A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Lots of vampire and demon lore that readers can compare with other takes throughout literature and mythology. Some info on first aid and CPR.
Following instincts, being true to self and what's right, no matter what tradition dictates. Plus loyalty to family and friends, and protecting those you love.
Positive Role Models
Athena's newfound powers to kill demons go against the protector and healer she had grown up to be. Throughout the story she works to reconcile these disparate halves of her being and finds a way to stay true to herself. She also works through childhood trauma, loss, and family strife. While Athena is a straight character, her twin is a lesbian and her closest friend is in a gay male relationship.
Violence & Scariness
Like the TV series, lots of demon fighting with stakes, guns, roundhouse kicks, knives, etc., once in an arena with screaming, betting fans. This leaves a number of demons dead, often from decapitation -- the one bit of gore. Deaths or near-deaths of humans close to main characters are quieter -- they're taken in their sleep. A girl bitten by vampire nearly bleeds to death. Trauma from past bubbles up often: the loss of a father and many family friends, a house fire, a girl whipped by own mother. Caged demons tortured, one slowly skinned alive.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A few kisses (same- and opposite-sex) and some innuendo about how one demon entices prey.
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Mostly "hell," "dammit," and "ass," and not often. One utterance of "bitch."
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Products & Purchases
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Beer for sale in a bar with many patrons drinking, plus demons' powers used to make drugs, including one that makes you very happy and forgetful.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Slayer is the first book from the world of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series and movie written by longtime Buffy fan/bestselling author Kiersten White (And I Darken trilogy). It helps to have watched the TV series to keep up with some of the characters and lore that pop up throughout the story. Expect demon-against-Slayer violence with many demons ending up dead (some by decapitation). Humans who die do so more quietly, in their sleep. Trauma from the past bubbles up often: the loss of a father and many family friends, a house fire, a girl whipped by own mother. Caged demons are tortured, with one slowly skinned alive. Other mature content stays pretty mild: a bar scene with some beers, some minor swearing, a couple of kisses, straight and LGBTQ. When the main character, Athena, discovers she has supernatural abilities as a Slayer, she doesn't forget that she's always been a healer and protector. She tries to find a way to be both.
Is It Any Good?
Buffy fans may find the start to this homage YA series a fun indulgence at first, but the storytelling, like the newest Slayer, lacks a clear direction. Most of the problem lies in main character Athena's inner story. Athena is upset about her relationship with her sister, with her mother who favors her sister, with the death of her father years before, with Buffy for getting them all into this mess, with her new powers that don't match who she thought she was, with the cute guy she was humiliated in front of, and the girl who humiliated her. And she's not trained to fight or think of herself as strong or someone who makes good decisions. These are all good things for a character to work out -- but not in a jumble all at once. It makes the big shifts in the story at the end seem as jumbled as her thinking.
Slayer, because it references Buffy the TV series and the character often, also takes too long to launch in its own direction. Buffy was best left behind a few chapters in. Here's hoping this great YA author, Kiersten White, finds her footing with this series and steers it in a clearer direction for Book 2.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.