Immortal by Christopher Golden, Nancy Holder

fruitkate's review

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adventurous medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


alexampersand's review

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A fun adventure, I like that it carried some emotional depth and reflection with Buffy ruminating on mortality due to the villain she was facing. 

classicsandromances's review

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my girlfriend found a beautiful copy of this book in an old bookshop.
its yellow pages, lack of the dust jacket, wrinkled corners, black and red hardcover with silver letters on the spine - this book is a beauty. and i love it dearly because the person dearest to my heart actually browsed through books, found something buffy related that looked so emo and thought of me.
even though the story is non-canonical and the weird vampires from Greece and the immortal super-vamp are laughable, this was a read that stuffed my head and dumbed me down when i needed it.

i miss u, big daisy. come back soon so we can both look for silly gothic books that should have never been printed.

ktothelau's review

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DNF at 53%

This is supposedly one of the best Buffy novels out there, with the supposed dream team of Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder. I can definitely see why the fanbase praises these authors, especially considering these writers come out with books at almost the same speed of Stephen King. However, though there is enjoyment to be found in this book, the vast majority of my reaction was "Okay, that was cool, but..."

I'll do my best to break it down.

Dialogue vs. Character

Christopher Golden's media tie-ins are praised for their dialogue, with Buffy probably being the highest praise of his vast portfolio. And it's true that the dialogue of this book sounds like something Joss Whedon would write, matching each character perfectly. However, though the characters speak like they do on the show, they don't act like they do on the show.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is, at its core, a Monster of the Week show. This means that there is a formula: Monster shows up, Buffy fights monster but loses the first time, Giles pools his resources, Buffy then fights monster again with brains rather than brawn, the end. Add in the bits here and there where one would think, "Oh, Willow would say something like this about that," or, "Xander would make a joke here."

Those little details are in here, but they're flat and forced, almost no motivation to make the character speak other than the writers thinking "They would say something here." Add in the fact that dialogue from the visual medium is simplified compared to those of novels, every character ends up feeling a bit flat and uninteresting. This is also due to...

Storytelling: Movies/TV vs. Books

Screenwriting is very different from writing a novel (Don't let J.K. Rowling's screenplays fool you). When you're writing for film or TV, you can't write about what the character is thinking unless you are planning to show a visual representation of the thought or have voice over (the latter only working in comedy and/or drama done right). Good screenwriters know that you only write what you see and hear. One of the challenges media tie-in authors face is creating an interesting story that breaks the status quo, novelize the characters, create stakes for the readers, yet not interfere with the canon in any way, shape, or form (good-bye character development). They can't just write what you see and hear, but also what you smell, feel, taste, and think.

Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder seem to know that, but have the wrong idea. There a lot of long-winded scenes describing the setting before getting into the meat of the scene, but that's the problem. There is so much focus on describing every little detail to replicate the show's setting that it becomes boring. There is no motivation as to why we have 3 pages of description other than, "This is where we are and what is here," nor is there any character in the narration.

Here's an example. Would you rather read...

Along the walls of the library were wooden bookshelves filled with books. A lot of them were on Demonology, since Giles was a Watcher.


Along the walls of the library were wooden bookshelves filled with... Well, books. And since no kid in school ever liked reading, Giles seemed very comfortable with putting his Demonology books on display.

Action Sequences

Here's a problem I noticed in more media tie-ins that I would like: When the protagonist is fighting the scene's villain and almost beats them not once, not twice, but THRICE in the same scene. Doing this trick once or twice to build tension and suspense works, but repeating the trick more than that just becomes tedious no matter how good your prose is (see 3 Days to Kill starring Kevin Costner (Or chapter 1 of this book)).

Final Verdict

I didn't hate this book and I don't blame anyone who loves it. My problem with it is that it's boring. I appreciate how the authors try to break the status quo by having a vampire that keeps resurrecting, but the villain is very flat and has no motivation for anything she does other than "I want the world to die." There are no personal conflicts between this villain and Buffy outside of "Slayer kill vampire but vampy won't die." If characters don't have solid motivations, then why should audiences be motivated to read about them?

Here's hoping the Gatekeeper Trilogy is good.

aliceandthegiantbookshelf's review

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dark fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


innae's review

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This story really captures the characters (as I expected from Golden and Holder), and the story feels like it could have been a story arc in the series. There were a few moments of sadness, as we know things now that we didn't when this story takes place. Heartbreaking in a few places.

bookwormlukas's review

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Good for a bit of nostalgia.

casualdarings's review

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Better than I expected with Holder's name on the front, guess writing with Golden tempered her. Buffy-speak might be iconic but the key words there are Buffy and speak- it's weird if used by someone not in their little gang and definitely weird if found outside the dialogue. I won't be reading another book just by Holder again. Golden though

apostrophen's review

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On completion of Tape One, I must say a few things:

(1) I'm quite impressed with Charisma Carpenter's ability to capture the cadence and tones of nearly all the characters, with the exception of the absolute slaughter she has done of Giles' British Accent. Eep.

(2) The story is pretty neat, and given a sub-plot of Buffy's mom being really ill in what would be around 3rd Season in the show, it's a nice foreshadow to the eventual plot conclusion of Joyce in the show.

(3) The notion of an immortal vampire who keeps popping into a new vampire body when her previous one is dusted is pretty nifty.

I'll keep listening, right after the rainstorm lets up.


This was decent enough, had a plausible enough ending, and in addition to what I've written above, I quite liked it in its entirety. The plot really picked up in pace, and I'd really enjoy listening to other Buffy books in the future (not sure if I'd ever read one the basic way, I liked listening to it well enough, however).

The villains of this piece are quite gruesome, and the inclusion of the slayer previous to Buffy was also interesting.