Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish, and after a summer-long hiatus, it’s back! Now, this week’s prompt is very open. I actually attempted to write another topic, but it was more of an anecdote post than a recommendations one. So when I’m lost I turn to my favorite television show of all time: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I mention it a lot (aka whenever I can), but I never written a post specifically about it.
Now, there’s a lot to Buffy. From the humor, to the amazing character growth, to the dynamics and the delightful dialogue, it really is unique on how all the elements come together. No single book can contain all the elements that made Buffy great and that’s great because they’re their own thing. That said, I did try to pick books that resemble particular aspects of the story in the hope that if you love Buffy, you’ll love these too. I didn’t get to ten because the comparison either got repetitive or too far-fetched, so I decided to go for seven books that really fit.
1. Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Unspoken is the first book in The Lynburn Legacy trilogy which I whole heartedly recommend. Part gothic, part paranormal, and at times very dark, what made me include it was the humor. Its protagonist, Kami, is incredibly witty, so she counteracts the gothic elements perfectly, kind of like Buffy does whenever she’s slaying vampires. Though Kami herself takes the cake, the other characters also partake in hilarious banter and have a group dynamic as great as the Scoobies.
2. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Another thing I love about Buffy is how self aware it is of its ridiculous premise. It’s got a ton of meta humor and, more admirably, it’s done well. The Magicians is just like that, even though it takes on a somewhat different sub-genre, more akin to Harry Potter and Narnia
3. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Looking for a series of a group of teens facing powerful supernatural forces? What makes the Raven Cycle great is how it’s all about powerful friendships. Sure, there are trees that speak in Latin, dreams, and ley lines, but, just like in Buffy, the characters are unforgettable. Their growth and characterization is really strong throughout all four books. Instead of the Scoobies, their (fan) nickname is the Gangsey and their chemistry is marvellous. Warning, the magic in these books is very creepy at times.
4. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Okay, so I came across these books years ago. I was in a serious Buffy withdrawal after finishing the show for the first time, and this series gave me all the feels. I’m not sure if I would have liked them quite as much, had I read them in the years that followed. The vampire mythology here is very different from the one in the Buffyverse, but Rose and Dimitri are very reminiscent of my favorite couple in the show, Buffy and Angel, (more so than Edward and Bella for example). If you’re looking for a tropey vampire romance, angst and all, then I definitely recommend them.
5. In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
Okay, so this is not the first book in The Song of the Lioness quartet, but the second one and my favorite. What I love about it is that Alanna, who dreams of being a knight and has been passing off as a boy for years, embraces her femininity in this book. And Pierce never treats her as any less of a badass for it. Just like Buffy who never lets go of her girly side despite all the world saving she does. Also like the show, these books were written a while ago, so they do stumble at times in their executions, though the messages are always in the right place.
6. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Keep in mind I’ve never read The Mortal Instruments and I’ve only just started Clockwork Princess. These books are really witty, but what reminded me most of Buffy is the vivid world where they take place. You’ll find everything from vampires to warlocks. Also there’s quite a lot of demon-slaying. Honestly, I would have been lost in these books had I found them when I was thirteen and had just finished Buffy.
7. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
If you asked me what my favorite episode of the show is, I wouldn’t say “The Body”, but if you asked me about the best episode, then yeah. A seemingly silly show about vampires has one of the best takes on grief than I have ever seen, and it’s stayed with me ever since I first watched it. Nelson also tackles grief deftly in her debut. Though unlike “The Body”, it follows the grieving for following weeks rather than on the same day it happened. That doesn’t make the experience any less raw and heart-wrenching. It’s also the only contemporary in this list. So, no, it doesn’t feature any vampires, just a teenage girl who has just lost her older sister, but it stays with you too.