Saturday, January 28, 2012

Eternal Law, Season 1, Episode 4

So we have another case and this time our angelic lawyers are playing prosecution.

And the person they’re prosecuting? Gemma, a woman whose won was murdered and who woke up in the middle of the night to find a man who was stalking her in her home – a man she then stabbed.
Oh dear, please gods don’t try to draw parallels with actual British cases here or my head may explode and I may have to force everyone to listen to me rant and rave about terrible legal reporting. No-one needs to see that, it’s not pretty.

One thing I do see touched on at least partially well is the demonising of lawyers for the cases they have to represent. Again, trying to avoid my ranting, but if lawyers only represent “nice” people and refuse to act against people who are “nice” then our legal system would very rapidly be a very very messy and useless institution. (And that’s aside from the fact that our “nice” definition is, inevitably in our prejudiced world, skewed towards the most privileged folks in society – straight, white, upper class).

Okay, enough of my rantings and on with the show!

Zak is hassled by the press for his prosecution – causing much angst and grief

Tom is torn over whether they’re doing the right thing and his sympathy for Gemma, over what she’s been to as a mother losing her son, over Gemma’s suicidal thoughts and attempts. Especially when Richard raises the idea that maybe the man she killed was the one who killed her son.

And, of course, Richard the fallen angel is there to undermine him and sew more seeds of doubt. And Richard does make a damn good case, I have to say. It’s very good to see a tempting infernal argument that is actually well done and genuinely appealing.

There follows some intriguing detective work and the truth is reveaaaaled. We have Zak doing some lovely catharsis – and Tom doing some unwise revelations which has tragic results.

And the doomsday clock started ticking. I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is not a good sign

I’m not quite sure on the premise here. Yes we can play god works in mysterious ways (or Mr. Mountjoy) but to send Angels down to do his bidding but then leave the angels guessing as to what that bidding actually is strikes me as… inefficient.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Review of Dayhunter by Jocelynn Drake Book 2 of The Dark Days Series

Now that it is absolutely clear that the naturi intend to break the seal and release their queen, Mira is placed into a situation in which she must choose who to be loyal to. If that were not enough, the threat of  an inter species war looms over head.  Mira is being manipulated from all sides.  The fact that she was made a first blood by three different vampires means that at any time, the ancients may use her for their own purposes.  Each of the ancients has a different plan of attack, which makes Mira the ultimate pawn.

As in Nightwalker, Mira continues to suffer from PTSD.  Since this book was far more action packed however, there was less time for Mira to have any kind of self reflection.  It would seem to me that because she kept having to deal with the group that originally threatened her life and caused the PTSD that should have resulted in an increase of her PTSD response, rather than a reduction. In many ways, it felt like Mira was too busy to be triggered.

The Dark Days series continues to travel swiftly from location to location, and Drake takes care to give us a strong sense of each location with extremely will written descriptive language.  From the smell of the air in Crete, to the food in Venice, Drake gives the reader a rich sense of culture, while reminding us that we are dealing with creatures who have experienced these locations and watched them change over centuries. 

Hollow Characters of Colour on Lost Girl

Okay, sit for a moment, folks and let us consider the side characters of Lost Girl. What can you tell me about them?

Well, Kenzi. Kenzi’s awesome. We’ve met her aunt steeped in old Russian folklore, and we know she had problems with her mother and ran away from home.  We know she had to hustle and run cons to get by. We know she maintains contact with numerous dubious figures from her time living on the streets. Now she even has a boyfriend who she is on tour with, a boyfriend she has had a long history with and knew in childhood. While she is light and frivolous, we know a lot about her history, goals and desires.

Dyson? well we’ve seen Dyson’s story back and forth in many a flashbacks. he’s been a warrior for an ancient king, he’s lost his best friend (and loved his best friend’s wife), considered making deals with the Norns, and has an ongoing relationship and history with Ciara. While he is very taciturn, we know quite a lot about his history, goals and desires. Including the fact that his junk can cure cancer (yes, Kenzi is awesome)

Trick? oh there’s so much to know about Trick. He’s clever and wise and has a long history as the blood king. We know about his wife who died tragically, and we know he used his great power to stop the fae fighting amongst themselves. While he is ever a mystery figure, we know quite a lot about his history, goals and desires.

Lauren? We know about her girlfriend, Nadia and her driving passion to free her from her coma. We know how she fell into the Ash’s hands after Nadia was cursed - and we know why and how Nadia was cursed. We know that she was a doctor doing research in Congo - we know quite a lot about her history, goals and desires.

Hale? We know... we know... hmmm... we know...? Well, we know he comes from an aristocratic family - but only because it was briefly useful to Bo & Co for one episode (even more ironically, even this revelation was to coerce him into doing something he didn’t want for the sake of the rest of the cast). And in the very same episode, we learned that he wanted to avoid Fae politics (and, therefore, becoming a character of note) so became a police officer. Other than that? Well we know he’s a Siren? yes, that basic bit of knowledge we know about every fae within 5 minutes of meeting them.

And that’s pretty much it.-- he’s been part of the show since the pilot,  and he’s still a completely empty character. It’s not even a mystery - mystery would imply that there is something hidden we want to know - I don’t think any of the other characters (or the writers) even give a damn. He’s just a hollow character. He only shows up when he is needed, his only actions are to serve the rest of the cast. We know nothing about his history, goals and desires. I don’t even know if he has any

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: Unholy Embrace by Neil Benson

Frank is an architect and an artist who sees the most beautiful woman he has ever seen in a club one night. And from then on his world is completely changed by this beautiful, powerful, mysterious and alluring vampire.

Nessa has lived for centuries and travelled across Europe to the United States from her native Hungary. She has watched and participated a great deal of history, she has met great men, she has appreciated art and earned fortunes, she has loved and she has lost – but she has always lived on the very fringed of mortal society. Constantly having to reinvent herself when she grows too old, never getting too close to mortals for fear of them discovering her secret. It has been a long life, a fascinating life – but a lonely one.

But now it is one she shares with Frank as love blooms most unexpectedly. Now she must learn to live with a mortal and share her life she has been used to controlling and he has to learn to love a woman that much more powerful and wise than him. And on top of that, Nessa’s old enemy still stalks all she loves.

And there is a demon in the city. A demon and its minions that are killing people and that the mortals cannot possibly stop. Nessa is driven to hunt it and defeat it for the sake of humanity – but the demon turns its eyes on Frank in retaliation

On the whole I appreciated several unique elements of this book. I liked its style though that could be a personal preference. The book gives me a strong sense that it was being read aloud to me rather than written. It was wonderfully crafted and showed a definite writing prowess that I imagine is hard to imitate. It managed to make the characters both well and intimately described yet still distant and managed to include large amounts of information without the usual convoluted info-dumping sense we know and loathe. It actually reminded me a great deal of Interview with a Vampire, with that sense of a story being recounted rather than read as it happened but managed to do so with a shifting point of view as well.

Dear Ian Somerhalder Missing Black People Are More Important Than Cats

Anyone following Ian Somerhalder on twitter will quickly discover that he has a passion for animals and the environment.  He is constantly tweeting to raise awareness or to encourage funding for various groups that deal with either the environment or animals.  Obviously, these are extremely necessary and worthy causes.  In fact most would be hard pressed to see where this kind of activism falls short.

Somerhadler recently linked to a cat slaying in Arkansas.
This past week, The Washington Post’s Marc Fisher attacked this country’s great media divide. He embedded with South Carolinians of differing political viewpoints and tracked their divergent news diets. “There’s more campaign news and commentary out there than ever before,” writes Fisher, “but more and more citizens are tucking themselves inside information silos where they see mainly what they already agree with.”

For further evidence of this phenomenon, try pumping “liberal dead cat arkansas” into Google News. Those search terms fetch a chilling and apparently partisan story from Russellville, Ark. The skinny is this: Jacob Burris, the campaign manager for Arkansas Democratic congressional candidate Ken Aden, found his family’s cat slain in front of his house, the word “liberal” painted on its dead body. (source)
Obviously this crime is heinous and represents a break of trust between humanity and animals.  I was in complete agreement with Somerhalder's desire to raise awareness until I read the following:

At this moment, my blood began to boil.  He expects police officers to seriously investigate this matter, and then even went as far as to promise to start his own investigation, if they didn't follow through.  Gee, whatever could be wrong with Ian dedicating himself to hunting down a cat murderer because of police neglect?  Well, I will tell you what the problem is. At this moment, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of missing people of color whom the police in their infinite wisdom have not bothered to investigate. When a White child goes missing, the amber alert flashes, and the media reports on the missing child repeatedly.  The blonder and prettier the child, the more likely that the alarm bell will ring.  Obviously, these categories specifically exclude children and women of colour.

Cover Snark: Give me down to there, hair, shoulder length or longer

Hair is supposedly a woman’s crowing glory and so these covers have chosen to highlight this and of course since we can only focus on one part of a woman’s body at a time, there is no need to focus on her face.  It’s like a shampoo commercial coming to a book cover. I bet if they could find a way to include copious amounts of moaning, culminating in and orgasmic moment they would. (Please note, book designers. Do not try to incorporate moaning in Urban Fantasy book covers. Please please do not).

It’s, sadly, not the first time we’ve seen it - the deliberate focus on just one or two body parts is prevalent in Urban Fantasy - and the face is never the focus. With the face covered (or absent from the cover) we lose a lot of the personality of the protagonist - there are few things more objectifying than leaving a person faceless.

 And of course, all this glorious flowing locks? Is all long and straight with nary a kink or curl or frizz in sight.  I suppose that it’s a good thing that urban fantasy has a habit of erasing women of colour because there would be no way that these covers could celebrate long Euro-centric hair in this fashion. And we all know how important it is to remind women of colour that they can never fit the idealized version of femininity without that long shiny hair. What better way is there to enforce the hegemonic role White female protagonists play in urban fantasy than to celebrate the symbol of White womanhood - long flowing shiny hair.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Review of Watcher by Roh Morgon Book 1 of The Chosen

Watcher is a typical vampire paranormal romance book.  As I have said on several occasions, paranormal romance is not a genre that I am fond of, so please keep that in mind when reading this review. Watcher is the first person account of Sunny Martin, and unfortunately the voice that this novel is written in makes it difficult to enjoy for the first few hundred pages.  The novel itself feels tedious, even as we learn that Sunny became one of the Chosen against her will, and still watches over her human daughter and granddaughter.  Nicholas, her lover, expounds upon his feelings about her metamorphosis by writing in his journal:
Her story of her Change, of her rape into our way of life, enraged me to the point that I cold scarcely maintain my composure.  I did not want to frighten her with the monster that I can become, and that fear helped me stay in control. (pg89)
I completely understand why Morgon made this analogy, but that does not make it anymore acceptable.  Nothing is like rape but rape, and using this term to describe supernatural events that would never be possible in the real world, diminishes the harm done to rape victims.

The story shifts back and forth between Sunny -- who desperately wants to maintain her human side and independence, and Nicholas, a Chosen (read: vampire) of over 500 years -- who wants nothing more than to bond with her and make her his mate.  Sunny is originally drawn in because Nicholas is the very first of her kind that she has met, since being abandoned by her maker. Over the course of two months, they meet and fall in love.  I have a problem with the time length.  At best, two months equals a pretty heavy infatuation and even lust, but it most certainly does not equal love.  We are never even really given a reason for the basis of their enthrallment, which while irritating -- is extremely typical for paranormal romance.

Review of Being Human U.S. Season Two, Episode Two: Do You Really Want to Hurt Me

When we last left the roommates,  Hegemon had shot Josh, just as Nora had begun her first shift.  Sally was terrified after having a nightmare in which a creature came through a door and enveloped her, and Aidan was digging mother's daughter Serene out of her grave.

Nora saved Josh from Hegemon by killing him, as Josh was not far enough through his change to defend himself.  When she awakens the next day, naked in a pile of leaves, she is clearly confused and right out of it as to be expected.  Nora spends much of this time in a daze, at one point even asking Josh if she can have a mocha, because chocolate is harmful to dogs.  Josh attempts to assure her that she is still human.  The guilt of turning Nora is clearly plaguing Josh, and so he tells her that he is going to medical school to find a cure for her.  She does not believe that this is possible, but is comforted when she learns that Josh wants to be with her not because they are both monsters now, but because he is really and truly happy with her. 

Josh vacillates from wanting to shelter Nora from the realities of life and an urge to protect and save her.  This of course seems sweet. Josh makes a point of asking whether or not she remembers what happened during her change, not ascertain if she has an unresolved issues, but to find out whether or not Nora remembers killing Hegemon. In the end Josh decides that Nora is better off not knowing.  Thankfully, Nora experiences flash backs of what happened and she tells Nora that she wants to know what she is capable of.  Josh could have asked her without revealing her role in the death of Hegemon how much she wanted to know about her actions and capabilities but instead he attempted to take the decision from her, and that is not how one acts with an equal.

Sally meets up with Stevie and his friends Dylan and Boner. Being teenage boys she quickly discovers that she does not have much in common with them.  Finally Dylan and Boner suggest that they go raging though, Stevie makes it clear that he is against this several times.  At a party, Sally learns that raging is a ghost taking over someone's body and she quickly jumps at the chance after a few false starts.  For the fist time since dying, Sally experiences what it is to feel again and eat again.  

As things escalate, Stevie again tries to warn that this is not a good idea but Sally is too overcome to heed his warnings.  Interestingly enough, when Dylan starts to force himself on Sally, it is only then that it occurs to her that this is not her body.  The idea that consent should only become an issue when force is applied is problematic as hell.  Consent should have been in her mind from the moment it was suggested that they take over bodies for their own pleasure.  It is left to Stevie to come in and save Sally, and the process he destroys Dylan's ghost. The next day Sally is pale and feeling like she has the flu and all she can think about is the disappearance of Dylan and not the fact that she committed a huge wrong against someone by taking her body, for her pleasure in the first place.  I don't like the fact that the writers refused to discuss Sally's complicity in this at all.

Wednesday Reboot: Blood and Chocolate

Blood and Chocolate was released in 2007 and stars Agnes Bruckner, Hugh Dancy and Olivier Martinez.  The movie is supposedly based upon a book by the same name written by  Annette Curtis Klause.  Having never read the book, I cannot comment on how closely the book follows the movie.

The film opens in the U.S. with Vivian being the only member of her family who survives and attack by hunters.  It shifts to modern day Bucharest, Romania where the now young adult Vivian is living with her aunt Astrid.   Vivian is a member of a pack of ancient werewolves, who have a long history of malice against humans. Gabriel the leader of the pack believes that Vivian is the prophesied one, the one that will bring great change to their world, and as such he plans to take her for his wife for seven years - the length of time that the alpha wolf mates.

Enter Aiden, a graphic artist who is enchanted with Vivian from the first moment that he sees her.  Conveniently he is researching werewolf lore and Vivian just happens to know so much about it.  Vivian does warn him that her family will not approve of their match, but he continues to chase after her.  Nothing like a little Romeo and Juliet.

Despite the fact that this story is largely based around a youth romance, it does not fall prey to a lot of angst, though the love relationship between Aiden and Vivian develops too fast for me to believe that it is love rather than infatuation.  There is enormous social pressure of Vivian to submit to the expectations of her and she is highly resistant. When challenged by her cousin Rafe, she makes it clear that she will not dance for Gabriel and that she does not think that it is an honour to be chosen and discarded at will. However, it is only when Aiden clearly becomes targeted by the pack, that she makes a complete separation and chooses love over them.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Review: Unleash the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon, book 2 of the Were-Hunter Series

Wren has had a hard past. As a hybrid white tiger/snow leopard katagari, he was reviled by both parents and his greater family as deformed or lesser. It scarred his childhood – and lead to his parents killing each other and him fleeing into the night

Now a barely tolerated inhabitant of the Sanctuary in New Orleans, he busses tables and hides from his family that would kill him should he ever move his home from beneath the roof. But the bears of the Sanctuary don’t trust him – they see him as unstable, dangerous and barely able to integrate with humanity. And more, Nicolette, the leader of the bears, has her own agenda.

And then there’s Marguerite. Or Maggie as she wish people would call her if they didn’t all find that too common. The daughter of a senator, she has the blueist of blue blood and a strict upbringing ordering her never ever to embarrass her senatorial father. She has friends she doesn’t especially care for, she dresses as she’s told, she attends the university she’s told, studies what she’s told, dates who she’s told always backed by her father’s shaming and bullying should she ever deviate from his path.

When they meet, it’s somewhat explosive. And their relationship only gets more rocky when to save Wren’s life from his family’s plotting, they’re forced to travel through time to solve a decades old murder mystery, all with shapeshifting assassins dogging their heels.

I have the same standard complaint I have with every Sherrilyn Kenyon book, and yes, your mileage may certainly vary. However, two complete strangers in a crowded bar see each other and suddenly she has never seen anyone so hot and luscious and sexy and amazing, while he, taciturn to the point of being mute, has never before seen a woman who touches his heart/soul/throbbing penis like this and, yes cupid has his bow at the ready for twu luv has arrived (he’s upgrading to a machine gun).

What bothers me about this is there’s never a reason why they fall in love. Indeed, I’m not even sure if they fall in love with each other because they know nothing about each other except their physical appearance and (shortly thereafter) their prowess in bed. Before we know it they’re pledging eternal devotion, risking their lives for each other etc etc and they may as well be doing it for a stranger. Well, a sexy stranger who’s really good in bed.

Once Upon a Time, Season 1, Episode 10: 7:15 AM

This week we’re focusing on her Dampness, Mary Margaret (that would be Snow White) the Soggiest of them all. And she starts by rushing around making goo-goo eyes at David (Prince James) while he goes to his wife. Apparently Mary Margaret gets up early to go to the coffee shop every morning so she can bump into him when he gets coffee for himself and his wife. Uh-huh, and then reveals she knows his entire schedule. As Emma rightly points out, this is more than a little stalkery.

Mary Margaret takes to rescuing stray birds, I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and assume she has a good heart and it’s not because she is desperate to see David/James at the Animal Shelter. The bird however forms monogamous relationships and oh how sad, if she doesn’t get it back to its flock it’ll be all alone (yeah, that metaphor is subtle, reallllly subtle) which is, of course, oh-so-sad (Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the soggiest of them all?). but it does give her an excuse to go cross country bird watching during a storm to be rescued by David (awwwww… damn it, Snow White isn’t this Spunky)

They end up being stranded in a lonely wood cabin in the woods where they can huddle together in front of romantic firelight to keep warm and, of course, they have to get dry (oh-aye, Mary Margaret, crafty lady) Soppy lovey-doveyness soon follows, but Mary Margaret’s morals get in the way. There’s much back and forth but eventually we get the oh-so-romantic kiss.

Thank gods we go to fairy tale land where Snow White actually kicks arse and would only stalk a guy because she intends to hold him at sword point and steal all his possessions and would regard little lost birdies as lunch. Unfortunately fairy tale Snow White has the same problem – getting her prince charming stuck in her head, but Red Riding Hood has a solution for that – to get Prince James out of her head. It involves visiting a man who grants unholy requests though. Of course, Rumplestiltskin. He gives her a potion to forget Prince James in exchange for some of her hair – bad bad BAD idea. Oh so bad idea.

Meanwhile, Prince James is going through similar heartache (though his not!dad has an interesting take of noblesse oblige that would almost make sense if it weren’t for the whole “kidnapped fake son” thing)and sends an angsty love letter to Snow White urging him to come to her for some pre-marital nookie… err, so they can run off together as Twu Luvs. She disguises herself as someone bringing flowers from the kingdom of Midas to sneak in. Seriously, flowers? Kingy can turn anything to gold with a touch and they believe he’d send flowers? They could at least be golden flowers. But she does get arrested while distracted mooning over dear James (well, those leather trousers…)

Lost Girl Season Two, Episode 14: Midnight Lamp

Midnight Lamp kicks off the second half of season two and I must say, it really didn't feel worth the wait.  With Kenzi off on tour with her new boyfriend, there was some real zing missing.  For me, Kenzi and her antics are the heart of the show.

The Ashe has asked Bo to be his champion, and her first task is to find a genie for him, because he needs some questions answered.  They have agreed to work together, because the future of the fae is at risk, and because The Ashe has agreed to revisit Lauren's enslavement once all of the ongoing issues have been resolved.

The Ashe sends her to go and see Ryan Lambert, who incidentally, is the same man who crashed Bo's birthday party to give her a bracelet from an admirer. It turns out that Ryan was that admirer, quel surprise. He is slightly miffed when Bo asks him for a lamp to catch a genie, because she did not contact him to say thank you for the bracelet, but he gives hands her music box, which is a supposed updated lamp and charges it to The Ashe's account.

Dyson is moping at the bar, because he realizes that he admitted to not being able to love, instead of not loving Ciara.  He heads off to see the norn, in the belief that she took more than he had agreed to.  It seems that since wolves mate for life, and he had bonded to Bo, that he no longer has the ability to love anyone.  Okay, more angst and also, how did he not know this before he made this deal?  I very distinctly remember him telling Bo that wolves mate for life.

Bo and Ryan end up getting stuck in the music box with the genie.  Nothing ever works as planned I suppose.  Enter Hale to use his siren magical negro abilities, long enough to get into contact with Bo, to get the skinny on what is going on.  Are they ever going to give Hale something to do, other than to service Bo and Dyson's needs?  Even Kenzi got a love interest, but it seems that Hale, though he is fae royalty, isn't worthy of more than being there for the purposes of inclusion cookies. I wonder if Hale is saving up his Black sidekick points?

Bo finally remembers that Ryan mentioned that all she had to do was mark Sadie, in order to control her, and so B gives Sadie a kiss on the neck, thus marking her with her lipstick.  Ryan has the genie tunnel down and release her power in order to free them from the lamp.  Once all three are out, Bo delivers the genie to The Ashe, and leaves after forcing him to promise to release Sadie, once he is through with her, 'cause she is not down with slavery.  Oooh isn't that sweet.

When Bo and Ryan return to his place, he tells her that this is the best time that he has had in a decade, and leaves it open for her to call him.  This of course is after asking personal questions about what happens to her power when she masturbates.  Umm yeah, why is she even remotely attracted to this guy again?  They of course end up in bed, and when the sex is over, Ryan admits to being dark fae.  This concerns Bo because she has not had many positive experiences with the dark fae. Ryan smooths it all over by telling her that since she is not aligned, it should be no problem and they kiss.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fangs for the Fantasy podcast, episode 49

This week we looked at Secret Circle, Vampire Diaries, and the brand new season of Being Human (US)

We discussed our book of the week: Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler

We also considered Tokenism, magrinalised portrayals in homogenous areas and the eternal question of tokenism

Review of Sanctuary Season Three

Season Three opens with the continuation of the Big Bertha/ Kali storyline.  As I mentioned in my review of season two, I am not at all pleased with the appropriation of the Hindu religion for the purposes of a plot point.  Season three had 20 episodes and is the longest season to date.  Much of this season is dedicated to the introduction to Hollow Earth - a large city in the center of earth inhabited by an extremely technologically advanced race.

The new big bad this season is Adam Worth who might recognize and Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I suppose the best way to describe him is as the sixth wheel to the big five.  Worth was originally believed to be killed by Magnus and Druitt. If you have been following this series from the beginning, you will note that with the introduction of Worth we now have two characters who neurologically atypical and both of them are violent and criminals.  The fact that disability only appears in a manner that is dangerous is absolutely ableist.  Despite the common myth of the violent neurologically atypical person, the truth of the matter is that they are far more likely to be a danger to themselves than another person.  They could have kept the Dr. Jekyll/Mr.Hyde phenomenon as a product of an experiment gone wrong but instead they chose to construct him as unstable due to his mental functions.

A lot of this story continues to revolve around Will and Magnus but in rare moments we begin to see a bit more of Kate.  The problem is that a lot of time is spent reminding us that Kate has a bad girl past.  In Bank Job, the third episode of this season, Kate stages a fake bank robbery to cover for the teams attempt to secure an immortal hiding in the bank. It is constantly framed that Kate is reforming her ways thanks to her association with Magnus.  She is now on the path to good under Magnus' tutelage which of course fulfills the trope of Magnus as great earth mother who saves abnormals and brown people.

Review of Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler: Book One of the Jane True Series

When I finished reading this book, the one word that went through my mind was wow.  The protagonist of this story is Jane True and she is half human and half selkie.  Jane is unaware of her true parentage but knows that for some reason she feels driven to swim regardless of the weather and does not feel cold at all.  She lives in Rockabill, a small town in Maine.  Jane is decidedly haunted because her mother left when she was only six years old and her first love drowned in an accident that she believes is her own fault.  Jane learns the true side of her nature when the little town of Rockabill is turned upside down by several supernatural murders.

Peelers world is so incredibly large and includes just about every single mystical creature that you can think of.  Each one of these creatures however, is slightly altered from the original mythos surrounding them.  Vampires for instance still need blood to survive, but they can function during the day, and genies do have something for you to rub, but it most certainly is not their lamp. Throughout Tempest Rising we learn than just about every creature that humans have ever written about is alive.

Though Jane has trepidations about the world that she is introduced to, she embraces it with vigor, in large part due to her burgeoning relationship with Ryu.  Though the romance between them is a significant factor in the story, it is not the reason for the story.  One of the things I love about this relationship is that Jane does not feel shame over her sexuality and engages freely.  I also love the fact that Peeler made sure that Ryu and Jane engaged in safe sex.  Ryu promises Jane that he cannot get her pregnant and that he does not carry disease but despite his reassurances, Jane demands that Ryu wear a condom much to his consternation each time.  The explicit discussion of safe sex is something that is decidedly absent from this genre and the fact that Peeler chose to include it really spoke volumes to me.  Jane always took time to think about her safety, despite her lust and this is a message that young women everywhere needs to hear.

At the very beginning of the book we are introduced to a lesbian couple.  They own the bookstore where Jane works and act as her friends, as well as her boss.  I really wish this representation had been better.

Review of Underworld Awakening

I suspect longtime fans of this series will agree that paying to see this movie was not money well spent.  Though they left the ending with opening for a fifth movie in the series, it should be clear to all by now that it is time for the beautiful Kate Beckinsale to put her skin tight suit and guns to rest.  There is no saving this series.
The movie begins with hackneyed scenes of the purges and swiftly switches to Selene awakening from a cryogenic sleep. Of course, her top concern is the whereabouts of Michael Corvinus.  What she does not know is that while she slept, twelve years have passed and the world has changed somewhat.  I only say somewhat because the vampires are still engaged in the centuries long war with the lycans, the only thing that is different is the awareness of humans to the ongoing struggle.  Humans see vampirism as a form of disease to be eradicated.  Vampires have been forced to give up their mansions and move underground; however, the setting is in style with what we have become used to for vampires in this genre.

Twelve years is not long enough for the vampires to embraced Selene and Thomas the current head of the coven is sure to remind Selene that not only has she aligned herself with the lycans through her relationship with Michael, she is personally responsible for the deaths of two coven leaders.  It's Thomas' belief that the vampires should lay low because the lycan uprising resulted in their near extinction, whereas; his son David greatly admires Selene and wants to fight.   

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Grimm, Season 1, Episode 9: Of Mouse and Man

So, we begin with a man being stabbed through the neck with a screwdriver in a car park. Well, the series is getting a tad more graphic, isn’t it? The body was disposed in a dumpster and found by the unfortunate dustman. In comes the Grimm team! Nick, Hank and Sergeant Wu!

Go go basic policework! Finds that he had a criminal record that suggests he was a violent bully and generally not very pleasant person, and tracks down where he was murdered. More policing shows and he was arguing with a lawyer, Mason and he had a live in girl-friend – Natalie – who he was physically abusing. Natalie made her escape from him that night thanks to the intervention of Mason and Marty – 2 neighbours who argued with Drake (the dead man) allowing Natalie to escape. Drake was not a nice man.

Of course, interviewing the survivors shows some of the monsters – mousy little Marty who first tried to help Natalie is a mouse-man and the lawyer is a snake man  – a lowzenschlonger. Consulting the Grimm library shows a past Grimm beheading a lowzenschlonger for eating children – but Nick has to turn to Grimmopedia Eddie to get info on the timid, harmless mouseyman. 

And then we have another murder – of another angry angry man with his own tools, dumped in a dumpster. Following more police work it seems little Mouse guy got his car fixed with the mechanic.  Following up to his house reveals that he’s a hoarder (I was… concerned that this would be followed with lots of shaming, but instead it was just brushed over. I’m not even sure whether it was necessary) and that his father died 2 days ago. Nick assumes it was his father’s death that set him off

Just to reinforce that, we see Mousey Marty beat the snakey lawyer Mason to death to remove his competition for Natalie (yes, woman as prize, sadly). We see that Marty has indeed got Daddy issues as he sees his father’s face belittling him as he beats Mason to death. Which continues to happen when he’s on a date with Natalie – seeing a bullying father he flashbacks to his own father’s face.

The Secret Circle, Season 1, Episode 12: Witness

So we pick up where we left last week with Jake (evil Sexy one who is a witch hunter. Yes I have to keep repeating that because Cassie keeps forgetting) interrupting Cassie (the Special One) and Adam (the Wet Lettuce) almost almost doing something about their angst laden sexual tension that has been building for a gazillion episodes (of which I am amazingly uninterested. Magic now, teen hormones later). And Jake is here to look after Cassie – because the Witch Hunters know she has dark magic (because he told them)  and now she is in danger (because of him) and they have a special special ritual to kill dark wizards! And it’s what they used 16 years ago to DUM DUM DUM kill Cassie’s father. And then we ask… was it this that killed all the circle’s parents?

There follows Adam and Jake having a testosterone battle which breaks up – and lo, Cassie still trusts Jake because he cares for her. Because he has given her so many reasons to trust him, right? Cassie, stop making me agree with the Wet Lettuce, it’s embarrassing. But, no, Cassie decides she needs to go have tense sexy times – I mean, a solo meeting with Jake (that would be he who helped the witch hunters, in case you’ve forgotten like Cassie clearly has).  But he can help her – because he knows what happened that night when their parents died – because he was there! Yes as a small child! And he just remembered – yes he was suppressing the memory but he just remembered, just as it was needed. And of course, Cassie’s specialness will allow her to see the full memory! (I don’t know what’s more depressing here. 1) that Jake actually expects Cassie to believe that convoluted crap, 2) that she DOES believe it or 3) that the writers expect US to believe it).

Of course, we can’t have this convoluted plot can’t go ahead without Adam Wet Lettuce also being present for some relationship angst. And we have another depressing moment – Adam points out how ridiculous it all is, but of course it’s because he’s jealous of Jake! And not because the whole thing is an offence to common sense. It’s sad that he’s saying it’s ridiculous and HE will be the wrong one! Don’t worry the only risk is if the mind disconnects from what’s real – oh how I laugh, like any of these characters are grounded in reality? Diana thinks it’s all a splendid idea and wants the whole circle to gather for experimental dangerous spellcasting! Such fun! Hey, there’s only one bar in this town, there’s not a lot to do on a weekend. Sadly Melissa is still stuck in her plot hole (hello? Has anyone seen Melissa? Hello?) and Faye is busy doing her own thing (more on that later).
So the spell is cast and Cassie and Jake go back into the memory. Jake gets a headache so Cassie must go forwards alone. Yes because she’s sensible like that.

We learn that there was a push for a truce between the circle and the witch hunters (such a great idea!) and lo, that’s not actually a good idea! Yes the witch hunters arrive and make with the stabbing (oh look, Black villain. Why am I not surprised) and killed all their parents with knives. All of the parents who trusted the witch hunters and their truce were murdered. Before burning John  Blackwell (Cassie’s dad) with fire and a ritual which goes horribly wrong because John is a mite more powerful and turns the fire against the witch hunters – and yes, it looks like John Blackwell is still alive.