Friday, September 14, 2018

Storm of the Gods (Areios Brothers #1) by A. R. Braun

The Greek Gods returned 30 years ago after centuries of dormancy after they were drained in the big battle against the Titans. They have set up their new land in California.

Derek is a scion of Ares, carrying the legacy of his powerful war god sire, along with his brother follow their role to capture and defeat dangerous monsters. And capture over rogue scions

Including the heir to the mysteriously missing Athena and four other powerful Scions. But as he gets closer he realises things are far from simple and world changing devastation could follow him making the wrong choice. But does he dare oppose Ares? Can he even oppose him? Who can fight the god of war?

Greek mythology! I am sold. Sold sold sold. Throw me some good ol’ ancient god mythology and I’m always one board. Doubly so when you get all the research in place and go all out for the research pulling in figures like Cassandra and random Greek monsters (so many Greek monsters) and generally working on their characters while adding a heavy dash of original concepts as well? Sold sold sold

So we have a world where after several centuries of dormancy after fighting the Titans, the Olympians have woken up and are back. And Not Amused that humanity has sort of forgotten them or, at very least, has stopped worshipping them. Since the Greek Gods are not exactly known for their humility, gentle persuasion or generally not being capricious, short tempered and seethingly insecure jealous sex maniacs, this did not go down well.

The Greek gods chose their territory - California - and divided it between themselves as new regions for the new Greek nation state. It is inferred that the US objected to this. It’s also heavily inferred that Zeus was having None of that and there’s something of a detent between “Neo Vasileio” and America

This is one element about the world building I like - we have that excellent balance between giving us lots of information so we know what is happening in this world, who is who, what the stakes are, what powers are being thrown around, etc etc but not so much that we’re inundated with unnecessary facts. Even though I kinda really really want those facts. I want to know what the reaction was with the greater world. I want to know exactly what Zeus did. I want Zeus and Hades and Apollo to be more than extremely briefly appearing characters. I want to meet all the Greek gods who have territory that we haven’t met yet - Artemis, Aphrodite, Hermes, Poseidon, Demeter, Haphaestus, Hestia, Hera, Perseophone. I want to learn all of this

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 13: BlackJack

Morgan and the truckers are all still looking for the mysterious man who had the Truck before them, all of Morgan’s friends, Quinn world peace and some really good drugs

June not just wants to find John but she has definitely had a full blown conversion to the Morgan Cult.

James is not a fan, referring to the truck as an “airport shuttle” because of all the extras they’re grabbing. Althea is somewhat neutral but wants to find Quinn because he has her truck and she’s obsessive about it. Sarah and Wendell are kind of mellow because they’re kind of mellow about everything. They’re also great fun with their points for killing zombies, casual rogueish approach to the apocalypse, low key competence and general fun

It’s nice to have characters approaching the apocalypse with a casual amusement. I also like that Wendell proves he is quite capable of defending himself while James clearly isn’t (and learns strongly that Wendel is not incapable because he uses a wheelchair).

And they find one of the Dirty Woman’s written on zombie which leads to a walky talky conversation with her. It’s what we expect from her filthy weirdness. People are strong when they’re alone and stabbing people in the face for the last cookie in the world but helping people or needing help or accepting help just makes you super super super weak and shameful. I mean is she actually against all co-operation? Because any kind of co-operation requires a level of help. Does she think everyone should be a wandering loner?

She also reveals she knows Morgan was big bad and scary in the past so he needs to be so again.

Morgan’s not doing that. And to double down on that by burying the graffiti zombie because… well he’s almost a parody now. Ok Morgan, I get that you’re all good and fluffy now but, what, 90% of the entire world’s population is actually dead (though we are kind of assuming that. For all we know isolated islands are fine. Hey, maybe it’s confined entirely to the Americas) he’s going to be digging a whole long time. In fact you may cause more environmental damage with the holes than just leaving the bodies to rot. Morgan has a big speech about how they will continue to meet and help everyone

They spend a little while reflecting on how nice the guy - known as Polar Bear - who set up this trucking network was. Wendal and Sarah are sure he’s alive - they have standards. They wouldn’t steal from someone who couldn’t manage alone. Awww aren’t they nice.

Sarah and Wendell still aren’t entirely on side with riding to the rescue and Sarah even begins to draw a blade on Morgan … which he deals with in 2 seconds with his stick. Sarah and Wendell quickly realise Morgan has 10,000 levels of badass more than them and decide they have absolutely no objection with going where he wants to go - especially since Althea can drive the truck

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Wynonna Earp: Season 3, Episode 8: Waiting Forever for You

We actually have Wynonna and Jeremy spending social time! Playing pool and Wynonna being very very distracting by describing how she once gave birth on that pool table. Which was likely messy

As Jeremy says, this is probably why no-one plays with them. They also talk love life with Jeremy worried about getting close to Robin with all the death in their lives with Wynonna advising him to just embrace it while he has it. But in comes Charlie and Wynonna tries to avoid him because she’s been ghosting him - Jeremy throws her to the wolves and attracts his attention before running away.

There is Awkwardness but Charlie and Wynonna are now back on. This includes a date in Purgatory’s fanciest restaurant. A diner. With breadsticks and knives that look like swords (this is Wynonna’s definition of classy and she and Charley are just really cute). Wynonna has a lot of self-depreciation and doubt because of the Earp curse but Charlie is clear he’s ready to run into the fire of her life for her. Even if he isn’t fully aware of the supernatural yet,

Jeremy and Robin are invited to a big gay dinner by Waverley and Nicole which sounds like a very fun night out and Jeremy and Robin are excited talking about it except… Doc

Kate tried to leave Doc a captured human to eat… and Doc angrily refuses because he doesn’t belong to her, isn’t her’s and can do his own hunting. She’s super sad because he was her’s once. She also worried because her tarot woo-woo tells her that Bulshar knows she’s there.

Doc probably should have listened far more to Kate because he goes into the woods and attacks… Robin

Yes, I thought Robin was dead. But no, Doc controls himself and takes the heavily bleeding Robin to Jeremy

Amazingly Jeremy doesn’t see “I bit your boyfriend but managed not to kill him” to be a plus and demands Doc leave. Knowing he’s a vampire, Jeremy understands Wynonna’s break up. Jeremy is not happy. He hasn’t got to bite his boyfriend yet

He goes to interrupt Wynonna’s date to explain what just happened - so she and Charlie decide to shelve dinner in exchange for some staking action while Jeremy and Robin go to the Big Gay Dinner.

Staking action doesn’t mean Doc - oh Charlie uses a holy water soaked whip to trap Doc in his bar, so he won’t interfere while Wynonna goes to see Kate. They argue a lot about who is the most special person to Wynonna when they’re interrupted...

Bulshar has also been up and about - and has raised his wife Constance. She’s a burned, dismembered zombie, but she has been brought back from death and freed from the salt flats.

She now gatecrashes Doc and Charlie. Charlie duly freaks out at the sight of the blackened zombie - and frees Doc so he can use his sudden super strength to knock Constance down (waaaait, I thought vampires in this didn’t have super strength). They plan to drop her in the well where all inconvenient people are abandoned on this show. I hope no-one is drinking from this well. While they bicker, Constance escapes and steals Doc’s car - which was her car originally

They try to follow her on foot but Doc’s bloodlust overwhelms him: Charlie has to knock him out to save himself from being eaten and Doc co-operates

This involves lots of guns pointing at each other because it’s time for a dramatic confrontation with lots of snark and with Kate being super snarky and fun. And Wynonna accusing Kate of magically seducing Doc while Kate retorts that she cannot be blamed for Doc’s choices (and how sexist it is). She decides to explain her past in a series of nifty flashbacks

Monday, September 10, 2018

Killjoys, Season 4, Episode 8: It Takes a Pillage

Johnny is getting all sexy (because he always is) ready to go home to Telen, where D’avin and run with Jaq. Dutch is staying on the ship because Johnny knows Telen and she’s kinda still avoiding D’avin because things are awkward

For more awkward there’s a “silica storm” coming which translates as “Sandstorm on Crack” i think, so they all have to hunker down and hide from it or DEATH

D’avin is already on the planet lamenting that Jaq’s aging ended at teenaged years because he’s super bored and super whiney. They’re heading to the family bunker where they find an unwelcome resident - Johnny and D’avin’s terrible terrible father.

He tries to insist he’s a much better person after he had his encounter with D’avin in Khlyen’s body (long story). I think he’s lying. But they’re stuck with him because of the whole silica storm thing.

D’avin is looking for something and actually leaves his dad with Jaq for a while as he searches. Which I don’t buy, not for a second. D’avin has just abandoned Dutch and Johnny with nothing but the clothes he’s stood up in because he worried about the kind of influence Dutch would have on Jaq. We know his father abused his sons, we know he was the worst parent ever - and D’avin’s going to even let him share the same room as Jaq? I don’t buy this. This gives the old man chance to give a very edited version of their past - how he “talked” to D’avin and he left to join the army to “become a man” and stop getting into trouble and giving Jaq odd ideas about how families separate

D’avin is looking for money his mother left him and Johnny for emergencies - but their father has already found it, stolen it and drunk it. D’avin’s pretty furious with his awful dad. He especially objects to him saying “I didn’t raise you that way” while snapping back “You didn’t raise us”

Well done D’avin for holding his feet in the fire.

So, being awful, granddad sends Jaq to fetch some tools - which turn out to be in a dangerous place. Where Jaq gets grabbed - thankfully it’s Johnny. Unfortunately there’s also Hullen behind him

Quick family reunion - Johnny and his dad get on even less with Johnny trying to hold his Killjoys status over his dad to prove, contrary to what his dad says, he has actually amounted to something. His dad doesn’t believe him. His dad is awful.

D’avin takes the chance to tell Jaq the truth about why he left: dad was abusive, used to beat Johnny constantly and D’avin got beaten trying to get in the way. One day he fought back and his dad, being the sheriff, told him to join the army or he’d arrest him.

He’s such a class act.

He adds that the army definitely didn’t make D’avin into a man, and leaving his family is not necessary to achieve manhood.

We have some more family drama (where D’avin somewhat undercuts Johnny’s defence of what he has achieved and how he totally isn’t travelling around getting drunk and getting in trouble because he kinda still is) interrupted by a Hullen attack and them managing to capture a Hullen and having to follow their dad’s plan: have to confront the Hullen. Fleeing to the ship will just get them hunted down. Johnny has to take Jaq to safety

Except Jaq uses his special Hullen powers to predict this will end so badly - and tells Johnny about his shiny powers. His prediction is true because granddad hasn’t been paying attention, charges the Hullen shooting them repeatedly in the torso, ignoring D’avin and getting captured

A third option appeared - Charlie. She’s an old friend of Johnny’s (a very good friend judging by the greeting kiss) and the current sheriff. They apparently had a wild youth together but she grew up and matured… with a definite implication that he didn’t.

They gather an unconscious D’avin for more reunions and gather the captured Hullen for questioning. They want Jaq. who they call “The heir” and “the beginning of everything and the end of you” which is ominous. Then he dies because of inconvenient suicidal prisoners.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Lake Silence (The World of the Others #1) by Anne Bishop

Vicky DeVine has just manages to escape a viciously abusive marriage and in the settlement she was granted ownership of the Jumble. A house and a collection of dilapidated cabins on the banks of Lake Silence. A beautiful location for a holiday - but she only owns the cabins. The terra indigene own the land and have set strict rules on how it can be used.

Vicky DeVine, building her new life is learning and adapting quickly to what that means.

But other people have seen her land and all the potential it has - and all the money they can make if they can just get Vicky out of the way… but you ignore the Others at your own peril

This book has a lot of parallels with original The Others series. And I’m torn. Because I do wonder if perhaps there are too many close parallels…?

The protagonist is Vicky Divine. She is a very vulnerable woman who is also inclined to breakdowns. She is threatened by a human force that want to use, abuse and threaten her but she makes connections with the Terra Indigene, the Others, who are willing to protect her. She is acting, in some ways, as a liaison between the Terra Indigene and humanity, her position as landlord of the Jumble, a Terra Indigene settlement/human holiday resort, brings her into close contact with the Others. She’s also being used by the Terra Indigene who want to learn about humanity and what it means to be human. Alongside we have some police desperately trying to stop some foolish humans from provoking the Others into violent retaliation

Which sounds a lot like The Meg… a vulnerable woman who is inclined to breakdowns who was threatened by humans that want to use, abuse and threaten her. She makes connections with the Terra indigene, living in a Terra Indigene settlement,as their liaison with humanity, helping humans coexist with the Others and allowing the Others to learn more about humanity. Along side there were police desperately trying to stop some foolish humans from provoking anti-human genocide (and… kind of failing)

The parallels are… really strong

But is that a problem? I mean, while there are issues, I love The Others series. I really love it. It’s one of my favourite series and Renee and I both looked forward eagerly for the next book of The Meg. This book having many very similar elements to a series I already loved feels like something I SHOULD consider negative but honestly I kind of love it. The Others series is over… it’s gone. But here it is, rising again and the series being very similar feels like a good thing to me.

I love this book. I love the old series. I love Vicky learning about the idiosyncrasies of the Others around her. I love them learning about her. I love the focus on Aggie Crowguard who is so much fun. I love Grimshaw trying to stop something happening that will provoke a lethal response from the Others in the lake and wild country.

There is less focus on the interaction between The Others - Ilya Sanguinati, the main force in the area is far more aware of humanity than Simon Wolfguard was - he’s a lawyer and he even tries to work within human law to fight against those encroaching on Vicky’s land and the wild country. It’s an excellent, exciting and really funny balance between “here is my injunction” and “the fire elemental will turn you to ash.” And it works, it really works. That balance is struck.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 12: Weak

After the hurricane, June and Althea survived. And June is super sad she didn’t go with John. Despite the fact she was definitely in two minds about going home with him and making a happy life together. She throws in a bit of beating herself up - how she always runs when something terrible happens.

She keeps trying to call John on the walky talky. They’re both stranded near Althea’s big, scary SWAT van - they’ve ran out of diesel, but Althea is obsessed with this van. She can’t bring herself to leave it - even as they begin stripping all the resources from the area.

When they get some static on the Walky, June insists they go to high ground to find out - despite Althea being super reluctant to leave the van. And beginning to feel ill which is always worrisome in an apocalypse. You need radical healing methods

As they travel Althea is very evasive whenever June tries to ask her about her story. As they drive they see her SWAT van drive past - someone has stolen it. Althea is NOT HAVING THAT and charges after them at such a terrible unsafe scene they end up crashing off the road… and when trying to fix the car it’s clear Althea isn’t just a little ill - she’s can’t-stand-sweating-messily sick. She needs medicine - medicine she claims she has on the van

So when June hears the van’s guns she goes to investigate. She’s held at gunpoint by a man and desperately tries to reason with him by not-subtly throwing around this season’s theme. Yes we all used to be evil, stealing, taking, desperately getting by, screw everyone else but we don’t have to be that way. We can make better choices and be good people. Kumbaya et al. He’s not convinced and even makes a good point - if he does join them he will be “guy in group who once didn’t shoot June” which makes him pretty disposable

He’s kinda not wrong. I mean even aside from a “who do we save” perspective, from a narrative point the writers would so make him disposable. I mean not THE most disposable but still.

June does get the upper chance in the fight and suddenly he’s all willing to talk - and he tells him it’s time to leave. She doesn’t shoot him - just drives him off. She then calls Althea to ask her where the medicine is - which takes a while because the very sick Althea is having zombie issues. But that dealt with she manages to tell June there isn’t any - she just wanted the van back

She wanted June to risk her life to get the van back for a lie.

And Althea doesn’t even seem sorry. Even when June explains why she’s really furious - not because she nearly died. But she nearly killed - she nearly became the person she used to be again!

Ooooh that may be that subtle redemption theme sledgehammering its way into the episode again.

Also, Althea… I think we have some flowers for you to look at. You need to drop these habits before you get to Alexandria.

Thankfully they find some magical healing meds and Althea is all healed. But this is when they get a message from Morgan - he’s leading his little mystery tour of Texas broadcasting out to everyone that hey he has loads of supplies, please come murder him. (I mean, really, I get that he’s taken 8 levels of crunchy hippy here, but this is suicidal. “I am Here! I have supplies!”)

June wants to drive to them as soon as possible, naturally. But Althea wants to stay. Because the truck. And at this point we have to concede that Althea’s attachment to the truck is perhaps a bit unhealthy. June asks about this - and Althea says it’s her tapes. She needs her tapes - they not only have the stories of people she’s met but also the stories of several people she loves. Stories of people she cared about, her story. She can’t face abandonning them

Um… they’re in a car. It has carrying capacity. This isn’t The Walking Dead Survival Instinct.

Why go for this? I mean maybe she just really really likes driving around in a giant fecking tank with big big guns? In fact Althea reminds me a little bit like the people of Alexandria before Rick arrived - she’s sheltered. Not because she’s been in a safe settlement - but because she’s been driving around in something equivalent - allowing her to face off against zombies and violent people alike. I think it’s understandable that she’d view this as something of a safety blanket.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Killjoys, Season 4, Episode 7: O Mother, Where Art Thou

Multiple storylines, multiple time lines - oh how I dislike putting these together

So Johnny isn’t exactly thrilled that his brother, D’avin, has abandoned him, again. He’s quite upset - while Dutch is all super focused at following Khlyen’s plan. Honestly she feels almost blase about D’avin not being there and the idea of waiting to pick him up feels less like urgency and more like unhealthy obsession

What she does feel is hurt - it’s clear the idea that D’avin thinks she’s literally too damaged to be around his son has hurt her pretty badly.

If it’s a choice between Dutch and, well, anyone, Johnny is going to go with Dutch and follow the path to the Pulsar. Which turns out to be a Black Hole which is super bad and dangerous and everyone’s going to die so we’re going to get all emotional about this. Apparently. C’mon, no-one’s dying here

Nope they’re not because it’s a special hidden place in a fake Black Hole with a planet which Dutch goes to explore. The planet has some spooky people in leather with glowy spears who are all hostile until Dutch introduces herself as Khlyen’s daughter

And yes, that is the first time she’s ever said this.

Meanwhile Johnny is dealing with another big spear guy who wants to stab him repeatedly and Johnny has to be saved by Lucy and a whole lot of snarking

Dutch follows the path to a chamber with a cryo-pod in it. It opens and inside is the fake-assassin-woman from her message-dream-visions… She is Yeleena Kin Rit

Yes we need some flashbacks here to 250 years ago, because Yeleena Kin Rit is Aneela’s mother (so kinda sorta Dutch’s mother?) and one of the ten families. Yes, ten, not the nine - because Kin Rit (the surname Delle Sayah has given Jaq) was one of those families. The head of them, in fact

She has tracked down her husband, Khlyen (yes, Aneela’s actual father not just metaphorical here) with her squad of soldiers because he and Aneela have gone silent and she is Not Having it. Even though we only know Yaleena for only a short while, it’s abundantly clear that if she is Not Having Something then it will not stand

Seeing that Yaleena does not take no for an answer, Khlyen takes her to see Aneela - and Aneela is not in a good place. Newly Hullened she is experimenting on bodies and there is blood and viscera and it’s like watching a child play serial killer. Needless to say Yaleena is pretty shaken by this and wants an explanation. Khlyen tries to explain how it’s a voice in her head called the Lady that appeared and it’s all bad but he can fix it. He just has to go off alone

Guess how willing Yaleena is willing to let him run off alone?

They travel together with Yaleena making it clear she has definitely missed Khlyen, both as a partner and because he is politically really really good at all the machinations with the vicious noble families.

They arrive on the planet and Yaleena struggles. The air is extremely thin and she’s gasping for breath. Khlyen is untouched. The pulsar was so bright it made Yaleena flinch. Khlyen was unaffected

Yaleena is no fool and demands to know what happened - clearly Aneela isn’t the only one changed. He makes a sudden move and she shoots him. Yes Yaleena doesn’t take prisoners

Except it doesn’t hurt him of course and she was, what she describes as, a sudden nap

She wakes up and they get to talk and explain the Hullneness - including the lack of emotion which is why the, apparently, warm and loving Khlyen is now so cold to her even when she’s in emotional distress. He has a plan - this is THE original goo pool. We know that if you use the Hullen-Killing compound in a goo pool it kills all the Hullen that came from that pool. If they kill this pool then this will destroy the Hullen - and the lady - entirely

Monday, September 3, 2018

Wynonna Earp, Season 3, Episode 7: I Fall to Pieces

Wynonna and Charlie are still doing their casual stress release thing in a fire engine (which is just awkward) while Nicole campaigns for support to become the new sheriff.

Nedry is all very very supportive of this, happy to retire and snark (Jeremy’s also there and Waverley makes a quip about whether he lives there and this is just Wynonna Earp kind of lampshading that they’ve done so little with Jeremy he doesn’t even have a home) as he sets Nicole and Wynonna together clearing out his weird cupboard of weirdness. Any potential magical artefacts which he’d have trouble explaining he’s stuffed in the cupboard

Wynonna quickly derides this as make work to try and make them work together because Wynonna and Nicole don’t always get on. This has always been kind of bubbling but this episode lays it out: Nicole likes order and rules. Especially since she’s the sheriff which kind of needs some level of rules and orders and planning. While Wynonna likes to wing it, burn it all down and kind of get through it. They clash a lot and eventually their squabbling breaks some of the artefacts

We know that’s a bad idea.

Nedry also tells Nicole that she needs to get the approval of Bunny Loblaw, who controls the city council. And she is a terrible terrible person.

She visits Nicole, is clearly homophobic (and points to the show for knowing that homophobes are often smart enough not to yell slurs but do like their dog whistles: like praising Wynonna for being a “straight shooter”) and equally clearly doesn’t like that Nicole isn’t from Purgatory. She’s also allergic to cats and even thinking of backing Wynonna for Sheriff. She makes one valid complaint - she didn’t like that Nedry lied to her about the supernatural shenanigans in the city and kept her in the dark. She wants to be told

While Wynonna and Nicole bicker away (Wynonna doesn’t actually want to be sheriff but she takes issue with Nicole so passionately insisting how utterly terrible Wynonna would be as a sheriff. I mean, it’s not wrong but it is mean), Bunny sees a gnome and meets Nicole’s cat, Calamity Jane (this is an AWESOME name for a cat and I want to get a cat just so I can call her this!) which is unfortunate as she has a pet allergy and promptly passes out

There follows one of the most hilarious exchanges there has ever been on this show. And this is Wynonna Earp which has some of the biplays ever in the genre. This show is the master of snark and this set a new level

From “Balls, Bunny’s dead”. To Wynonna insisting she knows a dozen places to hide a body, “she’s alive” “fine, I’ll save them for another time.” Nicole insists Wynonna get Bunny’s purse, so which Wynonna relies “yes, cash!” Not medication.

Bunny is actually alive. And doesn’t want to go to hospital because it has too many immigrant doctors - because she is a terrible terrible person.