Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Premier, "Happy Birthday Elena"

Now that True Blood is done for the season, vampire fans are forced to resort to the teen angsty CW's The Vampire Diaries to get a fix.  Last Thursday was the season premier and we would be remiss if we didn't cover the show.  Do you see how much we sacrifice for you readers?

Two months have passed since Stefan took off with klaus in exchange for curing Damon of a werewolf bite inflicted by Tyler Lockwood. Elena, Damon and Alaric have spent the time looking for him. Each new tip that Elena gets, she passes it on to Damon but what she does not know, is that Damon has been following Stefan the ripper through the news articles detailing his murders.  He didn't want to share the news with Elena because of the extreme violence with which Steffan feeds.  Apparently, he feeds so hard that his victims end up decapitated and then he feels remorse, so he puts their bodies back together. 

Much of this show was spent angsting over Steffan's involvement with Klaus. I know that we are not supposed to like murdering, blood drunk Steffan; however, I think it is a far sight better than mopey musty Stefan on animal blood.  At least he is interesting and a touch bad ass, when he is not moping about how he is going to get Damon and Elena to stop tracking him.

Caroline planned a huge eighteenth birthday party of Elena. How old does this make Jeremy? I had to laugh at this because the idea that Elena is only 18, yet never attends school except to be front in center in some founders day celebration, and goes to bars and drinks, though the legal age for that is 21. At seventeen she went where she wanted when she wanted, up to and including romantic getaways with her boyfriend. I don't understand for the life of me why the writers didn't just make the cast 21-25.  They would still be young enough to be considered in the YA genre, and it would make more sense in terms of what they have the characters doing. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dark Lover by JR Ward, Book 1 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood

Vampires are trying to live quiet lives as best they can. Their society is secretive and often separated from humanity – who they have little to do with. But there numbers are dwindling. An ancient group of human hunters has tried to annihilate them throughout the ages. To fight the vampires these Lessers sacrifice their souls, continually recruit more members and hunt the vampires with a sadistic glee. In response, the Vampires have the Black Dagger Brotherhood – a small group of veteran fighters to defend them against the predation of the Lessers. Each with their own darkness, they are the few warriors that try to save their species from extinction.

Wrath is their leader – and heir apparent to the empty throne that he refuses to fill. Cold and aloof, he dedicates himself to nothing but the fight – until his Brother, Darius is killed by the Lessers and his dying wish is for Wrath to take care of his daughter, Beth. Raised as a human Beth is soon approaching her transition to becoming a vampire – a transition that may kill her without Wrath's help.

Together they deal with their overwhelming attraction, transitioning into vampiredom, avenging Darius' death, saving themselves from the continued attacks by the Lessers – and to complicate it all, Beth's friend Butch, a police man, knows something is up and are watching all too closely. All the while the shadows of Wrath's past continue to haunt him

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lost Girl Season One Episode Four: Faetal Attraction

Episode four of Lost Girl was not nearly as entertaining as episode three, in large part due to the disability fails.

Bo tells Kenzie that Dyson is not interested in a relationship and so like a proper bff, Kenzie offers to help Bo get over it.  They begin by taking sledgehammers to an abandoned car to help them get in touch with their rage.  Kenzie then tries to talk Bo into going drinking. Bo is resistant at first, because she fears that if she gets drunk, that she will not be able to control her succubus powers. They compromise by going to the fae bar.

Bo and Kenzie do several shots and get rip roaring drunk. Lauren approaches them and tells Bo that it is not a good idea for her to get drunk, because they don't know what effect it will have on her abilities.  Bo gets snarky and tells her that because she is not a man, she is not worried about her ability to perform.  It is clear that there is some kind of chemistry between Lauren and Bo, but when Kenzie brings it up, Bo tells her that it does not matter because Lauren is human and sex with her would mean death for Lauren.  From this I suppose we are to surmise that Bo is indeed bisexual, but this does not explain why each time she becomes intimate with a woman, it is to manipulate her in some way.

At the station, Dyson flips out and dislocates the arm of a suspect that he is questioning. His direct supervisor tells him that he needs to go and see the psychologist, because this is the fourth complaint that they have had about his actions in a week. I can understand someone being resistant to being told that they should seek help, but Dyson tells Hale that "therapy is bullshit, human bullshit".   This statement in and of itself would not be so problematic, if it did not feature in an episode that was full of disableism.  In a world in which people are shamed for seeking help, I really didn't appreciate what Dyson had to say about therapy.

At the bar, Bo is approached by Samir to join him and his wife Olivia for a threesome.  When she asks whether or not he has Olivia's permission, he says, "most certainly, my wife is a fury".  This is yet another new kind of fae that the audience is being introduced to.  Bo initially turns him down, but when Hale and Dyson walk in, she changes her mind and takes the two of them home for the night.

In the morning, Bo wakes in her own bed feeling great and Samir and Olivia are gone. Bo says that she is excited to have no strings attached sex.  I once again believe that this is a good thing.  With a succubus it would be easy to take the opportunity to slut shame, and I am ecstatic that the writers refuse to go down that road. As Kenzie complains that she is the only one with a hangover, Olivia knocks on her front door.  She rudely asks Kenzie to speak to her owner, and Kenzie is forced to tell her that she is her own person.

Fangs For the Fantasy Give Away: Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel

We have written several reviews of Cassandra Clare's work on this blog (here, and here).  On a recent post we discussed the ongoing homophobia in her work.  We know that it is quite possible to enjoy a piece of literature, even when it is problematic, and that is why this month we are giving away one hardcover copy of:

Clockwork Angel is the first novel in the Infernal Devices series and is a prequel to her Immortal Instruments series.  The second novel in Clare's Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Prince is due out in December, so if you are interested in reading this series, winning a chance to own Clockwork Angel is a good place to start. 

This contest is open to Americans and Canadians.  All you have to do is follow us (not like) on Facebook (underneath the word networked blogs, there's a big blue button marked "follow"), Goodreads  or Blogger.  If  you already follow us, on one of the aforementioned sites, simply send us a short to note to let us know that you would like to enter and where you already follow us.  When you are done, leave your email address in the comment section of this post, along with where you have chosen to follow us, or send us an email at fangsforthefantasy (at) gmail (dot) com. Without contact information, your entry will be deemed invalid.  This contest closes September 30, 2011 and we allow only one entry per person. The winner will have 48 hours after being selected to contact us, or a new winner will be selected.  Good luck everyone and stay tuned for our next exciting give away. 

Contest is now closed.

Review of 'A Quick Bite' by Lynsay Sands

A Quick Bite is the first book in the Argeneau series.  I accidentally read Love Bites, the first book in the series first.  A Quick Bite is yet another paranormal romance, and so this means the usual boy meets girl and zmog they're in love forever and ever routine.  As I have stated many times, I am not a fan of paranormal romance, but I was willing to give this book a try after enjoying Love Bites for its humor.

The plot really is quite basic.  Lissianna, a 202 year old vampire meets Greg after her mother kidnaps him for her birthday. Greg assumes that he is to be a human sex toy, when in fact he was kidnapped to cure Lissianna of her phobia.  Yes, she's a vampire who passes out at the sight of blood.  At first she assumes that he is a special dinner, as vampires consider it a treat to come across an undiagnosed diabetic for the sugar in their blood.  Greg is resistant to being tied up and served for dinner, but when he sees Lissianna, surprise surprise, it's instant boner time cause she's just that special. 

Vampires are normally able to read minds, wipe memories and plant suggestions in the mind of humans, but Lissianna is unable to do so with Greg.  Apparently, this is an indicator that she has met her true life mate.  Everyone say awwww.  Worry ensues because if Greg's memory cannot be erased, he certainly cannot be allowed to wander the earth with knowledge of who and what they are.  Instead of being scared witless, he goes grocery shopping with them and out for breakfast -- 'cause that makes the most sense.  Eventually Lissianna decides that Greg is really at risk when Uncle Lucien one of the oldest vampires in existence  shows up and the two of them make a getaway on a bicycle.  They end up roaming around downtown Toronto together. 

I could tell you more, however that would spoil what was left of this very, very thin plot.  Once again we have an all White cast and this is exceedingly ludicrous, because the book takes place in Toronto.  As with many books in this genre and particularly so with paranormal romance, the characters are all straight.  I have come to expect this erasure however, I was particularly disgusted with Greg revealing his disgust at the very idea of feeding off of man, because of the closeness involved.  It read like very thinly veiled homophobia to me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lost Girl Season One Episode Three: Oh Kappa My Kappa

I am really starting to get into this show.  This episode of Lost Girl begins with Bo and Dyson waking up in bed together.  She unsurprisingly is thrilled to wake up after a night of sex, with a live partner.  When Kenzie walks into the bathroom and finds Dyson brushing his teeth she is excited.  Bo tries to calm her by saying, "we had sex, it doesn't have to mean anything more."  Kenzie's excitement however cannot be calmed that easily because she answers back, "sex doesn't but sleeping over does."  I loved that Bo is more than capable of just having a one stand and not feeling shamed by it in the least.  Too often when it comes to female characters unless sex happens in a well defined relationship there is tons and tons of slut shaming.

Because Bo wants to earn her money honestly, instead of glamoring people out of things that she needs, Kenzie hands her fliers that she created advertising her as a private investigator. I am not in the least bit surprised by the chosen occupation but I am pleased because it would be nice to see a woman saving the day on a regular basis rather than waiting for her knight in shining armor to rescue her.

Their first assignment is to find a missing college girl. At first, I was not pleased when Esther approached them to find her missing daughter Gina but as she pleaded saying that a mother would know if there is something wrong with her daughter, I started to warm up to the idea.  Granted, a woman of color going to a White woman to be saved is filled with a history of racial problems but watching as Esther used her motherhood to bolster her case really rang a bell with me, simply because the motherhood of woman of color is historically not respected or even in many cases acknowledged in the same way that the motherhood of a White woman is.

Dysan gets Bo a job on campus security and Kenzie becomes a co-ed to pledge at the sorority that Gina was pledging to. She makes it clear that she is not pleased with her roll in this investigation and says that Gina owes her one.  She says to Bo, "I can handle scary monsters but privilege freaks me out."  I thought that this was a great commentary on class.  It is clear that Kenzie has had a lot of struggles in her life and going into a situation like this has to be unnerving.  When she meets the fellow sorority girls they are all perky with large smiles and almost like living barbie dolls.

Turn Coat by Jim Butcher, Book 11 of the Dresden Files

Morgan, the Warden who has made Harry's life a misery, the Warden who has assumed Harry was a Warlock, persecuted him, attacked him, constantly looked for an excuse to drive Harry over the edge and give Morgan an excuse to execute him – arrives at Harry's door. He's injured, he's been framed for a crime he didn't commit and he's being chased by the other Wardens. And he wants Harry's help – to shelter him, to hide him and to help clear his name.

The Black Council is upping the ante – the White Council is buzzing with news of treachery and it's manipulations not only dragging in the White Council, but setting them up for a confrontation with the White Court as well as involving some of the greatest powers in the US. The White Council itself seethes with politics where truth and justice are rapidly pushed aside in the name of power, appearance and strength.

And Harry dives into all this feet first, as he ever does.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Walking Dead Season 2 Trailer

I don't know about you but I am getting really anxious for the start of The Walking Dead.  The following is a trailer that I found.  It really does feel like a tease.  Is the group really going to split up?  How many characters are we going to lose this season and who will be added?

Lost Girl Season One, Episode Two: Where There's a Will, There's a Fae

In this episode, Bo is approached by Will a wood sprite, after his jewels are stolen.  He promises to tell her about seeing her as a babe in the woods if she will retrieve his treasures. It seems that wood sprites spend their time tracking precious jewels in the forest, that is when they are not busy setting things on fire.  Kenzi tries to negotiate for a percentage of the returned jewels but Bo stops her because she believes that the information is far more valuable than any sort of monetary gain.  Bo leaves her with a backpack and tells that is all he knows about the thief.

Upon opening the backpack, she finds a gun and of course takes it right to Dyson to have him do a search on the weapon because his cover is a cop in the human world.  I don't know about you but I am not really buying Dyson as a cop, perhaps that's because his acting leaves so much to be desired.The writers seem intent on creating some kind of relationship between Dyson and Bo, but for me they have long way to go before the reach anything resembling chemistry.

While they are waiting for the trace to finish on the gun Dyson takes her to the fae bar The Dahl which doubles as a way station.  Inside the bar is considered neutral territory, and it is run by what appears to be elf named Trig. When Bo is asked to sign in and reveal her parentage she names her adoptive parents.  Trig tells her that if she does not know her fae parents that she has to sign in as herself.  He tells her that to have powers, both her mother and her father had to be fae but when she tries to press him for more information, he tells her that asking to many questions can be dangerous -- you see -- the fae have been at the brink of war for nearly one thousand years.  If the war actually did start, this would mean not only the end of all of the fae, but the end of humanity as well.

Dyson gets a call revealing a trace to the owner of the weapon.  When Bo and Kenzi arrive at the address, the door is triggered to cause a shot gun to let lost a round.  Bo pushes Kenzi out the way but still manages to get shot herself.  When a neighbour shows up armed attempting to find out what two women are doing in her neighbour's trailer, Bo kisses her even as she is protesting that she has never kissed a woman before.  So far all of the same sex scenes have occurred as an act of feeding for Bo and are starting to have a very predatory feel to them however, I know that for Bo -- sex cannot occur without a transfer of energy and it is balanced to show that women are equally attracted to her. Kenzi has to break up the feeding to save the woman's life, and Bo thanks her for the "cock block".  I really wish that the authors had chosen another word because it implies a male/female binary to Bo feeding off the trailer park woman.

Fangs for the Fantasy podcast, Episode 32

This week we discuss the horror that was True Blood's latest episode "And When I Die".

We also discuss the books we've been reading - the Angenou series by Lynsay Sands, Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson. We also discuss Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong and the new show we're watching - Lost Girl

Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep, book 2 of the Elemental Assassin series

Gin has entered her retirement as an assassin - she's now a college student and BBQ restaurant owner, hanging up her knives after her mentor died. Or so she thought.

An old friend of her foster-father shows up in her restaurant looking for help – and someone tries to kill her. Pulled in by the need to help her foster-father's friend (and because she's not tolerating any hits in her own restaurant) she finds them being intimidated into selling their land to a mining developer. Dragged in, she has to find out why their home is being threatened – who is doing it and how to solve it. And as an assassin, she only has one solution.

To add to the confusion, Detective Caine is again involved. Ashland's only honest police detective and he is faced with accepting Gin's less than legal solution, or pretending that there is any other chance at justice.

Of course, in addition, Gin has managed to anger one of Mab's chief lieutenants – and Mab herself seems to be increasingly more interested in her

While I liked this story I felt it was something of a climb down from the first book. I think Gin had much less personal (or monetary) stake in this book compared to the last book, which made me think she was much less of a self-lead character than she was before. She devotes her time, her energy, no small amount of money and risks her life for something she has very little stake in. Yes, it's altruistic but it also removes a sense of her power.

The world remains huge and compelling and I am still fascinated by the various beings living together in such a completely assimilated society. I want to see more of this and see it develop further with more information. Sadly, I wanted to see more of this in this books as well, but I don't think, world building wise, we're any further along than we were in the first book, it hasn't been developed further. It's still an awesome world, but I expected it to grow or to be shown greater depth.

In the first book, I found her relationship with Caine to be distracting, and the same applies. They have sex at the most inopportune times and often the story feels derailed either by Gin lusting after Caine or them bumping into some quasi-relationship issues. I think it distracts from the much stronger and much more interesting main plot.

POC-wise there are a few bit parts, and the primary love interest is Hispanic. Detective Caine plays a much smaller part in these books though. There is a vague suggestion that Mab may be a lesbian or bisexual. Yes, the sociopathic, depraved, torturing, murdering mob boss may be the books only GBLT.

I find Gin a less compelling character in this book, there's more angsty-self-analysis, more romantic navel gazing and, as said above, she seems less self-ruling than she was in past books.

I had hoped that Detective Caine would grow more, step off his pedestal and accept the world for what it is. And for a lot of the book we had that theme, him increasingly realising his rosy view of the world was unrealistic and did nothing for the victims, him adding shades of grey to his rigid black and white world... I enjoyed this and thought it had great potential to develop further. Until we got to the end of the book and the whole house of cards collapsed, it was a disappointment, I'd hoped for better and a nice, nuanced portrayal. I have a feeling we're going to return to this theme though.

This review feels very critical – and it is. But it is criticism that comes from high expectations and a high bench mark. I loved the first book, I loved the characters and I loved the world and I loved the story. The first book set a high standard and I was hoping to see it developed, hoping to see the characters develop, hoping to see Gin develop, hoping to see the world develop, hoping to see the meta-plot develop. And it didn't. None of these things really grew or advanced beyond where we left them in the first book.

But don't get me wrong, this book is still a good book with a good story. It is still set in this world I love and it still involved the characters that interest me. It hasn't gone any further and it doesn't live up to the standards the first book set, but it's still a great book, I never had a problem finishing it and I will happily – eagerly – pick up book 3. But I did expect more.

Giveaway winner!

The giveaway of the True Blood Comics has come to an end and the winner is


We'll be contacting you via email at the email address you left in the comment section. If you could email us back in the next couple of days we'd appreciate it and will send out your prize immediately.

Keep watching everyone, we have a second giveaway starting on the 15th for Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel, and to celebrate the start of the new season of The Walking Dead, we'll be having a giveaway for the first and second graphic novels.  This giveaway begins on the 1st October.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lost Girl Season One: It's A Fae, Fae, Fae, Fae World

I know that season two of Lost Girl has already started but since I just learned about the show, you will have to have patience with me while I catch up.  I am not surprised that the series opener was absolutely awesome, it was after all filmed in Canada. 

Bo is a bartender in a bar and witness a man trying to pick up anything female after the man slips Kenzi a roofie he follows her into an elevator and forces himself on her.  As a person with a history of sexual assault I was extremely worried that this would extend beyond forced kissing and so I was relieved when Bo showed up and kissed him thereby sucking him dry.  You could say that it was justice.  Kenzi of course uses her cell phone to video tape the whole incident, with the plan of putting it on youtube.  Bo begins to leave but when she realizes how incapacitated Kenzi really is, she throws Kenzi over her shoulder and take her back to her apartment.

A succubus is certainly not a creature that we see as heroic and Bo's actions clearly can be understood this way.  A woman saving a fellow woman from sexual assault is also something that is not common in the media.  I loved that there was no shaming Kenzi for the actions of her attacker. He was clearly in the wrong and the audience was meant to see it that way.

Upon waking, Kenzi suggests that they team up because Bo is clearly not taking advantage of her powers.  Not only can Bo kill with a kiss, she can also plant suggestions in people's minds.  The problem is that Bo has no idea who she is, until she is unceremoniously kidnapped. Once there she learns that she is fae and in particular a succubus.  Unfortunately for Bo, she then finds herself in the middle of fae war and is told that she must choose sides but first she must past a test to prove herself worthy. Before entering battle, Dyson another fae offers her some of his power.  She is stunned to realize that she does not kill and feels wonderful after taking his power.  During the test she is told that she is an abomination and is shown the bodies of all whom she has killed.  Bo seriously considers ending her life, until she hears Kenzi calling for her.  Bo manages to break loose and tells all assembled that she chooses neither side in the fae war.  Bo's choice is humanity.

True Blood: And When I Die

Okay WHAT THE FLYING FUCK WAS THAT?  This is the first episode all season that I pretty much sat on the edge of my couch afraid to blink, while I continually cursed.  This episode started off with Jesus making Lafayette breakfast and promising that they could both avoid magic from then on in.  Slowly Jesus realizes that he is not talking to Lafayette but to Marnie.  She ties him to a chair and demands that he give up all his power or she will hurt Lafayette.  Finally, Jesus agrees and Marnie stabs him in the stomach leaving him for dead.  I know that all season Tami and Sparky having been saying that Jesus is on borrowed time but I was really upset with this.  I firmly believe that Jesus was considered disposable because he is a gay man of color.  I do however think that it is worth noting, that in the director's cut, they talk about where the relationship will go from there, so perhaps there is some hope for growth in their relationship yet.

Tara and Sookie sit in her kitchen to have a coffee together.  Sookie tells her that she feels as though Adele is in the house with her, after having a vision of Adele's dead bloody body on the kitchen floor. Tara tells her that Adele will always be with her and they share a laugh about the advice that Adele would give them both.  Sookie expresses a desire to grow old and sit on her porch watching her grandchildren play.  It is Tara who says that she hopes that she will be able to join her and that should have been a clue that something terrible was in the wings for Tara.

Sam stands in front of Tommy's grave, and is joined by Mrs.Hoytenbury.  She tells him that though Tommy was not blood, he was a son to her.  She then goes off to list a bunch of things that Tommy stole and Sam tries to excuse Tommy saying, no one ever taught him to love without hurting someone.  In the end, Mrs. Hoytenbury promises to stop by with the most horrendous casserole ever thought up and tells Sam that they have to be there for each other now, because they only have each other now thanks to Tommy's passing.  Watching, I could almost hear Sam screaming please God noooooo in his head.

Jason decides to go over to Hoyt and tell him about Jessica.  I had to laugh about Jason making Hoyt put down the saw before telling him.  Hoyt gets predictably upset and tells Jason that he is never going to have anything real with Jessica or any other woman. Jason reminds him that Jessica was a free woman when they slept together, but Hoyt tells him that there is something broken and missing in him that causes him to try and solve everything with his dick. I suppose this brought the end of one love triangle and I was quite happy to see it come to an end.