What Would They Read?: YA Lit for the Villains of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
We have finally come to the end of my Buffy the Vampire Slayer trilogy of YA book recommendations. I had people ask me to include Spike and Drusilla as well as other characters that hang out in the dark. I feel this may be the most challenging entry yet. I mean, when would Adam find the time from acting like Dr. Frankenstein to pick up a book? Also, unless Glory’s minions were reading her the story of her life aloud, I can’t see her being interested in much else. But still, I will do my best to find recommendations for even the most reluctant reader.
Darla – I thought I would work my way through the series chronologically. Unfortunately, that puts the most difficult character first. I can easily think of a title or two for every other character. Darla is a puzzle. Initially, we don’t learn much about Darla until she appears on Angel. Everything we know about her consists of her life as a vampire throughout history. She is the only main villainous vampire with a recurring storyline in Buffy that we do not know the origin story. It’s not until Angel that we learn that she has been a vampire since the sixteenth century. This may be a stretch, but I would give Darla Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick (the 2014 Printz Award winner) to read. Darla and Angelus were together initially 200 years ago, but then were pulled apart when Angelus becomes Angel, the vampire with a soul. Then, like the characters of Eric and Merle in Midwinterblood, the two are brought back together again through a series of circumstances. And of course I have to mention, there is a bit of vampire action in the book as well.
Drusilla – Drusilla is also a difficult character to read, as we see two very distinct versions of Drusilla. In her first appearances, she is bag-of-cats crazy. She is physically weak, yet full of nonsensical visions and spends her time playing with her dolls. Then, after Spike’s ritual to get her strength back, she is still crazy but also incredibly strong. I do have a suggestion for Drusilla although it is more of a middle grade book than a teen title, but the author has several teen books to her name. I would recommend Doll Bones by Holly Black. In this book, a group of children are haunted by the doll that may or may not be made up of the bones of a murdered girl. This twisted and dark story sounds like the perfect tale for Drusilla to read right before bed.
Spike – Spike was one of the easiest of the villains to match up with a book. The first book I thought about in regards to Spike is Angel Burn by Lee Weatherly. Aside from the obviously pun in the title (that’s definitely something Spike would want to see happen), the story embodies a few parallels to the bizarre Spike and Buffy love affair. In Angel Burn, Weatherly tells the story of an angel hunter who falls in love with a half-angel. In the beginning, the two are thrown together as enemies, but slowly their hatred melts into something else. Honestly, I can see Spike gulping down any book in which there is a strong relationship built between two star-crossed lovers. Don’t believe me? I bring you back to Spike’s origin story in which he was a sensitive, mama’s boy poet who is sired by Drusilla and spends the rest of his afterlife overcompensating and masking his sensitive side. This revelation brings me to the other book I would recommend to Spike. Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey is a based on Edgar Allen Poe’s creepy, yet somewhat romantic poem, “Annabel Lee.” I’m sure Spike would appreciate the romance engulfed with all kinds of creepy evil.
Adam – I also had a simple time coming up with titles for Adam. Of course, it would be very easy to get Adam to read anything, as he is trying desperately to understand humanity. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is an easy recommendation, as Adam is a modern-day demonic version of Dr. Frankenstein’s monster. A more light-hearted option is Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron. This book follows the road trip of Boy, the son of Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride of Frankenstein. Finally, I would recommend Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and K.A. Applegate. This book, which focuses on medical simulation techniques and technology that can build a man from DNA, is full of information that Adam would find useful.
Glory - As I stated earlier, the best book for Glory would be the telling of her life story as that is truly the center of her universe. However, if it were possible to distract Glory from herself, I would give her Antigoddess by Kendare Blake. The story tells of a time when Greek gods realize that they may actually die. In order to prevent their demise, Athena and Hermes seek out the prophet Cassandra for help which leads to the an epic war of the gods. While this story is not about her, I’m sure Glory will find some entertainment in a battle of god-like proportions.
The Trio (Warren, Jonathan, & Andrew) – I wanted to separate the members of the Trio, but I thought it better to keep them together as Jonathan and Andrew were only ever evil when teamed up with Warren. Aside for the obvious Star Wars graphic novels and Star Trek novelizations, I would recommend Catherine Jinks’ Evil Genius. Evil Genius is basically a manual on being evil, which the Trio definitely needs a little help achieving. Along with Evil Genius, I have to include the book I am Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I want to be your Class President by Josh Lieb. Lieb’s book is a bit more comical than evil. While Warren would probably scoff at this title, I can easily see Andrew and Jonathan sitting in a corner giggling through the book’s humorous situations.
- Brandi Smits, currently reading Ungifted by Gordon Korman