Stakeout on Rush Street: Told in first person, which is completely irregular from any of the Buffy novels I've ever read, which was odd at first, but made for a nice change in pace. The build up to the end was nicely done, however, the ending felt rushed. I found it a bit odd that this Slayer was actually married and the husband had no idea that she was actually a Slayer. How on earth is that possible? Wouldn't he wonder why she snuck out at night all the time? Why she had weapons all over the house? That really didn't seem plausible.

Again: Despite my complaints about having Buffy oriented stories in this novel, I did enjoy this story, which may in fact be because Jane Espenson writes episodes for the actual show. The time travel was a neat idea and I liked seeing the groups world view from a different more mature perspective. I'm really grateful that the author did that... well, up until we got to Buffy who almost had a mental breakdown when describing her future life to Giles. That was absolutely heartbreaking and absolutely depressing. The funny kicker was that it was all the Trio's fault for the time travel, that really had me laughing.

On the whole, this volume wasn't nearly as good as the first one. Which I think has largely to do with the fact that very odd people were hired to write the stories. Such as the Makeup Artist for Buffy, Todd A McIntosh, who wrote the worst story. I don't understand why they would give a makeup artist the chance to write a short story and then actually proceed to publish it. Anyway, good historical info on past Slayers, just not nearly told as well as the first one.

   
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