Like any tie-in, Out of the Madhouse suffers from the fact that you can’t kill off major characters. What you can do, however, is injure them severely, and in every fight scene in Out of the Madhouse I expected someone – usually Cordelia – to end up in the hospital. Out of the Madhouse has a structure somewhat like a multi-episode arc; you’ve got the main problem of new scary monsters, plus signs that the Watcher’s Council might be sketchy, subplots involving outside forces looking to hurt Buffy, and some new recurring characters who are quite likeable. The dialogue is strong, though not Whedon-quality, and except for the wild special effects that would be necessary to pull it off and the unlikely requirement of on location filming in Boston, I completely believed that this was a story I might see on the show itself. Add in a surprise ending and you’ve got a recipe for fun and nostalgia. (Plus, Golden and Holder manage to avoid the Ethan Rayne trap!)
I’d recommend Out of the Madhouse to any Buffy fan looking for stories to tide them over between issues of the comic book or to take them back to the good old days.
Book: Buffy the Vampire Slayer – The Gatekeeper Trilogy, Book One: Out of the Madhouse (Affiliate Link)
Author: Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder
Publisher: Simon Spotlight Entertainment
Original Publication Date: 1999
Age Range: Young Adult
Source of Book: Library