Diana G. Gallagher’s works rank in the middle of the pack among “Buffy” authors, but they are often interesting for how she puts new spins on the continuity without contradicting what’s established. “Bad Bargain” (December 2006), the short but flat YA-style novel that’s the last of her five “Buffy” books, fits the mold. Like most of the 2005-08 novels, it’s set in mid-Season 2 before the rise of Angelus, but Gallagher weaves in elements the TV show’s writers couldn’t at the time, in an attempt to strengthen the overall continuity.
In the early days of the “Buffy” novels, we got the points of view of supporting characters – as well as a chance to revisit episodes prior to syndication and home video – in series such as “The Angel Chronicles,” “The Xander Years” and “The Willow Files.” Diana G. Gallagher’s “Spark and Burn” (July 2005) brings back that format, and attempts to spice it up, as Spike wallows in the Sunnydale High basement in early Season 7. As he’s harassed by The First, he thinks back on the events of Season 2, when he enters Buffy’s sphere.
Diana G. Gallagher’s third “Buffy” entry – and her first in the young adult line – is a big step down from her first two, “Obsidian Fate” and “Prime Evil.” The 193-page “Doomsday Deck” (December 2000) has its soul cut out to fit the shorter format. While the Scoobies speak correctly and everyone is in character, the book is unengaging once a reader figures out its direction, which happens too quickly.
Diana G. Gallagher’s “Prime Evil” (March 2000) is a game-changer for the “Buffy” book series – not because it’s significantly better than other books (although it is a step up from Gallagher’s first entry, “Obsidian Fate”), but because it’s the first novel to acknowledge books written by other authors. Additionally, Gallagher does a delicate continuity dance where she successfully works Anya into a story before “The Prom” (3.20), when the ex-demon humorously asks Xander to the prom out of nowhere and becomes a main character.
After the excellent Golden/Holder “Gatekeeper Trilogy,” I braced myself for a letdown with Diana G. Gallagher’s first entry in the “Buffy” series, “Obsidian Fate” (September 1999). While it is indeed a step down, it’s quite readable, with the new character Dem Inglese providing a perspective not explored in the TV show.