Saturday, March 16, 2013

Game of Thrones Season 3 Trailer

We're counting down the days until it's back!

Special Podcast With Author Shelley Adina

Hello everyone, tomorrow we have a special podcast planned at 2pm EST with Shelley Adina, the author of the steampunk series Magnificent Devices.  Please try and join us live.  There will be a chat room open for you to ask questions directly. For those who cannot make it, the podcast will be posted afterwards for you to listen to at your leisure. 

The Vampire Diaries Season Four, Episode Sixteen: Bring It On

Elena is walking in the middle of the street by herself and for some reason, she decides to lie down. In the house, Stefan is worried that they are going to lose her because Elena's humanity is one of the things that makes her who she is.  Damon tells Stefan that it's only been a couple of days and reminds him that Elena is a vampire and that shutting down is one of the perks.  Stefan reminds Damon that Elena burned down her family home with her brother's dead body still inside but Damon flippantly replies, "it saves us the trouble of having to do it ourselves, I call that a win. Worse case scenario, I'll invoke the sire bond and tell her to turn it back on."  Stefan is not convinced and says again that Jeremy just died and that if they force all of that grief on her all at once that it is going to overwhelm Elena.  Stefan suggests that they need to give Elena a reason to turn it on.  Damon says that they will show her a good time and that people like to have fun.  Outside a car approaches Elena and a woman comes running assuming that Elena is injured.  When she runs back to get a blanket for Elena, Elena attacks her.  Damon has to pull Elena off the woman and she explains that this woman is the first person she has seen in days whose body is not laced with vervain and that she is hungry. Damon points out that if she is going to start leaving bodies all over the place that people are going to start asking questions. Elena replies that she does not care and moves to feed again. Damon pulls her away again and says, "I can't believe you're making me say this, show a little restraint." Elena drops the woman on the ground and walks away.

Hayley is at a truck stop and stops when she hears a noise. A vampire begins to attack her and Klaus pulls him off saying, "that's no way to treat a lady," before making short work of the vampire. Hayley is happy to see Klaus who comments, "you did say that it was urgent." He adds that she was foolish enough to make a deal with Katherine and now she is nothing more than a loose end and will be lucky if Katherine lets her live. Hayley reminds Klaus that he promised to protect her and Klaus replies, "I will, just as soon as you tell me everything you know about Katherine."

Elena is in the shower, while Damon and Stefan discuss plans for her.  It seems that Damon wants Elena to go back to school, but Stefan is not keen on the idea of going and playing chaperone and reminds Damon that he has to go and find the cure because Elena needs it now more than ever.  Caroline walks into the room and says that she believes taking Elena back to school is a fabulous idea.  Damon is surprised to see Caroline, who explains her presence by saying that their house has the only vervain free showers in town, thanks to their fancy water filters. Caroline says that Liz believes things are going to get worse and so Damon agrees to go after Katherine and instructs Caroline to take Elena to school.  Stefan and Damon head into the bathroom to tell Elena the plan and she says that she has nothing better to do.  Damon then uses his sire bond to tell her to go to school, learn, study hard and not eat anybody.

Elena is now at school and she takes down a flyer announcing a memorial for Jeremy.  Caroline is on the phone leaving yet another long message for Tyler.  Matt approaches Caroline to ask about Bonnie and Caroline says that Bonnie is fine and that she's just a little drained from everything.  Elena interrupts the conversation to ask about getting her old spot on the cheer leading squad.   Caroline replies that she thinks this would make Damon really happy.

Damon is now at Klaus' and says that he has come up with a list called, "things you suck at: number one, finding Katherine.  Number two, covering up your secret conversations with that backstabber Hayley. So where is she and what does she know about Katherine?" Klaus asks why he should help them, since they killed his brother and then imprisoned him in the Gilbert living room.  Damon tells Klaus that he needs to prioritize because Katherine has the cure and his guess is that she is going to want to use it on him.  Damon suggests that he gets the cure and gives it to Elena so that everyone wins.  Klaus replies, "I can't help you mate, Hayley's off limits."

Liz and Stefan are talking and she tells him that the entire blood supply from the hospital is missing.  Stefan asks if she is accusing the vampires and Liz replies that this town is at a tipping point and that one more unexplained house fire and things are going to tip over.  Liz then apologizes and says that it's been a rough week.  She adds that Miranda Gilbert was one of her best friends in highschool and to see what's happened to her family.  Stefan promises that he will do whatever he needs to, to help. Liz replies that he needs to because whoever stole that blood put a lot of people in danger and risks exposing all of the vampires, including her daughter.  Liz asks if Stefan can think of who wants blood that badly.

At the highschool, Elena is in her cheerleaders uniform. When a cheerleader from an opposing team heads back to her bus to get her makeup, Elena quickly follows.  Elena quickly attacks the girl and pulls the ribbon out of her hair.  When Elena returns, she is wearing the ribbon in her hair and Caroline notices it and the girl Elena attacked, who is now wearing a scarf around her neck.  Caroline asks if Elena is out of her mind, and if she heard what Damon told her.  Elena replies, "who cares, I'll do whatever I want."  Stefan approaches and asks if everything is okay and Elena replies, "as soon as the queen backs off," before walking away.  Caroline tells Stefan, "remember how Damon sired her to behave? Yeah well, it didn't really work." Stefan gets on the phone with Damon and informs him that Elena fed and says that the sire bond is not working.  Damon says that it's impossible but Stefan reminds Damon that Elena's sire bond stems from her feelings for Damon and that with her humanity off, she has no feelings. Damon replies that all this time he wanted to break the bond and that this whole time all she had to do was to turn it off. Stefan asks where he is right now and Damon replies that he is at a truck stop in the boonies looking for a dead vampire that might lead to Catherine.  Damon instructs Stefan to get Elena home and says that he will be there as soon as he can.

Damon runs into Rebekah and is surprised that she is there.  Rebekah says that she was looking for answers and all she found was professor Shane dead and wondering if anyone knows anything about the cure.  Damon snarks, "so you don't get to turn into a real girl after all." Rebekah replies that she will get the cure because all she needs is Katherine and she is betting that Damon can help her find Katherine.  Damon asks why he would help her and Rebekah holds up a vile of Klaus' blood saying that they need this to interrogate a vampire, who is practically dead from a wolf bite. Damon then agrees and tells her to follow him.

Klaus and Hayley are sitting at a table and he says that now that Hayley is fed and well rested that it's time for her to tell him about Katherine. Klaus replies that in her case, he favours hospitality over being hostile but reminds Hayley that he has been known to change his mind on a whim and so again asks where Katherine is. Hayley asks, "you seriously believe I know?"  Klaus replies, "you tipped her off as to what we were up to and then sent her off on a course to find the cure, then she sent her lackey to snuff you out. Tell me, what did Katherine promise you."  Hayley answers that she was in New Orleans trying to find information about her real parents when Katherine found her and told Hayley that she could help.  Klaus says, "an orphan, well that does explain your bravado, abandonment issues will do it every time." Hayley answers, "it sounds like you would know."  Klaus reminds Hayley that he is the only one who can protect her and that he is happy to do so provided she co-operates.

Beauty and the Beast, Season 1, Episode 15: Any Means Possible

  It’s been a brief hiatus so a quick reminder of where everything stands:
Everything is falling apart. Everyone is suspicious of Catherine, Darius is dead, Evan has joined Muirfield and it’s all very messy indeed.

Time to open with Vincent and Catherine getting all hot and steamy (though very careful with their hands and wearing a lot of clothes), it heats up and then Vincent’s Manimal thing kicks in, making his eyes glow and him jerk away. Way to kill the mood with your out-of-control-feral-killing-machine-moment. Vincent wants to wait a moment and it’ll past – I have to say that if you have an out-of-control-feral-killing-machine-moment it’s probably best not to just wait a couple of seconds then pick up where you left off, like it was cramp or wind or something.

Proving me right, Vincent starts growling (especially since she doesn’t give him a minute) grows claws and tosses Catherine across the room. Ok my money’s on angst nightmare. She cowers helplessly on the floor begging him as he advances menacingly. He attacks her – and wakes up

Told you! Angst nightmare. And seriously, Vincent, you’re having sexy dreams of you both fully clothed? Someone needs a word with your subconscious, man. He gets up shirtless – please stay that way Vincent, I need something to balance the inevitable epic amounts of angst that are, no doubt, going to overwhelm us because you had a nightmare.

Which is when Catherine arrives – with her own house key which JT comments on a little snarkily (since he does live there as well it would have been nice to tell him. Y’know angry manimal is one thing but bad housemate etiquette is really pushing it. I bet he drinks all the milk and puts the bottle back as well). Catherine wants to spend time with Vincent (since she no longer has any friends at all) while JT effortlessly skewers her small talk before making a grossly conspicuous “I’ve leaving you two alone to get it on” exit. Hah, JT, you should know better, of course they’re not going to get it on, they’re too busy stammering like awkward teenagers at Prom while Vincent falls down his angst cycle and, rather than talk about it decides he’s going to avoid her instead and runs out the door, leaving a confused Catherin in his wake.

Let’s switch to Muirfield where Ethan is meeting some bad guys in a white room. No really, the walls, the floor, the table, the chairs, everything is white. No-one would have a room like this. You’d need to employ 15 people just to keep it clean and they’d have to wear sunglasses so they wouldn’t get migraine. The only possible purpose to have a room like this is to scream “evil sinister lair”. Either way, the evil people have taken Ethan’s work and are surprised by how quickly Vincent is mutating. And Ethan realises the evil people are trying to sideline him and pushes to be more included eventually resorting to violence which gets him escorted out with a gun pointed at him. My, working for a shadowy group with secret headquarters that performs illicit experiments on people is not everything Ethan imagined! Who could have predicted this?

Catherine is in the gym complaining over the phone to heather about Vincent’s lack of eagerness to get hot, sweaty and necked with her (Heather’s misgivings about Vincent have disappeared – possibly because her boyfriend turned out to owe money to a loan shark and try to kill her which means she will Never Have the Moral Highground Ever Again). Her frank description of which is overheard by the extremely hot guy who makes a joke before she points out he’s in the women’s locker-room by mistake. With that chest, who cares what room he’s in?

It seems Beauty and the Beast may be replacing plot with half naked man candy. I see no problems with this flawless plan. Ok, putting aside eye candy, he acted all kinds of skeevy there – even if he did accidentally enter the women’s locker room, butting in on a woman’s private phone call (even if loud) and inappropriately coming on to her while half naked? Skeevy and wrong, even when you look like that.

Alas, I can’t remain on pause so onwards, with Catherine at work offering  cappuccino to Tess so she can have some girl talk to vent even though they’re on the outs with each other. So she rants about Vincent and half-naked guy until interrupted by Joe introducing the new district attorney – Gabe Lowen, aka half-naked guy. And why is Lowen – and extra investigators (including 2 cops who have a reputation for shooting first asking questions later) – hanging around? To catch the vigilante (that would be Vincent). Catherine isn’t impressed by Vargas isn’t joining her on that one. They’re investigating Joe and the whole special crimes unit to see what’s not working and why.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Crossroads (Anna Strong Chronicles #7) by Jeanne C. Stein

Though Anna is the Chosen One, things have actually settled down in her life. Anna has been able to work a steady schedule, start dating a new man and basically live the life of her choosing. For the first time in a year since she has become a vampire, everything is normal.  Unfortunately for Anna, this is not destined to last. Anna returns home to fine Chael, the representative of Middle Eastern vampires sitting on her couch.  Her instinct is to kill him because he represents a threat to her, until he dangles a carrot that she cannot cast away out of hand - the chance to regain her humanity.  When Chael brings up Frey's son John John, Anna knows that she must investigate, if not for herself, then to ensure that John John is safe. What Anna does not realise, is that trip to the Navajo reservation, is going to change her life forever.  Once there, she must confront her White privilege and decide whether or not she can accept the vampire she has become.

Crossroads is easily the best book in this series since The Becoming. Anna has been very busy running around and kicking ass for most of the past year but while doing so, she has become completely self involved.  While Anna has been concerned about the loss of her mortal life, she has done little to sustain the relationships she has developed. I loved that Frey pointed out that she would have known about him breaking up with his girlfriend had he bothered to call.  Anna is forced to accept that she only turns to her supposed friends when she needs them and has not been there for them otherwise.

For the majority of this series Stein has seen fit to erase people of colour, and in Crossroads, she seeks to rectify this by setting the book on a Navajo reservation.  This is a nice change of pace.  Anna continues to be filled with privilege, racism and ignorance, and it is up to Frey to attempt to reign her in.  Anna views the Navajo people initially as ridiculously superstitious for their instant distrust of her vampire nature and refuses to acknowledge that vampires do indeed present a legitimate threat to humanity, despite knowing that members of the vampire council seek to enslave humanity. For much of the novel, Anna exotifies the people of colour she interacts with but by the end of book she develops a sort of reverence, which to me, really still reads as false.  Part of the problem is that she is on the reservation to seek out the council of an elder.  It reads too much like wise person of colour directing the clueless White lady.

Devil May Care (Speak of the Devil #2) by Patricia Eimer

In Luck of the Devil, we are first introduced to Faith Bettincourt, who is quite literally a crowned princess of hell because she is the Devil's youngest daughter. Being the daughter of the devil, with Jesus as a cousin and the girlfriend of a nephilim, means that Faith's life is pretty complicated and family gatherings, potentially an out and out nightmare. The Devil May Care starts pretty much where Luck of the Devil left off and this time, it's time to meet the in-laws.

Faith's parents are getting married and so is her half brother Tolliver. Family weddings are always filled with some sort of strife but with the participants involved, petty disagreements are the least of their worries.  Things immediately starting going bad for Faith when he ex shows up.  Despite the fact that the Alpha erased his memories of Faith in order to restore his sanity, he seems intent on pursuing her again. Then, Matt's ex shows up with plans to free him from Faith's so-called demonic hold.  She spends most of her time snipping at Faith, who tries for the most part to be the bigger person.  When Matt's mother shows up, all bets are off because not only does she plan to break up Faith and Matt but as part of the process, she hopes to kill Faith.  Just when we are about to question how much one person can put up with, Faith's half brother Tolliver is kidnapped.

Devil May Care is laugh out loud funny and as with Luck of the Devil, anyone who has had to drink to get through a family gathering will not only relate but laugh themselves silly.  Essentially, Eimer is working a schtick but through the second book at least, it continues to be entertaining. Though there is so much going on with the story and a lot of characters, Devil May Care is easy to follow and Eimer tells just enough about each character to keep the plot moving and the reader interested.

Race on The Walking Dead Part II

We have looked at Race in The Walking Dead before, back near the beginning of season two and we covered many of the problems with the show has when it comes to its POC, especially compared to the comics.

Unfortunately, the show hasn’t improved, quite the opposite in many ways, and it has reached a point where our original post now needs a sequel. Insert your own “I can’t believe I still have to complain about this” macro if you got ‘em.

Let’s start with the character who occupied so many of our complaints before - T-Dog. T-Dog the silent. T-Dog the characterless. T-Dog who did nothing but fetch and carry. Well, T-Dog lasted through the whole of season two and if he said more than five lines I’d be astonished; he disappeared for entire episodes, was completely ignored when anyone made any kind of decision and was, quite literally, background colour.

There seemed almost to be a shift in how he was treated in season 3 - he started to talk! He had lines, actual lines! He even... reach for your smelling salts folks... he even expressed an opinion over the prisoners and whether they should be allowed to join the group. He even disagreed with Rick!

Of course, it was too good to be true and shortly afterwards he was plunging into the walkers, sacrificing himself to save a White woman, Carol. Which means all of his sudden participation wasn’t so much an attempt to redeem his broken character as it was a way to desperately humanise him - or even remind us that he actually existed - before he died so we could believe the (very brief) sadness of the group afterwards. Though, maybe not, it’s not like they spent more than two seconds grieving for him. Three episodes later and he was barely mentioned again - I can think of one occasion, when Hershel tells Andrea about the group he tells her of T-Dog’s death. This causes her about 2 seconds of thought and then everyone moved on.

We could probably have predicted T-Dog’s death by Oscar’s appearance. After all, does the show really need two silent token Black men? And Michonne and Glenn as well? Inclusion cookies have been earned! It’s almost like a remake of Highlander - there can only be one silent Black token! Oscar himself should probably have paid attention to that lesson, after several episodes of doing his duty, standing there and being Black, he too was killed off in the fight in Woodbury to rescue Glenn and Maggie. This seemed to happen partly because the fight in Woodbury had to cost the group something - so Rick could later refer to it costing them. It’s hard not to see Oscar as a disposable, throw-away character used to add weight to the feud between the prison and Woodbury.

The other reason he died? Well, Tyrese was introduced -
THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE! I feel there should be dramatic music for that.

So far we have not seen a lot of Tyrese, which, as we said before, is already a big deviation from the comics where he was an integral member of the group since before the survivors even reached the prison or Hershel’s farm. This delay means Tyrese didn’t join the group when Rick was still accepting of outsiders, willing to share leadership roles and welcome of help; instead he arrives when Rick is paranoid, suspicious and violently hostile. In a desperate attempt to fit in and be accepted, Tyrese goes beyond accommodating and is positively servile. Whatever they need, whatever they want, he bows, he crawls, he begs - desperate and subservient.

When Rick turns him out anyway, he is directed to Woodbury by Andrea and we see the same repetition of the same fawning, servile behaviour. He even volunteers them to join Woodbury’s fight against the prison - Tyrese and his people have no stake in this fight and good reason to stay away, but he’s there, eager to please.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fangs for the Fantasy Episode 109

An unusual time this week because of technical difficulties, we’ve managed to get it back up.

We talk about the new series of Grimm and its excellent start, an awesome episode of Once Upon a Time – and it’s treatment of family and Regina, Lost Girl and several changes as well as Being Human (US) which is on a changing point and The Walking Dead on which nothing happened.

Our book of the week is Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Our Next books of the week are
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

A Bite to Remember (Argeneau #5) by Lynsay Sands

Someone is sabotaging Vincent Argeneau's business and each act sabotage is getting more violent. He reaches out to his cousin Bastien, who hires Tiny and  Jackie Morrisey.  What Vincent does not realise that the private investigators are human. He is not exactly open to the idea but Bastien assures him that both of them know all about vampires and are skilled at what they do. Vincent know has to deal with mortals in his home, a saboteur and his aunt Marguerite, who has decided its time for Vincent to find a life mate because he has become despondent. 

Jackie is a typical paranormal heroine and so of course has a tortured past.  Both of her parents are dead and her mother died when she was just a child.  Jackie has been in one relationship with  a vampire and it didn't end well.  Essentially from the moment she met Cassius, she was enamored with him and even dated him behind her fathers back.  This went on until she learned had been toying with her and was taking control of her mind and body, forcing her to do things against her will. Sands took great care to point out that this was a violation of Jackie's person, but she never explicitly labelled the sex that occurred rape.  Sands even compared when Lily took over Tiny's body briefly to what Cassius did to Jackie.

One of the more interesting characters in this book is Tiny. He is Jackie's partner and we are constantly reminded that his name is a misnomer because is in fact a very large man. I don't know about you, but a large man with the name Tiny didn't actually read as creative.  Tiny absolutely loves to cook, but Sands often used this fact to emasculate him.
Tiny had taken a gourmet cooking course years ago and she'd often caught him leafing through women's magazines over the years, looking at recipes. She suspected Tiny was a very small woman in a large man's body, which was probably why they got along so well. Her father always claimed she was a big tough guy in a little woman's body. (page 33)
Paranormal romance often sticks to extremely binary gender roles and as you can see from the above passage, performing one's gender is absolutely essential to the story. Despite his size and identifying as male, Tiny is not masculine because he enjoys cooking.  It's absolutely ridiculous given the rampant sexism in the food industry which constructs all good chefs as men, even as it blocks avenues to success for women. In this case, Tiny cooks as a way to nurture and it is the fact that he does this for no pay that Sands felt comfortable using this skill to assert that he is somehow subverting traditional masculinity.

Quite a few times in A Bite to Remember, Jackie asserted that he body is not perfect because she has not been able to loose 10-15 pounds to fit into our current idealized body size for women. After she is turned into a vampire,  Jackie is shocked that the nanos didn't take care of this for her. In a heart to heart Marguerite explains:

Dark Angel Season 2, Episode 15: Fuhgeddaboudit

 Let’s begin the episode with a slow pan of Max’s legs. I think the excuse this time is to show that she’s primping (you could show her fancy clothes rather than skipping them and focusing on legs and lips). She is going on a mission for Logan to get close to Douggie an accountant for a crime syndicate. There follow lots of corny mafia-esque wise guy slang that tells me Sopranos was big when this episode was on.

Anyway, this accountant Dougie knows the identity of the big boss man who always wears a disguise in public, giving Eyes Only chance to expose him.

To a fancy restaurant where Max plays stupid with a group of criminals who praise the pulse for increasing corruption and reducing oversight, allowing the mob to stage a massive come back. And we learn that Dougie also has narcolepsy, causing him to fall to sleep at odd times, and a girlfriend called Mia who the boss doesn’t want around Dougie – and who Dougie drives off to please his peers.

As Mia leaves the table she talks to one of the waiters – who then spills the drink he’s carrying down the back of Max’s dress. She calms down the angry mobsters and goes to the bathroom to freshen up. There she meets Mia who asks her all about herself with fuzzy eye effects. And Max tells her everything – not just being undercover but also being a Manticore transgenic. Mia laughs in girlish glee and says that she’s a transgenic as well, psy-ops. Mia asks for Eyes Only secret identity but even under mind control Max refuses. Mia tells her to just forget about Dougie and forget they had the conversation just go home and rest.

The next day max sees Logan and he’s irritated that she didn’t answer his calls and didn’t check in – and surprised that she went, a drink was spilled and she just went home. Even more surprised that she slept for 4 hours – when Max never sleeps. Max objects to his criticisms and says she’ll go again.

At Jam Pony Normal tries to convince Alec to return to cage fighting and Mia comes in looking for a job. Alec recognises her from Manticore since he was sent to psy-ops for evaluation. With the power for telecoersion (he rattles off a laundry list of abilities suggesting Manticore had telekinetic as well) – mind control. Which she promptly uses on Alec to make him forget her. And the same powers on Normal to make him hire her as a dispatcher.

This Is Your Life: Oberon

'Irish Wolfhound Show 034' photo (c) 2007, Jame and Jess - license:


What is he?: An Irish Wolfhound (with extra longevity) 


Biography: Best friend to Atticus, the 2,000 year old druid; the awesome Oberon has been his constant companion since Hounded loyally by his side, teller of tall tales and epic legends; he has been hunted by the police as a killer, used by a goddess of the hunt, tricked by coyote and much admired by the Tuatha de Danaan. He’s fought furbolgs and fairies and the cats of the widow MacDonagh. Without him, Atticus’ life would be much poorer, much less

What We love about him: First off, how can we not be amused by his constant scheming for sausages and poodles - not necessarily in that order either. He’s smart as a whip and has the perfect line for even the weirdest situation. Like any good hound he loves to hunt and even sometimes uses his fantastic olfactory sense to keep Atticus out of trouble.  He can also provide the perfect bomb to irritate nosy neighbours and for that alone, I want to borrow him.

Oberson is absolutely necessary to this story. Without him, the stories would simply comprise of Atticus pissing off various God, from various pantheons and running for his life. Oberon is the comic relief that humanises Atticus and elevates the story. Without him we’d have none of the banter that breaks up these books - they simply couldn’t work without him.

What we hate about him: Hate? Oberon is flawless, all right thinking people agree.

Book Series: Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tamed by Douglas R. Brown

In Brown's world, not only are werewolves real, society has supposedly tamed them and turned them into pets.  One company is responsible for their training and distribution and this has made the owner Bernard, one very rich man.  When Christine Alt, a paramedic, responds to an emergency call, she learns that the hype about docile werewolves has been just that, hype, when she and her partner Billy, are attacked and their lives are changed forever.  Christine quickly goes from caring for people to running from Bernard's clean up crew, lead by Aidan.  Can she negotiate the change and live long enough for the world to learn about the evil that Bernard Henderson is up to in the name of profit?

I must admit that the concept behind this book thrilled me and for the most part, Brown was able to pull it off brilliantly.  One of the plot holes that quickly became a problem was the price of the werewolves. Each werewolf had a price tag of 250,000 dollars and immense upkeep expenses yet, they seemed absolutely ubiquitous.  Christine, the protagonist, did mention that she could not afford one on her salary as an EMT but everywhere she went, someone seemed to own one as a pet. Brown did not mention whether his world had far less economic stratification than the real world, but the price tag alone makes the commonality of werewolf ownership in Tamed, ridiculous.  Many people cannot afford a home for that price, let alone a pet.  Most of the people who did become werewolves were members of the underclass and therefore likely to go unnoticed when missing.  Brown also made a point about how many of the werewolves were actually homeless veterans.  These were great points to make regarding the vulnerability of the homeless and the neglect of veterans, which did help to balance his error of the commonality of werewolf ownership.

If Brown has simply executed the concept, it would have been a great book but for some reason, he felt the need to throw in a ridiculous romance.  Christine and Aidan actually know each other for a New York minute before they are declaring undying love for each other.  It's patently ridiculous and makes the relationship a complete and utter unnecessary distraction. It is so poorly written that I found myself sighing and rolling my eyes.  There is absolutely no basis for their declared love and it is made even more ridiculous because they meet after Aidan tries to kill Christine and she ends up saving his life. It makes sense that they would develop a connection but a declaration of love is far fetched at best.

Being Human (US) Season 3 Episode 9: Of Mice and Wolfmen

 So, Erin’s dead, Josh is turning back into a werewolf, Aidan has the virus and Sally is rotting. Oh and Nora is annoying. A lot happened last week.

We start with a flashback of Aidan going off to war and saying goodbye to his family, sideburns, accents and all before he wakes up to painful reality. Y’know he has enough reasons to angst, we don’t have to raise the spectre of his dead family to add more. Everyone’s all depressed and even Sally’s awesome bringing of breakfast doesn’t really life the mood. To escape the fun, Aidan decides he’s going to work (yay avoidance) because if he only has 2 days to live, he’s going to spend it being normal.

I wish to make it clear now, if I only have 2 days to live there is no way “normal” is going to happen if there’s an unopened bottle of booze within 20 miles of me.

Josh points out the flaw in this plan, no-one wants a nurse with lesions on their face.

Meanwhile Nora has spent her night in the woods during the full moon (hey who needs storage lockers, we just hope no campers run across her and get eaten). Dresses, heads out and runs into a naked man. He’s Pete and he’s real happy – and a vegetarian though his wolf spent all night howling at the meat Nora hung as well; yup, he’s a werewolf.

At the house Sally uses her corpse make up to cover Aidan’s lesions as best as she can (the kit is meant to make dead people look alive so is missing his skin tone “pasty white”) , it’s a touching moment though Aidan is sure he can smell something

Paranoid about the rotting thing, Sally runs to the bathrooms and vigorously brushes her teeth – and pokes the tooth brush through her cheek. Aie, ow, aaargh I didn’t need to see that!

Back to the woods it seems Pete is in the area to make friends – but not a pack, wolves think clearer without a pack, he points out wolves are only in packs when bonded by blood or love (thank you, a rather rosy, but more realistic look at actual wild wolf packs beyond the whole GRR ALPHAS RAWR!) and he lives quite happily in a trailer in the woods.

At the hospital Aidan drops in on Kenny who instantly notices he’s not well and that Aidan must have the virus. Aidan says he can’t turn Kenny, not like this it’s too much risk. Kenny begs him to turn him, that he can’t live in his sealed room any longer – but Aidan says goodbye and leaves.

Back at the house Sally is trying to find something to eat – when a mouse is caught by the mouse trap. I was ready for another ick moment but the camera cut away as, yes, Sally chowed down in Mickey.  At which point Nora comes in panicked to see Josh and he tells her about the scratch. Nora instantly jumps on the “rawr, Aidan evil, Rawr!” train. Sally, upstairs, realises that her cheek is healed – and her hairline after she ate the mouse. You need living flesh Sally – by the way, Nora’s just downstairs. Just saying. Nom nom nom.

Nora (escaping brain eating death) goes to the hospital to see Aidan, Josh has told the full story and they have a reconciliation moment over Aidan taking the blame for Brynn’s death. It’s touchingly awkward and Nora tells him to go home, she’ll cover the rest of his shift. She tells him to go be with Sally and Josh.

At the house Josh is trying to deal with becoming a werewolf again and Aidan is remembering some of the good times of them all together with a sad music backdrop followed by reminisces of his mortal life. Instead of spending time with Sally and Josh he has a visit from Blake, who’s had a call from Kenny – and, of course, Aidan is too weak to warn her off him.

Fangs for the Fantasy Podcast Moved

Every week on the Fangs for the Fantasy podcast (archives here) we read a book and discuss it on the show. The review for the book of the week always goes up on a Monday

Note: Our podcast now broadcasts at 6:30pm EST, which, this week, is 10:30pm GMT

This podcast has been moved from Monday because of technical difficulties. This is not our regularly time and it just a one off move.
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.

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

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Lost (Celestial Blues #2) by Vicki Pettersson

The number one question in Griffin Shaw's life is who killed both him and his wife Evie fifty years ago.  Though he has found new love with rockabilly babe Kit, Evie continues to haunt his dreams.  It's been four months since he saved Kits life and returned to the mudflat (read: earth) but he is no closer to solving this extremely cold case.

Life keeps moving and the pures keep sending him souls to guide into the Everlast.  He may be part human now, but his duties as a centurion continue.  It is these duties that force him to do a take for Jeap Yang - a drug addict.  What he does not know is that this take will be different because not only will Kit involved, she will be introduced to a fallen.  This alone would be bad enough, but it will lead them on a trail to investigate a horrible new drug flooding the streets and confront both the Russian and Cuban mafia. Will Griffin and Kit manage to survive unscathed and can their fragile love survive all the forces which seemed aligned against them?

In The Taken, Pettersson included a strong message against violence aimed at women but The Lost, is absent such a message. Instead it seemed to fixate on fighting the subjugation of sexist patriarchal beliefs by showing women in charge of organized crime.   These women were strong but incredibly cold.  In Kit she did decide to show a softer kind of strength however but she was one person against two very domineering and angry women.  The difference between Kit and the two antagonists is that Kit is never really portrayed as having to battle sexism.  It seems to imply a sort of revenge fantasy rather than women being in control because they are powerful, organized and capable.

There was certainly more racial inclusion in The Taken but not only inclusion is good inclusion.  Once again,  Lil and Fleur made an appearance but their sole purpose was to educate Kit about Latino culture. 
"Shit, girl, he probably ain't Mexicano." Screwing up her beautifully painted mouth, Lil drew back to regard Kit with disdain. "You think us Latinas all look alike."

"No I don't," Kit said defensively, but the two women gave her matching stares, arms folded across their chests, perfectly plucked eyebrows raised in identical doubt. "You two, for example, look better than anyone I've ever seen in my entire life." (pg 89)
This was a salient point for both Lil and Fleur to make.  Despite being a good friend to both women, Kit remains clueless about Latino culture.

Being Human (UK) Season Five, Episode Six (series finale)

After five seasons, Being Human (UK) has aired it's final episode. I am not going to do a typical recap because I think a series finale deserves more.

The major antagonist this season was the devil.  It makes sense that the writers and producers would choose to go with the ultimate evil, firm in the knowledge that the story would be coming to an end. Throughout all five seasons, Being Human (UK) has been based on the friendship between a ghost, werewolf and a vampire, and their desire to retain as much of their humanity as possible. I don't believe that I am wrong in saying that friendship is what made Being Human so unique.  It is part of why I was worried when the original cast was completely replaced at the end of season four.  Given the short time that the writers had to make Alex, Hal and Tom into a realistic pseudo family, they did a wonderful job. I loved the interactions between them, just as much as I loved the relationship between Mitchell and George.

I felt that Alex in her short stint was far more interwoven into the lives of Hal and Tom, than Annie was with George and Mitchell. It came with the added bonus of having Alex tackle sexism.  On more than one occasion, Alex had to make it clear that she was not content to play the little woman, while Tom and Hal ran off to make the money. Her sense of confidence, is something I wish we could have seen more of from Annie. It makes to have a female character have to deal with sexism, especially from an archaic patriarchal male like Hal and while I appreciated this, it made me wonder why Annie who was of colour and also a woman never had to deal with issues surrounding her gender and race. Annie's issues mainly had to do with her being a ghost for the majority of appearance on the show.  It's only is season one that has to deal with gender issues like the attempted assault by Tully and of course her murdering fiancee Owen. In the case of Owen, Mitchell wanted him to leave but it was George who had the final say.  George did not disown Owen until he discovered that Owen was responsible for turning him into a werewolf.  This firmly positions Annie as another in this three part relationship.  It's George's assault that matters not Annie's.  Annie didn't actually come into any power until both George and Mitchell died and then she ended up sacrificing her own after life whereas; Alex is given a real second chance at life.

Lost Girl Season 3, episode 8: Fae-ge Against the Machine

A blindfolded Bo is looking for the mystical cricket of good luck or some such, urged by Stella, because barking your shins on furnishings is ritually important or something. A test Bo fails, leading to more angst and sharing stories about Hale and Dyson’s little rituals (I want to know about Dyson and the fleas). Her next stage is to wait for an invite, giving Bo the day off – and Stella chance to invite Trick for dinner.

Unfortunately, Bo starts said day off by fiddling with a device she probably shouldn’t which buzzes to life behind her. And we cut to a girl in a chair crying – with some odd tubing that appears to be collecting her tears. See, people will sell ANYTHING on the internet.

On the plus side, Lauren comes to meet Bo at the Dahl buzzing with excitement, to a degree where Bo (and I) worry she may be on drugs. Not drugs – she’s just won a science award for sciency stuff which is impressive and… sciency. Science!  Yes, Bo is confused as me. Still Lauren’s excited and there’s a special dinner to go to for the award and Bo is definitely going as Lauren’s +1. Lauren is cute when excited and buzzes out in a cloud of plans and randomness, leaving Bo with the newly arrive Tamsin. Why is she there? She’s taking Bo out to lunch – because everyone’s been lying to her. What?! Lauren hasn’t won the award?! Ok, it’s possible the lies may not be about the award…

“Lunch” in Tamsin’s world comes in a glass and is normally known as Bloody Marys (did I ever mention I quite like Tamsin?) in a Dark Fae bar – with Bo commenting it doesn’t look much different from a Light Fae bar. Tamsin tells Bo that they’re all bullshitting her, the Dawning is the most horrendous ordeal she’ll ever go through and she’ll probably not get through it. At which point the camera pans out to focus on a random bar patron who is, presumably, relevant?

Back at the Dahl, Trick is getting ready for his date with Stella who arrives advising leather – I’d agree except for the orange fuzzy thing she’s wearing. And they notice the thingummy that Bo was fiddling with earlier – she says it’s Bo’s invitation to the Dawning in the form of a game. And Bo has activated it – at which point it buzzes to life. Stella says they’ll have to do it for her – wherever she, whatever she’s doing, the game will affect her. Her closest blood relative has to play.

Oh… I’m cringing now – magical fae game that will make Bo do embarrassing things at Lauren’s fancy science of award of sciency things? Please nooooooo!

While Trick plays, Bo is still at lunch with Tamsin who tells her that everyone’s bullshitting her to protect her. They’re interrupted by a group of fae who want to know how Bo can call herself unaligned when she’s clearly Light (you and me both buddy) and how they don’t appreciate an all-but-Light fae coming into their bar. (He kinda has a point, I’m just saying.) Tamsin distracts them by punching one into the other 2 (if they go down this easy, you could probably take them, I’m just saying) and they run out with helpful bystander fae (the one who attracted the cameraman earlier() showing her the way out. Once out in the ally Bo says “thanks I owe you one” and shakes on it with the man.

Oh my good gods, how has this never come up before?! It’s like fae mythology 101 don’t say thank you, don’t make deals, don’t imply debts! Yes I’m grumbling over mythology, I don’t care.

Once Upon a Time Season 2, Episode 16: The Miller's Daughter

We begin in fairyland past with the miller’s daughter, returning to her mill to find her father drunk and asleep – apparently a habit of his. In frustration she has to deliver the flour herself to some grandly appointed castle structure (what these medieval style palaces and structures don’t have servant’s entrances? They haul several bags of flour through thoroughfares in castles used by the nobility?) Hauling the heavy bags of flour, one of the wealthy noblewomen deliberately trips her. It’s princess Eva from the northern kingdom and the (presumably) king announces that the miller’s daughter won’t be paid for the flour and must apologise to Eva. The miller’s daughter is furious and calls Eva a girl. The king demands her name – the miller’s daughter is Cora. She is forced to kneel and apologise – and remain kneeling until the nobility have passed.

In present day real world, Neal, Emma, Henry and Rumple are sailing back to Storybrooke in this odd pirate ship that is faster than modern transport (apparently). Emma asks Rumple about the dagger – whether Cora and Regina could use it to force Rumple to do anything, including kill them all. He says they could and comments that Emma probably wants him to bleed to death from his injury now. She denies it, pointing out he’s Henry’s grandfather, he’s family now. (Argh… ok taking this rant to the bottom of the page). Emma calls Snow to explain their situation and Rumple’s wound.

Which is listened to by Regina and Cora who have tapped the phone – with Cora being unhappy at being called “wicked.” She’s also concerned that Rumple has been warned about the dagger and has time to think, and he is very clever (I have to admit “Rumplestiltskin has time to think” would worry me too). Regina points out his injured and they see his name beginning to fade on the dagger – he’s not injured, he’s dying. And if he dies like this, his Dark One power will disappear too. Regina wants to use his power to get Henry back before he dies but Cora doesn’t want to speed up Rumple’s death (uh-huh, she has other plans for him). Instead, Cora will stab him with the knife and claim his power. Regina protests, Henry would never forgive that, it wouldn’t get Henry back – which is the whole point. Wait, is it the whole point? (At last, Regina gets a lightbulb moment). She accuses Cora of trying to just get power and Cora says yes – to protect themselves, because if they don’t have the power they’ll spend the rest of their short lives on their knees, which she won’t do again.

Back to fairyland past when Cora sneaks into a royal masquerade ball, wearing a fancy dress. While there she makes a very snarky comment to a masked man expressing pity for Prince Henry having all these rich woman attend to try and buy him. Of course, the masked man is Prince Henry. They dance but before the dance can barely begin the king cuts in – recognising Cora he degrades her as beneath him again and points out she still has straw stuck to her dress. She fights back accusing him of selling his own flesh and blood for money, he admits they need money but they’re still better than her and what can she offer – she claims to be able to spin straw into gold. But since she’s been insulted, she won’t help – “good luck whoring your son.” The king counters by announcing to the whole ballroom Cora’s claimed ability and adds that she will spend the night locked in a tower full of straw. If she turns it to gold, she can marry the prince – fail and she dies.

Back to Storybrooke where they help Rumple out of the boat, Henry introduces Neal to Charming as his dad and Charming asks Rumple if Cora has control of his dagger getting the responds that since they’re all still alive, then no, no she doesn’t. And Mary Margaret has grown some sense and is angrily declaring that they’ll stop her and kill her. Of course Charming has a full blown “no you’re too goo and pure and you just can’t!” moment (Charming has shown willingness it execute in the past – but Snow’s just toooo precious?). Henry is loaded off on Ruby to keep him out of the crossfire while they go to Rumple’s shop.

Back to Fairyland where a desperate Cora is considering jumping out of the window and is visited by Rumplestiltskin. And look who can spin straw into gold and is willing to do so – in exchange for her first born child (with extra lovely snarkiness) so she can then demand the hand of the prince and make him kneel before her. She says no – she wants to be taught, which impresses Rumplestiltskin enough for him to tell her his name.

Back in Storybrooke, the gang in Rumple’s shop are preparing for battle with invisible chalk. And Emma and Neal clearly have more issues what with Neal adding to the “surprises” he’s sprung on her with his fiancĂ©e. Then Mary Margaret finds the candle – the candle the fake fairy had that would save a life in exchange for a life. She asks about it but Rumple says he has it for a rainy day. It’s the only thing that can save Rumple’s life. Mary Margaret protests she couldn’t do it to save her own mother – why would she for him. He counters that she’s an adult now and their interests are aligned; they need to find Cora’s heart (which isn’t in her body) use the candle over it and return it to her body, killing her but healing him. Mary Margaret suggests using Cora’s heart to make her “do the right thing” and leaving Rumple to die, but points out he’s Henry’s grandfather and how sad Henry would be to see him die.

But first they need a protection spell which Rumple is in no state to cast – that’s Emma’s job. Rumple talks her through the process, imagining and realisation rather than over thinking it. Magic is about emotion not thought