Slayer Lit Review
"THESE OUR ACTORS"
by Dori Koogler and Ashley McConnell
Reviewed by Bridgette Moore
Do you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Is your favorite character not Buffy?
I finally found the book for people like me who just can't get enough of Spike.
I had bought the book to take with me on the airplane for a six-hour trip on Monday. I made the mistake of waking up this morning with a cold. I felt miserable and just laid down in bed. I figured I'd read the first chapter or so to get the feel before we left. My bad.
It is now evening. Two package of tissues later. Three doses of cough and cold meds. Numerous interruptions of "Mommy, I'm bored. Why are you coughing?" and I've returned from a wonderful trip to 19th Century London and 20th Century Sunnydale, California.
I picked up These Our Actors by Ashley McConnell and Dori Koogler after a discussion at the SlayerLit Group mentioned that this book contained a lot of Spike. I was not disappointed.
Two plots alternate between chapters. In one plot we hear the story of Spike and his first few weeks of being a vampire. Even more so than the TV Series we see fainthearted, starry-eyed, social outcast William disappear in the night after being snubbed by his love Cecily. We are there with him as he crawls out of his grave and into the arms of Drusilla with a waiting meal. christens He himself "Spike" after a "friend's" insult. As he spends time with Angelus, Spike learns cruelty, revenge, and the tricks of being a vampire.
The other story happens at the Hellmouth. Buffy and Willow had agreed to take drama together; however, with her new focus on training, Buffy has to drop the class. Willow continues and learns a very complete history of the theatre. As an intro student, she becomes free labor for the theatre majors. She notices some unusual things going on. (I know, unusual things -- Hellmouth -- one would think they are "unmixy"). She ends up investigating the strange activities with Spike who has some personal unfinished business of his own.
Where does it fit into Buffyverse?
Connell and Koogler's book happens early in the fifth season of Buffy. It's after Riley has left and before Buffy knows Spike has a crush on her.
The book does include scenes out of "Fool for Love".
I don't know who this Buffy chick is. Should I read this book?
First of all, Buffy, Giles, Xander, and Tara only make cameo roles in this book. The story is focused on Willow and Spike. (Willow even thinks very un-gay thoughts about Spike).
If that sentence made no sense to you, the book wouldn't be fun or understandable. This book is definitely only for fans of the TV show or folks who have read many of the books.
These Our Actors is just a riveting read. Throughout the day, I kept putting the book down to do things I needed to get done. However, the book would find its way back into my hands and my mind would no longer be in Kansas.
The characters are perfectly portrayed. None of them said anything out of place. It was interesting to see Willow stop evil without the aid of a slayer. There was foreshadowing of the strength of magic she'd posses by the end of Season Six.
I loved the exploration of Spike's development as a vampire. The authors took off from "Fool for Love" and just ran with it. One could just see Darla's exasperation with newborn Spike, Drusilla's madness, and the glint in Angelus's eyes as his new student learns the art of revenge. I also appreciated the nod to season two's Watcher's Diary revelation that Spike tortured people with railroad spikes.
One complaint in many Buffy books is that Spike doesn't get to be the hero. He is usually comic relief or someone to kick around. In this book he shines. He is a champion. He also shows that there are brains inside the brawn.
The authors managed to get into everyone’s mind. The story is told from so many points of view but comes together to tell a strong tale.
I also appreciated the realism. I took Intro to Theatre and became free labor. The scenes in the theatre just brought back many memories I had of my 15 hours of tech support for theatre majors. The authors also did their research on the classics and came up with a great way to take theatre history into the mystical Buffyverse.
My one complaint regarding the book is the ending. The story builds at a steady pace to suddenly just end. I think I blinked and missed the ending. I just wish it had a stronger ending.
If you are a Buffyverse fan who loves either witchy Willow or both evil and helpful Spike, I’m sure you’d disappear into These Our Actors. I’d recommend it.
**** 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.