Doranna Durgin crafts a more readable and entertaining “Angel” book her second time around with “Fearless” (October 2003). It has the same structure as “Impressions,” which I didn’t like as much, wherein we know what’s happening early on and there aren’t any twists and turns before getting to the end. But because of better character writing for the Angel Investigations team and better guest characters, “Fearless” is the superior entry.
Doranna Durgin did solid work on her short stories in “Tales of the Slayer, Vol. 1” and “Angel: The Longest Night,” but she trips up when making the leap to a full-length novel with “Angel: Impressions” (February 2003). Tuingas demons from a pocket dimension accidentally lose a deathstone in Los Angeles, and the stone gives off emanations that make the local demons go berserk. For no good reason, it takes nearly 300 pages for the Tuingas to reclaim it. In the meantime, the gang fights crazed LA demons and Angel struggles to keep Angelus at bay.
It’d be cool to read an “Angel” book of 12 short stories that each take place in one hour on the longest night of the year. “The Longest Night” (December 2002), unfortunately, isn’t that book. It claims to be that book on the back cover blurb, but the editors never told the writers. So the gang can be beat up or covered in demon goo the end of one hour and healthy and clean at the start of the next, for example.
I remember when “Tales of the Slayer Vol. 1” (October 2001) came out, it felt to me like for first time the Buffyverse had a sprawling Expanded Universe similar to what “Star Wars” had developed. Starting here, a character need not be peripherally linked to Buffy in order to have their story told.