City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Genre: YA, fantasy
Review: In this case, you get something that's actually fairly original. The influence of Buffy comes through often (Clare used to write fan fiction about the show), such as when one of the characters gets turned into a rat (she couldn't even pick a different animal?) or simply the fact that the core characters in the book are high school kids with an older mentor, all of whom, except for one, are Shadowhunters (Scoobies, anyone?). There are hints of Harry Potter as well, as the non-talented are scorned by a group who wants to wipe them out (although non-Shadowhunters are called mundanes, rather than Muggles) the leader of which was thought to be dead, but apparently isn't... There's even some Star Wars thrown in, with a modified "Luke, I am your father" moment, which, by the way, I saw coming from miles away.
So, yes, lots of similarities, some of them fairly glaring. And yet, Clare does make a new story out of it all. There's unexpected bravery, betrayal (unexpected and expected), and even a hint of gallantry. In short, it's a pretty good fantasy story. But I think I'll go watch some Buffy now.