Slayer Lit

Slayer Lit Review

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SPARK AND BURN

by Diana G. Gallagher

Spike

Reviewed by Bridgette Moore

In 1997, a different type of TV show appeared. It featured a strong female lead and her friends as they fought the powers of darkness in a sunny California town. Of course, I could only be talking about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When the show left the air, fans were upset. But there was a way Buffy lived on -- in novels. (There is a Season Eight of Buffy out in comic book form now.)

Spike was a vampire that wasn't supposed to be around long. The Billy Idol lookalike was supposed to be dusted in the second season when he initially appeared; however, he proved to be too popular with fans. Spike went from a Big Bad to being a neutered vampire to Buffy's sex toy to her best friend to savior of the world. It is not surprising that there would be a book that featured only him. One of my favorites is SPARK AND BURN, written by Diana G. Gallagher.

(If you've never watched any Buffy, I doubt that you will understand the plot summary. This is definitely a book for fans only. If you have never seen any Buffy, first...what rock did you climb out of and, second...watch the show first then come back to this review.)

THE STORY

At the end of season six of Buffy, Spike regained his soul. This act made him go insane and that is where the book opens up. The book pulls out things that happened in 24 episodes of Buffy and three episodes of Angel to give us a back story. When Spike was in the basement of the new Sunnydale High School, when we watched the TV show viewers saw Spike talking to himself. In the book, Mrs. Gallagher lets us in to Spike's brain. We learn that the First Evil is actually tormenting him, talking to him in the guise of different dead characters from throughout the show's run. When Spike was talking, he was completely crazy. He was talking back to the torture.

But that's not all. There are flashbacks. Each chapter takes place in a minimum of three different places and times. We read more of Spike killing two previous slayers. We are taken back when Spike was a servant (short term) of the Machida, the demon from Reptile Boy, and how it ended up with him wearing an SS uniform on a Nazi sub. We finally get to see what was going through Spike's brain on different occasions when he tried to kill Buffy but failed. There is more about Spike's relationship with Drusilla and his quest to heal her. We see the beginning of Spike's admiration for the Slayer's mom (they later become almost friends).

There really isn't a linear plot. There are scenes that we are taken to and they don't always go in order. As an example, chapter three. takes place in the following places:

- Sunnydale September 1997
- Beijing 1900
- Sunnydale September 1997
- New York 1977
- Sunnydale September 1997

The story ends with Spike being sane, chipless, and noble.

MY THOUGHTS

I'm a fan of Spike. I love how Joss Whedon had the character grow and change. That is why I enjoyed this book so much. Even though there was action in the book; most of the action we had previously seen on the screen. This book is much more a character study. She lets us see the events that led to Spike becoming Spike and why he fell for a slayer.

I appreciated the time that she must have spent trying to figure everything out. I realize writing these back stories may have been difficult since she knew that every fan would be reading the story and looking for errors. Even though I've read the book many times, I've not found any errors. I've found things I've not noticed before but not errors.

I did feel like the story stopped suddenly. I wish it could have looked at other events in the story. I would have loved to seen why Spike wanted to destroy the world in one episode but a few episodes later he wanted Buffy to help him stop Angelus from destroying the world. There were many other flashbacks that the author could have done. Perhaps she just wanted to keep it to 239 pages.

If you are even slightly interested in Spike, I would recommend this book. There is no foul language, sex, or strong violence so I can recommend this to Spike/Buffy fans of all ages.

**** 4 of 5 Stars

Bridgette Moore is a dedicated fan of BtVS and, in particular, the Spuffy ship. She is also mother to the Monkey Girl.