Kate’s Review: “One Girl In All The World”

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Book: “One Girl In All The World” by Kendare Blake

Publishing Info: Disney Hyperion, January 2023

Where Did I Get This Book: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley.

Where You Can Get This Book: WorldCat | Amazon | Indiebound

Book Description: Into every generation, a slayer is born. One girl in all the world . . . maybe.

Frankie Rosenberg is the world’s first slayer-witch, but she doesn’t have that slay-life balance figured out just yet. After all, being the newest slayer means that another slayer had to die. Frankie and the Scooby gang are still reeling from the deadly explosion that rocked the annual slayer retreat―and grappling with new evidence that some slayers may have made it out alive. And even though they defeated bloodthirsty vampire the Countess, it doesn’t mean Sunnydale is free from the forces of evil.

Something has reawakened the Hellmouth―and is calling old friends home. Someone is performing demon magic in the shadows, opening portals between dimensions. Everyone has demons to contend with―of the metaphorical and the very real (occasionally very hot) variety. And an oracle warns of a new evil on its way: the Darkness.

Could this be what attacked the slayers? And is it coming for Frankie?

Review: Thank you to Disney Hyperion for sending me an eARC of this book via NetGalley!

Well after that awesome opportunity we had last week with our blog’s Q & A with Kendare Blake, I am now going to talk about the newest book in her “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Universe set YA Series, “Only Girl In All The World”. It took some willpower to not dive immediately into this one once I had finished “In Every Generation”, as the first book that focuses on Frankie Rosenberg, Slayer-Witch, and her 2nd Generation Scoobies was such a hit for me. But I found the right moment with “Only Girl In All The World”, telling myself I wouldn’t take it too fast and would just enjoy my time with Frankie, Hailey, Willow, Spike, and everyone else….. Yeah, then I pretty much read three fourths of it in one sitting. Late into the night. So much for self control.

This could be footage of me sitting up in disbelief after looking at the hotel room clock. (source)

When we left off, Frankie and friends Jake, Hailey, and Sigmund had basically formed Scooby Gang 2.0, with Frankie as the Slayer and her pals as her rag tag gang of fighters and supporters. With Buffy and a number of other Slayers still missing and possibly trapped in another dimension, Frankie is just about it for fighting the forces of darkness, and it is clear that the burden is starting to wear on not only her and her friends, but also on her mother Willow and her Watcher Spike. It doesn’t help that someone has seemingly set a beacon to lure any and all demons back to the Hellmouth, so they are all working overtime and are all VERY stressed. I thought that it was a good idea for Blake to show just how hard this would be for these teenagers to have to deal with, magical powers or not, and I liked that there were some very realistic problems with a supernatural twist (like Frankie’s attraction to Hunter of Thrace Grimlock, a morally grey demon that serves as a broody Angel-esque love interest; teenage romance is so messy even if you’re a Slayer-Witch). And even without super powers at play there are still relatable issues, like Hailey feeling torn between her new friends and her Slayer sister Vi, who has returned and is acting a little cagey, or Jake and his newfound feelings for a fellow athlete named Sam, or Sigmund feeling parental pressure to live up to a role he may not be cut out for. And since I really like all of these kids, the suspense isn’t just about whether or not this so called “darkness” is going to put them in danger, but if they are going to crumble because of this huge responsibility that is just exacerbating built in teenage struggles.

But it’s not just Frankie and her friends who are dealing with the weight of all of this. The first and most obvious old favorite is Willow, who has not only lost her best friend, but is also having to deal with her child being put in constant peril by the very nature of her being a Slayer. Willow remembers what it was like for Buffy when the weight of the world was on her shoulders. Now her daughter is carrying that burden. On top of all of that, Willow knows that her magic is a way that she can help Frankie and also Buffy, but there is the pesky fact that she was once consumed by her magic and almost destroyed the world. Blake really nails this stressful line that Willow has to walk, and the fear of not only losing her child, but also of losing herself. And it’s not just Willow who gets in on the angst. Because oh God how Spike is just ACHING for Buffy in this book. My old shipper heart was breaking over and over again. I am someone who can see Spike with Buffy, or Angel, or Faith (haaa I’ve written fan fiction with ALL of those combinations), but when you have an author like Blake who really gets the complex and undefinable but super intimate relationship that Buffy and Spike had by the end of Season 7, I just die. She just GETS it. She gets Spike, she gets Willow, she gets it all.

And Blake continues to give plenty of fan service to old seasoned “Buffy” fans like myself, and for anyone who has watched the series in full and enjoyed it. For one, there are so many references to old episodes and enemies, be it the return of the Sunnydale Swim Team that turned into aquatic monsters, or a reference to the episode where Giles was turned into a demon by a nemesis (oh my God, this moment had me howling with laughter because Spike, natch, was at the heart of it and it was PERFECT, PERFECT I SAY). Blake obviously loves the show and the canon and the characters, and you can really tell she is having a blast while she writes these new stories as she references the source material. But she also weave it into the story at hand so effortlessly that it doesn’t feel out of place or too twee due to fan service. All of these bits fit in with the various scenarios that Frankie et al are dealing with within this new story, and it’s a true joy to watch it all come together.

I’m still loving this series. I don’t know what I’m going to do while I wait for the conclusion. Frankie Rosenberg, you have earned your place as a kickass Slayer.

Rating 9: “One Girl In All The World” continues to reimagine “Buffy” for a new generation, with great, great success. The characters, old and new alike, are still highly enjoyable, and it feels like I’m a teenager watching my favorite show all over again.

Reader’s Advisory:

“One Girl In All The World” is included on the Goodreads list “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”.

2 thoughts on “Kate’s Review: “One Girl In All The World””

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