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Saturday, December 8, 2012
Tyler is working to unsire Adrian another hybrid. Having to shift continually seems to be much to much pain and so after some encouragement from Kim, Adrian leaves. Elena is leaving the house and plans to tell Stefan about her and Damon but he talks her out of it, saying that they need one happy day together before hurting Stefan. As Elena is walking out the door, Stefan appears. Elena leaves for school, promising to meet Stefan in history and Stefan tells Damon that they need to talk.
Stefan tells Damon that Elena is sired but Damon does not buy it and suggests that Stefan and Caroline cannot stand it because Elena is happy because of him. Damon says that when Elena's body rejects the blood that Stefan had better be prepared to apologise.
Bonnie and Caroline meet up with Elena at school and the three agree to have a girls night and raid the Salvatore wine cellar. Elena says that she cannot go home because her brother is trying to kill her so the Salvatore place is hers now too. When Elena catches sight of Damon, she breaks away from the girls and meets him in an empty class room. Damon offers Elena the blood bag and she is able to consume the blood without a problem. Elena is excited that she doesn't have to hurt people anymore and she hugs him and kisses him before leaving.
Shane walks into his office to find Hayley searching it. Hayley reports that they only have eleven hybrids because Adrian walked out. Shane does not see a problem because with the addition of Tyler he has the twelve hybrids they need, but Hayley reminds him that Tyler needs to stay out of this. Shane says that unless she finds another hybrid, Tyler will become fair game. Hayley points out that Shane has not held up his end of the bargain and so Shane reaches into his pocket and pulls out a flashdrive, which apparently contains everything that Hayley has always wanted to know about her biological parents.
Caroline calls Stefan and tells him that Tyler said that the sire bond exists because the hybrids are greatful to Klaus for relieving them from the pain of having to change every full moon and that's why they have to keep turning to break the bond. Stefan asks what the vampire equivalent is and Caroline replies that there isn't one.
Stefan goes to see Damon, who admits that Elena is sired. Damon shows Stefan a picture of New Orleans in 1942 and Stefan asks about Charlotte, a girl who Damon used to hang out with. It seems that Charlotte was crazy over Damon from the moment they met and so Damon decided to turn her. We get a flashback to a bar in which Damon tells Charlotte to show no mercy on anyone who touches his drink, and of course, she immediately breaks the neck of a sailor who accidentally spills it. Damon admits that Charlotte was sired to him and so Stefan asks if Damon took full advantage of that until he got bored with her. Damon admits that Charlotte went all Fatal Attraction on him. Damon shows Stefan a coaster with the name Valarie LaMarsh, the witch Damon found to help him break Charlotte's sire bond. Damon instructs Stefan to pack his bags.
At girls night, Elena drinks from a blood bag, which surprises Caroline and Bonnie. Elena admits that Damon told her to give it another try. When Caroline asks where Damon is, Elena reads of a text message he sent saying that he and Stefan were out "brother bonding." Caroline asks what else she and Damon do Elena asks her to lay off. They decide not to "talk about boys," and Bonnie pulls out a bag of "stoner tea" Apparently, this is a tea that Shane gave to Bonnie to help her practice magic.
Stefan and Damon are in New Orleans walking the streets. Damon reads off a text message from Elena about her girls night and says that they have gotten into the liqueur. Stefan is not surprised and says that there isn't a single thing that Damon has asked Elena to do which she hasn't done. Damon points out that he hasn't gotten any guilt or blame from her. "I get it Stefan, I get that you're pissed that Elena dumped you because she has feelings for me. I bet you blame the sire bond for that too," Damon says. Stefan admits that he does because, "it's impossible for her to be so blind that she doesn't see how wrong you are for her." Damon walks away, as Stefan says that he is sorry.
We get a flashback to Stefan talking to Lexy about apologising to Damon and blaming him for the blood lust. Stefan approaches Damon and holds out his hand and says that he is there to bury the hatchet. Stefan starts telling Damon about his plans to ship out to drive an ambulance in the war and so Damon asks if they have room for one more, because he would like to spend some quality time with his little brother. Stefan promises to talk to his C.O. and leaves to get another round. Lexy tells Damon that he is not going because Stefan needs to see death and blood and deal with it as part of his life. Lexy adds that Stefan needs balance and restraint and that Stefan is better off alone than in his company. Charlotte approaches the group saying that Damon missed supper and so she tosses a barely conscious woman at him, who is bleeding from the neck. The blood effects Stefan and so Lexy quickly rushes him out of the bar and tells Damon that Charlotte is better off without him as well. If Stefan cannot handle that little bit of blood, how is he to be a medic in the war?
Back in the present, Stefan and Damon arrive at Valarie's last location and of course the place haa greatly changed since 1942. Stefan believes the next best thing is to get in touch with Charlotte, so he asks Damon if there is a chance that she is still in the city. Damon says that when he last saw Charlotte, he gave he the task of counting all of the bricks in the city and then promptly left town. The decide to head to the last location Damon gave Charlotte.
Hayley and Tyler are sitting in a bar, talking about the fact that Adrian has not broken his bond to Klaus. Tyler says that Kim is right and that point of breaking the sire bond is to be free and so the two of them don't have to listen to him. Hayley says that they need to listen to Tyler and that he can make them. Hayley reminds Tyler that hybrids are werewolves first and every pack has an alpha and that Kim is challenging his position as alpha of the pack. Tyler nods and then interrupts Kim and Adrian's pool game. Tyler instructs them to leave and get some rest, but Kim is not impressed and uses the cue to take a swing at Tyler. Tyler grabs the cue and tells her to finish her drink and get Adrian back to the stables. Kim agrees, but the moment Tyler walks away, she tells Adrian that they are going to pick a fight.
Stefan and Damon reach the corner where Damon left Charlotte and he asks if it is possible that she is still in the same spot after seventy years. Damon suggests that they shouldn't tell Elena and Stefan says that they can't lie to her. Damon suggests that they only reason Stefan wants to break Elena's sire bond is to return her to "factory team Stefan settings." Damon leaves to get a drink and tells Stefan to hunt him down when he stops being a dick. As Damon is walking away, Charlotte jumps out of the shadows and kisses Damon, only to be thrown aside by Stefan. It seems that she did indeed literally count every brick in New Orleans, waiting for Damon's return.
Crime of the week – someone takes a pot shot at a celeb in the middle of a screaming crowd. He’s Jake Riley and after 3 minutes of him talking to Tess and Catherine, I’m sorry the bullet missed. His manager has a huge bag of hate mail to show them (I can’t think why). Just to make him even more pleasant he decides he’s happy to have one of them with him at all times – so long as it’s Tess. She’s thrilled, really. And if you’re going to get an actor to play a singer couldn’t you have got one who can sing? Ye gods, it’s like watching X-Factor auditions
Evan is still unable to put his abduction and torture out of his mind. In particular, he can’t get over the fact his vigilante saviour wasn’t human. Catherine begs him to let it go and insists, again, that she didn’t see anything, honest. And then dumps all the hate mail on him to DNA check.
Investigating, Catherine finds out that Jake is in a twitter war with tween sensation Lil Tap That (gods preserve us all)
JT and Vincent enjoy some recapping and are still trying to cure his become feral whenever Catherine’s around (probably a really strong indication a relationship isn’t going to work. 1. You don’t like her friends. 2. You can’t stand his annoying habits. 3. He becomes a feral monster and kills people whenever you’re around. It’s got to be in the top 10). JT keeps experimenting and one of his experiments cause him to flash back to when he first got the treatments to turn him all beastly – and the doctor attending him is Catherine’s mother.
They come to the conclusion that the memories were suppressed by Muirfield (no, really? Honestly, stop treating viewers like fools that need everything spelled out) There follows the standard debate on whether to tell Catherine – Vincent wants to protect her and JT says she’d want to know.
JT calls Catherine and she comes running (leaving her case – again - and poor Tess to babysit). They tell her the big news and she isn’t surprised – since the Muirfield blokes who captured her showed her a picture of her mother with other Muirfield scientists, but she hadn’t believed him. JT and Vincent aren’t exactly thrilled with Catherine keeping that secret.
To reveal more secrets they induce another flashback – all the soldiers are rhapsodising about how awesome it is on the treatment until Vincent’s fellow soldier, Lafferty, zones out then goes berserk and smashes the table with her first. Catherine’s mother, Dr. Chandler and co hurry with syringes full of meds to bring her down. Later, Dr. Chandler questions Vincent about his progression and reveals she’s helping in the war so she can return to her daughters. She tells Vincent Lafferty is having blackouts that they’re treating and he may suffer the same – but everyone is reacting differently to the project.
Friday, December 7, 2012
Someone with an incredible amount of time on their hands has documented every dead zombie on The Walking Dead
Who killed them, what with, in which season - I'm impressed and slightly frightened.
Check out the whole thing in all its gribbliness
Benny has found himself a job – working at a Cajun Café in Louisiana for a woman called Elizabeth (why do I think something’s going to eat her?)
Closing time, he leaves the café followed by one of the patrons with a knife – and he hears something else in the bushes. There’s some scary noises – and the man with a knife trips over another man’s corpse.
Ah let me predict – Benny is suspected of killing people. Sam wants to kill him, Dean doesn’t want to, Castiel is awesome (the last is a given).
To Sam and Dean where we reveal that the Hunter tracking Benny, Martin, was until recently in a mental institution (I believe we saw him in passing) which prompts all kinds of fail from Dean. And that Sam was helping him back into the game by having him track Benny – wow, Sam really is a grade A arsehole isn’t he? He had Martin track Benny because “no hunter worth his salt” would let a vampire go
Excuse me, Sam, didn’t you just take a year off hunting? Didn’t answer your phone, didn’t try to find your brother, left Kevin twisting in the wind? But this vampire – alone of all the monsters you’ve ignored – this vampire simply must be tracked?
Do down they go to Louisiana to see Martin. Up until a week ago, Benny has just been minding his own business. And he reveals he didn’t see Benny do it – he saw Benny leave the path then he found a body with its throat ripped out. Dean’s insistent, he owes Benny a proper investigation and he’s not going to just chop his head off without proof – Martin just wants to get on with the decapitation. Sam, big of him, gives Dean 2 hours before more pointless flashbacks strike. I’ll review them later in the recap, I may actually have dragged up some care by then.
Dean goes to the Gumbo shack and talks to Elizabeth about “Roy” (the name Benny’s using) and learn that Benny’s gone fishing. Leaving his number with Elizabeth Dean gives Benny a call and makes it clear how bad things look. Benny, however, is busy disposing of a body. Which is when Dean catches up with him and Benny claims it wasn’t him.
Benny wants to talk, though Dean has his big vamp-head chopping machete which rather puts a damper on things (and he won’t put it away). Benny explains there’s a rogue vamp called Desmond who remembers him from the “good ol’ days” who is starting a new nest. Benny told him no – and Desmond is trying to roust him by dropping bodies around him. He doesn’t want to leave because Benny was actually born in this town and refuse to let a young amateur force him to leave.
Oh and Elizabeth is Benny’s great great granddaughter. And Benny is not amused by Dean’s flirting with her. Being around her helps him reconnect with family and fight the hunger and Dean warns him about the hunters hunting him (he knows – he spotted Martin already). Benny decides it’s time to kill Desmond which, y’know I kind of assumed was a given. Dean says Benny needs to sit down and let him handle it because Sam and Martin will slice first, ask questions later.
It’s Christmas! Time to murder a charitable Father Christmas bell ringer!
Ah American Horror Story, you do know how to set the tone.
After poor Father Christmas is shot multiple times in the head, we move back to 1962.
Little girl Suzie comes downstairs to find a blood stained, shaved Father Christmas waiting for her. HE’s 6 days early and broke in through the window. Good ol’ Santa muses on how silly the whole Father Christmas idea is and then asks Suzy to take him to see mummy and daddy – who he kidnaps at gun point. (He really should have put in a “Ho Ho Ho” there). He ties to couple up with Christmas lights, questions the amount of Christmas decorations they have and rambles on in an extremely spooky manner – before killing them both.
Everyone got the Christmas spirit?
Back in 1964, In Briarcliff everything is getting ready for Christmas (apparently Sister Jude banned Christmas after it didn’t go to plan last year, but Sister Demon Lettuce has brought it back. AND banished the damn singing nun. Who says demons are bad?) Unfortunately Sister Jude threw out all the ornaments so Sister Demon Nun decides to take things from the inmates to decorate the tree – dentures, locks of hair wrapped in ribbon, making the creepiest Christmas tree you ever did see. Even Arden seems rather disturbed by the display.
Elsewhere in Briarcliff, Frank is praying desperately over Grace’s body, clearly traumatised by having shot her last episode. E blinks and hallucinates Grace looking right at him. He promises to make it right. He tells Arden they should tell the police about the monster, Grace, Sister Felicity (presumably the dead, nameless nun), Kit et al – but Arden reminds him he shot an unarmed woman.
Sister Jude, demon hunter is in the building. In her old office she appears behind Sister Demon Lettuce and holds a razor to her throat. She realises the demon is using Sister Mary Eunice’s innocence and purity to move through Briarcliff despite all the religious iconography and threatens to slit her throat. Sister Demon Lettuce responds with some flashy telekinesis until Arden interrupts.
Sister Jude is escorted out of the building by security and Arden tells Sister Demon Lettuce about Frank’s pesky conscience. Sister Demon Lettuce has a plan and goes to see an inmate in solitary with a Father Christmas suit – it’s the Murdering Santa from Suzie’s house!
Time for a flashback to 1963 where Murdering Santa, Leigh Emerson, was an inmate at Briarcliff after killing 18 people (presumably including Suzie’s parents and possibly little Suzie). It’s Christmas and Sister Jude is trying to make everyone presentable for the press. Jude keeps him shackled and insists on him being in the Christmas photo to remind the public that, without Briarcliff, he would be out among them. The photographer arrives (early – because of unprocessed Sister Wet Lettuce) and Emerson rips out an orderly’s throat with his teeth – and it’s all photographed. Presumably this is the Christmas debacle that lead to Jude cancelling the celebration.
In 1964, this is the man Sister Demon Lettuce wants to dress up as Father Christmas. Even he thinks it’s a bad idea and mentions what Christmas does to him. Sister Demon Lettuce describes the source of his mental illness – he was arrested for shop lifting and when in prison at Christmas, 5 guards gang raped him. And now he can see who is “naughty” and “nice” and who deserves to die.
Once Upon a Time is now in the middle of their second season. Since it is a show based on fairy tales, we expected a lot of erasure. Far too often, fairytales that are represented in television or movies, are of a European origin and this is generally taken as an excuse to have no roles for people of colour. We’ve repeatedly said before how damaging erasure can be; but subverting the fairytales and adding characters of colour beyond servile roles is simply not done and certainly not done by Once Upon a Time, though they have changed several of the female roles from object to subject in their story. The gender presentation is certainly far from perfect, but the fact that it is so far removed from the original tale is often enough for texts in this genre to be presumed progressive, even as they reify harmful racist and heterosexist tropes.
The first character of colour we were introduced to was Cinderella’s fairy godmother. Unfortunately, the character did not last long and was quickly killed off by Rumpelstiltskin for her wand. You may actually have had to quickly pause the show to notice her, since she spent so little time on screen. Once Upon a Time has killed off quite a few characters since it first began airing last Autumn but it is fair to say that the characters of colour have either been killed off or dropped into the plot box at a much higher rate, thereby reaffirming their disposability.
The second character of colour we were introduced to was the magic mirror/Sidney Glass. Though this character certainly did not add much to the racial inclusion of Storybrooke, we expected a lot from him because the role was played by the fabulous Giancarlo Esposito. Of all of the actors on Once Upon a Time, Espositio had the most impressive body of work, and this which includes screen and stage work. Instead of giving Espositio a script which would have utilised his amazing talents, the mirror/Sidney Glass was little more than a submissive, feckless servant. It came as no surprise when the character was quickly disappeared. Now that Espositio has since moved on to Revolution, there is little chance that the only male recurring character of colour will ever be redeemed. He remains the only character of colour who received a back story explaining his origin in Fairyland; however, it continued his unrelenting story of service and sacrifice.
One of the more galling elements about the second season was how much the introduction of Lancelot and Mulan was hyped. We saw it repeatedly advertised and promoted - we were going to get Mulan, we were going to get a Black Lancelot! Inclusion! We were finally going to get some decent POC roles.
Of course, being cynics we didn’t get our hopes up - and rightly so. After so much endless hype, Lancelot managed to scrape up an entire 2 episodes before dying. He didn’t even die on screen, he was murdered by Cora at some undisclosed time at the past and afterwards quickly dismissed and forgotten. All that hype for a scant 2 episodes.
It’s fair to say that we were annoyed by Lancelot’s early death and the fact that his role as servant for Snow White and Charming cemented him as little more than a built in aid to guide and protect the White characters. Lancelot started as an antagonist working for King George but almost instantly, he converted to the side of Snow White because... actually, we’re not even sure why; everyone seems to flock around Snow White. From that moment on, Lancelot fought for Snow, traveled with her, advocated for her - does he have a life? A family? A story of his own? Who knows? We’re not shown any of it. This is a problem Once Upon a Time has with all of the POC in the second season.
So many of the side characters have had their past and their histories explained. Even side characters like Ruby, Cinderella, Dr. Hopper, Leeroy, Captain Hook, Jefferson have had their story told, which has given us a greater understanding of who these characters are and what motivates them. This makes it particularly telling that neither Lancelot or Mulan have had similar treatment to date. Why are these two characters of colour deemed unworthy of the greater characterisation given so freely to less important White characters? We know Lancelot had an entanglement with Guinevere from what he described, but that’s it. Much of it is left for the viewer to assume based on Arthurian legend. In the case of Mulan, the characters development is based on the viewer having watched and remembered the movie Mulan. What do we know about Mulan? She has a crush on Prince Phillip, helped him on his quest to find Aurora and, on his death, decided to protect her. We have been told nothing about her, her past, or her motivations.
Mulan, is yet another awesome character who was constantly hyped. Who is Mulan? She’s a sword and some angry eyes - from the Michonne school of character development. Even Aurora, who we know little about, is better developed - at least we saw the castle she lived in and the kingdom she was once a part of. Mulan is coded as a weapon from the beginning thus erasing much of her femininity. With the exception of Emma, most of the female characters have at some point worn a dress or an opulent gown. There are many ways to express femininity but it is rather telling that traditional forms of gender conformity and even performance are continually denied Mulan. It’s yet another reminder that White women are allowed the flexibility of choice, while characters of colour are sequestered in narrow roles which mark them as lesser. The role left for Mulan is servant, and like all servants, her job is to protect and blend into the background.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Getting ready for Lost Girl's return in January
Eugene has a difficult life with his sister, impoverished and with a mother who is, at best, neglectful and at worst outright abusive it is not a life with many opportunities. So when Penelope, a wealthy, generous benefactor appears to give them every advantage it seems like a wonderful gift and that they’re finally given a chance at life.
That is, until the price arises and one of them has to die. Faced with an impossible choice, Eugene elects to be Penelope’s prey – but death is hardly the end of Penelope’s plotting. After decades of unconsciousness, Eugene arises as one of the Breed and the last scion of a major House whose legacy (and his continued existence) requires him to learn extremely quickly.
There are a lot of vampire books out there and it sometimes feel like many of them are telling very similar tales. It’s always a pleasure, therefore, to find a book that seems to be bringing some genuinely unique elements to the genre and some fresh angles. Eugene’s reluctant passage into vampirehood, how he was moulded before transition, even following his journey from childhood adds its own angle.
In terms of pacing, it started slow, introducing us to the characters and bringing us towards the inevitable. Thankfully, once we get that transition, we hit the ground running. Eugene has to learn a lot about his new life extremely quickly and nothing is going to stop to allow him to catch up. There were a couple of tangents that were, perhaps, not entirely necessary but I think they all added up into building the character, the worlds and different facets of the story.
The world building is nicely restrained. It’s clear, especially if the lexicon in the back, that this is a very broad world and a lot of work has gone into characterising it. But the author resists the temptation to dump vast amounts of unrelated information on us. In fact, in keeping with Eugene’s own confusion, we often have words and references used and have to extrapolate their meaning. Like Eugene we’re plunged into a world we don’t know and have to keep up and learn as we go. I think this lack of explanation both keeps the story moving and excellently conveys the theme of being out of depth, of being overwhelmed by the new information he was faced with.
The decisions made by the characters, while not always perfect, were well informed – or, at least, based on reasonable emotion and didn’t frustrate me. The action stayed good and the story progressed well.
I found no great flaws in this book – but I did find a couple of minor stumbling blocks.
The first stumbling block I found in this book was the language. It’s not as bad as some books out there, certainly, but it is overly elaborate and overly formal. Part of that is because Eugene is trying to “better” himself with a determination to be educated and well spoken after Penelope gives him the resources. It’s even lampshaded in the book with his sister accusing him of having swallowed a thesaurus. But this language starts long before he meets Penelope and is used in everything from dialogue to describing action. Sometimes I think a more casual tone would have been better.
The second stumbling block for me is how quickly Eugene grows as a character. We see some growth and development throughout the book which is always great to see – but at the end he seems to make a monumentally enormous leap, gaining leadership and tactical skills and a considerable amount of cunning that seemed so extreme as to be almost out of character. I think, perhaps, too much “downtime” happened when he was a guest of Winterfax so a lot of growth happened off-page. One minute he was resentful, almost-suicidal, hostile, relatively sullen and completely ignorant – and then he pulls off this awesome and epic victory.
Not that I dislike that victory – far from it. The ending of this book was truly excellent. We had Eugene coming into his own, we had a great foundation for his future and we had some major hooks for a new book laid out with a new antagonist and new machinations. It just needed a bit more foundation.
Inclusionwise, sadly, this book falls a little flat. We have very few POC who are referred to in an exoticising manner. We have a gay couple that appear for a few paragraphs in which they are dogged by so many euphemisms that Eugene may as well have just pointed at them and screamed “ZOMG GAYS! GAYS!” In fact “zomg GAYS!” pretty much sums up all we know about them and Eugene’s discomfort.
We do have Agrenta, a vampire with a mental illness. Or, rather, an insane vampire since she fits more the role of random and incomprehensible seer than any actual mental condition so I’m not going to really consider it inclusion.
Any women in the book were also largely side characters – but then, anyone who isn’t Eugene is largely a side character, this isn’t a book that has sidekicks or a group cast. There are numerous women in a variety of positions – from the abused servants to the generous and crafty Penelope, to his sister to the icy and unapproachable Andraceil. None of them are particularly developed characters but then, no character is except Eugene – it’s very much his story.
I enjoyed this book, it was great fun and I’d strongly recommend it. I’ve been vacillating back and forth on what rating to give it for a long time. I think the series definitely has potential to be 4+ and even reach a 5, this book is definitely above a 3.5 but probably not a 4. Call it a 3.75 and well worth both a read and watching.
A copy of this book was provided by the author for review.
On the side of the unexpected, it turns out that Normal is a great fan of rule-less cage fighting and we open at one of these brutal matches. And the grand champion steps in the ring to fight a new challenged – Alec, fighting under the name of Monty Cora, using his X5 genes and Manticore training to beat his opponent easily, and win Normal a lot of money.
Not being entirely a fool, Alec tries to retire after this big win – but it’s too late. A transgenic fighter called “Monty Cora” has attracted Agent White’s attention – and he sends his goons with tasers to bring Alec in.
He wakes up in a cage and, to save his life, he offers to make a deal. He will hunt transgenics for them if they don’t kill him. White agrees – but gets some insurance. He implants a tiny bomb next to Alec’s brainstem timed to go off in 24 hours. In that time he has to kill 3 transgenics and bring back their barcodes.
Meanwhile Max and Logan are enjoying a great evening at his home, joking, laughing, making dinner. Until Max tastes the food and they realise that this may pass the virus that kills Logan – quickly dampening the mood pretty severely. Max leaves after they have a scene over their frustration (well acted enough not to hit my angst alarms).
Joshua is out and about, tracking down the last known address of his “Father,” Sandman. He’s moved though and the current residents are an enterprising couple combining a porn shoot and housework. When he rampages through he not only ruins the setting but gets photographed.
Logan also gets a cryptic message from Lydecker – and Lydecker tells him Max has odd DNA which has attracted attention, but he doesn’t know why. He also puts Logan in touch with a Manticore lab tech who worked on creating the virus and they set him to work finding a cure.
At the bar, Max hangs out with Original Cindy, sees Asha and, far more worrying, hears Sketchy talk about what he thinks about Manticore from Eyes Only’s bulletins – he gets a lot wrong, transgenic monsters that want to feed – but he knows about the barcodes. He also has a tabloid newspaper – with the picture of Joshua on the front cover. Max grabs it and sets off to ride to the rescue.
Max goes to see Logan and ask him to use his contacts to find Joshua – and Alec drops in (not knocking of course, transgenics never do) and after much banter he offers to help, claiming exposure hurts all of them. Max agrees to take him to Terminal City – where she’d go if she needed to lie low. It’s a place where there were a lot of biolabs, when the Pulse hit they lost containment and nasty stuff escaped, not a worry for transgenics but it keeps most of the general population at bay, leaving the closed off area only to the desperate.
2 homeless men tell them about a lizard man and a panther woman – which Alec scoffs at, but Max wants to see them in the sewers. While down there Max gets a call from Logan telling her the address Joshua broke into – and that it is owned by a Sandman, a name Max recognises. She leaves Alec in the sewers and goes to the address. Alec stays down in the sewers, hunts down the panther woman, fights her, kills her and takes her barcode. He pastes the skinned barcode into a book and checks his watch – 8 hours left to get 2 more.
As Alec walks past the homeless in the desperate area he is recognised by an X6 sleeping rough who greets him as a commanding officer. Alec tells the teenager to follow him. After establishing he’s alone, he chokes the kid unconscious and cuts off his barcode.
Alec takes the barcodes to Agent White and asks for more time but Agent White isn’t happen. He opens a box and dumps the unconscious X6 – Alec left him outside a hospital, alive and bandaged. Alec says that he was just a kid, Agent White isn’t amused and plans to kill him. Alec asks for one more chance but he has to get 1 more in the remaining time and gives him a taser.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Something to whet your appetite before it's return in January
Finn is walking and he is joined by Rudy, who informs him that he is wearing the wrong pants because they are headed to an insane house party. "Strangers are going to fuck strangers," Rudy says. Apparently, they are going to Richard Saunders party. They meet up with Jess and Finn gives his big doe eyes. This has all been interspersed with a man watching video and doing what I assume is acid.
The three head up in an elevator and Finn tells Jess that he likes her top. Clearly, Finn is still refusing to take no for an answer. When the elevator arrives, Alex is waiting for them. They arrive at the correct door and Rudy tells them to brace themselves but when they enter the apartment, it is filled with older people and it looks more like a wake than a party. Rudy says that they just need to get themselves a drink. Jess tells Rudy that they are at a wake and Rudy starts to cry and says that Saunders is his best friend. Jess says that the wake is for an old woman called Glenda and Rudy instructs everyone to get their shit. Alex suggests that Rudy just call Saunders.
As they get to the party, a couple is arguing outside and the man asks the woman how many people she has slept with. The number 11 appears on her forehead but she tells him only 4. The Misfits open the door and they all have numbers on their forehead. Finn has a 1, Jess has a 2, Rudy has 99 and Alex has the number 46 on his head. It turns out that it is the exact number of people that they have slept. Finn says that he was in a long term relationship to explain his low number. Alex asks if this is some kind of power thing. The Misfits are stunned to learn that Alex knows all about the storm and the powers.
Jess is in the bathroom trying to rub the number off and Finn walks in and of course has to comment on Alex's number. Jess does not want to talk about it and suggests that they go. Finn goes to talk to Rudy and says that it is not about numbers and that it's about the quality. Rudy suggests that Jess is never going to respect him with that low number on his head but Finn says that Jess respects morals. Rudy plans to enter the hundred club and takes off with a woman. Rudy start to have sex and pushes her off and says that he is not really feeling it and that his hundredth fuck has to be very special. They hear a noise in the closet and when Rudy opens the door, he finds Saunders.
The elevator opens and inside is a large White rabbit with electric eyes. Alex approaches Jess who wants to talk about his number. Alex says he is not that person anymore and Jess suggests that they keep drinking. She heads to the bar where Finn is and he points out that they have something in common because neither of them are sluts. Finn suggests that they find out if two should turn into one. Jess says that would mean her penetrating him and of course we cannot have that. Finn admits that he knows that she would rather spend her evening talking to Mr. HIV (read: Alex), but Jess cuts him off.
Rudy makes his way back out the party and Finn approaches him. Rudy believes that Finn is sulking because he has been blown out of the water by the sexy man and so he suggests that Finn find someone else to make Jess jealous. A young woman leaves the party and waits for the elevator as a golf ball rolls across the floor. When she bends to pick it up she sees the freaky rabbit.
Back at the party, Rudy suggests that Finn have his way with a drunk woman but thankfully Finn says no. Rudy believes that there is no harm in having sex with a wasted girl and that "it's a bloody loophole." Finn says that it's against the law. Rudy says he needs a party where all of the girls are desperate and emotional, so they decide to head back to the funeral. In the hallway, they come across a passed out girl but Finn rejects Rudy suggestion to leave her there as the freaky rabbit looks on. They had back to the party where they deposit her in the bathtub.
Alex and Jess head into a room alone and they start to kiss. Alex says that he doesn't think that they should do this but Jess takes off her top and pushes him on the bed. When she runs her hand down his body, he stops her before she can touch his genitals. Jess stands up asking what is wrong with him and says that she has had enough of him and his bullshit head games, before leaving the room. Jess starts to chat up another man.
Finn and Rudy are back at the funeral, where Rudy encourages him to get "sweet bereavement pussy." Finn tries to chat up two women but they are clearly not interested in him. Rudy takes his turn and he actually comforts a grieving woman. She asks why he has a number on his head and introduces herself as Nadine. Finn says that it is a long story and that he missed the funeral because he was working at the community center. When she sees the time Nadine says that she has to go and then rushes out the door.
Abbey gets out bathtub gets up and starts to wander through the party. She pours herself a large drink and is clearly feeling much better. Back at the funeral, Finn is making himself a plate of food and Rudy approaches him to say that he met a girl, who was really nice. Rudy realizes that he didn't get Nadine's number and heads into the hallway, where he finds a dead woman with a golf ball in her mouth with the number 11 on her forehead. The rabbit grabs Rudy and pushes him to the ground. Rudy just manages to get into the elevator in time.
Finn manages to have sex with a grieving woman and the number on his head shifts from 1 to 2. Rudy appears and tells him that they have a problem. Rudy takes Finn into the hallway and tells him about the rabbit and says that they have to find the others. Back at the party the man Jess is talking to has no number on his head. Alex interrupts the conversation to say that he needs to talk to her. Jess says that she had Alex wrong and that he is just like all of the others.
Harry Dresden is back from the dead, convalescing in the less-than-tender embrace of the Winter Court and newly empowered as the Winter Knight. Winter Court politics are far from easy – especially when Mab, the Winter Queen, seems to be feuding with Maeve, the Winter Lady. And politics in the Winter court come in the form of constant assassination attempts.
Not that he has time for politics. We learn the true nature of his island, Demonreach and that it’s poised to explode and destroy a significant portion of the US – if not more – unless Harry acts. And he has to choose between killing Mab or Maeve – with the bonus of not knowing how to achieve either.
It’s a good thing he has the new power of the Winter Knight – and, even more, the support and strength of his good friends. But there is a darkness that connects all of Harry’s cases and the Nemesis can corrupt anyone.
And the new power of the Winter Knight comes with a cost – it changes people and Harry can feel its influence slowly eroding who he is and turning him into a monster like his predecessor.
I have been looking forward to this book for so long – counting the days. The minute I got my greasy hands on this book I sat down and started reading. Anyone who came near me was treated to the death glare until they retreated to minimum safe distance. I continued to read until the book was finished and I looked up to realise it was now 5:00am. I then spent an extra 10 minutes staring sadly at my Kindle and trying to figure out how to magically make it continue.
This is what Harry Dresden does to me and my sleep patterns.
Just about everything that makes the series one of my favourites was there. We had some amazingly awesome fight scenes, some excellent action and some truly amazing epic. There is no author I have ever read that comes close to packing the amount of blood-fizzing epic into a book as Jim Butcher does in the Harry Dresden series. I find myself torn between not moving my eyes from the page and just needing to move because to the power and pace of what is written. It may not be as epic as riding a Zombie Tyrannosaurus Rex through downtown Chicago – but leading the Wild Hunter and Father Christmas in an amphibious assault against demons is pretty up there. The pacing is electric, the snark is funny to hilarious and it was a joy to read.
But more than just the glorious epic, is the meta development. After 14 books of epic stories and occasional hints it has come together and the Nemesis has been revealed. And it is tying in everything – the previous Summer Lady, Harry’s very first case, the Shadow Council, the courts of the vampires. The Nemesis has had a hand in every previous book and it’s all coming together in a wonderfully complete, epic tapestry. With that has come a considerable amount of world building including expanding the nature of the Outsiders and filling in the role of the Winter Court. We also have a lot of very shiny major powers being expanded and developed – like the Queens of the Courts. These major, epic figures are expanded and heightened that add such excellent flavour to this awesome world.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
As Lie the Dead, begins exactly where Three Days to Dead ended. After surviving a vicious battle, All Evy wants to die is sleep for a week. Evy wants time to deal with her feelings for Wyatt but more important to deal with being in Chalice's ( this has got to be the worst name ever)
body permanently and the loss of Alex. Unfortunately for Evy, the rest she so desires and deserves is simply not in the cards for her. When she is approached by Phin, an owlkin theorian who asks for her protection for the next few days. Believing that she is at least partly responsible for the near extinction of the owlkins Evy agrees only to discover that Phin and the counsel want the death of the handler Rufus. Evy is now caught between the debt she feels that owes both men.
If that were not enough, someone in the triads has decided to turn their back on humanity and gather therians for an assault. The Triads numbers are low and they are desperate to stop the assault before it happens. Evy must get to the truth behind the origins of the Triad to discover the sickness which has caused one of their own to turn against humanity.
As Lie the Dead was packed with action from the very beginning. I must admit that this is something that doesn't particularly agree with me. I prefer character development and in this story, it really felt squished in between fights. I really liked that Evy continued to struggle with her new body and her rough childhood rather than having these issues being cast aside to deal with the problems at hand. As a character however, Evy seemed barely able to maintain control of herself. Sarcasm dripped from her tongue and her constant desire in a moment of conflict was to punch someone. She didn't always act on this impulse but the repetition of the impulse did become irritating the more it appeared. Evy also rushed headlong into situation without thinking and deeply resented anything that kept her away from the action. I am hoping that as this series goes on, Evy will mature out of this. It is possible to be a person of action and think though you wouldn't believe that from reading a lot of urban fantasy.
Last week Nona took Jane to someone who could help her remember. So now we open with Jane in Maris’s apartment. Maris hasn’t left her apartment in 20 years because it’s safer. Maris is a psychiatrist, though she now “opens minds” (isn’t that brain surgery?) and repeats the doctor’s diagnosis about Jane’s amnesia. Maris takes Jane’s hand and we get a series of confused visions. Maris tells her to come back tomorrow and Jane asks what she saw, where was she. Maris says she never left the Drake and forget about were – think when.
Jane wakes up to find Henry failing to make her breakfast in bed. And he’s working from home – which is all touching and kind. But he’s also hovering and extremely protective, almost smothering.
Which is when Gavin arrives with some more hooks for Henry – a councilman has been a naughty boy and his seat may be coming vacant. And he’s arranged a meeting with Phillip Perez (a political consultant) to get his backing for Henry’s candidacy – but the meeting is in 2 hours. He also shows Gavin the press kit that Laurell has developed for him (hmm, I always assumed Laurell was one of Gavin’s tools).
Meanwhile Olivia is using Tony to take Vincent Shaw for a little walk to an abandoned warehouse (owned by the Dorans of course) to find out more about his claim that Sasha is alive. Olivia dodges Gavin’s calls and gives Vincent an hour to show her Sasha. They have him call Sasha’s voice mail and arrange for a meeting.
None of his calls going through, Gavin tells Kandinski to kill Shaw and bring Olivia home. Olivia warns Victor that Sasha better arrive before Gavin’s minions arrive. Vincent continues to work on Olivia, convincing her Sasha is alive with reference to a Cartier bracelet she bought her and saying she faked her own death because she hated Gavin, like Victor dowes
Back at Maris’s Jane drinks tea, talks hypnotism and remarks on her weird clock. Maris tells her there’s a presence from beyond in the Drake that opens the door between past and present and life and death. Her memories are locked deep in her mind but she can unlick them in a trance – with the help of the weird clock.
Jane enters a trance staring at the clock and she – and her chair, appear in the lobby of the Drake. And in front of her is a big red door. She opens it into bright white light, she goes through and joins a ritzy birthday party (666 Park Avenue has to have a ritzy party every week) for young Jocelynn (her grandmother) where everyone calls her Libby Griffith – and she even looks different in the mirror. Also at the party is Peter Kramer, the murderer from Hallowe’en, such fun!
Jocelynn takes Jane upstairs to find her doll – and in Peter’s office they see various occult paraphernalia. When they hear his voice they hide. Peter argues with a man about whatever they’re doing but the hook is that, after tonight, they get whatever they want. Jane also sees him hide a book behind a loose stone in a fireplace.
Then Maris wakes her up. She tells Maris everything and they assume she has some kind of bond with this Libby woman. As she returns to Henry in her apartment she runs into Gavin and acts all suspicious and nervous. She goes to wish Henry good look at the meeting. The meeting falls apart though because Jane’s medical records have been leaked – no-one will support his candidacy while he has a mentally ill girlfriend.
In fairyland past, in a very very spikey castle (therefore evil – evil always has sharp edges, it’s the first rule of evil fashion) Hook is staging a gaol break to rescue Belle (she’s been in prison a while, you can tell by the chalk tally marks. Who gives these prisoners chalk anyway?) he wants her help because her father is under attack by the Dark One – Rumplestiltskin (an enemy of Hook’s). There is a rumour of a weapon that can kill him and since she has spent more time with Rumple than anyone they hope she’ll have an idea.
Belle protests she has no idea how to kill Rumple and wouldn’t even if she could. Hook knocks her out and prepares to kill her with his Hook since she’s useless – when Regina appears behind him, magicking his Hook to her hand. She, after making it clear who is boss, tells him she can help him kill Rumple since she intends to enact a curse that will take everyone to a land without magic where Rumple will be helpless. But there’s one person she’s determined won’t follow her to the new land – her mother.
She enchants Hooks’ Hook so it will take a heart – only one. She has banished Cora to a far off land and to get there Hook will have to use a portal (provided by the Hatter’s hat) to get to her, take her heart and bring her body back. And she’s been banished to Wonderland.
When he arrives, he’s taken before the Queen of Hearts – Cora, of course. Hook stabs her to try and take her heart and she points out she’s the Queen of Hearts, why would she keep hers where everyone else does? Hook reveals that it’s Regina who wanted Cora dead – which rather upsets Cora. She offers a counter to Hook – since Regina’s curse would also remove his memory (something Regina didn’t mention) he wouldn’t be able to get his revenge on Rumple anyway – because he wouldn’t remember him. But she promises Hook his memory and his revenge, if he will get her close to Regina to take her heart.
Cut to 28 years ago and Regina and Hook stand over a coffin in which Cora’s body lies. Hook leaves Regina alone. Alone Regina says she killed Cora because she loved her and, as Cora showed her when Cora killed Daniel, love is weakness. She lays a rose on Cora’s chest and says goodbye and leaves. Hook emerges from the shadows and helps Cora up and asks why she didn’t kill Regina. Cora says there’s a change of plans and they need to protect themselves from Regina’s curse.
She and Hook go to a small part of the land and when Regina’s curse roils over the land, Cora raises a magical dome, protecting the small segment of land. She says she still has a hold on Regina and when the Saviour breaks the curse in 28 years, Regina will have lost everything and she will need Cora. Hook will get his revenge and Cora will help Regina pick up the pieces
Regina is worried that Charming hasn’t woken up and Rumple suggests they take precautions. They don’t know if Charming got the message through to Snow and he won’t be waking up until Snow arrives – so they need to be prepared in case Cora comes through the portal. He suggests they gather enough magic to destroy the portal and anyone coming through it as soon as it appears. Regina protests – what if Mary Margaret and Emma are the ones who come through? Rumple points out it’s a win/win, either they stop Cora – or they stop Mary Margaret and Emma and Regina becomes the only mother in Henry’s life again. Especially since magic is unpredictable in this world – who could blame Regina for a mistake (uh, everyone? Since when does anyone extend her the benefit of the doubt). Oh Rumple, always going back to the evil. Regina protests, she wants to be a better mother for Henry, but Rumple points out Cora is a threat to Henry and a good mother would protect him.
She goes to see Henry (reading allowed the story of Snow White to the unconscious Charming. Is it narcissistic or just redundant to read Prince Charming his own fairy tale?) to tell him she and Gold are going to prepare the portal for Emma and Mary Margaret, that she will do everything in her power to help them get home. Henry remarks that she really has changed. Ouch.
To the mine under the city where the fairy dust diamonds are being mined. Rumple praises Regina for coming to her senses and uses the wand he stole from the Fairy Godmother to take the power from the crystals.
Monday, December 3, 2012
This week we discuss the season finales of The Walking Dead and Revolution. We also look at The Vampire Diaries and American Horror Stories.
Our book of the week is Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett
3/12-10/12: Hunted by the Others by Jess Haines
(NB: We're obviously not going to have podcast on the 24th or the 31st December)
Our book of the week is Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett
3/12-10/12: Hunted by the Others by Jess Haines
10/12-17/12: The Turning by Jennifer Armintrout
17/12-7/1/2013: The Awakening by LJ Smith
7/1/-14/1/2013: Grave Memory by Kalayna Price
(NB: We're obviously not going to have podcast on the 24th or the 31st December)
Arcadia Bell has lived under her false identity since she was a child, ever since she had to fake her own death with her parents after they were accused of a series of brutal murders of the heads of rival magical orders. She now tends a bar she part owns and has put her past – and her supposed status as the precious “Moon Child” behind her.
Until her parents resurfaced again.
Seeing them alive, those magical orders are demanding her parents be handed over for justice. Or, failing that, that she be handed over in their stead. And her Order isn’t willing to go to war over it, they will hand her parents over.
Which leaves Arcadia with very little time in which to exonerate her parents, preferably by finding the demon that did the murders and discovering who summoned it.
We have some interesting premises in this book that focuses on magic, magic users and demons more than other supernatural beings. And demons are vast, incredibly varied and not (necessarily) evil. The sheer variety of the demons itself lends itself to be a very open ended world with a lot of possibilities. The magic system is also one with apparent rules and planning – it may be my geeky love but I always prefer when you can see the how of magic in a world rather than just pointing and having stuff happen. The world and the premise of this series definitely draws me in – I think that alone would make me a follower and certainly makes me look forward to the next book.
There are some intriguing characters, Arcadia, Lon and Jupe all bounce off each other really well, they have an excellent dynamic. They’re fun, they’re real and there was never a moment when I didn’t enjoy reading them.
The romance between Lon and Arcadia also worked for me – they had a decent foundation and work well together which is something of a miracle because it was full of tropes that annoyed me. They went from just meeting to Lon being willing make large investments and risks on Arcadia’s behalf. The relationship started with Arcadia hating Lon (for little reason), we had a classic pointless misunderstanding (and since Lon is an empath that just seems even more unnecessary. In fact, as an empathy and a telepath can we skip the whole “does s/he like me?!” angst altogether), an unnecessary jealousy moment and a big dramatic break up which may have been reasonable and have some grounding if it didn’t end after less than a day. Despite only knowing each other for, maybe, a week, this relationship has lots of mini-dramas shoe-horned into it. All of them storms in a teacup. Is there a checklist? Do all of these need to be included in a romance? Romance tropes aren’t pokeman, your lovers don’t have to catch them all.
The pacing of the book works really well in terms of interest – there was never a point when I was bored or felt that a scene dragged on and there was some really fun and powerful action scenes that were really well handled. The story keeps moving forwards and I never felt the need to yell “get on with it”. But at the same time Arcadia needed to be more urgent for me. She has a deadline, after which she or her parents are dead – sounds like a reason to go all in. But she doesn’t even take time off work straight away, then she dumps the quest into Lon’s lap and… what? She’ll cast a spell that will take at least a day to return then kind of twiddle her thumbs. The book was never boring, but Arcadia was never in a hurry either.
Still, the story showcased the world and was interesting in its own right – I did enjoy it. And the ending? That was a twist I didn’t see coming, not at all.
I also always have mixed emotions about protagonists who are special because of the special power/bloodline/woo-woo of specialness rather than because of their own actions. It can work – so long as there is enough of their own personality as well to back up the specialness.
The community centre is hosting an Athletics training camp for women – something Curtis notices. He’s desperate to get back involved with running after losing his opportunity and decides to join in using his power to turn into a woman.
Curtis does extremely well and is noticed by the trainer of the camp who thinks he could do much better with a coach and achieve much more, but Curtis says he just wants to run. In female form, Curtis introduces himself as Melissa, meets Emma a fellow runner (who strips naked in front of Melissa/Curtis in the changing rooms leading to a less than graceful exit) and is creepily hit on by the probation officer who is all kinds of skeevy. Emma also gets to meet Curtis in male form working at the bar and recognises him as a once-famous runner. Flirting ensues.
The next day at community service, Curtis is all smiley after having sex with Emma, Rudy is trying to get Simon to use his powers to predict the lottery and Kelley runs across Seth having car trouble. Using her rocket scientist brain she easily fixes it and Seth insists on giving her lift. Of about 20 yards since she’s nearly home anyway. More sexual chemistry brewing.
Melissa/Curtis keeps on running and the probation officer is extra creepy. Continually asking her out even when Melissa/Curtis makes it clear he’s not interested and even groping him (when Melissa/Curtis threatens him for this, the probation officer calls Melissa/Curtis a lesbian). Melissa/Curtis also catches up with Emma and gets to gossip all about Emma hooking up with Curtis the night before. But the news isn’t good – Emma found him negative, whiney, self-absorbed and called their sex a “sympathy shag” and that he’s also the worst sex that she’d ever had. Ouch.
Back in male form, Curtis runs into Emma again and she quickly tells him to forget about the night before, they were both drunk. Rudy says stuff (nothing good comes of listening to Rudy). Pride wounded, Curtis goes to see Alisha and ask if he was a bad lover. Alisha says no, but not in a very convincing way. Curtis gets angry and asks if Simon is a better lover than him – clearly doubting that Simon could possibly be better. Alisha takes offence at him speaking about her boyfriend that way and tells him the truth – Simon is focused on her, Curtis was focused on himself. She also criticises him for his negativity and complaining.
Curtis goes to one of the storerooms and shifts into his female form and begins to explore his female body, seeing what hurts and what feels good. Emma invites female formed Curtis/Melissa out - and offers to lend Curtis/Melissa a dress. And Curtis/Melissa has to figure out how to pee into a cup with different equipment for a drug test.
Kelley and Alisha spot Seth being shady and follow him – he puts flowers on the grave of a Shannon Speers, who died aged 23. Alisha realises Kelley fancies Seth. And Simon walks in on Melissa/Curtis in Curtis’s locker and finally sees what Curtis looks like when he’s transformed into a female body. Melissa/Curtis swears Simon to secrecy – but Kelley sees them.
At the club, Melissa/Curtis is made uncomfortable by all the guys looking at female-form him but he dances with Emma and there’s lots of touching going on. Back to Emma’s place, Emma asks Melissa/Curtis if he’s gay then they kiss and have sex.
The next day Curtis discusses the night with Simon, comparing male and female orgasms. Simon asks if Curtis is a lesbian but Curtis says even when he’s in a female body, it’s still him and he likes girls (i.e. he’s still a straight man in a female form). He asks if Emma is a lesbian and neither of them can muster up the word “bisexual.” Curtis wants to be with Emma in male form and approaches her and apologises for the other night.
The next day Rudy says something (it’s Rudy), Melissa/Curtis greets Emma – and the coach gets creepy and gropes Melissa/Curtis in the pretence of massaging out an ache in his thigh.
At the party (there’s one for the running camp) creepy coach dissolves a pill in a drink and gives it to Melissa/Curtis while talking about one on one training. Melissa/Curtis brushes him off, then has to dodge Rudy before dancing with Emma. Rudy drinks, they dance – and Melissa/Curtis gets more and more woozy until Emma leads him to the changing rooms to lie down.
Emma goes to call a taxi while Melissa/Curtis tries to kiss her. Emma lays Melissa/Curtis on a bench and Rudy comes in, the drugged Melissa/Curtis grabs him and kisses him and pushes him downwards. Melissa/Curtis comes round a bit, looks down and sees Rudy giving him oral sex and instantly demands what he’s doing – which is when Emma comes in. Melissa/Curtis protests that he thought it was Emma, but Emma leaves. Melissa/Curtis staggers after Emma and near collapses in creepy coach’s arms.