Monday, April 21, 2014

Orphan Black, Season 2, Episode 1: Nature Under Constraint and Vexed

Sarah is on the run – the clone masters have taken Mrs. S and Kira. Sarah runs into a diner and starts to call people – but Allison and Cosima’s numbers have both been disconnected. With few other options she calls Paul – his phone is working but he’s not answering. What she does have from her various adventures is an old photograph of 2 professors who worked on “Project Leda.”

Her phone rings from Paul – but it’s Rachel on the other end (that would be Evil Corporate Clone) who will give up Mrs. S and Kira – but only if Sarah gives herself up. And two goons enter the diner to campaign for free ranged eggs and try to make Sarah leave. Awesome Diner guy isn’t best pleased with someone kidnapping poor Sarah in his own diner – and he has a shotgun to express his displeasure with. There’s a firefight, goon 1 dies and goon 2 loses Sarah when she manages to batter her way through a wall to escape

She’s determined when she wants to be.

She makes her way to a gay fetish rave (because this is Orphan Black) where Felix is wearing arseless chaps, preparing for a 5 way (but not very preparing because while sex may be his major obsession after serving clones, he doesn’t get to actually have any) and high on something. Sarah chews him out for not being on call when she needed him. So, after Felix points out they’re probably tracking her phone she gets one more call from Paul (who is not exactly with the bad guys willingly) where she agrees to meet him, alone once she calls him on another phone. To that end, she steals one.

Delphine and Cosima are staying at Felix’s place because he’s now running Hotel des Clones, apparently. Delphine takes some of Cosima’s blood to help treat her ailment and she’s still trying to get Cosima on Team Dyad with Dr. Leekie the very-creepy as well as to convince Cosima Delphine is on her side (together that makes for a hard sell). Cosima isn’t sold yet and makes it clear that news of her and her blood samples do not reach Dyad – she gets to make the choice.

Sarah dispatches Felix to see Allison to both fill her in on what happened and to borrow a gun. Because suburban housewife Allison can get guns? If your answer to that is to scoff then you have Not Been Paying Attention. But Allison is trying to live a nice, stable life now, her guns (note the plural) at the range, her pills and booze put away. She’s even doing a play. And yes she does know a gun dealer – sorry “enthusiast”. Because she’s Allison.

After a few crafty switches Sarah manages to speak privately to Paul – learning that Rachel intends to take Kira out of the country and that she’s going to a big Dyad event that evening. Also bad guy Daniel (Rachel’s chief goon) is after Sarah – but Sarah’s a few steps ahead. A quick phone call to confirm that Cosima is still a little naive and it’s on to Allison buying that gun from her very enterprising contact.

Sadly Delphine puts some doubt on that trust as she meets with Leekie – who is not happy that Cosima isn’t with them full time and gives Delphine a dead line on that. Delphine reveals Cosima’s illness – and hands over a blood sample.

Far more importantly, Allison gets the lead part in the play (after killing Aynsley. But that totally wasn’t why she did it. Honest). And she’s been watched by a very very bemused Detective Art and his partner Detective Angela who are frustrated by numerous dead and missing clones leaving them only Allison to follow. Which is when Sarah shows up – Angela rushes out to arrest her (thankfully Allison notices before she walks over with the gun). Sarah throws out some info about the murders in the diner but Angela believes nothing.

New Releases 20th April - 26th April

What follows is a list of books which will be released between April 20-26.  It can be tough  keeping up with ongoing stories and often we miss the latest new release, unless the book/series is the beneficiary of a big round of publicity . That is why we are committed to sharing with you books that are the first in their series every week.  Please check out the list and let us know what books you are interested in checking out and why.

Trinity Stones (The Angelorum Twelve Chronicles #1) by L.G. O'Connor

Anxiety-ridden New York investment banker, Cara Collins, has little to smile about on her twenty-seventh birthday between a hostile work environment and her impossible romantic situation with her longtime friend and first love, Dr. Kai Solomon. But before the day ends, she learns she has inherited $50 million—a windfall that must remain secret or risk the lives of those close to her.

As Cara unravels the truth surrounding her inheritance, she makes a startling discovery: angels walk among the living, and they’re getting ready to engage in a battle that will determine the future of the human race. In the midst of these revelations, she meets mysterious and sophisticated Simon Young, who offers her the promise of romance for the first time since Kai—but when Kai and his daughter are kidnapped by dark forces, Cara must choose: accept her place in a 2,000-year-old prophecy foretold in the Trinity Stones as the First of the Twelve who will lead the final battle between good and evil . . . or risk losing everything she holds dear

The Inventor's Secret (The Inventor's Secret #1) by Andrea Cremer

Sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape from the coastal cities or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks.

The Inventor’s Secret is the first book of a YA steampunk series set in an alternate nineteenth-century North America where the Revolutionary War never took place and the British Empire has expanded into a global juggernaut propelled by marvelous and horrible machinery.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Syfy Q&A: Saul Rubinek & Aaron Ashemore from Warehouse 13

We were invited to another Syfy Q&A with some excellent insight - this time an interview with Aaron Ashemore and Saul Rubinek from Warehouse 13. The full transcript is below - it's long but there are some real gems in there.

Operator:             Ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Warehouse 13 Press Call.

Gary Morgenstein:    Welcome everyone to the Warehouse 13 Press Call. We’re delighted to have star Saul Rubinek and Aaron Ashmore talk about the Final Six Episodes of the popular series, which airs on Syfy on the Mondays at 9:00 pm ET.

                              Welcome Saul and Aaron.

Operator:             Ladies and gentlemen, to ask a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone. And the first question comes from the line of Jamie Ruby from Please go ahead.

Jamie Ruby:         Hi guys. Great to talk to you again.

Aaron Ashmore:  Jamie Ruby. How are you?

Jamie Ruby:         So, good. So, can you both talk about ‘Savage Seduction?’ I know you both were in kind of different parts of the episode, but that was definitely my favorite of the season.

                              So can you talk about working on that?

Saul Rubinek:      I don’t which one? The title is meaningless to me. Which number?

Jamie Ruby:         Oh, sorry. The Tela Novella, the Spanish one.

Saul Rubinek       Oh, I know what you’re talking about. Yeah, we were two completely different episodes there in a way, ‘cause there - Aaron and I go by each other throughout the whole shoot of that. Go ahead Aaron, you go first then and do your thing.

Aaron Ashmore:  Well, yeah, I remember I was - it was a little bit daunting, because I was going to be playing two versions of Steve and two very different versions of Steve, so I - it was definitely challenging.

                              Originally, I think they were hoping to get my brother, so that he could be able to play both roles, but you know, him play one and me play the other, but just the timing and stuff didn’t work out.

                              So that didn’t happen. But again, it was a lot of fun. It was worth the exercise to me to explore the incredibly flamboyant gay side of Steve that we don’t really get to see, but obviously, it’s deep down there somewhere.

                              So it was a ton of fun and difficult at the same time to be switching back and forth between serious and flamboyant Steve with just a moment’s notice, to kind of flip back and forth.

                              So it was a challenge but we had a lot of fun and I’ve actually - I have not actually seen that episode, but I’m looking forward to it, because I’d really like to see what - how everything turned out and the effects of me being on the screen at the same time.

                              But I’m also very curious to see how the Telenovela went, because if it’s a read through, everybody was just absolutely rolling, it was so funny. So I can’t imagine when everybody’s in costume and that to see how that turned out as well.

                              So yeah, that’s the one episode that I’m really, really looking forward to as well.

Saul Rubinek       I also imagine that on your side of the episode, that Allison had a lot of trouble of keeping a straight face at any particular moment with you.

Aaron Ashmore:  I think it was actually Allison’s - that was like Allison’s dream to have you be super, super gay and flamboyant, I think she enjoyed it probably more than anybody for sure.

Saul Rubinek       Yeah, I have a feeling she cracked up on the whole thing. We had a great time. I haven’t seen it either. I mean, I saw a little bit when I was looping it and I know that we laughed probably harder doing the Telenovela than anything during the whole five seasons than we’d ever done.

                              And learning the Spanish phonetically - we had a Spanish coach, ‘cause I’m not - I’m pretty fluent in French, but and I have a pretty good ear, but you know, Spanish is not one of the languages I was speaking, but by in German too, but Spanish not so much.

                              And although I have played a producer of a Telenovela on a very funny Psych episode about - oh probably about five years ago and that was really a lot of fun.

                              And so I had that kind of melody in my ear and you know, I was playing, El Colonel and going back and forth between Artie and El Colonel and we came up with - as you’ve seen it, so we came up with kind a hilarious look for everybody for basically - it was just - you know what it was, it was Jack was there with us at every step of the way.

                              We have had the Spanish coach. We’d gotten through it, you know, we you know, we had to do takes, ‘cause we had to get through the Spanish in one go.

                              And also, Kelly was there. Who was there? Paula Garces was there, so she speaks Spanish and is fluent in Spanish so she helped us a lot. And Cindy Braga, right was there, so she was - she helped and we had a great cast and all I can say, is that I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard, and you know, ever shooting anything.

                              And you know, it’s hard to tell when you’re laughing so hard. Sometimes, you know, the crew and you are laughing so hard and then the show comes out, and you go, “Yeah, it wasn’t that funny. It was funny as we were shooting it”, so I’m hoping that the laughter translates. I’m glad to hear you liked it.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Vampire Diaries, Season 5, Episode 18: Resident Evil

The Travellers are up to something big… next stop Mystic Falls

WHHHYYYY? Why is this tiny speck of a Founder-obsessed town in the boonies of Virginia they go-to location for everyone supernatural? You would think immortal beings with infinite power might actually want to see a bit more of the world.

*ahem* anyway, moving swiftly on.

So this episode began with someone looking at the title and saying “diaries? We’re supposed to have diaries? Oh shit, why did no-one remember the diaries!? Elena, write something!” Which she does then has an awkward moment with Stefan apparently before they met – then she wakes up after nearly been run over by a car.

Dream sequences. They lurk on the same list of things I hate on TV along with mixed up chronology and prophecy.

These also happen when Elena’s awake, flashing back to a time when she and Stefan were dating – only I don’t think these things actually happened. Especially since her dad is alive in these dreams. And she’s blacking out during the day as well.

Caroline puts weird waking hallucinations down to unrequited feelings about Stefan – obviously! I mean, when you have a crush on someone don’t you usually have hallucinations, lose time and flashbacks to events that never even happened? Caroline, your urge to force your two friends to have sex is reaching all new creepy and weird levels. Stefan calls Caroline to add that he’s also having creepy Elena visions.

Caroline decides the best way to deal with this is call and tell Damon because… I dunno, cruelty? And to present it as the universe forcing Stefan and Elena together through strange hallucinations. Someone needs to talk to Caroline and her notions of romance.

Enzo’s still hanging around since his quest to find his lost not!girlfriend was derailed when the Travellers decided to burn themselves to death

Over to Bonnie who just had a Traveller guy use her to come back from the dead. Something she doesn’t remember – but her dead grandma is happy to fill in the gaps; apparently the dead witches are scared by whatever the Travellers did and the Other Side is not reacting well.

Onwards to the next clown show – Jeremy has insisted that he, Tyler and Matt are going to be Elena’s super bodyguards to Liv (Matt, presumably, will be used as cannon fodder since he lacks any actual applicable skills except dying and being resurrected by the Evil Resurrection Ring). Liv is, understandably, dubious. Anyway, to be sure that no-one is harbouring Traveller possession, Liv wants them all to stab themselves with the Traveller-killing blade; Jeremy’s fine with this (he’s Traveller proof – ha, ha), so is Tyler (he’s a hybrid, stabbing, is a minor inconvenienced) but Matt (cannon fodder) is duly concerned. Do I have to point how not-very-useful Matt is as a defender. Tyler points out that he has the Evil Resurrection Ring; but no-one seems to recall the whole “turns you into a serial killer” fine print. Besides, you can actually be stabbed dozens of times and not die  – suffering long term health effects, however, is definitely on the table.

Anyway, now everyone is Traveller free, Liv explains their mission – STABBING RAMPAGE! See, Travellers are hard to track but when they do gather they like to take over whole towns by possessing everyone. The natural solution to this is to stab everyone. I’m beginning to see why Liv’s coven has tracked the Travellers for 1,000 years and not achieved a whole lot.

Cut to lots of Travellers doing just that –including Sheriff Liz (Caroline’s mum).

Bonnie drops in to see Jeremy who is answering none of her calls or telling her anything. And she finds Liv there and… Jeremy can’t tell her why. Because Reasons.

And Traveller Sherriff stabs Matt in the neck after hearing him not-subtly talk about a Traveller knife. C’mon, you’ve all wanted to neck stab him before. Dead Matt tells Bonnie, the Anchor (oh look an actual power or skill that might be useful. Shame she’s not in the loop) to tell Jeremy about being killed but she can’t know anything for REASONS. And why does the non-supernatural Matt appear before the Anchor anyway? He’s not headed for the Other Side. But apparently he is for REASONS and he reaches the Other Side with lots of ghosty people – and Kol. That’s dead Original Kol. The Other Side is broken, whereas before everyone but witches spent their afterlife in solitude, now they can all see each other. Matt wants the chance to see Vicki before the evil resurrection ring brings him back to the land of the living.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Ashes & Alchemy (Gaslight Chronicles, #6) by Cindy Spencer Pape

Minerva Shaw is forced to race into the London night in desperation to find a doctor for her ill daughter Ivy.  Though her clothing is soaked through and she worries about how she will pay the doctor, Minerva knows that she cannot stop.  When in desperation, she passes out briefly at the door of Sebastian Brown, she has know idea that this faithful meeting is going to change her life forever.  Minerva and Sebastian quickly discover that Ivy, along with the other children who have gotten ill,  have been the victims of scientific experimentation.  As Minerva and Sebastian  two race to find the culprit, they find their own hearts racing as well.

Ashes & Alchemy is only 80 pages and therefore is a novella.  Unfortunately, this means a very rushed romance.  Sebastian and Minerva actually know each other for about 24 hours when they decide that what they feel for each other is love.  Sebastian proposes within 48 hours and they are married within three weeks.  That much time isn't even long enough to decide that one is in lust, let alone love.  They know absolutely nothing about each other and yet Sebastian is quick to share that he is a member of a super secret society, putting not only his life but the lives of his family and friends at risk.  Not to worry though, Minerva promises not to tell, honest. 

The problem with the brevity of this story is that Pape based it on new characters with a few familiar ones popping by for a cameo, leaving the reader with very little familiarity with the main characters.   The mystery is over before it even really begins and they don't really investigate but follow a lucky turn of phrase uttered by a young girl.  The so-called mystery is a ruse for the ridiculous love affair. 

To Pape's credit, Minerva has a strongly independent streak.  When Sebastian tries to encourage her to stay behind when they go after the villain, she is determined to be included.  She is a survivor of an attempted rape and even killed her would be rapist.  Given his history in the military, Sebastian is authoritarian in nature but he does not get away with that when it comes to Minerva; she is his match and more.  At least in the sense of class however, Sebastian does become her savior, because when they first meet, Minerva's flat is a crime scene and she is unemployed as a consequence of staying home to care for her daughter.  A life with Sebastian elevates Minerva's class status significantly.  In this way, the HAE is constructed to turn her into a fairy tale princess through the wiping away of all of her deprivations.  

The 100, Season One, Episode Five: Twilight's Last Gleaming

Finn and Clarke are in the afterglow stage and Clarke says that last night wasn't just about needing someone and that she needed him and wanted it to be him.  For his part, Finn jokes about having his first earth sex.

Abigail is locked up and gets a visit from Jaha.  Instead of answering, Jaha tells her that the arc is at a critical stage and her husbands projections were wrong.  Abigail has been granted a medical release to look after the people pending the council's decision. Jaha offers her extra oxygen but Abigail says that she is not going to take more than her share. Abigail believes that if they start choosing who gets extra O2 that it's one step closer to choosing who lives and who dies.  Jaha then informs her that the council has approved Cain's plan for population reduction and that it will begin in 1 hour. Abigail begs for Raven to report back but Jaha argues that the longer they wait, more people will die.  Abigail points out that Raven risked her life but Jaha says that it's Abigail who risked her life by making Raven believe that loving a boy was worth risking her life in a 100 year old coffin. Jaha hands Abigail the oxygen again and says that she can help people's suffering. Abigail takes it but says that Raven will make it to earth.

Raven is on the pod and she does a system check.  It's clear that she is nervous, as she starts up the heat shield and starts her descent to earth.

Back to the afterglow, where Clarke suggests sharing the things they have found in the bunker.  Finn is against this because sharing will reveal that they have found something, leaving them no place to hide the next time someone goes ballistic.  Finn finally admits that he wanted it to be Clarke too.  They look up and see a shooting star and Finn suggests that they make a wish.  Clarke sees this as ridiculous because it's just a rock burning up in the atmosphere.  Clarke looks again and realises that what they are seeing is not a shooting star.

The survivors see the pod landing.  Clarke and Finn start blowing out candles and discussing what is being sent down.  Finn says that this is a good thing because they are not alone on the earth anymore and that they should take a minute to appreciate this.

The survivors start making plans to meet the pod and Bellamy makes it clear that they are not going to check it out till morning because it isn't safe.  Octavia argues that everyone for 100 miles saw the ship land and questions what happens if the grounders find the pod first, Octavia suggests that they should go now but Bellamy will not be deterred.

Abigail is looking over Reese and the other residents of the arc.  Jackson tries to comfort Abigail, who is upset that Reese is going blind.  Abigail demands to know why Jackson isn't monitoring the radio listening for Raven but he points to the long line of people waiting for medical help.  Abigail promises to take care of everyone because she believes making contact with the ground is the only way to help the people.

Raven is unconscious on the pod and Jackson transmits a message asking if she is receiving.

Octavia approaches Finn and Clarke to talk about the landing.  Octavia reports that Bellamy told everyone to stay until dawn.  Clarke of course barges into Bellamy's private area to discover him gone. Clarke quickly realises that Bellamy wants what ever is in the landing pod.  Clarke takes off saying that she should have known that Bellamy would go for the radio because Bellamy has spent every waking minute ensuring that no one from the arc realises that the survivors are alive. Clarke  adds that she screwed up and let herself get distracted.

Octavia catches up with Bellamy and calls him a selfish dick.  Bellamy says that he did this to protect Octavia, so Octavia asks what he did.  Bellamy admits that he shot Jaha in order to get on the drop ship.  Bellamy justifies his action by reminding Bellamy that Jaha floated their mother and locked Octavia up. Octavia responds that she didn't ask him to do that. Bellamy concedes that he made the choice and adds that he will deal with whatever has been sent down from the arc.

On the arc, Cain reports that the culling will be made to look like an accident so that order will be remained. Cain assures Jaha that it will be painless but Jaha is clearly troubled. Jaha tells Cain that in his capacity as chancellor, it  will be Cain who gives the order to do the culling.  It seems that Jaha plans to commit suicide and die with the people of section 17, leaving Cain in charage. Cain asks Jaha not to do this but Jaha is adamant and points out that Cain has a strength which isn't weakened by sentiment.

Bellamy has arrived at the pod and he rips the radio out and then throws it into the rive before taking off.. Clarke and Finn separate to look for the pod. Raven regains consciousness and takes off her helmet. Clarke reaches her first and Raven leaves the pod in wonder at being on earth.  Finn rushes over and the two embrace as Clarke watches.  Raven kisses Finn. Well, it's safe to assume that Finn now has woman problems and the love triangle has begun.

The Originals: Klaus and his Vagina Collection

On the Originals we have a number of female characters - both plotting against the Original family, and the eternally troubled Klaus in particular - and working for them. And, of course, sharing Klaus’s bed. These women need to be careful, though, because there’s fine print - get too close to Klaus and you may become his chattel. And since he’s one of the most powerful creatures on the planet, how free are these women to reject him and his claim?

We have been complaining  about the portrayal of Rebekah Mikaelson since early on in her appearances on The Vampire Diaries (TVD).  Over time, we have seen her backstory on both TVD and The Originals.  There has been one long running theme to Rebekah’s past - she is not free.  Rebekah is not free to fall in love and she most certainly is not free to have sex. You might  think that a 1000 year old female vampire might just be able to make competent decisions about what do with her vagina but according to Klaus Mikaelson, you would be wrong. Klaus spends an epic amount of time either killing Rebekah’s suitors, or scaring them away. This, of course, is done under the guise of love because what good is a patriarch for if he doesn’t keep the family vagina pure? No man can possibly be good enough for Klaus’s little sister and while he projects this as a sign of his high esteem for Rebekah, it is really just the same ordinary patriarchal desire to control female bodies that has been going on since the beginning time.  

That his infatuation with his sister’s genitals is downright incestous is ignored. No, that would be creepy, so instead it is wrapped in sexist justifications that reduce Rebekah’s personhood. Klaus is just intense when he loves people and because he believes that he is protecting her it’s deemed okay and it is further troubling because, as Klaus is the protagonist of The Originals, the audience is expected to see his POV. Yes, Rebekah continually rebels and she talks about wanting to be in a loving relationship and even raise a child some day. What Rebekah doesn’t do is simply express a desire to get laid. Casual sex is something the males of both the TVD and The Originals can and do engage in sex without much direct consequence. When Rebekah seeks a partner it is almost always about wanting a relationship. At times it reads as justifying her sexual desire as chaste enough in the hope that Klaus will break down long enough for her to get her groove on.

What is further galling about this whole situation is that Rebekah has come to accept Klaus’s policing of her sex life. When she finally confronts Klaus about his policing, it’s not because he has no right to control her sex life - but because his standards are too harsh and limiting. She doesn’t think he should have no say in policing her - he just needs to be more relaxed about it, less exacting. She doesn’t question his right to make those decisions for her - she questions whether he’s making good decisions.

The second blonde in Klaus’s life is Camille. Klaus was introduced to Camille by Marcel and from almost the moment he meets her, Klaus manipulates her. Klaus uses compulsion to force Camille to date Marcel, messes with her memory, forces her to provide counselling and, when things begin to look like they just might get rough in the quarter, tries to force Camille to leave New Orleans (it’s for own good, love honest.)  Somewhere in the middle of all of that manipulation, Klaus decides that he must police the vagina of another grown woman. And what does Camille do about? Why she panders to it and justifies it of course.  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Anointed (The Cantati Chronicles #1) by Maggie Mae Gallagher

Alana is a Cantati, an enhanced magical human, one of the few who were born after the Mutari, when the demons broke down the barriers between their world and ours and unleashed their fury.

Now there’s only a few remnants of humanity left and she is one of their defenders – in the last days at the end of a losing war. Faced with extinction they have once chance – to send Alana back before the demons broke through and stop it, for the sake of humanity.

But when she returns to the past she finds herself with far less time than she thought she’d have and only a few cryptic clues to follow as the Mutari ticks ever closer. And there’s another figure, Gaelen, who knows about the demons and is looking for the same clues she is – but can she trust his agenda?

Oh dear, it’s one of those. Ok, before I sharpen my knives, it’s time to think of something nice to say. So here we go – the concept, the idea of demon gates giving people magic, of the different realms, of all the world building that was eventually revealed in painfully long info-dumps – is actually kind of interesting, This would be a fun world to play in and an interesting world to tell a whole load of stories with.

Alas, instead of those fascinating stories, we got this one.

This book is set primarily in the UK and mainly in London. Alana was born in London after the apocalypse (I can’t imagine travel was particularly easy in the dystopian world after the fact either). Yet she’s American… her accent is taken as American, her word usage is American, her thoughts point to an American… I find this rather bemusing

Almost as much as the Britain she describes. I would advise against ordering “biscuits” for breakfast in the UK, you may be served cookies. Or just be regarded with odd confusion. I don’t know where she’s finding Grand Central Station in London; London has over 300 stations, Grand Central isn't one of them. And I can’t even begin to guess at the accent transcribed here it’s like cockney meets Scottish with a side order of Dick Van Dyke – and it’s the same whether she’s in London or Scotland or Cambridge. She goes shopping in “malls” (not shopping centers), she manages to go into shops and stock up on guns quite easily.

The writing is also really clumsy – it’s scattered with hugely long winded monologues for the world building. Or because the author’s suddenly remembered that Alana has just watched everything she knows and loved die so we have a page or so of angry angst… then she gets on with things. It’s like flipping a switch, I can almost hear the author saying “oh shit, she’s supposed to be sad”.

We have some really rammed in staccato sentences and then some lines like this:

“With the dimensions open, humanity regained the magic that had been lost to the ages. This new breed of humans had been thusly named the Cantati”.

‘Thusly?’ Aside from freaky archaic word use, that would imply some explanation for the name – like the name would naturally follow from the explanation. So “thusly named Wizards.” Or Sorcerers. Or Magic Folk rather than a word that sounds like Italian singers.