We all love of our families but if we're honest, family get togethers do have a tendency to become stressful. This is especially true, if your name is Faith Bettincourt and your father is the Devil. When her entire family descends upon her apartment, Faith knows that her plan to spend her week of vacation watching reality TV, is officially out the door. If that were not enough, her succubus roommate has accidentally killed her boss and his ghost keeps popping up because his paperwork keeps getting messed up. Life was simpler when she was simply flirting with the hot guy next door. Just having the Devil, your wiccan mother and police attention would be bad enough, but things get even worse for Faith, when an angel begins to stalk her, intent on stealing her powers and ending her immortal life. Luck of the Devil is absolutely laugh out loud funny. It takes the average (if there such a thing) dysfunctional family dynamics and throws in demons and angels. It's completely irreverent and despite it's supernatural cast, completely relateable. No child, not matter how old they are, ever wants to walk in on their mother giving their father a blowjob. The therapy bills alone would be horrific, never mind, the push to scrub the image from your mind. But isn't that what family is all about? But what do you do if your human mother keeps going on about Gaia, and refuses to believe that her Devil husband is immortal? Then there's the little issue of your demon brother in-law "falling up." Your half brother Tolliver, who is the son of Lilith and Satan, who is not happy with your mother and just happens to be in love with your succubus roommate, who he turned because he is in love with her. Speaking of the Succubus roommate, what if she cannot control her powers and keeps accidentally killing people? And Then there's your uncle The Alpha with a mean streak for vengeance.
Today is International Woman’s Day and we can’t help but think about our chosen genre: Urban Fantasy (and related genres).
Fantasy is one of the few genres of literature that is woman dominated.
It seems the majority of the authors are female and, perhaps even more
surprising, a majority of the protagonists are also women. It is
extremely rare to find this kind of female representation and lack of overwhelming male dominance in any media genre - which alone puts the genre ahead on inclusions compared to so many art forms.
course, that same large female presence also causes the genre to be so
utterly dismissed and regarded with contempt by so many. Above and
beyond the contempt that speculative fiction often receives, Urban
Fantasy is seen as fluffy, light, non-serious and even slightly shameful
to read. It’s considered childish and silly, a representation it shares
with Romance, another genre that has a large preponderance of female
characters and women authors.
us, this is part of why we criticise the genre as we do - because we do
take it seriously. Because we do respect it and in respecting it we
refuse to dismiss it, consider it silly or negligible. We give it the
attention -and scrutiny - its popularity and influence demands.
you ever imagined what super power you would like to have? I can never
decide but generally settle on invisibility. Or used to any more - these
days I think I’d swap it for the ability to send a psychic alert to
authors “Stop! Don’t do it!” or to teleport behind them mid typing and
just yell “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
some are for obvious reasons - we’ve written post after post on the
various isms, prejudices and stereotypes that are rife through the genre
- but sometimes it’s for more mundane reasons, some writing habits we
see time and again that make us roll our eyes so much we get friction
Recapping It’s book 6 in the series and a lot has happened in the last 5 books. And the author wishes to tell us, at length. No! Stop!
I know some reminders are helpful - after all it could have been 6
months or more since the reader read the last books. It could even have
been years for SOME authors (naming no names, you know who you are,
don’t make us fanpoodle you), so some reminders are helpful. But trying
to cram the entire last book into a convoluted summary or info-dump -
let alone the last 4 or 5 books - doesn’t work. It slows the book down,
breaks suspension of disbelief and looks like padding. The later we get
into the series, the more horrendous this can be and when your series
gets into the double digits and you’re trying to cram 10 books of plot
and character development into one convoluted internal monologue and it
really really doesn’t work.
some point, you’ve got to trust the reader to have read the many many
previous books and if they haven’t, tough, they should have.
Let the Story End! Publishing
is a business and so today you will rarely find authors who write stand
alone books in this genre. Most try to release at a minimum one book
year. As long as they have something to say and are still interested in
their own story this is fine. There comes a time however no matter how
great the writer, when it’s time to let the series end. What’s in the
best interest of the series and what’s in the best interest of the
authors pocketbook are two different things. This leads us to the series
that never ends. It just goes on making less and less sense with each
book, as readers pray for some sort of relief.
there are the authors who start out with one really good idea and then
beat it death by telling the same story for six or seven books. They
change one or two details but really, it’s the same shite. Another
trick is the author who has two series, but uses the same characters and
simply changes the names.
I would write the eulogies myself if they would just give it up already.
The Big Reveal... in the Prologue The
book begins, and characters move together to talk about the Special
Protagonist who is Destined to do Special Things with their Specialness,
all described in special detail. Perhaps they’re describing a
constantly repeating cycle and what is needed to break it. Perhaps
they’re describing a prophecy. Perhaps they’re villains describing their
enemy and how they intend to get her despite her Special Powers (that
she does not know about). Whatever
the vehicle, they have one thing in common - they’ve just spoilt the
entire book. We then move beyond the prologue and start a story with a
Special Protagonist and their journey to find out why they are so
special and who these odd people around them are... but we already know.
The book already told us WHY she’s special, the book already told us
who these people around her are. While the protagonist is flailing
around in confusion trying to figure out why all these odd things are
happening, we, the reader, already know and are dragged along waiting
for them to finally get it. It’s like reading a murder mystery with the
murderer starting the book with a long monologue about who he’s killed,
who he intends to kill, why he did it and why his alibi is a lie; then
spending the rest of the book watching Hercule Poirot slowly figure out
the answers you already have.
if your story requires a great big mystery or a massive, terrible
secret to hold then it would help if said mystery were not blatantly
obvious to everyone with sufficient brain power to actually breathe.
It seems that Sands has determined that all of the Argeneau siblings must simply meet their life partner and live happily ever after. With his father having died in a fire, Bastien is now the head of the family. He is the one that everyone calls when they are in a rough spot - the fixer of problems. Having had his heart broken years ago, Bastien has thrown his life into his work and has basically given up all pleasure in life, including eating and sex. When Kate, his sister-in-law to be foists her Terri on him when she flies in from England two weeks before the wedding between Kate and Lucian, Bastien graciously accepts having to share his NewYork penthouse.
What he does not think about is how his habits have to change to deal with living with a woman who is not a vampire and does not have any idea that vampires even exist.
Bastien feels an instant attraction to Terri and finds his jaded nature slipping away so that he can see the world through her eyes. For her part, Terri is cautiously guarding her heart. It's been many years since the young widow has been in a relationship and afters staying by her former husbands guide watching while he wasted away. Terri is scared to get close to anyone after watching both her mother and husband die slow painful deaths. At first, Terri is just attracted to Bastien and decides to enjoy the ride, but the more time they spend together, Terri realises that she is at risk of losing her heart.
I like that Terri was absolutely forthright in all of her interactions. The problem is that Terri has a PHD but did not appear to be in least bit intellectual. Her trip with Bastien to the MET would have been a great time to let this show but instead, Sands was comfortable letting Bastien take the lead. The characters joke about how loud Terri is when she has sex, which is supposed to be an indicator that Terri is sexually liberated but liberated women say more than please during sex. They actively ask for what they want. Also her insecurity giving a blowjob wasn't endearing. Come on, it's not that hard and certainly not something one suddenly forgets how to do. It reads as just another gently used female love interest.
Max and Cindy are going to hit the town, dressing up and
determined not to be miserable; Max is out for some fun and Cindy has an in at
the hottest club in town.
Well, in theory, once she finds her Bouncer friend Boom
Boom to get them out of the queue. In the meantime a group of kids drive up and
barge into the club and cause a bit of chaos inside, stealing, kicking and
punching anyone who challenges them – moving with surprising skill, speed and
strength for people that slight. Even more surprising is how easily they take
out the bounces – and one of them slams Cindy into a wall. Watching, Cindy sees
that 2 of them have barcodes on the backs of their neck.
Later at a hospital one of the young women from the gang
staggers into a hospital, she’s blurry and hurting and tells the receptionist
she’s sick. While she’s huddled in the waiting room, one of the doctors notices
a barcode on her neck – the doc, Beverly Shankar, is part of Logan’s network.
At work Max sympathises for 2 seconds overCindy’s broken arm before angsting about being responsible for what the
escaped transgenics did and then angsting over Logan and her and the virus and
– wow, you couldn’t last more than 5 seconds on Cindy?
Max speaks to Logan who gives us a nice summary with his
rumours – revved up gang with barcodes, CDC still causing fuss over the
transgenic they almost had – and girl with a barcode in a clinic. Max plans to
go round to the clinic, show off her barcode to the girl and tell her to lay
At the clinic the girl, Lida, is grabbed by the other 3 members of her gang who
are angry with her for going to the clinic. They tell her that only Marrow can
help her. She refuses to go back but they drag her out – just as Max arrives.
Outside at the car she tells them they need to talk, they laugh and the 2 men
get in the car with Lida, leaving the other woman, Rain, to take care of Max.
She tries to hit Max and Max easily drops her. She tries again and again and
Max smacks her around as if she were human. She’s just ready to take down the
other two when Logan screeches in in his car – spooking
them, they drive off leaving Rain behind. Max checks
Rain’s barcode while asking what she is – X6? Rain doesn’t know what she’s
talking about and objects to her tattoo being touched – she’s just had it done.
At Logan’s they question Rain on what she’s taking to
make her so strong and where she got her barcode. She isn’t co-operative and
warns Max that Marrow will come for her.
Speaking off, to marrow, the transgenic with prominent
veins and unusual eyes. They’re in an abandoned church and he’s taking
collection from his followers who tell him about Max and that she mentioned
Mantecore. Marrow pauses at this but goes on to work on Lida, blaming Rain’s
loss on her, telling her how useless and how much of a nobody she was until she
met him and how much he’s done for her (but in more dramatic terms) he turns
tat to the whole group with anifty
sound effect voice. She shakes and begs to “sip”, he tells her it’s too late –
once she starts shaking and she’s shut away.
At Logan’s apartment Rain is having problems, hyperventilating
and babbling, chanting “I give my life to the Marrow”. She babbles about having
to go back to Marrow. Max takes off her coat when she starts burning up and
finds a collection envelope for a church full of money and jewelry. While Logan
gets Dr. Shanker, she decides to go to the church.
Marrow comes to Lida and says he’s not cruel and can’t
stand to see her suffer – and suffocates her. He takes her dead body out to the
body of the church to say a eulogy over her with his followers, while Max
watches from above. He tells them that her death was senseless since she knew
that this is forever – and holds up an odd glass tube, that she couldn’t survive
without it. He rolls up his sleeve and stabs the sharp end of the tube into his
arm, the bulb at the other end fills with blood; his followers sip the blood
from the top of the tube. At which point someone manages to sneak up on super
hearing Max and knock her out.
Samantha was a witch along with her mother, a dark witch
in a powerful coven that practised the darkest of arts. Sacrifice and demons
were not unknown in their pursuit of power – until she turned 12 and a horrific
ritual went terribly wrong and the deeply traumatised Samantha was the only
She has a new life now. New parents, a new faith and a new job, as a cop no
less. Her past is behind her. At least, she thought it was until a murdered
young woman revealed a pattern of ritual murder victims. Dark witches were back
in the area and, worse, they have ties to her old home, her old life and her
She is the only police officer who can possibly
infiltrate and expose this new coven, the only person who can save countless
possibly future lives – but doing so means facing the demons of her past and
becoming everything she has fought so hard to avoid.
I liked this story a lot; it managed to draw me in very
quickly and kept me hooked through the duration. We have some very compelling
characters, a pretty original world and a plot that moves ideally.
I won’t say the plot is especially twisty; once we have
an idea of what is going on after the first, say, third to half of the book,
the rest is pretty guessable. I could see roughly what was happening and how
the book would end once the reasons behind the murders had been unearthed – but
that didn’t make the plot dull. I knew the end but getting there was still very
interesting with its own revelations and explorations. I think if you’re going
to write a book with an ending that is at least roughly known then it becomes
important to keep the plot moving (otherwise you get the “get on with it!”
sensation) and it’s important to put enough other elements in the book to keep
And this book succeeded on all counts. At no point did I feel the book was
dragging things out; Samantha is very on target. Once the bodies are discovered
she focuses on finding out how and why they died. Once that is discovered, she
focuses on infiltrating and bringing down the coven. She doesn’t get
sidetracked, she doesn’t twiddle her thumbs and she doesn’t curl up in a corner
– she gets on with it and the book is always moving forwards
The book also had some really good twists along the way –
the rage and hatred flaring up against witches turned out to be much more
involved than I imagined. And we had Samantha herself confronting her buried
demons of her past.
I think this book served as an excellent introduction
book. The plot was good but also served as an excellent frame work on which the
world could be built with it’s interesting, involved and well researched magic
system and the complex protagonist could be introduced and show cased all
without excessive info dumping
I did like the portrayal of Samantha’s trauma in this
book. This is always shaky ground because Urban Fantasy is so full of dead or
absent parents, horrific childhoods, abuse, torture etcetc etc
– in fact, an Urban Fantasy protagonist with living parents and a happy
childhood is really really rare; so I did look at another example with a lot of skepticism. But as far as this overused trope went, it was well done. The
trauma fit the story and the character, it wasn’t an unnecessary addition just
for the sake of it to provide quick and easy “development”. It was an integral
part of what she was, the path she’d taken and the character she’d become.
Lucia and Jazz have finally succeeded in getting Ben,
Jazz’s old partner, out of jail where he has been wrongfully imprisoned and his
life threatened for years. It’s a difficult time to celebrate though, as the
death threat still looms over Jazz, confining her to the office.
But the battle between the two psychic organisations – the Cross Society and
the Eidolon Corporation – is heating up and getting ever more deadly, even
their office is no safe haven. And, as can be expected from organisations that
can see the future, their plotting is convoluted, long term, confusing and very
complex; and nearly impossible to protect against
It also seems that their pasts were more affected by these organisations than
they ever imagined – and that their supposed allies are much more ruthless and
much more callous than they previously thought, begging the question whether
they’re truly on the good guy’s side here. Or if there are any good guys at all
The last book made me turn on my brain and pay attention
as the late appearing mystical elements of the story added a whole new level of
complexity – the duelling psychics constantly trying to shift tiny events to
have a massive effect on major events, the whole concept of different people
having massive different influences on the time line. Then there were our two
main character’s attempt to negotiate this and do what’s best with forces
determined to play “end justifies the means” long term planning that may
sacrifice many people in the name of the greater good.
This book not only continues that but plunges us in ever
deeper with a much stronger challenge of the ethics of the whole seeing the
future. Lucia and Jazz are increasingly trying to distance themselves from or
at least question the actions of the Cross Society and Eidolon both as they’re
struggling over the idea of who to trust. There’s a lot of moral quandary here,
a lot of struggling to figure out exactly what would be the best thing to do
all more complicated by the two men in their lives – Ben and James – having
very strong and very rigid opinions of the Cross society as well. I like how
the disagreement is handled in a mature fashion, there’s no big dramatic
ultimatums, no screaming matches, just a mutual wish to work it out coupled
with a firm insistence that none of them cross their red lines they’ve set up.
So, in many ways this continues the fascination of the
first book - it has a fascinating world, an excellent concept and a well paced
story with lots of really well done action, sensible behaviour and interesting mystery
as Lucia tries to navigate her way round the complications of the Cross society’s
planning, Eidolon’s plotting and several mine fields from her past.
This episode begins 15 years ago with Domenic giving a tour of a makeshift vampire created blood bank. All the humans are dead and lying on filthy mattresses. Domenic tells the trainees that the vampires like to think that they are in control but "no matter how civilized the arrangement, the monster is simply lying in wait." They continue to make their way through until they come across a little girl who is cuddling a teddy bear. Dominic first checks to make sure the girl has a reflection and then he holds out his hands to her, promising that he won't hurt her. Vampires appear and kill the two men he is with and Domenic holds out a cross to protect himself.
In present day, Hal is in the middle of doing his routine push ups when he gets an urge (thanks BBC3 for the topless Damien Molony). He doesn't try to fight it long, before getting up and grabbing a bottle of blood and drinking it. Alex pops in to announce a house meeting, and Hal quickly hides the bottle. Tom knocks on the door, opens it up and says that they have to get through this quickly because he is late for work. Alex says that Bobby didn't want to kill himself and that she remembers Bobby speaking to Hatch. She also says that she is 99% sure that Hatch looked at her. Alex then has Tom recite a question that she wants him to ask the captain about his belief in the occult and if he has ever had a near death experience. Tom takes off as Hal sighs. Alex asks what Hal's deal is because apparently the last two days, all he has done is work out and sing show tunes. Alex believes that what is really bothering Hal is what Crumb had to say about the two about them. She suggests that they both need to talk about this some night when Tom is at work.
Hal and Alex go to see Domenic to talk about Bobby's death. Domenic says that he believes that the suicides are the work of type one - a ghost. Alex grabs the file and disappears. Hal then puts the empty bottle of blood on the desk and asks for a refill but Domenic says that they don't have anymore blood, now that they no longer have human donors. Hal walks away quickly.
Domenic has gone to see Hatch and says that he needs more time to get the piece into place. Hatch tells him that having a vampire and a werewolf living in the same building means an opportunity that won't come again soon. Hatch encourages Domenic saying that it while t may seem that his department is dying, there's plenty of life left in it. Domenic tells the captain that he is a real boon to him. Hatch tells him not to worry about the ghost because they have a habit on fading away.
Hatch and Tom are outside and Tom tries to ask Alex's question but he keeps stumbling through it. Tom stops asking questions when he sees a young woman struggling with a man. She makes her getaway and runs into the hotel. When the man moves to follow, Tom blocks the entrance to the hotel and threatens to call the police. He follows the girl into the hotel and she reads the message on his hand. When she starts to leave, Tom tells her to stay so that he can take care of her hand.
They are in the kitchen when Hal walks in. Hal is overwhelmed by the smell of blood as Tom announces that they are hiring Natasha. When Natasha holds out her injured hand, Hal refuses to shake it, though Tom tells him not to be rude. Hal heads out to the front desk and runs into Alex who is looking through the files. She discovers that these suicides go on for years and as far back as 1987, Hatch was mentioned as a witness.
Hal is freaking out, so he drops a jar of paperclips on the ground and starts lining them up by their colour. Tom and Alex stay out of view and peep at Natasha. Alex declares that Natasha is not a ghost and asks if she tried to bite someone. Tom says no and that she is not a werewolf. Tom admits that Natasha made him feel things and asks what happens if she is a succubus or something. Alex asks if Natasha came on to him and Tom says no, so Alex suggests that Tom just has the hots for Natasha. Tom denies this and says that he likes Allison but Alex says that she can like more than one girl.
Alex heads over to Natasha and waves her fingers in front of her and then lifts her skirt. This shocks Tom who yells out her name, thus catching Natasha's attention so he lies unconvincingly to cover it up. Tom leaves the room and starts to sing about Tom having a crush. Tom says that he can't do the whole pants thing because Natasha is not the one - Allison is. Alex tells him that he and Alex are the one and that people test the water and that this is just what people do.
Hal has colour coordinated all of the paper clips, when Natasha walks in and asks him if he is alright. Hal leaves the room and at the front door, a man shows him a picture of Natasha and asks if he has seen her. Hal lies and says no. Later, Hal sits down with Natasha and says that he doesn't mean her any harm but that his priority must be the hotel. Natasha says that she stole some money from his boss when she was a kid but that she is straight now. Tom stands and says that he will make sure that she is paid for the rest of the week. When he gets up to walk away, Natasha says that it's her hand and that he must have it bad if he wants her out this quickly. "I know what withdrawal looks like and you're in the worst of it," Natasha says. Hal asks her how, and she says the mirror and that he would have noticed if he wasn't so out of it. Hal sits back down and asks if Natasha knows what he is. Natasha says that she has been around his type before and that Hal is not like the others.
Hal says that he is worse than the others but Natasha points out that Tom trusts him. Natasha tells him that he is killing himself trying to do the right thing. Hal begins to focus on the blood and says that he can smell it and when she is close enough he can almost taste it. Hal again says that she needs to go and so Natasha asks what he is going to do if the chef cuts his finger and points out that he just can't fire anyone with a paper cut. Natasha tells him that he is going to hurt someone and offers to help him if he lets her stay there. Natasha offers to allow Hal to drink from her. Hal tells her that she doesn't know what she is offering but Natasha says that she knows what will happen if that guy catches up with her again.
Hal and Natasha go into a private room. He takes off his watch and tells her to let him feed for ten seconds. He then hands her a stake and says that he if refuses to stop that she has to stake him. Hal sits next to her on the bed and then moves to bite her neck but she stops him saying that people are going to see if he does it there and then offers up the vein in her thigh. Hal gets on his knees and looks once more to Natasha for permission before biting her. Hal feeds until Natasha pushes him off and he says that it's good and not to tell Tom. Natasha agrees before walking out.
New day at the House, Aidan’s just getting up to leave but Josh is waiting for him – because they never see each other any more (see this is my complaint – they’re never together as much as 3 friends any more. They should all be in the kitchen, laughing, joking, eating Nora more). There is lots of Aidan avoidance and even more Josh babble (which is so much fun) until Aidan is forced to say that he’s avoiding Nora. Which Josh understands given the fact Nora is not exactly being reasonable and he believes Pedigree Liam was the one who got Erin to attack Aidan (as any sensible person i.e. not Nora, would be able to see). But he also believes Nora will come around and there’s no way she’ll tell Liam that Aidan killed Connor (Pedigree Liam’s PedigreeSon).
Y’know, if I were Aidan I’d wait until the New Moon and kill Liam, just saying.
Josh hates the tension at home, it’s like when he was 10 and his parents were silent fighting (Aidan objects to being compared to his parents, did I mention how much I like their banter?) Josh plans to make it all better with Nora by the time Aidan comes home from his double shift.
It’s not to be because when Nora comes downstairs they’re joined by Aidan’s 2 blood stained ghosts. Nora is not amused and adds to the whole hating Aidan parade, but finds the annoying blood stained underwear ghosts annoying so disperses them with iron – just in time for them to hear Sally cry out and rush through and comment on the oddness of her wearing a hat inside (to hide her missing chunk of scalp). Sally asks them not to “disperse the underwear bitches” when she’s in her room because that’s where they reset. Nora realises that they died in the house and has another “zomg we’re surrounded by all of Aidan’s murder victims” yeah, at least Nora had the common decency to do her murdering elsewhere guys!
Josh tells her again that Erin’s death was an accident and Nora expresses some of her frustration about it, especially since so many people are willing to brush Erin’s death under the rug since she was a child in care and there was so much apathy and screw ups around her that no-one wants to dig too deep. It shouldn’t be this easy, so quick and so simple when a girl dies. She cries while Josh holds her
Sally goes upstairs while Josh comforts Nora to examine the missing hunk of skin on her head in the mirror, mocked by the Underwear Ghosts (oh they need a better name).
Nora goes to see Pedigree Liam who gives her a sprig of wolfsbane, something werewolves normally avoid because it has a calming effect but it’s traditional to help a spirit move on. Nora doesn’t think someone who lived such a short violent life can find peace but Liam is confident Nora helped her – packs are more than just blood family. She tries to ask if Liam spoke to Erin about vampires but he pushes the idea of Aidan randomly attacking Erin just because. They talk about their losses and Nora refers to Bryn, his daughter, in the past tense.
At work Aidan tries to make a truce with Nora but she refuses – with Erin dead and the 2 ghosts running round so have some more guilt from Nora McJudgey! Aidan has finally reached his guilt trip limit and asks Nora about Bryn. Nora says it was self-defence, Bryn wasn’t an innocent and her murders are totally different guys. Nora demands Aidan stay away from her until she knows what happened to Erin then someone’s going to pay
Can I point out et again that everyone KNOWS what happened to Erin, except Nora who, for reasons unknown, is more inclined to believe Pedigree Liam the Vampire Slayer than Aidan.
Aidan decides to go and see Kat, Nora’s friend and call off their date as an official bad idea. Kat resist the idea and is witty and clever and tempting him with corsets that turns him right round. Oh she’s good.
Sally decides to talk to Nick, her fellow re-embodied ghost, to ask him about the rotting. He claims that he has no such problems and dismisses Sally’s concerns and seems generally very uninterested by her flesh falling off (or her raging hunger) and actively shuffles her out the door. She comments on him not caring and leaves – after which he lifts his shirt and examines his own large rot spot on his side.
Bo is practicing walking through some sort of fae threshold but every time she tries she is blocked. Trick reminds her that most fae have years to train to do this but since Bo is a special snowflake, she has only days before she devolves into something Trick says he will have to keep in a cage. Bo says that she needs a break and leaves for home.
On the road, a man and a woman are pulled over with a flat tire. She is not impressed to be there and has to go to the bathroom. He tells her to take a squat and she heads quite unhappily into a field. Suddenly a fae makes an appearance and the sky goes dark. The car falls on Brad killing him, which causes his fiancee to start screaming when she finds his body.
At the Dahl, Trick is sitting down with a specialist. He says that Bo is stubbornly unaligned and that her father is unknown. Trick learns that succubi are already at a greater risk of failing their rights and it's even higher for Bo because of her very special snowflake powers. Also, thanks to these special snowflake powers, should Bo fail her initiation, what she would become would be even more horrendous than usual. Trick begs Stella for her help and says that Bo is all he has left. Stella says that she needs to evaluate Bo and demands that Trick reduce the noise in The Dahl.
Bo is at home a sleep and she is dreaming about the night she killed Kyle and her mother's response. That night, her mother called her a slut, and a whore, as well as said that Bo was not her daughter. She is awoken from the dream with a call from Trick, who instructs her to come to The Dahl. Once there, Stella has Bo drink tea, so that she can read the leaves. Stella tells Bo that she harbors great rage and regret, which is stopping Bo from realising who she really is. Stella adds that the blockage can be traced back to some childhood imprint. Bo says, "it's always mommy issues with you guys." Bo adds that she worked out her issues with her biological mother. Trick says that Bo also had a falling out with her adoptive mother and so Stella informs Bo that she must confront the source of the estrangement and forgive. Bo stands and says, "I will do whatever I have to do to survive this but I won't spend one more minute with that bigot." Trick reminds Bo that the cost is her devolving into an under fae. Bo replies, "let's hope that it's a nice cage."
Bo is at home with Lauren and she is getting dressed. Bo tells Lauren that there has to be another way and that she could really use some of Lauren's patented nerdness right now. Lauren replies, "Bo I hate to say this but this is one of those occasions where your faeness trumps my nerdness." Bo again says that she can't go back and Lauren points out that it would be a shame to miss the Cherry festival. Lauren then gets serious and she says that she knows that Bo left because of Kyle and that Bo should try not to blame them for their ignorance. Bo tells Lauren not to defend them because her mother cast her out like she was some sort of deviant. Lauren replies that she cannot imagine how difficult this will be for her but reminds Bo that this is her only hope. Bo says that it's a five hour drive and Lauren volunteers to go with her but Bo says that she needs Lauren to stay behind and do some hardcore doctoring, in case this doesn't work out. Bo then brings up Kenzi who she feels could use a road trip. When Lauren asks how Kenzi is doing Bo says, that she doesn't know why the Kitsune targeted Kenzi and that Kenzi isn't talking about it. Lauren holds up three injectons for Bo to take, if she feels herself start to lose control but warns her that these are the last three because with every injection, the formula will work a little bit less.
At The Dahl, Dyson tells Trick that he doesn't understand why he is letting Bo go. Trick simply says that this is a part of Bo's initiation. Not in the least bit pacified, Dyson declares that he cannot lose Bo. Trick asks when Dyson got his love back and Dyson says that Bo is with Lauren now. Trick says that Lauren is human and that their relationship can only be short term. Dyson replies that in the short term he is not going to interfere because he loves Bo too much to screw it up again. Trick reminds Dyson that those feelings are not just something he can make go away unless he wants to book another appointment with the Norn. Dyson answers that his feelings will never go away. Trick offers a drink and Dyson asks about her guide for the dawning and Trick replies that Stella is the best and that Bo will make it through this.
Bo and Kenzi are on the road and have to stop for gas. Bo says that they have not had a chance to talk but Kenzi says that she's fine. Bo then asks about the rash but Kenzi focuses instead on getting gas into the car. Her efforts are stopped by Dougie, a friend of Bo's from highschool. He calls Bo, Beth and says that they found the guy who killed Kyle. Bo tells Doug that what happened occurred a long time ago and that she goes by the name Bo now, not Beth. Doug asks if she is here for the Cherry Fest and to see some of the old gang but Bo replies that she is there for personal business. Doug tells her that Brad was squashed by a car yesterday and that the town has gone to crap since Bo left. The fae creature who attacked Brad yesterday, makes a brief appearance and Bo experiences a moment of weakness.
Aftermath is the last installment of the Autumn series. Once again, we travel back in time to see how many of survivors coped through yet another life threatening rough patch. This time, some of the survivors are in a castle, because it provides good protection from the dead because of the steep approach. I have to pause to say that the incline being a problem for the dead makes absolutely no sense as in other books, the dead were capable of climbing stares. If they can make it up several flights of stairs, it makes no sense that an incline would be a problem for them. As to be expected, the close quarters quickly begin to fray on people's nerves and with everything that they have already lost and been through already, the castle may not be the sanctuary that it originally seemed.
The dead are once again changing and the degree of rot that they are producing is disgusting but at the same time, it provides hope. Eventually, the elements will ensure that the dead will disappear and the survivors can begin to focus on life after the plague. Not everyone is ready for that conversation though, as most are still suffering with PTSD. The male survivors have taken over and many of the women find themselves reduced to cooking and cleaning. Gender roles are strictly enforced and it's strongly implied that at least some of the male survivors, want to save the women for breeding purposes. With the constant conflict and the struggle for supplies -- it is quickly becoming questionable -- whether the humans can stick together long enough for the zombies to rot away.
Autumn began as a very compelling series. Moody's writing is stark, yet manages to convey the absolute desperation of the survivors. One of the things Moody attempts to do is humanize the dead in Aftermath. The survivors express pity for the dead, though they have threatened their lives for months because they now understand that as time has passed, the dead have far more awareness of what has happened to them than they previously had. Instead of destroying the dead out of fear, or a push for survival, the dead are now put out of their misery and this is seen by at least some of the survivors as a mercy killing. As a horror concept, this did not work for me at all. Sympathetic zombies? Yeah, that is not the stuff of horror.
Domenic has has gone to see Bobby, who is packing up after being notified that Domenic's big plan is to approach the Chinese to get funding to continue his work. Bobby asks about Tom and Domenic gets frustrated and says that he has made a temporary arrangement and that with the electricity about to go down, they won't have any way to contain him.
Domenic brings Bobby over to the house and Tom refuses to take responsibility for him. Hal says that after several bad interactions that they have made a pledge to avoid contact with other supernaturals. Domenic assures them that Bobby is no trouble. Bobby simply stares and doesn't say a word because he is too shocked by the presence of Alex. Domenic again asserts that Bobby needs to stay with people who have the experience and tools to deal with him and that the household owes him a favor for looking after Ian. Domenic goes on to add that Crumb has recently killed six people and has formed an alliance with Alan, an ex associate. Domenic says he wants them to deal with Crumb and Alan however they see fit. Hal asserts that this is not his responsibility but Domenic reminds him that he made Crumb and has cost his department a lot of time and resources over centuries and says that this is his chance to give something back. Hal tells Tom that he wouldn't have to look after Bobby but Tom asks about work. Domenic leaves saying that he will be back before the full moon.
Hal and Alex go to see Crumb. When Crumb opens the door, he is wearing blue underwear and his chest is covered in blood. This is a sight that I never need to see again btw. When they enter the apartment, they find the walls are covered in blood and Alan surrounded by dead people that they have fed on. Alan tells Hal that he has read his file and that he is a huge fan. Hal tells Ian that this has to stop and though he understands the thrill of this new found power, sooner or later it will give way to guilt and horror. Alex drags Hal out into the hallway and declares both Crumb and Alan nuts, then suggests that they stake them both. Hal reminds Alex that Domenic said he could deal with Ian however he saw fit, but Alex feels that this was a suggestion that they kebab Ian. Hal says that there has been enough death and violence and that they can help both Ian and Alan and do some good. When they go back into the room, Hal tells Ian that he wants to help him. Crumb reminds Hal that when he asked for help, Hal turned his back. Hal replies that with their help, they can leave this all behind, have friends, careers, and even lovers. Crumb holds out his hand and says that they are in.
Tom is busy ironing and Bobby is peppering him with questions, which is getting on Tom's last nerve. Alex, and Hal enter with Alan and Crumb in tow. Alan pauses when he sees Bobby and tells Crumb that Bobby is a wolf from the archive. Bobby says that he lives there now and that Tom is looking after him. When Hal adds that Bobby is another temporary house guest, Tom asks for clarification and so Hal says that Crumb and Alan will be staying there while they help them get off the blood.Tom walks out of the room in disgust and Hal and Alex follow.
In the other room, Hal says that by bringing Alan and Crumb into their pack,they are making it bigger and stronger because helping Alan and Crumb will help them. Alex quickly asserts that she doesn't trust Alan and Crumb. Hal responds," good, don't, they're junkies but with the right sort of help they can be redeemed. If I can be redeemed surely they can as well." Alex makes it clear that she is not cleaning up any poo. Tom says that he is going to work but Hal reminds him how difficult the first stages of blood withdrawal can be and suggests that this wouldn't be a good thing for Bobby to see. Tom again says that he is not bringing Bobby to the hotel, which shocks Alex. Tom says, "just look at him. He's smelly and hairy and asks loads of stupid questions all of the time." Hal crosses his arms and replies, "oh my God man, you're a snob." Tom tells him to shut up but Alex chimes in with, "no, he's right. You've got a house and a job and now you've become a snob." Tom tells Bobby that they are leaving. As they head toward the door, Hal asks Tom for some of his blood.
When Tom and Bobby arrive at the hotel, Captain Hatch is busy whispering to himself in a chair. Tom gets Bobby to sit in a chair and instructs him not to touch anything or talk to anyone excusing his abruptness by saying that they are rushed off their feet, though the dining room is empty with the exception of Captain Hatch. Bobby asks to sit in a smaller room and Tom tells him no and then storms out. Hatch turns and fixes Bobby with an evil glare.
Alan and Crumb are now tied to chairs in a basement where Hal is instructing them that they will experience guilt, nightmares, cramps and will wish they were dead. Hal assures them that when they make it through to the other side that they will appreciate life even more. Alex reveals two glasses containing blood. One contains human blood and the other werewolf blood and then starts to spin them around making it hard to discern which is which. Hal tells Crumb and Alan that both glasses will kill them and that if at any point they feel they cannot go clean, they make take glass, but they must be prepared to die. Crumb asks why Alex is still there given what Hal has done and she replies that everyday he is trying to be something better and she respects that.
At the hotel, Bobby is hiding under the table when Tom discovers him. Tom climbs under the table and asks how long Bobby was locked up in the institute. Bobby replies 33 years and then goes back to asking Tom if he has an answering machine yet. Tom asks what happened and Bobby tells him that went fishing and a werewolf run past, cut his back and pushed him into the water when he was 12 years old. Tom tells him that it's not his fault but Bobby says that Domenic has told him that he is a savage and that society needs to be protected from him. Tom tells Bobby that he is out now and that this is a chance to make things different and make something of himself. Tom promises that tomorrow he will show Bobby the ropes.
Back at the house, Crumb has started seeing visions of the people he has killed. Alan tells him that no one is there and that it's just the lack of blood. Alan is busy working on untying himself and is shocked that Crumb is attempting to detox for real. Alan laughs and says that Crumb is only doing this because he fancies Alex. Alan asks why someone like Alex would go for someone like Crumb but all Crumb sees is Hazel - the woman he killed last night. Alan adds that Alex is practically shagging Hal and says, "there's Hal with the body of a Greek God and then there's you, with the body of a Greek waiter," as he undoes the last of his restraints. Alan then gets up and starts to free Crumb, who then stakes him in a fit of rage.
Bobby is dressed in uniform and Tom is teaching him how to answer the phones. Bobby is worried that this is moving too fast for him but Tom assures him that he did it, so Bobby can do it as well. Bobby says that Tom is brilliant and Tom is clearly pleased with the complement.
When Alex and Tom go downstairs to check on Crumb and Alan, they find that Alan is dead. Crumb tells them that Alan got out in the middle of the night and tried to make him drink blood. Crumb says that Alan was his only friend and that he put a stake through his heart because he wants to be clean. Crumb then points out that he didn't drink the blood because he wants their help.
The training session of Bobby and Crumb has begun. It's actually quite hilarious. During a session of meditation, Crumb remembers the scream his niece made when he killed her and declares that he wants some blood. Hal tells him that this is good and that he needs to hold onto this memory because this is what he needs to think about the next time he wants to kill. Crumb asks what Hal thinks about because he needs to know that one can remain clean. Hal says that he thinks about a woman named Sylvie, who he killed over 200 years ago. Hal says that he loved her and that Sylvie thought that she could save him. Crumb asks if Hal is with Alex now because he can't kill her and Hal admits that he and Alex are not a couple.
Alex enters the room and Hal leaves. Crumb tells her that doing this makes him think of all of the horrible things he has ever done in his life. Crumb then goes to stand next to Alex and asks how long they can keep up the charade. He then asks Alex if he can treat her to a fish supper and she tells him to hold that thought and leaves. Alex goes to find Hal and tells him about Crumb's dinner invitation. Hal says that this is not a good idea and Alex replies, "I wasn't thinking it, I only told you so that we could toss our heads back and laugh smugly but once again you have ruined my fun." Hal says that he is not sure that they should continue this and wonders if they are ever really truly safe and if they can ever truly assimilate. Alex assures Hal and points to him as an example that this is not futile. She adds that everything he said to Crumb about having a normal life is true but Hal says that they are pretending, dressing up. Alex replies that it's keeping them safe because it stops her from going loopy like Mary and him from killing. Hal replies that all they are doing is marking time until the inevitable happens. Alex assures him that they have to grab every scrap of humanity they can and says that she will go out with Crumb to prove that normality can happen.
We start way back into the past of Fairy land - to when
Snow is a child and a princess and covered in sparkly things. It’s her birthday
which calls for a ball in her honour with even more sparkly things – and this
is before Snow’s mother died. And Snow’s mother is good and kind and chides
young Snow for berating a servant. Johanna, for trying on her tiara – because everyone
deserves love and respect and everyone is equal (says the Queen of an absolute
monarchy). Being royal doesn’t make you better than anyone else and how she
must always be good and kind and not mince peasants up into soup for funsies.
Clearly the gods disapprove of this message because she staggers in pain
afterwards and needs to be helped to stop her collapsing.
Modern day Snow White finds
David/James/Charming/Needs-to-pick-a-name suspiciously making breakfast. She
grills him over this and is most unhappy by these suspicious pancakes. The
confusion becomes less murky when a present from a mysterious unknown arrives –
it’s Snow’s birthday and she’s trying to keep it underwraps. Inside the present
is a tiara – the same one she got for her birthday as a child (the one with the
grubby peasant fingermarks all over it). Speaking of grubbyer servant
fingermarks, there’s a card inside saying the tiara is from Johanna. Oh
Johanna, I’m sure Rumple/Gold would have let you hock that for a nice chunk of
change. Snow just realises that Johanna came over to Storybrooke and Charming
points out they’re still all finding each other (how big is Storybrooke
After some more worry about how her birthday makes Snow sad, they go to work.
Wait, Charming works? Yes, he’s the Sheriff while Emma is away because there
are no employment standards for the police force of Storybrooke at all! When he
arrives (complete with gun – he knows how to use a gun? Really? Since when? He’s
been a medieval prince or a coma patient for most of his life) Hook leaps out
and hits him over the head. Ahhh, it’s a Joffrey slap moment, let me rewind
that and watch it again. I think it’s going to be a while before that gets old.
With Charming unconscious, he reclaims his Hook.
Snow goes to see Johanna, busy in her garden (and she
calls Snow “Snow” as well). They hug and it’s a big happy reunion – and it
turns out she found the tiara in Rumple’s shop (ah so that’s why she didn’t
pawn it). They get all weepy as they discuss the garden Johanna has planted to
honour the old queen when a noise cuts through the hugging and crying. Snow
enters the woods and spots Cora and Regina, together, consulting the map to
find where Rumple’s dagger is buried. They worry over the authenticity of Hook’s
translated map which leads to Cora both offering to use magic to make a better
map – and to conveniently info dump their nefarious scheme, overheard by Snow.
She rushes to see Charming to wake him up from sleepy land and tell him about
Regina. This calls for a cunning plan. Alas, Charming and Snow are about as far
from cunning as it’s possible to be – Snow decides that she needs to seed doubt
between Regina and Cora.
To New York where Henry is bonding with Bael/Neal and
Rumple and Emma are feeling left out. Rumple wants Emma to convince Bael/Neal
to come to Storybrooke and he has a great hook for it. If Bael isn’t in
Storybrooke, how long before Henry gets on a bus to find him the way he did
with Emma? Emma tries to insist she lied to him to protect him but Rumple
points out that that’s probably what Regina said to Henry about Emma. He also
suspects that Emma would love another chance with Neal/Bael.
4th March - 11th March: Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs 11th March - 18th March: Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennet 18th March - 25th March: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare 25th March - 1st April: The Struggle by L.J. Smith 1st April - 8th April:Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger 8th April - 15th April: The Queen is Dead by Kate Locke
NB: Our podcast time has changed, it will now be every Monday at 6:30 EST (11:30 GMT)
Lady Claire is back and rumours of her demise are greatly
exaggerated; though he reappearance causes quite a shock for Lord and Lady
Dunsmuirs, especially since this is the second time Claire has been presumed
dead. Reunited with her flock, Claire can return to her original plan, visiting
Edmonton with the Dunsmuirs, seeing their holdings and making plans for the
future – especially since she no longer has the threat of forced marriage being
held over her.
Of course, things can’t be that easy. Alice is joining
them, severely out of place among the nobility and desperately looking for her
father who may be involved in nefarious schemes. And when they arrive at the
Dunsmuirs’ most remote mine they find a whole crew of people ready to join
them, from Britain, from the colonies and even the famous Baron Zeplin himself.
Of course, not all of these people can be gathered without nefarious schemes
afoot – and soon sabotage follows kidnapping follows lots of adventure and
excitement as Claire and her flock must again try to avert disaster – this time
on an international scale.
I have a big grin on my face which is my Magnificent
Devices grin – it’s impossible not to smile your way through this book. It’s
such swashbucklingly, good fun. The tone has that wonderful lightness of humour
and joy that keeps up in even the direst of situations. At the same time it
wonderfully maintains the sense of time and place – the Victorian feel, the
language, the class, the clothing, the attitudes are all extremely vivid,
carefully maintained and, at times, gloriously lampooned.
The story didn’t let up for a moment and was full of
twists and new developments. For a long time I had no idea what the focus was
going to be or what the main plot line was – partly because all the characters
have their own lives and their own agendas – but it didn’t matter because these
characters and their interactions are so much fun and so truly excellent that
it was worthy reading even without the main plot of the book being present.
And when it did develop it was wonderful – intricate with new revelations and
surprises, I didn’t predict it, didn’t know where we were going and was
surprised every step. The action kept flowing and the story kept up – it was an
extremely quick and fun read.
I have to say I feel minorly cheated by the ending. Not
because of a cliffhanger or anything like that – no the story was brought to a
close and in a wonderfully concise and clear manner, the bad guys vanquished,
the good guys triumphant – but it was summed up in a latter. The letter covered
everything and we knew how it was going to end before that letter because Claire
& Co had, through daring and intelligence and each of their useful skills,
come up with a plan that was rapidly reaching its forgone conclusion. We didn’t
need to see the bad guys humbled and defeated to know they were. We didn’t need
to see the glorious victorythat had
become inevitable.We didn’t need to see
Claire and the Dunsmirs and Zeplin proud and triumphant. But I wanted to – after
a book of wrangling and struggling and ducking and weaving, I wanted the pay
off of a glorious victories, the enemies shamed and cast down, smugness all
round. This letter did not have my smugness pay off nor nearly enough villains
having their noses pushed into the mud. I am disappointed.
One things I love about this book – and this series – is how
capable all of the characters are. Claire, obviously, is truly excellent. She’s
skilled, she’s fiercely intelligent, she’s determined, she has a mature and
caring devotion to her flock, she has a strong sense of duty and doing what is
right. She’s practical and recognises when things won’t go her way even when
she is right, she has a strong sense of who she is and what she wants but
recognises that what she wants doesn’t mean other people are to be forgotten or
duties cast aside. But at the same time she is young and given to becoming
confused and befuddled when inexperienced, awed by famous people and, at times,
overwhelmed. She is not a weapon, though she carries one she can use and she is
not capable of bringing down entire regiments with her awesome skills – and she’s
still one of the strongest characters we’ve come across.
Michonne is driving and Rick and Carl are in the car, when they come across a man in the street, who begs them to stop. They drive right past him and keep going, only Carl looks back. As they drive by a car wreck, the car gets stuck in the mud and then surrounded by walkers. Rick instructs everyone to cover their ears and then rolls down his window and starts shooting. When they get out of the car, Rick shows Carl how to create traction when stuck in the mud and Carl is not impressed and points out that Michonne never should have gotten stuck in the first place. Carl is also not happy that Rick invited Michonne along. It seems Michonne was asked because Rick didn't trust her at the prison without him there and says that for right now, they have the same problems. The man they passed earlier, comes running toward them screaming and begging for them to wait for him, but Rick and Carl get in the car and he instructs Michonne to keep driving.
They arrive in King Country, the area that Rick and Carl are from and get out of the car and start walking around. The police station has been raided, so there are no weapons available. Michonne says that they need guns and ammo. Rick says he knows where a few people in town kept weapons. When Michonne sighs, Rick asks her if she has a problem and Michonne replies, "no Rick, I don't have a problem." Outside they pause at a pile of dead bodies. On the ground there are green arrows. there are signs which say things like "turn around and live." As they walk through town, a walker is following them and before they can act, it is shot from the roof. The man on the roof tells them to drop their weapons and head back to the car. Rick shoots and they are quickly in a stand off. It's Carl who ends up taking the guy out. Rick is shocked to see what Carl has done and reminds him that he had told him to run to the car because he didn't want hm to have to do that. The man was wearing body armor and so, though he has been shot, he is still alive. When they take off the mask, it turns out that it's Morgan Jones from season one.
Rick instructs Michonne to keep an eye out for boobytraps. Michonne points out that their mission was to get in and get out and Rick says that Morgan saved his life. Rick then recalls Morgan's son Duane. They decide to head inside, and there they find a ton of weapons. Michonne grabs a bag and begins to load up the guns. Rick joins them and sees the walkie talkie he left Morgan with. When he looks up, he sees the words, "Duane turned," written on a wall. Rick says that they are going to stay until Morgan wakes up, but Michonne wants to leave and points out again that Morgan tried to kill them. Again Rick asserts that they are going to wait and that there is not going to be any discussion about it. Michonne points to the writing on the walls. When Ricks asks if she thinks Morgan is crazy, Michonne says "no, I think he's dangerous."
Carl looks at a map of the area and sees that Morgan has written that their neighbourhood has been destroyed. Since Michonne has been told that they have to wait, she sits down and starts to eat. Carl says that he wants to make a run for a crib for Judith and Michonne points out that he is going to need help. Rick agrees and so the two leave. Outside, Carl tells Michonne that she didn't have to come with him. When Michonne walks over to take out a walker Carl keeps moving, forcing Michonne to chase after him. When she catches Carl, he says that he wants to do this on his own and Michonne follows at a distance.
Alone, Rick tells Morgan that he is sorry this happened to him. What he does not know is that Morgan is awake and is reaching for a knife. When Morgan charges him, Rick asks him if he knows who he is but Morgan says he doesn't know anyone anymore. They fight over a knife and Rick gets stabbed in the shoulder. Rick gets away and pulls a gun on Morgan. Morgan then grabs the end of the gun and begs Rick to kill him.
To give people a chance to read along with us, every Monday we’re also going to
include a list of our planned books of the week for the next few shows, so
people can get the books, read them and join in the conversation.
28th February - 4th March: Brilliant Devices by Shelley Adina 4th March - 11th March: Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs 11th March - 18th March: Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennet 18th March - 25th March: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare 25th March - 1st April: The Struggle by L.J. Smith 1st April - 8th April:Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger 8th April - 15th April: The Queen is Dead by Kate Locke
Saturday Night live decided to do a spoof on The Walking Dead and so of course we had to share it with you. For quite sometime we have been saying that The Walking Dead has a race problem.
We are now in season three and even though they have included Michonne
and Tyreese, the representation has not gotten any better.
What is rather ironic - but very typical, is that this 3 minute video contains more commentary on race, than The Walking Dead
has managed with multiple dead Black people, a near non-existent Oscar,
a silent T-Dog, a servile Tyrese and a very very very angry-eyed
Michone in 3 seasons.