Title: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Coyote Moon
Author: John Vornholt
Publication Date: January 1, 1997
Synopsis: The seedy carnival looks like just the thing to give Buffy and her best buds, Xander and Willow, a break from staking bloodsuckers. Some greasy food, a few cheap thrills - what more could a Slayer ask for?
But then Buffy senses something evil behind this carnival. Xander and Willow aren't so sure. They don't buy Buffy's notion that the carneys are somehow connected to the corpses turning up around Sunnydale. It doesn't help that her two best friends are each interested in someone at the carnival. Which puts the burden of proof on Buffy.
Can she find out what's going on in time to save her friends?
Or has the Slayer become the prey?
Review: I think I should have read this book after I finished watching Season 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was really weird to jump back in time, and I think that took away from some of my enjoyment of this book. Which is really unfortunate, because I actually thought it was a great escape from all of the vampires in most other Buffy things.
This book deals with a shady carnival, werecoyotes, and a weird ritual to bring back some old guy from the dead. It's definitely a story that I could see being an actual BtVS episode. Willow is still in love with Xander and isn't all powerful, Xander still has a thing for Buffy, Giles is still the school librarian, and Buffy is still getting used to being a Slayer. I thought it was interesting to go back in time and see the gang how they used to be (although I can't say that I miss them like that!).
I think the plot itself was a little weak and parts of this book dragged. There was quite a bit of exposition - like did Xander and Willow really have to explain what coyotes were and how they acted to Buffy? I'm pretty sure she knows what they are.. - but I still think this book captured the essence of the characters and their world. I wish there had been more action and less of Buffy running around trying to convince everyone that something weird was going on.
Coyote Moon was a pretty quick read, and I think it'd be something fun for any fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It doesn't have anything that's really essential to knowing about the Buffyverse, but it was fun to revisit season 1 Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles. I think this book would also work pretty well without any background knowledge on the characters if you're looking for a place to start with Buffy & friends. I'll be reading more of the books in the Buffyverse, so I can't wait to see what the gang is up to next! 3/5.