I have been curious about The Vampire Watcher's Handbook: A Guide for Slayers since its release in 2003. An unofficial, loose, tie-in to Buffyverse. I wanted to know what was in it, but could never find out because every copy I came across in store were sealed in plastic. What's the big secret?
Packaging a book like this is a double edged blade. It made me want to know what was inside that was worth sealing in, but on the other hand, I wasn't prepared to risk paying $25 to find a crappy book full of things I already know. Last week I found an opened copy for sale and had a flick. The content looked good and the design is very interesting, so I put it on my 'to buy if cheap' list.
Lo and behold, three hours later I am about to leave another bookstore when my eye caught sight of the cover art in the bargain box. $5! Impulse purchase indeed.
The title rings true in the contents. It is a practical guide to the world of vampires and how to deal with them. The first chapter is historical accounts of vampire activities and lore. Avoiding the typical path that some books of this type tend to venture down, i.e. myths. The Watcher's Handbook is surprisingly factual.
The rest of the book covers identification, locating, prevention, and, of course, slaying. Even including known vampire strongholds. You may already be familiar with all the methods of slaying, but do you know why they work and how they were discovered?
The design is very interesting. The text is a thinner column set in the centre, leaving room for images and diagrams, along the outter edge. It also features hand written notes and drawings expanding upon the printed text. It appears to be a well used book.
Obviously it is inspired by the success of Buffy but it is not a poor rip-off. The Watcher's Handbook is a fun and informative read for people who are interested in vampire lore and an essential too for those who wish to avoid succumbing to a vampiric attack. A valuable addition to any Buffy collection.