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Mortal Fear (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) Paperback – 1 Sep 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (1 Sept. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743468678
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743468671
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 10.6 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 953,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Scott Ciencin is the author of more than forty novels and numerous comic books for both adults and teens. SWEET SIXTEEN is his first Buffy novel.

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"Not so tough with a sword in your chest, are ya?" asked the Slayer. Read the first page
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 15 Oct. 2003
Format: Paperback
I must admit I did really enjoy this book, i am a total Buffy Buff! ever since i saw the original film. i have found the books a great addition to the T.V. series, and Mortal Fear was no exception. Since it was set before the first appeared in the last season, i have found it more focused on the characters and not just the general "big bad". i enjoyed the fact that it wasn't just about Buffy in fact in some parts of the book she seemed to be an almost secondary character which was good since it allowed alot of development in the other characters, especially Dawn.
This book really kicked ass, the fight scences were really good and everyone was quite nasty, it was a nice change to see Willow, Zander and Dawn without their nicey-nicey hats on and getting a bit bad!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By AGDA on 14 July 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is okay as it works a little bit more the Scoobies, instead in being Buffy-centered, Dawn character receives a much deserve space but the plot was a bit confusing at parts, I mean I understood what was going on, but the book deals with all in few pages so I kinda get lost at some points.
The opening scene was a bit dumb, but funny....
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 16 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
*Great Characterization* 13 Dec. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Despite what the historian tells you, Mortal Fear is set in the seventh season before the appearance of the First but after Selfless. Mortal Fear is one of few books that allows Dawn to play a active role. For those that hate Dawn, this book may confirm your feelings. The plot of the story revolves around Buffy, Dawn, Willow and Xander so don't expect much from Anya or Spike though they do make an appearance.
The main story of this plot is that the scoobies are in a slump. Dawn (hormonally charged teen) is acting distant from Buffy and starts dating a troublesome guy. Willow struggles to hold back her dark side. Xander, although now very successful, is brooding over women troubles. Meanwhile, Buffy is running around town after demon attacks, collecting pieces to a soulsword told to her by a mysterious tipster called Simon. Things start to look up for the scoobies when they like the other Sunnydalers start to feel well...fearless. However without fear, the residents start to turn aggressive and both friend and family turn against Buffy. Vampires are also in the slump as their food turns out to be dangerous and Slayer and vampire work together, quickly before they are both killed by the humans of Sunnydale.
For those that missed the simple day to day life detail of season seven, you'll love this book. It focuses much on the characterization of the foursome and you'll get to see their day to day life and moments that you wished had happened on the show.
Overall a great book with great characterization and plot. Although the plot gets sci fi and complicated sometimes, it is very well written.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The New Age Of A Dawn 23 Feb. 2004
By Marc Ruby™ - Published on
Format: Paperback
Season Seven must present some extraordinary difficulties to the scribes of the Buffyverse. While the names are the same, almost every character has no resemblance to their original appearances before Season 4. Problems of character development are complicated by having to ride shotgun on an underlying story that resembles a Chinese fire drill. That the Ciencins have managed to overcome the dangers of plot drift and produce a coherent and even original story is a compliment to their skills.
Taking advantage of the frayed nerves of all the season 7 Scooby-ites a mysterious mage named Simon manages to trick Buffy into collecting the bits and pieces of a magical sword that, naturally, could bring about the end of life as we know it. As part of the scheme he unleashes a weird magical nanovirus that completely erases fear as well as any compunction to do good. The big victims are Xander, Willow and Dawn (not that Dawn ever needed an excuse to be obnoxious). These three become part of the overall scheme as well as a means to torment our humble Slayer.
Well written, and tightly plotted despite its length, Mortal Fear is one of the better Buffy books to appear in the past year or so. Even so, there are a few devices that stretch ones ability to believe. Especially what has happened to Willow. While the idea is not original to the Ciencin's, I find the device of a split personality Willow a bit tedious. After all, the is only one Willow - one whose naturally sweet nature is unable to contain her anger when her world falls apart. This is a natural, human thing - only larger than life because of Willow's powers. I find Willow-in-denial a bit hard to accept. On the other hand, Xander's anger at Buffy may be irrational, but it is appropriate to the character. And, as I've mentions Dawn was already irritating, so her characterization here is exactly right.
Almost every other character puts in a spot appearance as Sunnydale once again starts to slip into chaos. Once again (for the umpteenth time) Buffy must handle the impossible and save the world. There is a part of me that misses the old Buffy, when the stories were mostly about finding an killing vampires. Yet we all know that Buffy's attraction is that it is far more than hacking and staking. Mortal Fear manages to tread the same thin line between horror and comedy that the best of the TV show does. Certainly worth reading if you are a fan.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Simon Says, "Apocalypse Now..." 15 Sept. 2003
By Bruce Rux - Published on
Format: Paperback
Buffy's running ragged around Sunnydale. She keeps getting anonymous tips, concerning demon attacks round and about town - in advance. Her mysterious source stays hidden in the shadows, and cloaked by magic. He calls himself "Simon," and Buffy does whatever he says - though she doesn't much like it. After all, how does this "Simon" character know so much? Is he sending the demons out to lunch on the Sunnydale citizenry himself, just to put Buffy through her paces for some agenda of his own? Why do the slain demons all dissolve into so much goo, and form themselves into more and more pieces of a lost legendary sword? And just what is "Simon's" admitted interest in this particular weapon?
Complicating matters is the fact that Sunnydale itself seems to be growing more collectively insane, by the day. Kids, adults and senior citizens all seem to be developing a remarkable lack of inhibition, leading them to commit outrageous acts on nothing more than the impulse of the moment. Xander and Willow are being subtly targeted and preyed-upon by an unknown force, bent on unleashing their innermost desires and unlocking a strange power within them. And Dawn is literally turning renegade - and superhuman - in the throes of teenage hormones run wild.
Even the vampires are willing to call temporary truce with the the Slayer, until Sunnydale's burgeoning crisis can be contained. They have to - something is poisoning their food supply, at the same time as it drives the mortals of Sunnydale crazy. With Xander, Willow and Dawn ganging-up on her, and no one but the mentally unbalanced vampire, Spike, and Xander's ex-fiancee, Anya, to help, can Buffy decipher the riddle of "Simon's" identity, and stop his - or someone else's - diabolical plan, before Sunnydale erupts in a kind of apocalypse, the like of which even Buffy Summers never could have dreamed?
The Ciencin's write a first-rate Buffy tale, long, involved, well-developed and absorbing. I actually didn't think the plot to this one sounded all that promising, and was delighted to discover my preliminary judgment was greatly mistaken. Mortal Fear is one of the best of the Buffy books. It's well worth the read, and a real keeper.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
War Amongst Friends 29 Jan. 2004
By Barry - Published on
Format: Paperback
Fear is used in the title of this book and I found what an appropriate word that is to use. With what happens in this latest entry in the Buffy book world, it is fitting. Characters in this book are torn apart and turn on each other. There is probably nothing worse than that. A person's greatest fear would be to have the ones you love and trust turn on you in a way that you fear for your life and what the very people you once loved and trusted with your life will do to you. That is exactly what Buffy is fearing here. Authors Scott and Denise Ciencin have crafted an in-depth and intelligent epic of a story that ties in very nicely with the Buffy universe and it's characters. The story, according to the authors, takes place during the sixth season of the show. A season that was already dark enough. Buffy is running herself into the ground with new chaos that is taking over Sunnydale. She is getting weird, mysterious messages in the weirdest of forms from someone named Simon. These messages have Buffy running to solve the puzzle and to find different kinds of monsters each time and putting together parts of what is called a "soul sword", and tries to learn of it's use before it falls into the wrong hands and creates even more chaos. At the same time, the others in town are being affected by a strange virus that is running rampant through town. No one is safe, and it turns especially dangerous when it hits the ones closest to Buffy. Her friends Willow and Xander, and her own little sister, Dawn, who is involved a great deal in this story. What happens is a wild adventure that has Buffy turning to the last people(?)on earth she would normally turn to for help when it seems that she has no one else. While the book has an epic like story, the book itself has an epic like length that feels like it might go on a tad too long than it really needs to. It's characterizations and dialogue is in sync with the show and the characters themselves. However, as I said above, the authors say it takes place in the sixth season, but this seems to be impossible since Principal Woods appears in this story, and he doesn't come on the show until season seven. Whoops. The work on Willow and Xander is also well done. They are both looking for some kind of direction in their life. Some kind of purpose. Xander thinks he is making it big in construction and has met a great new client, but it doesn't turn out that way. Things go wrong for Willow in school too. The end climax is a little odd and seems to be a little too extreme even for a book where the imagination can run even more freely than the show itself, which is on a constricted budget. Still, it is a wild and epic adventure that showcases some true elements of excitement, horror, humor, and emotion. A great ride.
I only enjoy Dawn in small doses 14 Mar. 2014
By Sarah Frost - Published on
Format: Paperback
6/12 - It's funny the things you notice when reading a teenage book as an adult. I haven't read this in at least ten years, maybe longer, and the last time I read it I probably would have given it five stars. This time around there are some niggling annoyances - not the best editing in the world (also not the worst) and (possibly even worse) some stilted, awkward dialogue - neither of which I noticed at all when I was 16...17...18 (or whenever it was). When I read this last time I thought it was a fantastic book, with the characters exactly as they were on tv, exactly as Joss Whedon imagined them. But reading it over the last few days I've noticed that Buffy's dialogue is trying very hard to live up to the show's writers, but not quite making it - her mid demon-killing quips are just not funny like they should be. Also the demons they've fought, so far, have been so outlandish, so far from what they fought in the show that I'm getting quite annoyed with how far the authors are taking their self-imposed mission to write the weirdest Buffy demons ever. It's like reading Lovecraft's description for the Elder Ones, where the description goes on for, what seems like, a never-ending paragraph that's all one sentence with lots of commas. Even after reading the description more than once I really can't get a fix on what Buffy (or Lovecraft's) demons are supposed to look like (while reading Lovecraft I googled Shoggoths and the Elder Ones and found many conflicting drawings of both creatures, which was only minimally helpful). I'll be reading the paragraph following the description paragraph, where Buffy and the demon are fighting and suddenly the demon will do something violent with an appendage that seems to have come out of thin air, this confusion sends me back to the description paragraph to re-read it and try once again to get a handle on the demon's looks. This re-reading does not an easy, flowing book make. To be continued...

I finished this eventually, but wasn't all that impressed with the book as a whole. All I could think of while reading of the damage Dawn and her 'boos' had done to the Summer's house was "how on Earth is Buffy going to pay for the repairs on her student-counsellor's salary?". That was a bit of a flaw in the logic for me, a plot hole if you like. I don't think I'll be reading this one again and one day I'll probably donate it to someone/somewhere more needy.
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