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
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...
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.