Keith Topping,
Slayer: The Last Days of Sunnydale,
An Unofficial & Unauthorised Guide to
the Final Season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

(Virgin Books, 2004)

Much like the final episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (affectionately abbreviated BtVS), Keith Topping's guide to the show's seventh season begins with a recap of the series to date. Surprisingly, he manages to fit a précis of six seasons into only eight pages. He then moves into an episode guide for the seventh and final season.

But this is so much more than a mere summary of each show. Instead, it's an in-depth analysis of each episode and how it fits into the overall storyline of season seven. Aside from story, Topping takes a look at each episode under various headings, including "Dudes & Babes," "Authority Sucks," "It's a Designer Label," "References," "Geek-Speak," "Logic, Let Me Introduce You to This Window" and "I Just Love Your Accent," covering just about every aspect of the episode. In addition to all that (but, wait! -- there's more!), Topping includes comments by creator Joss Whedon and various cast and crew members, critiques and whatever other pertinent information he can dig up.

The book also includes a chapter titled "Buffy & the Internet," listing numerous websites, mailing lists and newsgroups and a "Select Bibliography" that is, nevertheless, 27 pages long.

Slayer: The Last Days of Sunnydale is surprisingly readable and enjoyable, even if, like me, you haven't seen the seventh season of BtVS since it aired. In fact, my only complaint is that the cover illustration, a photograph of Sarah Michelle Gellar, is not from the seventh season, but from approximately the second.

by Laurie Thayer
28 October 2006

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