Melaka Fray is a tough chick living a life of crime in the huge cities of the future, stealing to survive and enjoying the occasional bar fight for variety. Sure, her police sister gets on her back, and yeah, she wishes she weren’t haunted by the death of her twin brother a few years earlier, but for the most part Mel lives in the moment, kicking ass and taking names while pulling off a fantastic blue-and-pink hairstyle. This all changes the day Urkonn, a huge, demonic, “sarcastic goat-thing” steps in and informs Melaka that she is the latest in the line of the Slayers, and that it is her destiny to combat the vampire scourge. Her response? “What’s a vampire?”
Slowly, though, pushed on by a will to avenge her brother’s murder, Mel begins to take up the mantle she is meant to. It’s not enough to pick off the hunters in the alleys, however. A war is coming, one that will test Mel’s emotional fortitude even more than her physical strength as she is brought up against an enemy she never expected to have to face.
I have decided that Joss Whedon is God and that nothing he does is wrong. This may sound fanatical, but I’m basing that supposition on the fact that, to date, I have found nothing that he has done that was wrong. Fray is one of the better not-wrong things in his portfolio. If you loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you will probably enjoy this book. If you enjoy science fiction more than fantasy, you will be pleasantly surprised to find flying cars, ray guns, and sprawling, futuristic urban decay alongside the vampires and creepities. If you just want a kickass heroine who doesn’t take any crap, well, you already know that Joss Whedon supplies those without the ridiculous man-contrived accoutrements such as double-D breasts and skimpy, oft-torn clothing (God bless him). Also, there’s a giant snake. You just can’t go wrong with that.
If you have already read Fray, heads up: Mel makes a second appearance in Tales of the Slayers and a third in Time of Your Life, the fourth volume of the Season 8 comic series of Buffy. I haven’t read either yet, but (see above) Joss Whedon is never wrong, and I have every confidence that it will be fantastic. Five stars.