Saturday, November 12, 2011

At Graves End, by Jeaniene Frost, Book 3 in the Night Huntress series

Cat's world is heating up as she gets further and further away from her job as a vampire hunter. More and more vampires are recognising her as the Red Reaper and her reputation as a warrior and killer is beginning to precede her. And she'll need every bit of her skills as war comes to her door.

It's a war that attacks her mother and her mortal friends. She's forced into hiding, constantly seeking both safety for her loved ones as well as the identity of the vampire that is attacking her and Bones – and setting off a full scale war between their bloodlines.

And in this war we have Mancheres, Bone's grandsire, who has entered an alliance with Bones so their vampire lines can fight together against the massive threat against them – but Mancheres is hesitating and he is not telling everything.

Meanwhile, Cat's old team is going through changes as Bones meets his promise to turn one of them into a vampire. She laos has to deal with the large number of vampires and ghouls Bones and Mancheres have summoned to help them fight the war – and hope dearly that it will be enough.

This is an epic fight for survival, with two vast forces clashing with no mercy or quarter given.

The Vampire Diaries Season Three, Episode Nine: Homecoming

This was an extremely action packed episode and finally, we have some movement on the plot.  The day has arrived for the big homecoming dance and the most excited is of course Rebekah.  I have yet to figure out why the hell a 1000 year old vampire is so keyed up about this event.  Rebekah did mention that she didn't have time for highschool before, because she and Klaus were always moving around but I still fail to see why she sees that as lacking considering that during her human life, there was no such thing as high school.

Cue the big convoluted plan to kill Klaus, with a side of teen angst for extra flavor. Elena stabs Michael so that Stefan can tell Klaus truthfully that he saw Elena stab him, thus luring him back to Mystic Falls.  When he asks for confirmation Rebekah concurs.  For his part Michael holds onto the weapon from the ash tree to ensure that Damon stake out of his heart.

When Michael awakes alone in a room with Rebekah, she tells him to impulses that he is feeling.  He tries to tell her that he was not hunting her, only Klaus because he killed their mother but Rebekah still blames him.  It seems that she holds him responsible for making Klaus a murderer and for turning the family into vampires.

When the crew arrives at the gym, it turns out that it has been flooded and so Tyler moves the party to his house.  When they arrive, Klaus is with the band.  It seems that he does not entirely trust that his father is really dead and so he brings with a few hybrids to ensure that he is protected.  When he tells Tyler that Elena's plans won't succeed, he injects Caroline with vervain and asks Matt to make sure that she gets home safely.

When Michael shows up at the door, he taunts Klaus to draw him out of the house.  When that does not work, Michael grabs Elena and threatens to kill her, which would mean would be unable to make anymore hybrid, Michael tells him that he will be all alone and only surrounded by people that he has compelled for the rest of his existence.  Elena begs Klaus to take Michael seriously, but Klaus calls his bluff and tells Micheal to kill her believing that he won't because Elena is all of the leverage that he has.  Michael stabs a knife through Elena's back and in the shock that occurs, Damon sneaks up on Klaus with the dagger and attempts to stab him and is thwarted by Stefan.  In the confusion, Klaus grabs the dagger and stabs Michael who promptly bursts into flames.

Friday, November 11, 2011

What happens when you write a series involving multiple supernatural gang bangs?

I trust that's enough said.

Review: Kitty Goes to Washington by Carrie Vaughn, book 2 of the Kitty Norville series

Kitty is taking her radio show to Washington DC

After the existence of vampires and weres became more and more unavoidable and more and more well known beyond the fringe, the government has finally had to take notice. Not least of which because there's a government department appropriating funds to investigating paranormal biology.

Kitty, as one of the few publicly open and known werewolves, has been called to testify in front of the Senate committee. But the chairman of the committee is a senator she's known before – a religious fanatic who is convinced that vampires and weres are devil spawn that need to be destroyed – is this an investigation or a witch hunt? And to further add to the doubt and confusion it seems that the government scientists, Dr. Flemming, who she has been working with is neither as pure in his methods or his intentions as she had previously thought – just how compromised are the doctor's ethics and what risk does that pose for Kitty?

In DC she also again runs into the mysterious priest, Elijah Smith, with his strange power to suppress supernatural natures and compel vampires and weres to follow him in his travelling commune. She also finally gets to see how weres can exist without a pack – and a whole different side to vampires.

There's a lot going on in this book and a huge chunk more of the world is revealed, with considerably more possibilities – things have got a whole lot deeper for Kitty and her world.

This world remains one that intrigues me. While it has many of the Urban Fantasy staples and most of them follow along very strong lines (which isn't a bad thing, the classics became classics for a reason and it's actually nice to see a lot of the legends represented rather than so many discarded) we still have a very original moment. This series is taking part as the supernatural is revealed to the mortal world. This isn't where the supernatural world is hidden nor is it after the supernatural world is known to the more mundane world – this is the first series where we're seeing the actual revelation

I'm also glad we saw the flip side of not having a pack. Idyllic and peaceful on the outside, with everyone doing their own thing with no rules or restrictions or politics or games of dominance and submission – but at the same time you don't have people looking out for you, caring about you, worrying about you and ready and willing to back you up, support you and dig you out. I really liked how well it was done – the contrast of freedom and security – of how not owing anyone also meant no-one owed you anything either.

The plot was also very together. I didn't know where it was going, it was a completely new angle and I predict any of it. I won't say it had a lot of twists (though there were some) but it was a complete mystery and I had no idea how any of the plot lines would resolve until they actually did. It remained interesting and compelling throughout, always keeping me engaged and curious to see what happens next and where the story was going.

Ok, there's a moment that bothered me. For some reason they decided to go check out Elijah the freaky preacher with a psychic she'd just met and a reporter for one of those out-there monster shows (y'know, the TV equivalent of the Weekly World News). She just decided to go. No special reason why she should, let alone without reliable backup. And wouldn't you know it, the reporter just happened to have special special protective charms to hand out AND a grandma who knew exactly what to do about Elijah. It wasn't book breaking but the plot did wobble rather there, methinks.

If I had one other niggle it's that the ending was too pat. The committee seemed to be very restrained and reasonable with their findings and it felt, well, too ideal maybe. Or maybe I have too much cynicism. Other than these two, I think the story held together well without plot holes are head scratching

Kitty as a character is something I can't decide on. She's strong and independent at times and then she turns round and tolerates dominance and control – then she seems to resent it and rebels and defies in a way that seems to reject even simple kindness... then capitulates in the face of arrogant high handedness. I won't say she's an unreasonable character, I would say more she is a growing character, a maturing character just realising her strength but still assailed with doubts. So she's either very complex and nuanced and well written – or she's inconsistent and clumsy and not well characterised. I'm not sure which :)

We do have some POC in this book, quite a few. But most of them by far seem to be presented as foreign. They were decent characters and not overtly problematic (though certainly bit characters) but at the same time POC = from some exotic other place is not a great trope.

We had some vague past references to GBLTness – Kitty and Arlett hurriedly assuring each other that they're straight (*eye roll*) and a story about gay couple causing political chaos with their infantile love affair. Thankfully both are very very brief side points and after the treatment of TJ last book, I'm pleased by that.

While, so far, the book has generally avoided too much the tope of fantastic prejudice (where being supernatural is often compared to being a marginalised group that faces discrimination, oppression and persecution) we're skirting the line and I fear we may be heading rapidly in that direction

All in all, I am much happier with this book than I was the first book. Kitty is a much stronger person, there are less problematic elements and the story feels more concise and less vaguely rambly. The plot lines were more concise, there weren't loose threads hanging around and they flowed together naturally. And while Kitty makes a decision or two that make me scratch my head in bewilderment, I'm not actually screaming “why why WHY would you do this?!” at my kindle as I was before.

American Horror Story, Season One, Episode Six: Piggy Piggy

I don't even know what to say about this episode, except that I absolutely loved it.  Piggy Piggy was filmed in the tradition of the best horror out there and I was thankful that I watched it during the day rather than at night. I am still scared.
The episode began with a flashback of the swat team knocking on the door.  When Constance answers the cops ask for Tate Langdon.  It goes back to 1994 and there are a few kids in the library and in the background we hear gun shots.  These kids are the same kids that appeared to Tate and Violet on the beach.  The kids manage to bar one entrance to the library but in their haste forget to lock the other entrance.  Tate bursts in wearing all black and proceeds to kill them all. The scene flashes back to the house and cops stand with their weapons pointed at Tate and on his chest we can see red dots. Ever so slowly Tate raises his hand to his head and pretends to shoot himself.  Believe it or not, this all occurs within the first few minutes of the episode.

Through a little investigation on the internet, Violet learns that not only is Tate dead but that he is a mass murderer.  When Violet runs downstairs to tell her mother she find Constance in the kitchen itself.  Constance tells her, "I questioned my sanity when I first found out, but this house, this house will make you a believer. Violet we were living here when Tate lost his way and I believe that the house drove him to it."  Violet immediately denies what Constance is saying but Constance responds, "You're a smart girl, how can you be so arrogant to think that there is only one reality that you're able to see?"  Constance then introduces her to Billie Dean Howard, a psychic that she met on youtube.  Billie Dean tells Violet that she has a gift and that she has to accept the truth of it before it makes her mentally ill. I don't know about you but I see this as ore covering up about the nature of the house.  Violet is not seeing ghosts outside of the house, only in the house.  It is to stop Violet from exploring how evil the place she calls home really is.

Luke shows up once again to check the house after Vivien calls to say that she heard some strange sounds.  Vivien tells him about Ben's infidelity, and of course Luke listens cause that's just what Black men exist to do.  He in turn tells Vivien that his wife cheated on him with another woman and points out that while some men may be into this sort of thing, he is not.  I don't know about you but it seems as though they included the same sex aspect to make it appear as though what she did was above and beyond.  The writers are so obviously setting up Luke and Vivien for a little swirl action and why not, Luke is played by Morris Chestnut, the king of the African American romantic comedies. Ben shows up full of concern to interrupt their little tête-à-tête .

Vivien clearly does not want him in the house, but he tells her that he needs a place to work, and that they need the money.  When she insists that he rent an office, he tells her again that they need the money and promises to leave when he has seen his last patient of the day.  

Alone in the bathroom, Violet is again playing with razors.  She cuts her wrist yet again and fantasizes cutting her own throat.  Her father is a psychiatrist, how is it possible that he is so unaware of his daughters pain? Ben and Vivien are so self involved that they don't have the slightest clue what is going on in their home.  Tate shows up briefly and asks her if she is scared now and then disappears as Violet turns to answer.

Ableism and Adelaide in American Horror Story

Every week, American Horror Story manages to grab our attention, with it’s gripping story of a family living in a house that is colloquially known as the murder house. We have been introduced to a plethora of interesting characters, who each have a unique story and history, that is intimately connected with the house. One of the most interesting is the character of Adelaide, played by Jamie Brewer.  

In the pilot episode, we are first introduced to Adelaide as she stands outside of the murder house, delivering the dire warning of “you’re all going to die in there,” as two young twins enter the home with baseball bats.  As it turns out, Adelaide is quite correct.  Adelaide enters the house at will and is able to see and recognize the ghosts for who and what they are at any given time.

Adelaide stands out not only because she is one of the few disabled characters on television, but because she is actually disabled herself. Quite often, when disabled characters appear on television, they are played by able bodied people. The only other disabled actor that I can think of playing a disabled character is RJ Mite, who plays Walt Jr, on AMC’s Breaking Bad. It is seen as convenient for an abled bodied person to play disabled in order to effect the miracle cure.  We have seen this time and time again, when a blind person suddenly gains sight, or a paralyzed person is suddenly able to walk.  A recent example of this phenomenon happened on Glee, in the episode Dream On, where the disabled character Artie, not only walks, but appears in a dance number.

At first, it was wonderfully refreshing to see the character of Adelaide, but whatever joy we experienced quickly became lost in the rampant disableism that has been constantly aimed at her.  It first began when her mother, Constance, played by Jessica Lange, referred to her as the Mongoloid, and makes it clear that she sees Adelaide as her burden to bear, in a conversation with Vivien, played by Connie Britton -- who owns the murder house. To be clear, American Horror Story goes to great lengths to ensure that it is understood that Constance is an evil person; however, this does not remove the ableism from her statements. Simply being an evil and unpleasant person, does not mean the words the character says instantly lack impact, or are understood to be cruel, unacceptable, prejudiced or otherwise wrong. For her actions to be truly thought of as wrong, it is necessary for Ben and Vivien to actively make it clear that her language is unacceptable, rather than positioning themselves to appear uncomfortable in Constance's presence.  In fact, Constance’s general unpleasantness makes it hard to differentiate distaste for her ableism, from simple distaste for her as a person.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Charlaine Harris to Write Graphic Novel Trilogy

Charlaine Harris's mega hit series about Louisiana barmaid Sookie Stackhouse will end with book 13 which will be released in May 2013. (HBO's True Blood is based on the series.)

But Harris is already busy with a followup new project, an original graphic novel trilogy. The first book, Cemetery Girl, will be published by Ace Books in 2013. The trilogy is a collaboration between Harris, dark fantasy writer Christopher Golden, and illustrator Don Kramer. Cemetery Girl will combine fantasy and paranormal mystery to tell the story of a teenaged girl with amnesia who has grown up living alone in amid the gravestones.

Read the rest of the article here


Shadow Chase by Seressia Glass, Book 2 of the Shadow Chaser series

Kira is back – back from the dead, brought back by Khefar and is now the Hand of Ma'at. With new duties and a new role in life, Kira has much to handle – but first and foremost she has to deal with the death of her handler, mentor and father figure. Now the battle is won she has time to mourn and time to put his affects in order and scatter his ashes.

But under it all she worries about her shadow taint. She took on some of the shadow fighting the fallen and now it is a part of her. A devotee of Ma'at, she is painfully aware that her heart is no longer lighter than Ma'at's feather – as well as the harm she did to her friends and innocents while under the shadow's influence

She also has time to explore her relationship with Khefar, the immortal Hand of Isis and the only man she can touch without her powers harming or killing him. But what future is there between them when she has her shadow taint and Khefar is approaching the end of his curse?

Of course the world doesn't wait while Kira balances her life. A chaser has gone missing along with an artefact that could literally destroy the world in the wrong hands – or simply if it is not returned soon. Kira has little time to grieve when she has the world to rescue, ancient Egyptian artifacts to return, a flood that would cover the globe – and the shadow of Set himself rising on behalf of the Shadow.

I love this book – and I was surprised. I expected to like it after the first book, but I didn't expect it to get this much better. But, yes it was a huge step up of an already good start.

Cover Snark: Oh The Thigh Muscles!

We are introducing a new feature on Fangs for the Fantasy - cover snark. Some of covers on even our most favourite Urban Fantasy books, just beg to be giggled at. We realise authors that don’t necessarily have a lot of power in choosing their covers nor would we judge the content of the book on this basis, unless of course the book has a protagonist of colour but the cover portrays a White person - but we will enjoy a good snark, yes yes we will.

One thing we do see a lot of is similar poses on covers - especially the ridiculous ones that make us giggle.

This one we have to call the “sexy leg cramp”. In theory, these women are aggressive and violent hunters and are ready to leap into action, probably to stake or stab something. Instead I think their legs have gone to sleep trying to hold that pose (and display said legs as much as possible). Their thigh muscles must be killing them and they’ll probably need a hand up to their feet again. Looking at them; it is impossible not to picture a massive cramp that would require hours of massage to alleviate.

Review: Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Book 1 of the Dark Hunter Series

Amanda just wants to have a normal, boring life. She's an accountant, she dates boring guys, she follows a mundane schedule. Unfortunately her family are eccentric to say the least. Psychics and witches, vampire hunters and voodoo priests – and all oh-so-embarrassing when she brings a nice, normal, boring man to meet them

Of course, her boring life is shattered wide open when she meets Kyrian – a 2,000 year old vampire who hunts the cursed, soul-sucking children of Apollo. Kyrian most certainly doesn't lead a boring life – and most certainly isn't a boring man.

Now well out of her depth, Amanda has to deal with her growing affection for Kyrian, who in turn is faced with his attraction conflicting with the Code of the Darkhunters that bans relationships. Amanda has to keep her family and her loved ones safe, learn about this new world and try to manage her own burgeoning and long suppressed powers.

All the while dealing with a daimon, a soul sucking child of Apollo, who has powers far beyond what his kind should have – and who has fixated on feeding on Amanda's own powerful soul. Or her vampire hunting sister, who is less than pleased with her relationship with Kyrian.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton Preview American Horror Story's Upcoming Scares

FX's American Horror Story is arguably the season's sexiest, scariest, strangest show — and it's about to get even weirder. Yep, that means fans can expect more Rubber Man, more ghosts of tenants past, more on Constance's creepy kids and — finally! — the truth behind the baby-daddy mystery. At the heart of the sex-and-screams series are Ben (Dylan McDermott) and Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton), the tenuously married couple who buy the wicked old mansion in L.A. known as "The Murder House." Britton and McDermott take us inside the don't-watch-it-alone thriller.

TV Guide Magazine: Dark Blue, The Practice, American Horror Story. Dylan, you must like dark stuff!

I'd like to do a comedy but somehow I find myself in dark roles. They're interesting to play. Ben Harmon takes me to places that I never thought I'd go to on a show.

TV Guide Magazine: For instance?

Ben is unraveling. He's becoming more and more haunted by his demons and he can't seem to unshackle himself. I may just be playing the craziest [person on the show]. And there are a lot of crazy people on this show, let me tell you.
Britton: In real life, he's the craziest. [Laughs] I think you are beautifully infusing him with your own crazy.
McDermott: Oh, nice.

TV Guide Magazine: But isn't it the house that's making everyone who enters it lose their minds?

Everybody's got a little bit of crazy going on [already] and the house is just reflecting that.
McDermott: The house really does bring all that stuff out. Ben didn't have much of a family growing up, and all these unresolved emotional issues got pushed down. When he moved to the house, all that he lived through came knocking on the door. I find that the most interesting thing about him, that he can't stop the repetition of his life, and eventually it bites him in the ass.

TV Guide Magazine: Speaking of body parts, when creator Ryan Murphy told you there would be nudity involved, did the words "Gym time!" come to mind?

[Laughs] I have been very proud of my ass for many years.
Britton: He told his agents, "Just get me a job where I can show my ass."
McDermott: Actually, I think Ryan's office called my agent and said, "Does Dylan have an ass double?" I was like, "No, I don't need an ass double."
Britton: That's why you got the job!

Read the rest of the interview here

Review of Aloha From Hell By Richard Kadrey

After reading Kill the Dead, I was really hoping that Aloha from Hell would redeem the story of Sandman Slim for me.  It was certainly a better book than the second book in the series; however, that doesn't make this an exciting read at all.  At best all I can say about this book is that it didn't bore me, but it certainly didn't excite me, or encourage me to read any other books in the series.  I almost feel as though he is bored with his own series.

This entire story has been leading up to Stark's confrontation with Mason, his arch enemy.  The real war between the two began when Mason killed, Stark's girlfriend Alice, and then sent Stark to live in hell for over a decade.  Mason however is motivated to destroy the universe because he was tortured as a child.  Apparently, it was not enough for him to achieve his vengeance on those who wronged him, but the entire world has to pay for his hurt. For all of the havoc that the two have caused across the universe, it seems that the relationship between Stark and Mason comes down to a pissing contest.  Really?  I know that we have a male protagonist, but would it have been so hard to come up with a more substantial foundation than a juvenile pissing contest? I also think it is worth mentioning that it took three books to get to the point where Mason and Stark finally resolved their issues and quite frankly, it was anti-climactic and felt more like a set up for a fourth book in this series.

The one thing that Aloha from Hell has going for it, is that unlike Sandman Slim and Kill the Dead, it is not as littered with as many problematic failures. The word lame several times which is of course an ableist slur, and women are referred to with reductive language; however, that is still an improvement. The cast still remains White and straight however.  It seems that diversity is just one leap Kadrey is as of yet unwilling to make.  I suppose what I don't understand  how a writer can create a world with all manner of angels, demons and Lucifer himself, but cannot imagine a single marginalized body in his narrative. The closet this series comes to a disabled character is Kasabian - a man without a body. I suppose I should just be thankful that he has at least stopped using gay slurs to attack straight men. 

Review: Death's Hand by SM Reine, Book 1 of the Descent Series

Elise is a kopis. A fighter of demons, and exorcist, a warrior for the light and innocent against the dark. Or she was anyway. She's retried, she's an accountant now. Of course she may have to poke some of her clients with sharp things now and then to make them pay – demons can be pretty stingy – but she's put all of that demon killing behind her now after a particularly horrifying experience where she nearly lost everything.

Except James, her apis, her shield and childhood mentor, isn't so willing to let go. Especially since he is the high priest of the local coven – and one of his members has a possessed child. He cannot abandon her – but nor can he free her without the help of his kick arse accounting friend.

Of course, what starts as a possession gets much much worse. With demons from the past arising, old fears coming back, the walking dead and a legion of lesser demons - with the entire city at risk and people they're close to betraying them – as well as dragging their normal, unskilled, ignorant friends in the dark to do battle alongside them.

Wednesday Reboot: Twilight New Moon

Of all three of the Twilight movies to date, New Moon is easily the most angst filled and the least tolerable.  The film begins on Bella Swan's 18th birthday.  She is upset that she is now older than Edward was at the age that he died because all she can envision is a future in which he stays young and beautiful and she ages. I don't think it was intentional but the idea of old as worthless and undesirable is ageist.  This model privileges youth or at least the appearance of youth at all costs.

At her birthday party, Bella cuts her finger causing Jasper to go into a blood lust. In order to protect her, Edward has to push Bella across the room to keep Jasper away from her, in the process hurting her even more.  When he drops her off that night, clearly the relationship between them is strained.  The next day at school, none of the Cullens are in attendance.  When Bella arrives home that afternoon, Edward is waiting for her.  He tells her that the Cullens are leaving and that she cannot go with them, and thus begins hours of Bella moping.

Even if we take into consideration that when the Cullens left that not only did Bella lose Edward, she lost Alice her friend her reaction was over drawn and ridiculous. Outside of her relationship, Bella has no reason for living, she is completely dependent upon Edward and this is not love, despite being constructed as such.  Bella goes into an extreme depression and then has nightmares in the middle of the night and awakens screaming.  Charlie her father is clearly worried and threatens to send her to live with her mother, if she does not start to come out of it.

Bella goes for a ride on a motorcycle with a shady character and she imagines Edward.  This sets her off on a path to endanger herself as much as possible for the chance to see Edward.  Bella appropriates bikes from the trash, and talks Jacob Black into fixing them up for her.  In the processes, they become very good friends, and so when he stops seeing her after he transitions to a wolf, she is hurt yet again. This tells us that Bella is absolutely incapable of being alone and being happy. Because Bella is already a blank slate, this makes her pain unrelatable and sets up a dependency state as necessary for a woman to be happy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Review: Lover Avenged, by JR Ward, Book 7 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood

Rehvenge and Xhex continue to battle their dark Symphath natures with Rehvenge also having to pay their blackmailer to prevent their secret being revealed. Revelation could mean both of them deported to the sympath colony where their deaths are nearly assured. Yet the price being asked is slowly killing Rehvenge – both in body and in spirit.

This is only further complicated as he meets Ehlena, a nurse struggling to care for her schizophrenic father on a limited income. Met and fallen for – but can he pursue a relationship with his symphath nature? What will she says to the revelation -a nd worse, how much is that secret threatened as more and more vampires learn and threaten exposure.

And Wrath, the king, has started fighting again – fighting on his own and covering up, causing ructions among the Brotherhood and most certainly with his wife, Beth. As if that weren't complicated enough

The Lessening society continues to reorganise under Lash, the Omega's vampire son who wishes to establish a greater income for the society.

Tohrment continues his road to recovery, dealing with what he left behind – and John Matthew continues in his rocky rocky path with Xhex

Once Upon a Time, Season 1, Episode 3: Snow Falls

We open in fairy tale land with a carriage ride containing a hot guy in leather (Prince Charming) and a petulant princess who are robbed by a woman. Most definitely a woman who makes this clear with a rock to the head of prince charming. Now that's a fairy tale I can get behind.

I much prefer fairyland Snow. Snow White kicks arse and is cynical about the concept of True Love, while Prince Charming desperately tries to avoid justifying marrying Princess Petulant. And everyone lampshades that Charming doesn't actually have a name (which amused me immensely. The random kiss giving prince in fairy tales is always so anonymous. It's always felt like any man would do if he rescues you/has enough money/titles – doesn't matter who he is). She kicks arse, is edgy, unromantic, cynical, can smack down Charming... and, sadly, still needs rescuing. She does get to rescue him as well – but he's still two rescues to her one.

Fast forward to the much less edgy Storybrook where Mary Margaret Blanchard (Snow White) is competing with a guy to see who can be the worst first date – him by staring at the waitress' backside (and if the waitress can carry food in those heels she deserves a raise) and her by talking about the many many kids she wants to have. It's like a “How To Not Get Laid” instruction manual. This sets us up to see her true love – Prince Charming who in fairytale land was stabbed and now is on life support as John Doe in the hospital (presumably this means when they break the curse he'll die of his mortal wound? Heh, I'm guessing no because that would be one depressing Happily Ever After).

Lost Girl Season Two, Episode Seven: Fae Gone Wild

This is the first episode in quite some time that Bo has not needed to be saved by Kenzie or Dyson.  I wish I could say that this made her less irritating this episode but alas that was not the case.  Bo is hired by to find a stripper named Sherri.  What she does not know is that Hale and Dyson are also looking for her because they believe her to be responsible for murder. 

When they walk into a murder scene they run into Bo and she lies to them about her true intentions before slipping out saying that she does not want to ruin their crime scene.  Hale and Dyson are both aware that she is lying but let her get away with it anyway.  Aren't they the nicest cops evah?  When they both show up at the strip bar looking for Sherri, they find Bo working there as a bartender.

Was anyone else screaming obstruction of justice?  What reason under the sun do they have to stop and listen to Bo rather than arresting her and Sherri on the spot?  Bo even has the nerve to be upset that Hale and Dyson are breaking her cover.  To barter for my time she promises to be their inside snitch, when Dyson asks how she can trust her considering that she has done nothing but lie to him, she gives him some ridiculous assurance about how in this case he can trust her. He tells her that she can have until noon the next day to find out what Sherri intends to steal with the hand of destiny.

It turns out that Sherri is a selkie who has been duped out of her skin.  This entire story was basically a play on sex slavery.  I don't often like the appropriation of real world events; however, in this case I thought it was well done.  The girls were all promised something and instead they were duped out of their freedom and forced to strip for a living and this is exactly how sex slavery works. Often these women are constructed as tainted goods but in this case there was absolutely no slut shaming and Sherri was seen as the victim that she was.  I will however point out that it was unrealistic to have Dyson and Hale decide to simply turn their back on the fact that she committed murder.  In the end, Sherri and Bo use the candle to liberate the stolen skins and Sherri returns to the sea. 

Fangs for the Fantasy podcast, Episode 40

This week we discuss:

The Vampire Diaries (and the state of history education)
The Walking Dead
The Secret Circle
Lost Girl

Justin Gustainis' Quincey Morris series

What we're reading next week, our Friday Discussions and this week's reviews. And who has had to read/watch the most painful books/series

Monday, November 7, 2011

Review of 'Rise of The Governor' by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga

The Fangs for the Fantasy crew are all large fans of the graphic novels and AMC show The Walking Dead. We were thrilled when we learned about The Rise of the Governor and raced to read it.  I must say from the very beginning that the novel did not disappoint though the fact that it was written in the first person did at times grate on the nerves. 

We all know that when Rick, Michonne and Glenn arrive at Woodbury, after following the trail of a crashed helicopter and its survivors, the governor is very much in charge of the town. The governor is easily the most evil character in the series today.  He tortures and rapes Michonne as well as takes the prison away from Rick's crew of survivors in vengeance. The question The Rise of the Governor seeks to answer is what could make a man lose touch with his humanity this way.

When we first meet the governor, he is traveling with three men, and a little girl. They travel to Atlanta and find that it is over run with The Walking Dead but they are saved from death by the Chalmers family. Holed up in a building, with plenty of access to supplies and space for each person to have their own apartment if they so choose, this seems like the best place to hide out until a government can be re-established, but due to circumstances beyond his control, they are forced to leave with no weapons, and no food.

Loved, by Morgan Rice. Book 2 of the Vampire Journals

Caitlin and Caleb are on a quest to find a sword. The greatest sword in the vampire's arsenal, a sword that could end the war between the vampire races, a war that could ensure victory.

And victory is essential. The evil Dark Tide Coven is pursuing its war against the good vampires – and against humanity. They are ready to march and have already placed vast containers of modified plague underneath New York to wipe out humanity.

Of course, Cailtin an Caleb are not the only ones after the sword – another vampire, Samantha, has manipulated Caitlin's brother Sam toget her own claws on the blade – and Kyle, one of the oldest and most evil of the acktide Coven, also hunts the sword to get back into his masters good graces.

Through all this Caitlin is delving into her own family's past – and more, the past of the vampire race entirely to say nothing of her own developing powers as a vampire. Oh and she adopts a wolf.

Have you ever been on a treasure hunt? You know, following a series of cryptic clues that lead you to more cryptic clues which, in turn, lead you to yet more clues to finally reach the prize?

The Walking Dead Season Two, Episode Four: Cherokee Rose

Carl wakes up and asks if Sophia is okay, and the crew arrive from the highway. During Otis' funeral they ask Shane to speak for Otis and he says, "I'm not good at that," but his widow begs him to speak saying, "please I need to know that his death had meaning." He lies and says that Otis volunteered to take the rear and cover him. Clearly, the guilt is getting to him and really it should.  What he did was despicable no matter how he tries to justify it to himself.

The crew gathers around the vehicle with Herschel to set up a plan to search for Sophia but Hershel tells them that Rick has given too much blood and that Shane's ankle isn't ready for that kind of pressure yet.  Hershel tells them that he does not want them to carry guns on his property and Rick promises to respect his wishes, which does not make Shane happy. Shane asks what happens if we find her if she is bit and Rick responds, "you do what has to be done".  Then Shane goes ahead and announces that Dale is going to keep watch, of course ignoring what Herschel just said he does not want guns on the property.  Rick turns and smoothes it over by saying that "people would feel more comfortable with this situation". Where does Shane even have the gall to attempt to take a leadership position after what he just did?

Shane asks Lori if she meant it when she said stay and Lori responds that she meant it.  I suppose after saving her sons life, the fact that he tried to rape her is forgivable (yes, much snark).

Of course, Andrea is not happy about laying down her gun and arrproaches Shane.  He then shows her how to take apart her weapon and she smiles. I hope that this is the start of turning Andrea into the sharp shooter that she was in the comics, because as it stands, her character is downright petulant, though she has a point about the men being the only one allowed to carry weapons.

Hershel tells Rick that once Carl is fit for travel and they find Sophia, that they need to move on. they have an exchange in which Hershel points out that though his life has been hard recently Rick has had a lot of good fortune and sees that as God's work.  Herschel is clearly a man of deep faith, but Rick is not moved.

Glen and Maggie go to the pharmacy to get supplies, but before they leave, Lori asks Glenn for a specific item, but him promise to be discrete about it.  Lori tells him to look in the feminine hygene section for the product.  Those who have read the comics knew immediately that the item in question had to be a home pregnancy test.

In the field getting water, T-dog and Dale have a chat while they are getting water from the well.  T-Dog is intent on letting Dale know that he is going to pull his weight in the group.  T-Dog says, "I'm not weak. Up on the highway I don't what that was, I don't know where that came from, that wasn't me. If' it's okay, I rather you not tell anyone about that stuff I said."   Really? No, seriously really?  How much more are they going to undermine T-Dog?  First they have Glenn dismiss every valid thing that he said, and now T-Dog himself is backing away from it.  Darryl is a redneck good ole boy and we all know that po po are no friend to the Black man, furthermore, he is in the south surrounded by White people but his concerns about racism are not valid?  This is just pure shit.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Robert Pattinson on Breaking Dawn’s Birth Scene and Being Seduced by Kristen Stewart

Grimm, season 1, episode 2: Bears will be Bears

A blonde and her boyfriend go and break into the Bear's house. Sadly, she doesn't get chewed on. A couple looking for kicks bite off more than they can chew – or have more bitten off.

I actually really like this new twist on urban fantasy. We're not looking at werewolves and vampires, we're looking at the old stories – the Big Bad Wolf and the 3 bears. And there's always the keys to these stories in them – the red coat for the Big Bad Wolf, the blonde hair for the 3 bears. It makes me want to hunt for more parallels

The break in is reported – but the boyfriend is still missing and, of course, Nick's Grim Vision sees the fuzziness of the couple's son.

I like the research and the new expanded versions of the original tales, adding new potentials and new angles on the old legends and tales. It's an interesting way to look at them and some thought has gone into it. I am, however, less happy with the use of totem poles as an indication of a different slant on the 3 Bears story – but again without any actual Native characters

I also like how, so far, none of the creatures have been presented as automatically or irrideemably evil. With the Big Bad Wolf we had Eddie. With the jaegerbar (no way I've spelt that right) the father has nothing to do with violent old traditions and hunts. In some ways I can see now Grimms being presented as an evil force themselves, simply because some may kill first and ask questions later. They aren't fluffy bunny creatures but nor are they inherently evil either.

The Secret Circle: Season 1, Episode 8: Beneath

Full Scooby meeting! Well no. full Scooby meeting except... Melissa. Uh-huh, apparently her mother has been worried about her so took her out of town for a while. Ye gods, they're not even giving her screen time any more! But we do have Jake – who will now be known as Evil Scooby.

Mean Girl Faye decides to blame the kidnapping, demons et al on Cassie for... well, no apparent reason. Because she's Mean Girl What, we  need reasons now? This becomes a recurring theme in the episode with Faye blaming Cassie because Jake likes her.  Anyway, after lots of constant snapping and yipping, the Scoobies decide to go looking for Cassie's grandmother (who is missing after going to check on Faye's grandfather who was killed by Evil!Parent 1, Dawn, Faye's mother waaay back in episode 2)

Dawn is less than pleased with the body-finding road trip and calls Evil!Parent 2 (Charles, Diana's father) who has kidnapped Jane (Cassie's grandma. I keep including these reminders of who is who since none of the characters are especially memorable enough on their own) and hidden Henry's body. But they do have the crystal Jane found which makes the Evil!Parents verrry happy. Evil!Parent Charles uses the crystal and Diana's spell book to alter Jane's memories. I think we're also supposed to be seeing Charles as becoming more unstable