So I read it, and, despite already disliking the story and giving the previous book 2/5 stars, I'll go ahead and give this one 3 stars because. Spike. And because Joss realized the mistake he made with S8 and took the opportunity to apologize (sort of) for it at the end of the TPB:
"If you've read this volume, you've got a sense of where we're heading for Season 9. Back, a bit, to the everyday trials that made Buffy more than a superhero. That made her us. I was so excited to finally have an unlimited budget that I wanted to make the book an epic, but I realized along the way that the things I loved the best were the things you loved the best: the peeps. The down-to-earth, recognizable people. And Mecha-Dawn."*sigh* And now I am going to read S9, despite my better judgment.
This is how Joss Whedon survives. Because fans follow him blindly, and those that aren't blind still follow him anyway.
This is why, even though I am so very very mad at him for what he allowed to happen to Sheperd Book, for Angel S3 and what happened to Cordelia, for all the dead lovers (oh kudoes for not refrigerating a lover in Buffy S8, btw. Erm. Never mind. Forgot about her.) or for everything about Dollhouse, that started with him swearing that everything would be okay with Fox this time, I am still going to read Buffy S9, and I am going to watch the Avengers mostly because he's behind it and not just because I want a glimpse of Tony Stark, and I'll still readwatchbuy anything else with Joss Whedon's name on it in the future because I am clinging to this mad hope that the likes of Buffy S1-7 (yes, especially S6), Angel S2, Astonishing X-Men, Firefly and Serenity are not all the awesome Joss had to offer...
All right, Joss. You've got your 3248th chance with me. Don't let me down.