Set late in Season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer this book features the established Scooby gang and was before Angel left to go to LA to find redemption away from the temptation of having Buffy around him. The novel was written by Diana A Gallagher, and I am pretty sure this is the only Buffy book of hers I have actually read.
I have said before that certain franchises seem to spawn terrible book after terrible book, for every good book there are a dozen crap ones, this is a pattern I have found with my beloved Star Trek franchise and it also seems to be the trend when anyone tries their hand at a Buffy book.
The question is then…is this a rare gem or a heap of shit??
Read it yourself, then you'll know, oh wait that's right you've come to me because you want me to tell you if this is worth a read, okay, I'll tell you but first, what is going on I hear you ask...
A new teacher named Crystal arrives at Sunnydale High and takes an immediate dislike to Buffy. The pint sized Slayer also gets distinctly unnerved whenever she is around Crystal, however, the teacher manages to form a friendly relationship with both Willow, Anya and another kid named Michael. Still, weird stuff happens at Sunnydale High so Buffy chalks things up to a teacher not liking her for some reason and carries on with her duties as the Slayer.
Whilst on patrol Buffy sees a man being incinerated by red lightening and she spots a girl from school with the infinity symbol (that is this ∞ just in case you don’t know) burned into her neck.
Buffy reports what she saw to her Watcher Giles, who hits the books and soon discovers that Crystal is actually Shugra, a primal witch seeking…[sigh]…ultimate power. In order to do this she needs a coven of 13 willing people who can draw on the proper powers, and Willow has become one of those people.
In my review of Heat I said that destroying Sunnydale or Los Angeles is a pretty bold step but if a novel is non-canon then go nuts, because you might as well. The good thing about Prime Evil is that it is distinctly low key, Sunnydale is not about to be destroyed, and apart from the Slayer, none of the other characters are in much danger beyond the normal dangers they face on a day to day basis. We don’t have the death of Xander seen in Heat that is conveniently reversed in the final chapter of the book. It is almost like a little self-contained episode and like so many in Buffy has some enemy that wants to destroy the world but are not the season’s Big Bad so they are promptly killed within the episode’s forty-five minute time limit.
This book features a retarded villain…one that you would be screaming at if they were in an episode of the show. Crystal or Shugra is a primal witch that is trying to become all powerful…which is such an original idea that my head almost exploded from sheer surprise…and all the way through she keeps saying how easy it would be to kill Buffy. The guy that gets zapped by the red lightening was apparently just in the wrong place at the wrong time because she was actually aiming at Buffy but hit the other guy by mistake…wah wah wahhhh. After this she has ample opportunities to kill the Slayer but keeps deciding to wait until she has become all powerful before doing the deed…ok here is a hot tip for anyone reading this that is a supremely powerful villain that is looking to get more powerful…kill your enemies when you have the chance. The easiest way to do this is with a disintegrator ray, trust me I have tried and it totally works, one shot…zzzzaaaapppp…your enemy is dust.
No mess (well apart from a little pile of ash where they were standing), no fuss, just enemy dead.
Do you see my point??
If you haven't then allow me to explain - when you have the means to kill an enemy then just do it, don’t piss about, don’t toy with them giving them ample opportunity to find your weakness and thwart you plan, just kill them…zap…ash...done
Admittedly it has been a while since I read this book, but the lasting impression it left me was the very strong desire to shout “Just kill [Buffy] already!” I don’t get why villains have to give their adversaries an epic death, just fucking shoot them, this is what Warren tried to do at the end of Season 6 and yeah he shot about as straight as a Storm Trooper trying to kill a Rebel, but he had the right idea. The more Crystal threatened the more I knew that Buffy was going to be in no danger what-so-ever, it is like that guy who claims he gets laid so often he might as well not bother pulling on his trousers only when you head out on the town with him to see him work his magic and he fails miserably with every woman that doesn’t look like the Elephant Man’s bit on the side. That is what Crystal is like. All talk, and no action. Kill the Slayer then at the next Big Bad party you can make up something elaborate…or say you just you know killed her without trying to make her suffer or whatever.
Beyond that there is not much else I can say about Prime Evil, it is a bite-sized Buffy book that could have been an episode of the show, whilst it is not that bad it features a crap enemy that is far too stupid to become all powerful. If she ever did she’d have probably tried to light a cigarette with her finger and blown up California or something.
Not the worst adventure I have ever read for the titular vampire Slayer but trust me, if you haven’t picked it up then you aren’t missing anything, so whilst I feel like giving this book my Meh rating, it is rather a pointless read so for its laziness and not even trying to something new it gets a Thumbs Down.
4/10 – It is a short story that doesn’t have ideas beyond, there is someone evil trying to take over the world with Buffy and Co stopping them. I think the fact that it is such a short story probably saves it from a worse rating because if it had been longer it would have been like a Nancy Holder novel, a lot of padding, for not much story.