(this good enough for
spoilerspace, no? ok)
Book spoilers up ahead
Let me put it this way...
If you like B/A (which I don't), if you think Riley's cool and you really want to see him happy, and if you think S5, s6 and S7 are best forgotten, then you'll probably like this book.
If you don't...
Then you're like me and will probably hate this book.
Buffy behaves around Angel like she would have in season four, still in love but trying to fight it because of the curse. She gets jealous when seeing Angel with Sam, is insecure and doesn't even flinch when Sam says that Buffy's relationship with Riley was just a rebound.
Her relationship with Spike, nor the fact that the last time Riley saw her, was when she was with Spike, isn't mentioned even once.
She doesn't think about Willow, even though the book is probably
(not even sure about that one) set in the summer between S6 and S7, so normally Willow should be on her mind.
Buffy completely ignores her responsibility to Dawn, with Willow and Giles in England, Tara dead, Spike still off (probably, not that sure about the timing), and Anya back into vengeance the only one left to take care of Dawn is Xander and even he isn't mentioned.
Admittedly the book could be post-S7, but I sincerely doubt it since Angel still considders himself unique as the only souled vampire around.
Yet Buffy mentions herself as a guidance councillor already...
Like I said, timing, continuity and so on don't seem to matter much here since it's mostly just a display of B/A on a fun job along with Riley and the wife. The only part of that that I really liked was when Sam realized that the only reason she's feeling an attraction to Angel is due to her hormones. (she's pregnant)
Sam ends up at least slightly more interesting than in the ep she
appeared in before(which isn't very difficult), but Riley is as
cardboard as ever.
Now about the good, after all this complaining and all
I like the villains, they're dangerous enough without turning into a giant apocalypse, like way too many of the Buffy books do.
You get a good enough idea of who they are without having to go into giant flashbacks, like also a lot of Buffy books tend to do.
All the characters get plenty of time in the spotlight, even though of all four of them, Buffy's the only one I like...
(But I still don't understand why Sam would call Angel, she doesn't even know him. Nor do I understand why she'd specifically tell Angel not to bring his friends along.)
The climax is fun, character centred, and if it had been Spike and Buffy in that mineshaft, I sure would have liked the scene. With Angel... not so much
Angel doesn't act in character, he's way too fun, though he is
characteristically lone wolf, trying to deal with a situation on his own instead of relying on the group. Angel's stupid attempt to pretend he's Mexican naturally doesn't work.
(is there anyone here who'd actually believe Angel as a needy
potential illegal mexican immigrant trying to get smuggled to the
US? In the kind of clothes he usually wears?)
Riley drawing a mustache under his nose and wearing a cowboyhat as disguise is so ridiculous that it actually works.
And Buffy feeling slightly claustrophic and remembering her time in her grave is one of the few glimpses that S6 actually happened and is a nice touch.
And need I remind you, NO FRECKING APOCALYPSE!!!!!!!
Sorry, but I'm really getting tired of all those Buffy books that
feel they have to end with Buffy stopping an apocalypse.
No supervamps, or superpowered demons that can't be stopped the
normal way. No emphasis on original characters that we'll never see again anyway. (except for Sam, but at least she's canon, if you know what I mean)
So in short. Once I get over my anti-B/A pov, and try and like Sam and Riley, and once I stop wanting to see Spike mentioned at least once, even if only in Buffy's thoughts I'd probably like this book.
It is well written enough and once again NO APOCALYPSE.
Still a hard order though.