The Suicide King by Robert Joseph Levy: C+

From the back cover:
A rash of student suicides sweeps through Sunnydale High, jolting the community. When the newly arrived grief counselor ends up killing himself, Buffy and the gang begin to suspect there’s something supernatural to blame. Soon one of their own begins to show signs of debilitating despondency, and it becomes a race against time for the Slayer to defeat the ancient threat known as the Suicide King.

This is the first book in the Stake Your Destiny series—a Buffy Choose Your Own Adventure book, in other words. It takes places in the second season, between the episodes “Reptile Boy” and “Halloween.”

This was fairly decent, for a book of its type. The dialogue wasn’t bad, and occasionally sounded quite true to the characters. It’s canonically correct, and even superficially touches on Angel’s quest for redemption. The variety of conclusions was interesting, too: two good outcomes, two fair outcomes (success with a price), and a plethora of bad outcomes.

My main gripe here is that it was almost always obvious which option would lead you to the end by the page number. Also, there were a couple of errors (like Buffy falling to the floor when outside) and several uses of the dreaded “magic with a k.”

I took care to chart my options, making sure I’d read every page. It really was kind of a pain in the butt, and ultimately not worth it. While the book transcended some of the limitations of the genre, it’s still a COYA book at its heart. There are more of these, but I think I’ll pass.

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