Friday, December 23, 2011

Being Human U.K. Season Two, Episode One: Cure and Contagion

George and Mitchell are at a bar talking.  It seems that Nina is withdrawing from him, even though she has moved in.  Mitchell tells George that he has to have compassion for Nina, because not only did she find out that he is a werewolf, she has to deal with the fact that she watched him kill someone. Frustrated, George leaves the bar and follows the sound of crying, which leads him to a woman in the alley.  It turns out that this was a ruse to draw him out on his own, and he is taunted by a male vampire. A fight ensues, and Mitchell breaks it up, as the two vampires run away.  
Back at the house, Nina asks Annie about George's condition. Nina pulls back her sleeve and shows Annie her scar.  Annie tries to assure Nina that she is fine, because George had not completely changed when he scratched her. 

Back in the alley, George tells Mitchell that he has been attacked three times since Herrick's death.  They decide to split up, and George follows the woman, while Mitchell goes after the man. The woman steps out of the shadows and says, "with a lot of vampires it's about the blood and the world domination, but me and Ivan, it's just about the tourism." The male vampire, accosts Mitchell easily and says to him, "it's true then you are clean".  When Mitchell asks how long he has been back, Ivan tells him that they have been back a couple of weeks and that Daisy is visiting family. It seems that Ivan felt compelled to attack George because he killed Herrick, though as Mitchell points out, he has never been a Herrick loyalist. Ivan tells him that anyone who wants to make a name for themselves is going to go after George. 

In another part of the garage, Daisy gets closer to George, and asks him what it was like to kill Herrick and at first he says he does not remember, but when pushed again he says it was cold.  Daisy moves even closer and kisses George. 

Back at the house, Nina tells Annie that she has been having nightmares of turning into an animal, and killing people.  Apparently, the nightmares have gotten so bad that she is afraid to go to sleep.  She says it's all that she can think about, and that she wants to scream and pull her hair out in clumps.  When Annie asks what Nina plans, Nina says that she is planning to use the room where George scratched her.  Annie promises her that she is going to be fine, and promises to go with her, because the full moon is tomorrow night.

Back at the garage, Ivan tells Mitchell that things are going to fall apart because there is a power vacuum now that Herrick is gone.  Mitchell then rises to his feet and says, "You tell everyone you meet, that an attack on him, is an attack on me and tell them to hide -- we go back to the shadows where we were before.  The revolution has been cancelled."  In another part of the garage, George and Daisy continue to make out until Ivan calls out Daisy, and announces they are leaving. As Daisy is walking away, she tells George that they are staying at the Travelodge and that he should find her.  George, Mitchell, Daisy and Ivan all meet up and Ivan tells George that they are a long way from through.  When Mitchell asks George what happened between him and Daisy, George lies and says that she attacked him and he fought her off.  Mitchell responds, "yeah, well you got lipstick on your mouth."

The next morning back at the house, Nina is sitting on George's bed when he walks in wrapped in a towel from the shower.  She stands up and tries to move around him and he blocks her path saying, "you are very pretty."  She tries to avoid him again by saying that he just had a shower, but he persists.  She tells him, that "it's a lot to take in, werewolves, vampires and ghosts," and George asks, why she is still here. "You've forgotten what it's like discovering this world. It's not exciting it's frightening. You are the only constant I have left, even if you are part of it.  I need you to seem me through this", Nina says. George gets up in frustration.

Downstairs, George complains that Annie is dunking biscuits into her tea and she tells him it's like occupational therapy.  Nina grabs her coat and kisses George before she walks out. Annie hands George tea and Mitchell coffee and she tells them she has applied for a job at a local pub.  Mitchell says that Annie can't get a job because she is not solid she is squishy.  Annie persists and walks out of the room.  George says that it is wonderful that Annie is moving on and Mitchell responds, "Oh, you're right, a disembodied dead woman is getting a job in the service industry, what could possibly go wrong with that?" George tells Mitchell that he is only upset because he does not have a purpose. He doesn't have a girlfriend, his enemy is dead, and even the bloodlust, which has been a problem for years is gone. George tells him, "You're like a piece of deadly furniture and I guess it must be disconcerting to see that purpose in other people when you don't have one yourself."

Review: Monster Hunter Vedetta by Larry Correia, Book 2 of the Monster Hunter Nation series

Owen Pitt continues in his job as a Monster Hunter. Hired to go round the world hunting down monsters of all kinds – from oni to chupacabra, from zombies to werewolves. It’s a very dirty job, but it pays well.

Unfortunately, in his last adventure there was a problem. Due to a large number of truly epic events, Owen was indirectly responsible for having a nuclear weapon drop into a very bad place and hit an Elder God. The Elder God is Not Pleased and blames Owen.

And so Owen finds himself being hunted by an obscenely powerful cult – a cult made up of many normal humans, but also no small numbers of monsters including shoggoth, oni, zombies, vampires and Mr. Trash Bags, his fiancee’s imaginary friend. A cult lead by a Necromancer of incredible power who is seeking to literally conquer the world with his army and his magic. And first and foremost to do that he needs to throw Owen through to the Elder God to curry some favour. He’s deadly, ruthless, lethal – and willing to go after Owen’s family to get the job done.

Of course, on such an epic scale, Monster Hunter International can’t be expected to act alone. The Federal government’s Monster Control Bureau is very much present and doing whatever it can to destroy this cult – and if that means using Owen as bait, they will. If that means sacrificing Owen’s family – well they’re happy to do that as well. Owen, less so.

And if things weren’t complicated enough, there’s a spy in Monster Hunter International – and the Necromancer himself has old ties with the organisation. Who do they trust and who do they blame? 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Review: Destined for an Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost, Book 4 of the Night Huntress Series

Cat is all settling down for a relatively quiet life. Having defeated the attack on their line and Bones now firmly ensconced as the co-ruler of the line with Mancheres, it’s time for a holiday. But, naturally, nothing is that simple.

There is a powerful vampire out there who has his eyes on Cat. Gregor is ancient, more powerful than Bones and is known as the Dreamsnatcher – and for good reason. With the power to invade people’s minds while they sleep and even kidnap them over vast distances, he’s a terrifying enemy.

Cat has to go on the run – a flight that literally takes her around the world, but always in secrecy. Scarcely being able to sleep safely, she has to travel in ignorance of where she is – not even knowing the continent she’s on, for fear of Gregor plucking the information from her brain. In endless frustration, she has to leave her rescue in Bone’s hands, ignorant of his plans.

Worse, as they flee they learn that Cat has a history with Gregor – a long and intimate history that has been erased from her mind. Both Bones and she have to worry about what happened in that time – and what Cat really felt for Gregor. All the while with Cat’s frustration over Bones’ plans and her acting in the dark to try and help him drive a wedge between them.

And if that weren’t enough, the ghouls are worried. If she is this powerful as a half-vampire, what would happen if she were raised as ghoul rather than a vampire? Would she have the powers of both? The answers are worrying people and making them easy recruits for Gregor
Last book I felt the series had really picked up. We had tension, action, a lot of lovely world building, an epic enemy and a focus on some powerful, character driven plot.

Which made this book rather disappointing.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Review of Sophia By D.B. Reynolds Book 4 in the Vampires in America Series

As always, in order to be fair to D.B. Reynolds, I am going to declare up front that I am not a fan of paranormal romance.  As far as Sophia goes, I do think it is the best book in the series that I have read to date.

Sophia get a summons from her vampire lord to return to Vancouver and upon arrival she learns that not only he missing but several of her his vampires are dead.  The only clue as to what is going on, is a letter that he left to her with instructions to see out Lord Raphael.  Once Sophia arrives in Seattle, she learns that several more vampires are dead and one human mate was savagely raped.  That is not the only surprise that awaits her, because investigating the murdered vampires, along with Cyn, and Raphael is Colin a former navy seal, whom Sophia has unresolved history with.

What I liked about this romance is that for once it wasn't a case of girl meets boy, some woo woo is interjected and then zmog, instant I lurves you forever. I think that we can all agree that, that approach to writing romance is old and tired.  The other flip in this, is of course the fact that for once, the female in the relationship in question is the vampire, and the human is male. This led to a lot less paternalism in this relationship, because Colin was forced to confront the fact that despite Sophia's appearance, she most certainly is not a wilting little flower.

Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins Book 3 of the Hunger Games

Katniss has been rescued by the rebels and she is on her way to the now infamous District 13.  She has arrived with several other winners of the games, but unfortunately because they were separated, Peeta has been left behind. Katniss learns that her role in the rebellion is to be the Mockingjay - the symbol of the rebellion.  She is initially reluctant to take on this role until she is offered the opportunity to kill President Snow.

Though her heart is willing, they quickly realise that Katniss is not good at creating canned propaganda for the masses, and so she is forced to go to the front to take live action shots.  Once there, she visits a hospital containing non combatants and learns first hand that the people do in fact see her as a hero.  They strain to touch her, or even just catch a glimpse of her as she makes her rounds.

Through it all, Katniss must figure out whether or not she is destined to be with Gale, her childhood friend, who has come to take on the attitude that to win a revolution, one must think like the enemy, or Peeta, who has had his memories of her stripped and now believes that she is an enemy agent.  If that were not enough Coin, the leader of District 13 does not feel that she has Katniss’ support and has determined that Katniss has served her purpose and can now be eliminated.

The overriding theme in this book is the cost of a revolution.  There can be no doubt that the conditions under the capitol rule were absolutely atrocious; however, in their desire to over throw the capitol, few gave active thought to the kind of government that  would replace capitol rule. This is something we see time and again with revolution and also something that is so rarely examined. How many books or films end with the revolution winning, as if that’s the end of the story? What comes next? How does it happen? A peaceful, just government doesn’t just happen and revolution alone doesn’t guarantee that the new regime will be any more palatable than the old. It’s extremely rare and very encouraging to see this portrayed here - when there are countless examples in our own history of revolutions that replaced the old regime with one that was nearly as bad - and sometimes worse. In this book, we perfectly saw this example - a power hunger revolutionary leader using whatever means necessary to claim power and, in the end, she was indistinguishable from the regime she was replacing.

This descent was sealed by President Coin pushing for one last Hunger Games - only this time it would be the Capital’s children being murdered. The oppression is the same, only the victims were different - here’s the new boss, same as the old boss.

If the survivors of the destruction of District 12 had paid attention they would have seen that the restrictions in place in District 13 mirrored in many ways the same authoritarianism of the capitol.  The leadership was quick to torture people from the capitol and was so strict they issued punishments for daring to leave the cafeteria with unfinished food.  Each person was issued a scheduled which was imprinted on the arm on a daily basis that they were expected to follow. The fact that failure to follow routine was punished with physical pain and that their lives were every bit as regimented under the rule of Coin, should have screamed a warning to the rebels.

This is why one must consider the cost of winning and the deep flaw of the “ends justify the means” thinking. Gale was more than willing to take on the tactics of the capitol no matter who, or how many lost their lives. This can clearly be seen in the liberation of District 2.  While District 2 was definitely favoured by the capitol, the fact that they still were not free was quickly forgotten when the goal became the elimination of the Capitol’s source of weapons. By any means necessary at times has a place in war, but unless one is cognizant of the fact that this approach leaves little separation between the forces of oppression and the so-called freedom fighters, there is a substantial risk of becoming what you despise. In the approach to the liberation of District 2, Gale did not see human beings and that is exactly the way that the capitol viewed residents of the districts.  It is Katniss who sees the horror of his proposal and she realises that something in him has been broken. If we were left in any doubt about the growing similarity of the rebels and the Capitol, it was shown when Katniss didn’t know who it was who set the bombs that killed the children. The worst tactics of the rebels and the worst tactics of the oppressor had become indistinguishable.

Wednesday Reboot: The Prophecy

Did you ever notice in the Bible how whenever God wanted to punish someone, or make an example, or whenever God needed a killing, he sent an angel? Did you ever wonder what a creature like that must be like? Your whole existence praising your God, but with one wing dipped in blood.  Would you ever really want to see an angel? 
The Prophecy was released in 1995 and stars Christopher Walken, Elias Koteas and Virginia Madsen. We are all aware of the original war in heaven where the angels rebelled, and God cast Lucifer our leaving him to rule over heaven.  The Prophecy posits that this was not the last war in heaven.  It suggests that another war has been raging for centuries, because the angels are jealous that God has elevated man over them by bestowing a soul upon humanity.

The movie begins with Thomas Dagget standing in line to take his priesthood vows.  As he lowers his body to the ground to ask for the strength and forgiveness of God, he is overwhelmed with a vision of angels covered in blood, screaming in pain, in the midst of a battle.  We learn that unlike many, Thomas has lost his faith because heaven showed him to much.  Years later he has become a cop.

The war is at a stalemate and the archangel Gabriel is searching for the soul of a man who was a general in life, guilty of heinous war crimes in Korea.  In this search he is willing to stop at nothing.  Being an archangel is impossible to kill and possess superhuman strength.  This makes him a formidable opponent.

Before Gabriel can possess the soul of Colonel Hawthorne, it is removed and placed into a young Native American girl named Sophia.  All that stands between Sophia and Gabriel is Thomas Dagget and her teacher Katherine.  To protect her they must even face Lucifer himself played by Viggo Mortensen. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Review of Darker Angels, Book 2 in the Black Sun's Daughter Series By M.L.N. Hanover

Once again Jayné (every time I read that name it got my nerves) Aubrey, Ex and Chogyi Jake are in the thick of it again. When we left the foursome, they were busy doing a tour of not-gay uncle Eric's various homes, attempting to create a wiki on the riders.  Though they are all exhausted, Jayné keeps pushing them forward, and this culminates in her acceptance of a mission in New Orleans.  The minute I read New Orleans I knew that this books was going to be all about Voodoo.

After Hurricane Katrina it is impossible to write a story without talking about the horror of natural disaster and Hanover dealt with the issue in a powerful manner.   Though it has been years, the city has not been rebuilt and we are given vivid images of ruined homes and the people who fell through the cracks.  I appreciated the fact that Hanover made sure to point out that it took money to leave the city and that those without were forced to stay behind.  It is not often acknowledged in the media, but class played a huge role in who lived and who died.

Once in New Orleans, the scooby gang, (yeah that's what I am calling them) meet up with former FBI agent,  Karen Black who wants help freeing a young girl from a loa who has take possession of her body. Thus begins the focus on a specific kind of rider - the loa. I really do wish that urban fantasy authors would step away from the association of people of colour with Voodoo.  It has been done to death and at this point has become so one dimensional that it is hard to retain interest.

We learn that there are various forms of loa and that they have a functioning society and rule separate from that of humans. In some cases loa are not the parasitic creatures that Jayné and the scoobies have always believed.  Loa and humans can work in mutuality with the person that they are riding and in the case of battle, Jayné comes to term with the idea that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Lost Girl, Season 2, Episode 13 Barometz. Trick. Pressure

Lauren is heading off on a road trip with Nadia and, naturally, Bo is rather angsty about it. Bo also learns that *gasp* the Ash is manipulative and cunning and has used her rescuing of Nadia to rebind Lauren to him! Upon my word, who could possibly have guessed that the Ash had an ulterior motive! And Bo is shocked that her trust has been so abused! And she can’t even figure out how he did it! Bo, you’re not smart enough to play fae politics

Bo goes to rant with Trick, but Trick actually has intelligent things to talk about – and lo, he actually wants to check out the meta-plot! Good gods, someone remembered the terrible fate stalking them! He wants to tell the future to see what disaster is looming. But to do that he needs a magical ring. Sadly, he’s already paid someone to steal his mystic bling – a shifter named Taeg who has gone and got greedy. He wants Bo to negotiate him down using her succubus woo-woo (does anyone remember she has succubus woo-woo? Yes she does, I know she hasn’t used them in a while)

Meanwhile we see a lady get an old fashioned and most well applauded divorce and then she turns into the guy she smacked – this would be Taeg. And when Bo meets him, he turns into her. Ok forgive me for the cattiness but Anna Silk isn’t really the actor to pull these body switch scenes off (no, really, it’s not great). Can we have Dyson playing Kenzi again instead? That was fun!

Taeg has his own plan – fake being Bo to rob Trick blind, but he gets succubused and Bo gets the ring anyway and he gets his *sigh* gold bricks. For gods’ sake the word is “INGOT”. Metal comes in ingots. Not bricks.

Trick goes to see an old girlfriend (and gives us some mental images that are going to stick) Wai Lin, a fae who has the power to acquire truth. She’s a herbalist who has another element of the seeing the future ritual. But her price is 4 freely given answers in return. During which we learn how Trick’s wife died, that he took skulls on holiday and Hale learns that Trick was the Blood King.

But before we leave Wai Lin extracts the truth from Dyson – he cannot love Ciara. Yay, relationship angst. Trick does his ritual, Bo tries to go after Ash – Trick says no, but Bo, being Bo, agrees in the “I can’t act to save my life so am clearly lying” kind of way and runs off with some books/scrolls. Oh Bo, something foolish is going to happen. Because Dyson and Hale really need to be worried about this while helping Trick in a ritual that could kill him, right?

Bo manages to get past the Ash’s defences using a lighter. No, really. Yes, I didn’t believe it either. She then breaks into his secret secure chest – using a rock. Yes, the Ash’s security can be compromised using a light and a rock. And she finds a stash of heads! And the Ash! And he’s pissed so decides to arm her so they can have a proper duel (really? Someone breaks in planning to kill you so you give her a weapon because she’s been too damn foolish to bring her own).  Oh and some sex-shaming. Sex-shaming a succubus, really? Bo suddenly learns fighting skills – apparently. This being the woman who was defeated by a human dominatrix carrying a short knife? Make up your mind! Either Bo can fight or she can’t.

It’s a pretty cool fight though. Even with Ash trying to convince her she’s Dark Fae really, it’s pretty decently done. Thankfully the banter part of the fight has Bo reveal to the Ash that she has been speaking to the Nain Rouge (about damn time) so they can finally talk.

Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins Book 2 of the Hunger Games

Catching Fire is the second book in The Hunger Games Trilogy. When we last left Katniss, the protagonist, she had been declared the winner of The Hunger Games along with Peeta, the other contestant of district 12. This win came at a great personal cost to her and was further complicated by the fact that on the return trip, she had to tell Peeta that she was unsure of her feelings for him.

Upon returning to district 12, Katniss settles into her new life. For the first time in her life she has the money not to have to worry about feeding her family; however, life in district 12 remains the same for everyone else. Her best friend Gale, now has to work 12 hours a day in the mines and so fills her time hunting for food to feed his family. For all that she gained being declared a winner, Katniss lost the closeness with Gale, a relationship that meant the world to her for five years. It turns out that having watched all of those tender kisses in the arena, Gale decided to declare his feelings for her with a kiss.

Katniss’ life quickly becomes even more complicated when she is visited by President Snow before starting on the victory tour with Peeta. He tells her that she become a symbol throughout the country thanks to her treatment of Rue and the fact that she threatened to commit suicide rather than engage in a battle to the death with Peeta. Snow tells her that the unity of the country is at stake, and on this tour she must convince the populace that her actions stemmed from being a silly girl caught up in love, rather than a desire to flout the power of the government.

For Katniss, it feels as though the very fate of Panem and the people that she loves rests upon her shoulders. She was only trying to survive and never meant to become a symbol to anyone. On the tour Peeta and Katniss agree to be friends and understand that for better or worse they are in this together. When they arrive at District 11 the home of Rue, Katniss thanks them for their gift and a man responds by whistling the very same tune that Rue whistled during the game. The crowd follows by saluting Katniss with the same salute she gave Rue before leaving her dead body. The government responds by shooting the man dead in front of Peeta and Katniss. As the violence increases Peeta proposes to Katniss in the hopes of having people believe the cover story of a couple in love but it is all for naught.

When Katniss returns to district 12 she meets two women who have escaped their district because of the violence due to open rebellion. They tell her that they are headed to District 13. Katiss is shocked because the government claims to have destroyed that district but the women claim that it is ruse and that in actuality the government reached a statement with District 13 because of their possession of nuclear weapons. Katniss begins to think of taking those she loves and escaping before things can get out of hand. Both Gale and Peeta agree to go with her but before she can actually formulate a plan to leave the government announces the quarter quell - a Hunger Game in which all former victors must participate in a special lottery and once again enter the ring.
There were many of the same themes present in Catching the Fire as there were in The Hunger Games. Many of the themes of oppression and classism are similar to what we saw in book 1 - and don’t really need repeating exactly but they are extremely well done and continue to be writ large.

But one of the new themes we started to see was hopelessness and inevitability. Especially in relation to oppression. Here Katniss has won the game. She is supposed to be as privileged as it is possible for a member of the districts to be. for the first time she doesn’t have to struggle to eat, for the first time she doesn’t have to fight to survive. She knows her sister is as safe as it’s possible to be and her mother has the resources to run the business she’s always wanted. Yet despite this, she’s still not safe. She has the constant pressure of the President’s threat looming over her, all her stability is an illusions, subject to being revoked on a whim. Her safety was an illusion - and one that inevitably lead her again back to the Games. And not just her, but the other Victors who, themselves, seemed to be the peak of their societies - none of them were safe.

Similar to that, we see the change of control in district 12. The people of district 12 had a comfortable rut - it was hard, people were oppressed and people starved, but compared to district 11 they were relatively comfortable. But that all changes this book with a new, more brutal, more sadistic overseer who enforces the rules brutally. Again, that safety, that comfort they had is illusory. It can be removed at any time and it shows oppressed groups, especially under an authoritarian regime, can never really be safe and can never relax or take their security for granted.

And that safety was universally illusory. While the districts are the most obviously threatened, even Cinna, a respected capital native and the former head of the games were both killed at the whim of President Snow. If there’s one thing this book made clear it is that no-one is safe and in an authoritarian society, conformity is a necessity.

We’re also introduced to a topic that is developed in the next book - the power of a symbol, a symbol of hope. It also shows how dangerous a symbol, an idea is to an authoritarian government - how hard it is to truly quash an idea or symbol. In a way it is reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984 where Newspeak was created to destroy the very language of defiance because so long as people can think it, there’s no way to truly quash it. And so we see here the power of that symbol, of the Mockingjay, inspiring people in all these districts based on nothing more than a handful of berries. And, in turn it shows the measures the authority has to go to to try to oppress it.

Looking at that system, we also see a point that you cannot win in a system that is rigged for you to lose. Katniss won the Hunger Games but still lives with the threat over her life. Gale works 12 hours every day in the mines to feed his family - but still needs hunting to supplement their diet. even doing everything they can, everything they should do, they still can’t win.

And, perhaps most poignant in this series, we are faced with the inevitable truth about revolution - people are going to die. Always. There will be losses and there will be sacrifices and there will be people killed unjustly. Just like the last book, we see more people die and the losses that stain this series continue - there is always a cost.

This series continues to be great books that examine oppression and classism as well as revolution through a very stark and sometimes even painful lens. It’s an extremely powerful and impactful series that is gripping from the very first word.

Monday, December 19, 2011

INTERVIEW with Gail Carriger: Fangs for the Fantasy podcast, episode 46

This week, to our fanpoodling glee, we interviewed Gail Carriger, author of that most wonderful of series, the Parasol Protectorate

We have reviewed her first 4 books – Soulless, Changeless, Blamless and Heartless and fandpoodled them muchly (we’re waiting eagerly for Timeless to be released next February).

So grab a cup of tea and tune in

Merging Names, Merging Faces in Urban Fantasy

Ever since Brangelina society has taken on the most irritating habit of combining names to represent couples.  What does this irritation have to do with urban fantasy you wonder?  Well, this trend has become quite popular in urban fantasy as well.

I give you:
Ian Somerhalder (Damon)


Nina Dobrev (Elena)




Taylor Lautner (Jacob)


Kristen Stewart (Bella)




Nina Dobrev (Elena)


Paul Wesley (Stefan)




Review: Kiss of the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon Book 4 of the Dark Hunter Series

Wulf is cursed. Despite being an ancient Viking of massive size and incredible fighting prowess, anyone who sees him forgets him within 5 minutes. He can never have a friend and he is a stranger to everyone – even if he sees them every day. The only people exempt from this curse are his fellow Dark Hunters, who he can’t be around, his blood family – of which there’s only one left, his enemies – and one woman. Cassandra.

Except Cassandra is an Apollite. Doomed to die on her 27th birthday unless she feeds on the souls of humans, becoming a Daimon and the very enemy Wulf fights to destroy. More, Cassandra is the last direct descendent of Apollo and enthused with his life essence. When her line dies, so too does Apollo – and so too does the sun itself. When she dies, everything dies.

And the Daimons are trying to kill her. Not just Daimons but Spathi, ancient warriors pledged to the goddess of destruction, far more deadly than anything the Dark Hunters have faced before.

Wulf has to keep Cassandra alive as their relationship grows deeper and as she becomes pregnant. Then both of them are faced with the harsh truth that, as a 26 year old Apollite, she only has months to live. Faced with this, Wulf gets a far greater insight into the pain the Apollites suffer and how the seemingly awful choice to kill humans so you can live seems so much more tempting when its your own loved one facing the inevitable death.

Reading this book is like watching a fascinating film, but you can’t see the screen because there’s a couple shagging in front of the screen. Great world, great setting, potentially fascinating setting – aaaand lots and lots of pages of bumping and grinding.

The sex isn’t as Ikea as Anita Blake, as dull as Vampire Huntress or as ridiculous as the Black Dagger Brotherhood, but it takes a special prize for the Iridescent Indigo writing. Yes, this prose is so purple that special eye protection may be needed (“He tasted of beer and wild, untamed masculinity!”). And this makes the scenes long, very very long. Extremely horribly long. Also, sorry but I have to quote this line:

“I need to go clean up”
He didn’t release her. “I don’t want you to.”
She cocked her head at him in confusion.
“I like the sight of my seed on you, Cassandra,” he said raggedly in her ear. “My scent on your skin.”

Yes, we have Anita Fug!

It doesn’t help that we have the standard “oh I’ve just seen you and now I can’t stop thinking about your hot, luscious loveliness” that is so very common in this series – I really dislike the trope, it’s kind of lazy and seems to stand in rather than developing an actual relationship.

Review of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

This series has been recommended to us several times, but to be honest, I was reluctant to read it because it is Sci-Fi and Y.A.  Technically, Fangs for the Fantasy is primarily focused on urban fantasy, and so I used that as my excuse to avoid this series.  After receiving what amounts to the umpteenth recommendation, I finally broke down to read this book, firm in the belief that it cold never live up to all the hype that it has received from the fangs community and the blogosphere.  Well folks, I was wrong.  This book was so amazing that I read it in one sitting, pausing only to eat and go to the bathroom.  It is a rare thing for any novel to captivate me this way, let alone a Y.A. novel.

The novel takes place in a future earth in a country called Panem, which essentially consists of what we would consider to be North America.  Panem is divided into 13 different districts, and a capitol which is ruled by an extremely authoritarian government.  Each year the Capitol, hosts a tournament called The Hunger Games, to punish the districts for an earlier rebellion.  Each district must surrender one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18.  They are placed into a special arena, where they not only must survive the elements, but each other. All contestants are drawn by lottery.

The two contestants chosen from district 12 Primrose Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. When Primrose is chosen, her sister Katniss cannot bear the idea of Primrose in the games, and she volunteers to go in her stead.  Katniss has been the main provider for her mother and her sister since her father's death in the mines.  Each year she puts more than one entry into The Hunger Games lottery, because it allows her family the necessary grain that they need to survive the year.  She supplements their food by hunting illegally, and trading the meat that her family does not consume for the basic necessities of life.  Peeta is the bakers son, and though he has never really truly known hunger, he has never known prosperity.  Life in district 12 is hard, and it is not uncommon for people to die of hunger, accidents in the mine, or disease.  Peeta is brought to Katniss' attention one day when he risks a beating to give her two loaves of bread to prevent her from starving.  Though she is grateful, she can never let go of the feeling of owing him.

Interview Today with Gail Carriger

Today on the Fangs for the Fantasy Podcast, we are gleeful to announce that we'll be interviewing Gail Carriger, author of the most excellent Parasol Protectorate series

The show begins at 6:00pm EST, 11pm GMT

Please join us on this link

Come and join us in the fanpoodling

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Being Human U.K. Season One, Episode Six: Bad Moon Rising

This episode begins with a flashback. George is working as a bus boy in a restaurant in which Seth and the other vampires happen to be having a bite to eat.  When he clears their table, they recognize him for exactly what he is.  When George takes the garbage outside, the vampires attack him in the alley. Mitchell comes out of the shadows and stops the vampires before they can beat George to death.  To convince them to stop, he tells them that killing George is a risk, because they have already been seen. When George asks why they were going to kill him, Mitchell answers, "people like us can recognize people like you".   Mitchell then informs George that he is going to have to leave, and George replies, "I can't keep, I've lost everything. I have had this for six months and now there are vampires. So I have to leave again and then what?"

In the present day day, George and Annie rush Mitchell to the emergency room   As they hook him up the monitors, the hospital staff realize that they cannot get a reading. Nina meets George in the hospital halls and wants to know what is going on. She tells him that she can't do this anymore.

In the hospital room, Mitchell is unconscious and Annie and George are watching over him.  George realizes that they have to get Mitchell out there, because he is raising too many questions, and because he is healing impossibly fast. The staff are confused with the way his heartbeat does not seem to want to register no matter which machine they use. Though his wound is healing quickly, and he is receiving copious amounts of blood, Annie does not understand why Mitchell is still unconscious. George changes the subject, and asks why Annie did not go through her door, because if he had the chance to be free from his curse he would take it, but Annie simply replies that she couldn't leave Mitchell like this.  They decide to take turns watching over Mitchell and Annie zips back home.

At the house she realizes that her door has disappeared.  As she wonders what to do now, a weird sensation touches her.

Back at the hospital, a priest enters Mitchell's room.  George confronts the priest and learns that the vicar had plans to pray over Mitchell, realizing that this would not be a good idea, George tells him that Mitchell is complicated and that he is Jewish.  The priest asks if he would like to engage in some silent complication, because he has seen Yentl and knows that Jewish people pray. Mitchell starts to stir in the hospital bed and he suddenly wakes and tells George that the vampires are coming.  When he starts making plans to move Mitchell, the vicar tells him that Mitchell should not be moved and that they should just call security.  When George resists, the vicar offers to talk to the vampires, completely unaware of what he is getting into.  They go into the hall and George grabs his star of David and tells the vicar to say something religious.  When the vicar stumbles, George suggests he say a passage from his most recent sermon. Later in the bathroom the vicar throws up.

In the morning, George brings Josie in to watch over Mitchell. When Mitchell wakes, he tells her that his body cannot make new blood.  Josie says, "George told me what happened. I don't understand, I thought you were vampire employee of the month.  My condition let's just say it wouldn't be worth me starting any new books.  In fact think of it like organ donation."  Mitchell responds, "Every time I do this, the gap between me and humanity gets worse. You saved me once so let me save you to."  Josie rejects his offer, saying that she is tired, but is worried about what will happen to him and then she gets into bed and cuddles Mitchell as they chat about how they first met.

In the cafeteria, attempting to get a coffee, the woman at the counter says to George, "do you want to see my tits little doggie?"  He turns and sees Herrick sitting by himself at a table.  Herrick tells George "that this is Darwinism and not a thing can stop it, not you or your friendly ghost.  I will chase you to end of the earth. You shouldn't have done for him." They begin a pushing match, and George pushes Herrick onto a table choking him.  Herrick taunts him saying you can take me now, you can end this whole thing.  You know your whole problem George, you're just a human."

In his hospital room, Mitchell is sitting up crying because Josie has died. Back at the house, Mitchell tells George and Annie that the hospital was all to happy to release him.  Annie tries to comfort him by saying that he does not need to worry about her, because Herrick cannot hurt her, but Mitchell tells her that he can because she is tied to the house and to him and George.  All Herrick needs to do is to kill Mitchell and George, and burn the house to the ground and Annie will cease to exist. Annie says "it won't come to that, because we will stop him.  You will get better and we will look after each other."

Grimm, Season 1, Episode 7: Let Your Hair Down

The enchantress was so hard-hearted she banished the poor girl to the wilderness, where she had to live in a miserable, wretched state.

So we start with 2 people doing that most incomprehensible of activities – hiking. And kissing in the woods and planning to skinny dip in the lake (leeches people!) when they run across an organic farmer! An organic farmer who is growing interesting plants and is Most Displeased with their presence. Before he can shoot them, he’s attacked and killed by something. His neck broken and a long strand of hair on his body.

In comes Nick and Hank to watch the organic farm be dismantled. All the drug grower’s supplies have been stolen but not his drugs and apparently it’s one in a string of murders.  Nick sees someone and goes off chasing a feral woman – but he has to stop to look dramatic at her monster face, so she gets away.

Nick and Hank get to deal with the dead man’s less than pleasant relatives who want to seek their own revenge – and have fixated on the hikers, kidnapping one of them and planning to torture a confession out of him.

Meanwhile the DNA on the hair comes back linking it to a girl, Holly, who went missing 9 years ago at the age of 7.

And wow Eddie loves his Christmas decorations. Wow, even my Grinch side is impressed. Yes, Eddie rocks. Nick has a theory, Holly as a Blutbaden, raised by adopted parents, ran away at 7 and has been living in the woods ever since, living on her instincts. Grimmopedia Eddie says it’s possible and Nick wants them to go out into the woods to look for her. Poor Eddie.