Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Vampire Diaries Season Four, Episode 17: Because the Night

This episode begins with a flashback to NYC 1977, with Damon pretending to be dead on the streets to lure a human couple in so that he can kill them.  Apparently, the city is flush with talk of a serial killer and one of the victims believes that Damon is the Son of Sam. In the present day, Elena is complaining to Damon that he dragged her to NYC because he was feeling nostalgic but Damon counters and says that he brought her there because in three days they might have to piss off everyone they know. Damon assures Elena that they are there to have fun and feed at will.

Damon gets on the phone with Stefan and explains to him that he and Elena are in NYC, but what Elena does not realise is that they are actually there to hunt for the cure. He then tells Stefan that Will, the vampire, who Katherine sent after Hayley, used to get vampires fake I.D. and that he is sure that Katherine was a client of his. Stefan is not convinced by this plan and reminds Damon that Elena wants to live the vampire high life.  Damon says that he is hoping that Elena will be so wasted on booze and blood that she will not give serious thought into what they are doing. Stefan tells Damon not underestimate Elena and reminds Damon that she is ruthless without her humanity.  Elena approaches with a smile, so Damon gets off the phone telling Stefan to hold down the fort in Mystic Falls, and reminds him that he has an immortal named Silas to deal with.

Caroline has put herself on clean up duty at the Salvatore house when Klaus shows up. Caroline asks, "shouldn't you but out chasing Tyler to the ends of the earth, or are there some hopes and dreams you still have to crush?" Klaus asks where Tyler is and Caroline responds that Tyler is gone for good and that Tyler gave Matt the deed to the house. Klaus then reminds Caroline that Tyler made it is life's mission to kill him.  Caroline tells him to go away and Stefan interrupts saying that he asked Klaus to be there because he believes that Silas is in Mystic Falls.

Silas is instructing Bonnie but she is not being compliant, even when he tells her to trust him.  Bonnie asks, "how can I trust you, when you won't show me your real face? Don't you think that it's a little creepy that you're appearing as my dead professor?"  Silas says that he is trying to earn her trust and then reminds her that she invited him into her home.  He asks why she lied to her friends and then convinced her father that she needed professor Shane's help to control her magic. Bonnie says that he is in her head and that he is making her see things and do things. Silas responds saying that while he is strong, Bonnie is a witch, which means he cannot force her to do things she does not want to do. He then reminds Bonnie that she promised to protect Jeremy and that she is descended from one of the most powerful witches of all time. When Bonnie says that getting rid of the other side means killing 12 people, Silas says that she can bring those people back and that only she is capable of doing this.

When Klaus learns that some blood went missing from a few hospitals, he suggests that Elena is the culprit. Stefan assures him that it is not Elena. Klaus then asks if it is indeed Silas, he is unsure how this effects him.  Stefan says that Silas wants to die and be reunited with his one true love but if he takes the cure and dies he gets stuck on the other side, but if he destroys the other side and then dies, he will be able to pass on and be with his one true love.  The catch of course is that everyone over there will return and Caroline asks how many of the people on the other side owe their deaths to Klaus. This gets Klaus' interest and he asks about the ritual.  Stefan tells him that Silas only needs one more massacre and that they need to find him.

Elena and Damon walk into a bar and she is not impressed and says that she was promised hedonism. Damon promises Elena that things will liven up once the sun goes down and says that he knows this because this is where he spent most of the seventies. We get a flashback to Damon dropping off ID's.  Apparently, the deal is that Damon kills people and hands Will the ID and in exchange he gets to feed in the club. A fight breaks out and Damon attempts to feed off of one of the men, but Lexy stops him and says that he is getting sloppy.  Just as Damon finishes this story, Rebekah slams his head down on the table. Rebekah says that she is hurt and that she thought that they made a good team. Elena asks what is going on, and Rebekah tells her that Damon is following a lead to the cure and that consequently, she is following him. Elena is shocked and Damon lies and says that he drove there to feed.

Beauty and the Beast Season 1, Episode 16: Insatiable

It’s the morning after, and, despite a bit of a wrecked room, Vincent and Catherine are in full afterglow mode, and fall back into bed mode, and more afterglow and cutsey talking – and then realising Catherine has a gazillion missed calls

Why has she been called? 2 people dead in the back of a horse drawn carriage in the park, which Joe puts down to the work of the Vigilante. When Catherine arrives she instantly spreads doubt on the case being connected – no innocent victim being protected like in previous cases, out in the open not inside; but Joe won’t hear it

Why, in the name of all that is holy and all pretences of justice, is Joe allowed near this case?

ADA Gabe also shows up to add his own pressure and announce they’ve had a massive increase in funding. And even he objects when Joe talks about killing the Vigilante rather than prosecuting him. Despite that, when he talks to Catherine alone he also pushes back against any indication that the Vigilante didn’t commit this crime.

At the station, Evan examines the body and finds no cross-species DNA – or any DNA at all, while Catherine considers this exoneration he points out that the absence of evidence means nothing. And the victim does have claw marks – Evan will help her if the evidence points her way but not otherwise.

With Vincent she looks at the carriage and they discuss someone trying to frame Vincent – and decide it can’t be Muirfield because Muirfield would never want this kind of attention. After a mutual commitment not to get careless and keep going she warns him about Joe’s wish to kill him and they resolve to clear Vincent. With Vincent’s super senses they find something sharp caught in the horse’s shoe.

Evan, getting in a taxi, finds there’s already an occupant – Kyle from Muirfield who has an assignment for Evan. Stop the task force catching the Vigilante – they want him caught but not by the police.

With JT Catherine and Vincent study the spiky thing they find and discover it’s a spike from a morning star (how did THAT get embedded in a horse’s hoof). Catherien declares that, based on the crime scene she saw it’s part of the murder weapon. What. Wait… this crime scene where the victims were slaughtered by CLAWS? Claws? The wounds looked like they’d been done by CLAWS? A morning star is:

A giant freaking mace with spikes on it. I haven’t seen many people bludgeoned to death by a morning star, but I can’t for the life of me imagine the injuries resemble Victor’s claw marks. Impaling wounds, certainly – but also nasty crushing wounds and more stabbing than slashing. I think you’d get better claw marks from a kitchen knife.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Being Human (US) Sneak Peak!

To tide us over the weekend.

Supernatural: Season 8, Episode 17: Goodbye Stranger

 Supernatural is back from hiatus! And it’s coming back with Castiel! All is forgiven!

Dean is checking out a large room, gun poised and ready when someone we don’t see knocks his gun aside, breaking his wrist and knocks him to the floor. It’s Castiel; Dean asks him to stop – and Castiel stabs him with his angel dagger

Damn it Castiel, wrong brother! Kill Moose!

The lights come on and Naomi, the boss of the angels comes in and praises Castiel for his lack of hesitation and brutality. She declares him to be ready. The camera pans out and we see the room is full of hundreds of dead Deans

At the Winchester Cave, Sam is doing research and bleeding internally (and lying about it) while Dean digs through the various items lying around and manages to find some porn (that fits his extremely creepy Asian fetish at that). Sam has found many dead people in various locations with liquefied organs, burns and puncture wounds. Sounds nasty. As they leave, Dean notices Sam’s bloodied tissue.

They go to see the widower of one of the dead people, Ann, who tells them that she was acting oddly before she died. This is rather an understatement. She stopped eating, sleeping and would go out every night to dig holes – 10-15 feet holes at that – at various points around town, take a soil sample and then dangle the sample over a little map of the town. And when he confronted her, her eyes turned black.

Dean concludes that someone is killing demons and he’s pretty happy with that. But Sam wants to know who and why – and why the demons were acting so oddly before death. Calling the other bereaved reveals a pattern of odd behaviour. They talk to the last person to speak with Ann. She tells them Ann was looking for an old orchard that went missing – the town was wiped out in one of the river’s 100 year floods (yup, I’d be moving about then) and all the old records were lost; as a PHD candidate researching the history of the town, she had found it. She doesn’t know why Ann wanted the map – but her assistant was coming round to see the map himself.

There’s a knock at the door – and when she opens it, 3 black eyed demons are waiting. Battle ensues with lots of breaking things! One demons escapes with the map, another demon de-possesses its host before Dean can stab him with the demon-stabby knife and possesses the researcher instead – and Sam is saved by Castiel angel nuking another demon. He also captures researcher demon


Deadly Sting (Elemental Assassin #8) by Jennifer Estep

Dragged by Finn to an auction so they can paw through the remains of Mab’s estate, Gin is predicting a boring night (certainly more boring than dress shopping with added fun mugging).

A boring night that quickly becomes slightly nightmarish when she sees her sort-of-ex-Owen with another woman on what may be a date.

Thankfully relationship issues are rapidly overruled by a new threat – art thieves with guns, bombs and a willingness to shoot hostages.

The Spider just can’t have a night off.

In have to say, I wasn’t that thrilled with this story. I mean, the action was well done and well written as usual, I love these characters and the setting was intriguing. It had action, it had excitement, it had this wonderful world I love.

But it came down to being “Gin goes somewhere, bad guys try to rob it, Gin stops them.” I actually had trouble writing a summary that wasn’t just one sentence. I kept waiting for the whole museum robbery to end and us to move on to the main plot now the prologue has finished until I got to 75% in and I realised, wait, this is actually the whole story. There’s no real twists, no grand revelations, there’s a couple of side issues taking up a tiny amount of room, but that’s about it. It’s a linear, simple, action story.

I mean, it’s good at that. The fights scenes are excellent and there’s a wonderful bit of stylistic writing in that Gin often stops and watches her prey for a long time before actually acting. It can be really frustrating reading because you’re urging her to move and she isn’t – but she is the Spider, renowned for her patience and that was really brought home in this book; just how patient she is, how long she is willing to wait for the ideal situation. Except… someone was actually bleeding to death while she was being this patient. Great stylistically, a bit less so in terms of fitting the situation.

And I liked her flashback with Fletcher, giving another sense of who she was and how she became who she is – but also the ruthlessness that has been instilled into her. I liked it, it would have been great character development for… someone who wasn’t Gin. Sorry, but while I loved so much of it, the idea of Gin getting the job done no matter what, even if it meant using a loved one as bait, doesn’t quite gel with how she’s acted towards her extended family.

I’d also quite like her skill as an assassin be showed by her not getting hurt in a battle rather than her constantly being severely beaten before getting magical healing – less kamikaze Gin and more skilful, awesome Gin.

Having said that, I think it’s a real mistake to look at any of the Elemental Assassin’s series in terms of individual books – this is one of those series that works incredibly well as a collective whole. The pacing of the series, the way each book is presented as its place in the series and general development of the series are all extremely well done – looked at as a whole the writing and organisation is incredible, some of the best I’ve ever read.

Werewolves: They Just Can't Help It

'Werewolf' photo (c) 2010, Five Furlongs - license:
The very nature of urban fantasy means an interaction with the supernatural. Regardless of the supernatural creature that the author chooses to focus on, the one thing is certain, unless an author is making up a brand new creature from thin air, there will be a strong lore in existence, which will highly influence how the character is written.  The vampire has most certainly taken a lead in terms of representation. The werewolf is far less popular but when it does make an appearance, regardless of who the author is, the characterisation is nearly uniform.  In many ways, the werewolf can be understood as a metaphor for hyper masculinity and violence. Over the years, werewolf nature has become commonplace to explain away abusive relationships and a forced submission upon their partners.  That this is romanticized is one of the largest issues with how lycanthropy is constructed today.

Perhaps the most common werewolf trope is extreme possessiveness to the point of jealousy. These wolves demand to control and own their women and defend them like an actual wolf would its hunting territory. I still await the story when a werewolf actually cocks his leg against his woman, but I won’t be surprised when it happens.

This overwhelming possessiveness and control is constantly presented as romantic. In the Otherworld Series when Elena returns to Stonehaven, Clay simply will not accept that she won’t be with him and considers them married, despite her objections. Even after she is reconciled to their relationship, he demands near constant attention from her. Other men cannot even look at Mercy from the Mercy Thompson series with Adam growling, roaring and coming close to attacking and he is extremely reluctant to ever let her out of his sight. In the Caedemon Wolves, the fact Devin feels possessive of Tamara and is jealous when she speaks to other men is the very first sign that he actually has feelings for her - before love or affection or kindness, it’s possession. Even in Twilight Jacob forces a kiss on Bella despite her objections - to say nothing of imprinting, including small children and even eggs in the womb; marked from the womb as owned! Taking, controlling and owning their mates is an incredibly common theme.

Dominance issues are nearly synonymous with werewolf stories today. It is based in the false idea that because werewolves literally have an animal nature that they will behave like wolves in a pack.  This would be a fine assumption, if this is what actually happened but that is not the case in most stories. In the books that I have read, alphas are almost always male though we know that in real packs there is an Alpha female or male or both.

The constant jockeying for position as Patricia Briggs portrays in the Mercy Thompson series is non existent. In Briggs’ world two wolves can barely stand to be in the same car with each other simply because they haven’t figured out who is the most dominant. Dominance in this way is more of one male testing his masculinity against another through violent means.  Because the violence is happening in a werewolf pack, it is never questioned and always rationalised, as though these men don’t spend more of their time in human form.

It’s also telling how so many of these dominance games put women at the bottom of the hierarchy - a major contrast to the lives of actual wolves. In the Mercy Thompson series, women are given the same rank as their mates, no matter if they were far more dominant than the men they were with. In The Protector female werewolves are sheltered and protected and often forced to take mates for their “protection.” In the Anita Blake Series just about all the shapeshifter packs are dominated by men, female heads are remarked upon for their rarity and the main source of influence for female shifters is as mate to a male leader.

Interview with Author Debbie Viguié

 On Thursday we had a special episode of Fangs for the Fantasy, with an interview with Debbie Viguié, author of the Witch Hunt Series

Please check out our reviews of: The Last Grave and The Thirteenth Sacrifice

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Blood and Bullets (Deacon Chalk #1) by James R Tuck

Deacon Frost lost his family to the monsters, something he lives with every day. No longer have a reason or desire to live, he goes out and hunts them, without regard for his own safety backed up by victims and survivors

But now he is the target – an elaborate trap has been set up to catch him and another would be hunter is being used as the bait. The problem is he doesn’t know who is targetting him or why – but if he can’t find out why he is the one being targeted – or even if he is the target – he and everyone around him is at risk

This is a power fantasy, a pure male power fantasy and an action film. Deacon Chalk (yeah, his name as well) fights like a demon – or an angel rather since he has the super special angelic blood, with a whole host of shiny guns, drives a super fast shiny car, is harder than nails, kicks more arse than an entire military unit and looks awesome doing so with his huge muscles, leather and bad boy sexy tattoos. All the women around him are gorgeous and love him. He’s kind and heroic to the downtrodden while always gruff and tough, of course. And he has deeply tragic past and cries manly tears while beautiful women sooth him – but it drives forward even more ruthless because he no longer cares if he lives or dies.

In a world of vampires, demons and monsters, one man stands between all that is good and the darkness. Marred by tragedy he will give anything, fight anything, sacrifice everything in an epic battle for the fate of humanity! Women want him, men want to be him and evil runs in fear from him. He is Deacon Chalk!

This is this book. It’s corny, it’s cheesy, the main character is ridiculously, perfectly awesome who is regarded with universal awe and reverence. He cannot buy take away food without being hailed as a saviour. He’s enlightened, tough, he has literal ANGEL BLOOD, an awesome fighter with the coolest toys. He could have a thousand women (all beautiful and all want him) but he is still so tragically hurting so they just admire him from afar and kiss his cheek (seriously, 99% of women in this book kiss his cheek, it’s like a compulsion) he runs his own strip club manned (well, womaned) but ladies he’s saved who all adore him, he has his own priest as back up (a priest who was a former sniper so kicks some arse, but he is not Deacon Chalk, of course). He wades in among literal hordes of vampires slaying them in their dozens – lesser hunters may kill a vampire, but not Deacon Chalk, he kills 50 vampires, 100, he kills them with a small knife and his hands tied behind his back and likely makes them flee with his terrible manly glare (we need a chorus insert here of breathy awestruck women gasping “Deacon Chalk”).
Ok, a nice power fantasy action movie style book isn’t entirely a bad thing. Sometimes some fluff and blowing up the big bad monsters with a protagonist who just shits awesome can be a fun, fluffy, mind deadening read. It can, I admit it, I even like a good action novel with nothing but cheesy over the top fights and god-like heroes who are ridiculously, gloriously perfect. It’s a guilty pleasure and I shamefully admit it.
Buuut… even action fluff books dripping testosterone and stinking of cordite need to be well written.
And this really really isn’t. It is hopelessly, unbelievably over-written in a truly mind boggling fashion. Take Deacon Chalk for example; given the givens you would expect us not to know too much about him beyond his arsekicking. Far from it, we know a lot about him, his likes, his dislikes, his opinions, beliefs, hobbies, tastes. I know all about what sushi he likes (and, of course, he has a sushi named after him). I know about his cars, in extreme and painful detail that would make Jeremy Clarkson flinch. I know about all of his guns, all of his weapons that aren’t guns. I know about his clothes and the whys behind his clothing choices. I know what cologne he wears. I know about the other cologne he also sometimes wears. I know about his musical taste. Oh gods, do I know about his musical tastes. I actually suspect the author may be required to plug this music it’s mentioned so much.

Dark Angel, Season 2, Epsiode 16: Exposure

Start at Jampony actual work with actual friends – and Sketchy reporting he has a new job, working as a reporter for a tabloid to photograph “mutants.” Max is concerned but Alec doesn’t think White reads the tabloids and, besides, it’s Sketchy, hardly a great threat.

Speaking of the Whites, Wendy calls Logan saying she’s found Ray, her son, and wants his help getting him back. The phone call is cut off by Ames white breaking down the door, hitting Wendy – then wrapping his tie around his hands in preparation to strangle her.

This leaves Cindy to cover Max at work (and deal with Alec and Sketchy, poor Cindy) while Logan and Max head out to where Wendy was. Logan uses his journalistic investigation tricks to get to look at the register and Max ruins it buy destroying the subtlety and demanding confirmation that they’ve had no-one stay there all week. Inside Logan calls the number Wendy called from and the find the room she was in. Inside they find a roll of film

They go to develop the film and the local sheriff watches them suspiciously. The pictures are of an exclusive looking private school or academy – and they can see Ray in one of the windows. The place is Brookridge – so the sheriff says when he asks about their interest and is all creepy, suspicious about it. Max realises the school seems to be a training camp like Manticore based on the weird children (well, a child staring at her anyway) and that would make the town cult central.

That night while Logan distracts the guard asking for directions, Max sneaks into the building. Inside she finds people in robes and follows them. She ends up spying on a ritual with a priestess in face paint, people banging gongs, an altar and lots of robes and odd symbols and foreign chanting. Ray is brought out and so is a big box of snakes –big snakes. After drinking the snakes blood, the priestess uses the hilt of the knife in the blood to brand a symbol on Ray’s arm

At this point Max is noticed by one of the kids who uses his telekinesis to move the curtain she’s hiding behind. Yes telekinesis. Yes I know. Max blurs forwards and, when blocking the priestess’s attempt to stab her, has the palm of her hand branded before being overwhelmed by the cultists.

Monroe This Is Your Life

What is he?: Blutbad

Biography: Monroe is a Blutbad, the Big Bad Wolf. But he doesn’t do that any more, after years of his Big Bad Ways, Monroe has now embraced vegetarianism, meditation and a peaceful lifestyle. Despite that, it didn’t stop newly realised Grimm Nick from accusing him of kidnapping a little girl. After many difficulties, Monroe not only helped Nick catch the real villain but became his source of insight into all things Wesen. Often used as a Grimmopedia, Monroe and Nick became friends which grew closer and stronger as the series progressed - something Monroe insisted upon. There were wonderful milestones of trust - including the pinnacle of Nick inviting Monroe into the Grimm trailer, encouraging him to meet Juliette and even Nick living with him in the most recent episodes. Monroe met Rosalie the Fuschbau when they were investigating the death of her brother and they have slowly built and romantic relationship which Monroe has shown himself willing to risk his life for; his main activity now is helping run her Spice Shop.

What We love about him: Monroe really has grown as a character, though he still very much Nick’s sidekick, more and more he has been placed in situations where he uses his knowledge to act. He is still a shy and retiring guy at heart but  really like that he is putting himself out there.  In recent episodes it’s been charming to watch Monroe attempt to woo Rosale. He is completely lacking confidence in the romance department and manages to second guess himself all the time but that makes him completely endearing in my book.  This also puts Rosalie into a leadership position in terms of their relationship and watching as he begins to trust that she really and truly likes him is just all kinds of awww.

What we hate about him: Probably less of a character problem, but the character is inconsistent in his abilities. In season 1, Monroe is capable of ripping people’s arms off (quite literally) - at this point in season 2 he, and other Blutbad, don’t seem to be appreciably more dangerous than a normal human. While we’re happy that he has a relationship with Rosalie, often it feels like Monroe has no life outside of Nick - especially compared to season 1.

Series: Grimm

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Defiance Sneak Peak

Another Sneak Peak for the upcoming new show Defiance. It premiers 15th April

The Devil You Know (Nick Engelbrecht #1) by K.H. Koehler

Nick is a daemon, and not just any daemon – he’s the son and heir of Lucifer himself. Yet he tries to avoid all that, focusing instead on being a witch and part owner of an occult shop with his friend and business partner Morganna.

Until Vivian enters his life, a fellow daemon, hunting by Seraphs (warrior angels with no sense of humour who would very much like to pound daemons into the dirt). Sparks quickly fly between the two daemons, even if Morganna doesn’t approve.

Nick’s also an ex-detective and is called in by local police when they need help from someone in the know and with his woo-woo – such as when a small child disappears in mysterious circumstances. Nick’s sure there’s more to the disappearance than it seems – but is also heavily distracted by the issues consuming Vivian’s life. Especially when the two appear to be linked and the enemy discovers him, Lucifer’s son, as an excellent prize.

This book has massive props for originality. Nick is a daemon, the son of a demon and a mortal woman. Actually, he’s the son of Lucifer and a mortal woman and Lucifer’s heir; not just a paperwork exercise, he’s expected to step up and take over just as his father did from his grandfather.

He and his dad don’t get on, as can be imagined – and that not getting on is rather well done. There’s a combination of revulsion and rejection of what his father is and stands for, linked with his abandoned-child desire for acceptance and respect coupled with a fear and shame of not reaching his father’s standards. And all of that is done without pages and pages of angst and moping.

Nick as a character has a lot of intriguing elements, as does Vivian, his love interest. Together they have a lot in common and not just their heritage – they’re not saints by any stretch and they don’t pretend to be. While Nick has a conscience that he does apply and lines he doesn’t cross, he’s also not a nice person and doesn’t have many illusions about that. Sometimes this goes too far into behaviour that crosses from “not a nice person” to “inexcusable arsehole” but usually doesn’t – it’s a balance that needs to be addressed. In general he’s quite deep and involved with a strong level of characterisation to make him very compelling very real, someone you want to get behind and support while, unfortunately, having moments when you want to punch him a few times.

Vivian and Nick’s relationship generally works for me – it starts out purely physical and more than a little based on the woo-woo.  There’s no desperate love at first sight – there’s a lot of lust at first sight and a lot of obsession at first sight, but not love. There are moments when he’s overly defensive of her, especially when Morganna isn’t a fan – but it reads as much as him objecting to Vivian being dismissed because of her daemon blood as much as him loving her. We do get very very high levels of trust and affection between tem awfully quickly, but a lot of that is explained by the situation they’re in and lack of other options – so, generally good especially if you’re willing to go with the positive spins, some unfortunate speeded-up-relationship issues if you’re not going to buy the story’s plot justifications. Personally, it worked for me.

The story itself is one of those excellent plots for a first book. Involved, intriguing and twisty enough to be a great story in its own right, while at the same time dropping enough information to set up this excellent world with its angels and demons, witches, various monsters and Nick’s own heritage and what that means. Both fit together quite well and the plot isn’t used as a hollow excuse for the world building and nor is the world building ignored in favour of the story. It’s pretty well balanced – and I did like the story a lot, it twisted, it was unpredictable, it was pretty nicely paced and had a number of compelling characters. It did have several different storylines that came together perhaps a little clumsily – especially since we started with one, left it and didn’t pick it up as the main thread until very near the end of the book. On the whole it worked, it needed some trimming and smoothing out, but it really did work well and it was one of those books where, when it ended, I felt disappointed that the story was over.

The writing style is a little more hit and miss. It’s written in that hard boiled, film noir style, reminiscent of early Laurell K Hamilton (who was really good at it). It has a lot of dramatic monologues, a lot of what would be, in any other book, infodumping. It largely works. Largely. The problem is that Nick’s sarcastic, slightly callous, darkly cynical viewpoint fits the style – but his humorous, fun loving, rather light trickster side? Doesn’t fit it at all. Sometimes I think he’s trying to lampoon film noir, then he plays it straight – one or the other, not both. The tone jars and occasionally what is dark and evocative film noir commentary becomes a guy who really needs to not talk to so much. Even if he is funny.

So, generally pretty good, right? Well, no because when we look at marginalised people we hit a great big break wall and get some Problems.

Being Human (US) Season Three, Episode Ten: For Those About to Rot

Josh is walking through the woods naked and he calls out, "hello, you don't have to be afraid."  He finally comes face to face with his wolf and approaches slowly.  He tells the wolf that they should talk or commune but it runs off into the woods.  When he comes out of his meditation, he is at Pete's trailer complaining about how his meditation time went.

Aidan is passed out on the ground and we get a flashback to his human life, of him pacing as a woman screams in the background.  The midnurse walks out and informs him that the child is with God now because he was not strong enough but his wife Suzanna is going to live.  He rushes in to see her and comforts her.  In the present, he opens his eyes, and gets up.  Aidan then returns to the house to find Sally bouncing a ball in the kitchen.  Sally tells him that she couldn't sleep because she kept dreaming about eating in a bad way. Sally asks why he is walking around with no shoes on and if he was sleep walking.  Aidan replies that he does not sleep walk and Sally points out that he was on the street in bare feet and that he stinks. Aidan admits that he was in the garbage. Sally accuses him of going on a bender but Aidan protests that he has had one bag of blood.  Sally suggests then that Aidan is "backed up sexually."  She then asks when the last time he "broke off a piece" for himself was and points out that it has been more than a year.  Sally adds that Kat came along and they flirt and that she made him soup when he had vampire death flu, and now he wants to "get on that" but he can't because he's a gentleman.  Sally suggests that this doesn't mean is subconscious mind agrees and that it is sending him out into the world just looking "for some ass." Sally then says that she knows this because she was a psych major for one semester.  Aidan protests that he is not "backed up", so Sally asks if has slept with Kat and Aidan admits that he hasn't and points out that this is not any of her business.  Sally asks if he is over the bra or under the bra, and Aidan replies that they are going on a second date. Sally asks where they are going and Aidan says that she wants to keep it a surprise.  Realizing that this conversation is not going anywhere good, Aidan attempts to leave to take a shower.  Sally snarks about him needing a cold shower and Aidan replies, "you are the only person who is less weird as a ghost, than you are as a person, just saying."

Aidan leaves and the phone rings, it's Zoe.  When Sally arrives at Zoe's, she finds Nick dead on the floor covered in blood.  Zoe says that she doesn't know what to do.

Josh is still sitting at the trailer with Pete and he says, "I'm not sure this is for me - meditating and searching for my inner insides. I was just never much of a be the ball type of guy." Pete asks if he is experiencing self loathing or f it's the constant fear of hurting strangers. Josh responds, "for years all I wanted was to be rid of the wolf and then when it finally came true, all it did was shine a light on the fact that I'm still in this world; the friends I have, Nora. I will always be stuck in this world and I just have to find a way to live with it."  Pete asks Josh how long he has been fighting with his wolf and Josh says that it's been five years.  Pete then asks how long he has spent meditating and Josh says two days.  Pete tells him to bring a six pack tonight and that they won't stop until Josh manages to get some face time with his furry side.

Zoe says that Nick came at her and so she just grabbed a bat.  Nick's ghost appears and he assures Zoe that she was protecting herself.   Zoe tells him that he would never hurt her but Nick replies that he would have and so will Sally eventually.  Sally protests that this is not true but Nick tells Sally that she knows what the hunger is and that it's only a matter of time. Nick assures Sally that he is not saying this because he is hungry or because he is trying to blame her but because he is worried about Zoe.  Zoe says that Sally has to do something because  she got Nick back once and maybe she can do it again.  Nick replies that Sally cannot do anything and neither can Zoe, just before his door appears. Nick says, "see it's not an entirely an unhappy ending, I get my door. I guess I served my purpose by warning you." Zoe says that she is sorry but Nick tells her not to be sorry because he is grateful for the time they had together.  Nick then walks to his door, opens it and says, "stay away from Sally, she will kill you, even if she thinks she won't."  Nick walks through his door and Zoe says goodbye to Sally.  Sally begs Zoe not to cut her off and reminds her of all of the work she has done, but Zoe is adamant that she does not want to go through this again. Zoe tells Sally that she has to stay away from her. Sally heads towards the door and pauses to ask what Zoe is going to do with Nick's dead body.

SYFY Q&A Anna Silk, Kris Holden-Ried and Ksenia Solo from Lost Girl

Syfy had another excellent Lost Girl teleconference with Ksenia Solo, Kris Holden-Ried and Anna Silk (Kenzi, Dyson and Bo).  The entire transcript of the call is very long, but it's definitely worth a look

Gary Morganstein:      Thank you everyone for joining us for the Lost Girl conference call. Season finale is April 22 and to discuss season three and to cryptically look ahead at season four, I’m not allowed to say much, Anna Silk, Kris Holden-Ried and Ksenia Solo, who will be joining us shortly. Thank you, Anna and Kris.

Anna Silk:                   Thank you Gary and hello everybody.

Operator:                     Our first question comes from the line of Erin Willard with Sci Fi Mafia, please go ahead.

Erin Willard:               Hi, thanks so much for the two of you I guess for now for being on the call today and congratulations to you and all of us on the new season ticket, we’re very excited about that.

Anna Silk:                   Thank you, we’re excited too.

Erin Willard:               Can you tell us anything or let me say what can you tell us about the upcoming season finale?

Anna Silk:                   Oh gosh. Well, sure. You know there’s still quite a bit of this season to air, I guess we’re about half way through, maybe a little over half way through and you know the tension definitely builds and we definitely have a very heart pumping season finale, that’s all I can really think of to say.

You know everything’s sort of - some things come together and some things really get ripped apart. So I know that’s really cryptic but I think that the viewers will be pretty excited to see where the season leads and how we end.

                                    And then they’ll be very, very excited to see a fourth season.

Kris Holden-Ried:      Yeah it’s - without - sorry, always difficult to figure out exactly what to say with these things, but it’s a really nice build up. I remember while we were shooting at the last like four episodes we were all really excited and everything had ramped up to a good climax, good end.

Anna Silk:                  Yeah.

Erin Willard:              Great, well we can’t wait.

Anna Silk:                  Thank you Erin.

Operator:                    Our next question comes from the line of Jamie Ruby with SciFi, please go ahead.

Jamie Ruby:               Hi again guys, congratulations on the renewal.

Anna Silk:                  Thanks Jamie.

Jamie Ruby:               So I know you can’t tell me exactly but maybe you can kind of give some kind of tease about it but obviously they keep teasing and teasing us about the Norn and everything.

Are we going to see maybe some moving forward of Dyson and Bo’s relationship at all in the rest of the season?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Upcoming Interview with Author Debbie Viguié

We are pleased to announced that on Thursday, March 21, at 6:30 pm EST, we will be interviewing the author of the Witch Hunt Series Debbie Viguié.  Please join us live.  For those who are unable to join us live, the podcast will be placed on the blog as usual when we are finished.

Please check out our reviews of: The Last Grave and The Thirteenth Sacrifice

Game of Thrones Trailer

Game of Thrones Trailer - season 3 isn't far away!

The Last Grave (Witch Hunt #2) by Debbie Viguié

Samantha is trying to start a new life in San Francisco after her life in Boston and Salem collapsed after taking down the Dark Witch Coven there. Now is her chance to restart without magic, with a new room-mate, Jill, and a new police partner, Ed.

Until a murder has the hallmarks of magic all over it – starting with a truly impossible and incomprehensible cause of death. Samantha is again faced with an impossible choice – ignore her power and let more people die (and there may be even more at stake this time than in Boston) or again delve into her magical past and risk losing everything, again. Perhaps even herself.

Worse, her self-control is frayed. She’s using magic without meaning to and it’s getting worse, to an extent that’s beginning to make her dangerous to those around her.

One of the things I like about this book is how many characters are painted really quite deeply with relatively little information on them. We don’t see much about Samantha’s partner, Lance, but in the short moments we see of him, in the things we learn of him, I get a full picture of the character. Jill, her room mate, doesn’t go into a lot of detail about who she is and what she does, but, again we have a pretty strong picture of her

And this is really clear with Samantha with a picture of her that’s developing in my head that adds to her own narrative. From her own POV we can see the insecurity, the worry, the desperate attempt to leave magic behind, the fear of what it could do to her, how dark and dangerous it could make her. But we also see her willingness to do what must be done not only in the big scenes where she does use magic despite her fears – but in smaller scenes as well, like when she uses Jill as bait and lies to her about the danger. I like this sense that there is a ruthlessness to her, even a darkness that she refuses to acknowledge or connects entirely to her magic.

The case itself was confusing in all the best ways. Things were happening, things were escalating, but we’re not quite sure what, how they’re connected or why – which was all made even more tangled by the time shifts moving the plot line around. They mystery remained mysterious and there were a lot of twists back and forth, a lot of questions to answer and a lot of things going on to keep us engaged and involved. It wasn’t a book I stayed up all night to read, unable to put it down – but nor was I ever tempted to abandon it and nor was reading it ever a chore – I enjoyed it from start to finish.

In the end, I like a lot of the development and the story but in some ways this book feels like a tangent. She got away from her friends, but her calling Ed re-established that link and, of course, she still kept in touch with Anthony. She held her tenuous ties to Salem and, ultimately, ended up going back there. I can’t shake a small feeling that the book was a distraction, that the plot, the meta being established, is all in Salem so why did we zip over to San Francisco only to return again? Especially since the way this book ended invalidated so many of the personal relationships she forged in San Francisco. It felt almost like the book finished with a great big reset button. Despite that, I am glad that the events touched on in the first book haven’t been brushed into the irrelevant past and are still going to loom large in the coming story – and that we have meta plot that was begun in the very first book.

I really do like the imagery involved with Samantha’s repressed memories, the different years she’s buried, the things she had to deal with then and it adds to her ongoing representation of trauma. Her past isn’t just something that troubles her or upsets her – she is still haunted by it, by the memories, the flashbacks and the nightmares. They can be heavy at times but it’s a powerful depiction and a relief from so much of the genre where traumatic pasts and horrific childhoods are used for relatively empty characterisation without.

Lost Girl Season Three, Episode Nine: The Ceremony

Dyson is alone in bed and when he wakes he calls out for someone.  Bo joins him dressed in a nightgown and says that she has not been herself recently.  Dyson replies that it is his job as her husband to be patient. Bo says that for the last couple of days she thought that she was going crazy, and then holds up a positive pregnancy test. Dyson smiles and the two embrace.

Earlier, a man is running through an alley and Bo tries to take him out with a led pipe but she is not able to knock him out and he gets away.  When Kenzi manages to catch up, Bo tells her that Stella said that she needs this man because he secretes the pheromones she needs in order to gain entrance to the temple. Kenzi reminds her that the most important ceremony of her life starts in an hour and so Bo takes off running with Kenzi on her heels. They stop to check Bo's phone to see where the guy is going.  Bo asks for her phone to see if Lauren has answered any of her 27 messages.

Lauren is at home and Dyson shows up with some paperwork.  Lauren says that she is looking for an answer to Bo's condition and that the upcoming dawning situation has her worried. Lauren then admits that she has a hard time believing that she ever found someone like Bo. Dyson assures her that it's going to be fine and that it's not about what you can prove, it's about what you believe.  Before leaving, Dyson says, "I'm really glad that you and Bo are in such a good place."

Bo and Kenzi are following the trail of the fae and walk into the middle of a photo shoot. Am I the only one who wonders how the hell Kenzi manages to walk, let alone run in those shoes without breaking something precious to her? Stella then turns around and says, "welcome to the first stage of your dawning Bo, these fine human specimens are for you." It seems that the women dressed in lingerie are for Bo to satiate her hunger before starting the testing. Bo is not impressed that she was sent on a wild goose chase. One of the models walks over and flirts with Bo.  Bo turns to Stella and calls her a bitch. I'm getting kind of tired of Lost Girl having their female characters refer to each other as bitch. Stella asks if it's because she is the only one who is not denying that she is a succubus and once again suggests that fully fed is the safest way to enter the temple. When Bo goes to leave, Stella brings up how tired she is from the chase and tells her to multiply this exhaustion and that is what it will be like for her during her trials.  Stella adds that denying herself is not the way of the fae but Bo counters this responding that this is not her way and that she will not murder for pleasure.

Bo returns home with Kenzi and she is still raging about what Stella did.  Bo says that just when she thinks that she is on board with all things fae, they pull stuff like this.  Bo adds that Stella is being so vague about her time in the temple and wonders what happens if she comes out. Kenzi asks what happens to cats when their owners die and who is going to pay the hydro bill.  Kenzi says that Bo has been training non stop and that she has got this.  Bo assures Kenzi that if anything happens to her that she will be taken care of.  Kenzi tells Bo that she will always be her girl and that they will make their way out of this.

Kenzi is at the Dahl and Stella says that there has never been a human present at a dawning before and that it's simply not appropriate. Kenzi replies, "chill, I promise not to tweet" and tells Stella that she is not leaving.  Stella tells Kenzi that her scars are so deep, then whispers something in her ear and walks away.  Lauren enters the bar and approaches Bo. Bo says, "I was afraid you wouldn't come" and Lauren replies that she wouldn't miss this for the world and didn't return the calls because she was looking for a serum.  Trick makes a toast to Bo and says that it's time.

Trick takes Bo into a backroom to get ready and Bo admits that she couldn't do a full feed because she will never kill innocents.  Trick assures Bo that he didn't know about this.  Bo says that though she hasn't always been the perfect granddaughter that Trick has always been there for her, loving her, and believing in her. Trick tells her that she has always exceeded everyone's expectations and that this is not goodbye. Trick draws a symbol on her forehead and says that by embracing the symbol she embraces her heritage.  Bo returns to the main room and she is told that she can bring a mate into the ceremony and must pick a side. Dyson steps forward and offers himself and Bo refuses him and declaring an allegiance. Stella informs her that the consequence of refusing to pick a side means that she will be able to have a weapon. Lauren tells Bo that Dyson will keep her safe and the two exchange a kiss. Bo then turns to Dyson and says let's do it.

They arrive in a different version of The Dahl and Bo makes a crack about expecting more marble. Dyson tells her that a dawning only happens once in a fae's life and that no matter what, her's will be different. Of course it will because she is a special snowflake. Bo and Dyson meet the caretaker, who has been there so long, he cannot remember his given name. The caretaker tells Bo that now that she is n the temple, she has to find the key which unlocks the portal but she must accept the key in the form that it is presented.  The wanderer suddenly disappears and Bo and Dyson are alone.

In the Flesh

 A girl is in the supermarket talking to someone on a walkie-talkie to collect some caramel shortbread biscuits. I approve, if the world is ending I want ridiculously unhealthy food as well. Unfortunately her shopping trip is interrupted by a zombie eating the brains of a corpse. She puts two bullets in the zombie then limps away while the lights go out. She concentrates so much on the zombie behind her, she misses the one in front that grabs her. And chomp!

The scenes switches to the zombie struggling with a flashback in a medical room while a doctor calls his name, Kieren, until he calms down. He has a flash of him as a much dirtier zombie before it resolves on him – pale, with very visible veins, but much closer to human. The doctor comments on him having an involuntary memory is a good sign, his mind is rebooting; but Kieren has doubts about being ready. He worries about the medication’s side effects, the flashbacks but the doctor points out his worry shows he is ready – because he’s feeling again. And it’s better than the alternative if he didn’t respond to medication – they’re “taken care of.” The doctor with the most excellent bedside manner assures him his parents are eager to see him – he doubts it given that he’s a zombie and he killed people. Dr. Shepherd objects – he’s a “Partially deceased syndrome sufferer” and what he did in his untreated state is not his fault.

As he leaves, still pleading for more time, we see that Dr. Shepherd has a massive crowd of living zombies to see. Kieren joins another queue where he is given contact lenses to match his old eye colour – his eyes are currently pale blue, almost colourless.

Panning outside, we see graffiti saying “Beware rotters” and “god bless the HVF”, the landscape is very empty, buildings are abandoned, people missing and there are large, new graveyards wooden crosses rather than stone markers. HVF soldiers have a procession through the graveyard watched by a small crowd.

Slightly less grim, a couple are trying to sell a house when they’re interrupted by Jem, a young woman with loud music, and when they go to see her, a busy decorating scheme and an uncompromising attitude when it comes to being disturbed. I may steal her line when I need to tell people to fuck off as well. The couple assure the buyers that she doesn’t come included (aww, I’d so buy a house with a Jem). They mention the Human Volunteer Force as something that had disbanded, but it’s still going strong in the area – and they don’t want to buy the house, they want something more “remote.” As do the family who currently own the house.

As the buyers leave, the remaining couple, the Walkers, assume they have one too, a zombie child – and worry about bringing Kieren back to their house where it is (reading between the lines). Jem leaves the house and won’t hear about her brother coming home – she still wears a HVF armband.

At a highly secure PDS (Partial death syndrome) facility, Kieren is in a group circle talking about his side effects, his flashbacks and his guilt. Another zombie tries to argue against the guilt, trying to present it as a war, angrily objecting when the human therapist disapproves and then turns the conversation to the coming Sunday when they go home. Kieren is looking forward to seeing his little sister, aha… no.

That sister is at the local pub where she is greeted as a “Rambo” to get a drink with other HVF veterans – but no longer for free as they once did, much to the anger of Bill, the leader. Later, in a meeting room, he hands out patrol rotas for his HVF, he doesn’t believe that government that there are no more “rabid rotters”. Bill doesn’t care whether the Rotters are on drugs or not – and another HVF member claims there’s no way the government would put treated Rotters there –just in cities. He hands out new Walkie-talkies and tells them to report anything, while Jem is visibly troubled.

Back in the facility, Alex (the troublemaker) claims there were riots when treated zombies were first reintroduced, though the therapists deny it, Alex calls it lies and tells Kieren the living can’t be trusted. He gives Kieren the name of an "undead prophet” to look up when he gets out.  

Once Upon a Time, Season 2, Episode 17: Welcome to Storybrooke

A man, Kurt and his son, Owen are camping out in the woods (ick, makes me feel cold and damp just looking at it. Touching scenes like this make me think back to my childhood and give thanks my dad knew better than to take me anywhere without double glazing) when they’re interrupted by an odd storm. It starts out electrical – but then the billowing purple clouds are seen, just like the magic from the end of the last season.

The next day they find devastation in their camp site, trees uprooted and their truck trapped under one (what was that cloth tent made out of? It’s totally untouched!). Kurt plans to go to the highway and find a ride – but when they reach a ridge they see Storybrooke – a town that shouldn’t exist and didn’t exist yesterday. Or at least, not pre-curse.

Going to Storybrooke, they’re greeted by Sherriff Graham (confirming this was in the distant past).

It’s 1983 and Regina wakes up to the new Storybrooke, looks out the window and gasps that she did it, she won. She puts on her new, mortal world clothes and goes out to explore, seeing all the old fairytale characters cursed – Ruby, Granny, Gepeto, Gold and Archie. At the school Mary Margaret is at the very epitome of her soggy, Wet Lettuceness when Regina goes to see her. She asks Mary Margaret how long she’s been a teacher and she says “as long as she can remember.” Regina takes her to the hospital to see David in his coma and asks her if she knows him – Mary Margaret can’t remember him. But she does have a Wet Lettuce moment.

At Granny’s, Regina has pancakes for breakfast, flirts with Sherriff Graham – and then notices Owen, who doesn’t belong. Introduced to Kurt who asks where there’s a hotel room much to Regina’s shock. She’s worried and, as she tells Graham – threatened by surprises. And bad things happened when she’s threatened

In present day Storybrooke, Regina puts a rose on her mother’s grave, crying over the coffin and Gold comes to pay his own respects and own rose. Regina isn’t in a forgiving mood and, in particular swears vengeance against Mary Margaret (I consider this either lazy or efficient – I mean she’s already got it in for Mary so might as well bundle all your revenge goals in one package – and besides, swearing vengeance against Gold is unwise). Gold tries to give her advice about how vengeance won’t help her – how Cora knew she couldn’t have everything (choosing power over love) and Regina has to choose – Henry or Vengeance. Regina’s not having that.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Walking Dead Season Three, Episode Fourteen: Prey

This episode starts with a flashback of Michonne tying up her zombies and Andrea heating up cans of food over an open flame. Andrea asks where Michonne found her zombies but Michonne simply stares.  When Andrea asks if Michonne wants to talk about it, Michonne shakes her head no and adds that they deserved what they got, because they weren't human to begin with.

In the present day in Woodbury, the governor is readying chains which he has tied to two posts. It's clear that he is readying a torture chamber for Michonne.

On the streets of Woodbury, Milton stops and sees Martinez packing up the truck and learns that everyone is going out. Andrea asks what's going on and Milton says that he's sure this is just a precaution, a show of force, before walking away. Milton then goes to see the governor and he asks how the governor's workshop helps Woodbury. Milton adds that Woodbury was supposed to be a new start but admits that he understands this business about Michonne.  Milton then suggests to Philip that he has to move on. Philip asks if he still believes that the biters still have some spark in them and when Milton says yes, Philip points out that it was Penny who Michonne killed.  Philip is far in denial that he actually believes that Michonne killed his daughter.

Milton then heads over to see Andrea and tells her that he believes Philip is going to kill all of the people at the prison. Milton then sneaks Andrea in to see Philips' new torture chamber and says that she needs to tell the people at the prison to leave.  Andrea says she is not going and that she needs to kill Philip.  Milton warns Andrea that she will never get close enough to Philip, but Andrea is determined and says that what Philip is doing is sick and that she cannot stand by and watch him.  I don't know about you but I was ready to scream it's about freaking time she came to terms with exactly what Philip is. Andra points a gun at Philip but Milton pulls her away before she can shoot him.

They head to an apartment and Andrea asks how Milton can still protect Philip.  Milton replies that killing the governor will not save her friends because someone else will just take over. Andrea says that she has to go and warn them and that Milton has to come with her.  Milton tells her that he belongs here and that he does not know anyone at the prison. Andrea says that if Milton chooses to stay that  he cannot keep looking the other way, before kissing him on the cheek and leaving.

Andrea starts heading out and is stopped by Martinez, who demands that she hand over her weapon and any ammo. When Andrea complies, Martinez asks if she has a knife.  Martinez then walks away and Philip approaches and tells Andrea that he is sorry but wants to keep her seperate and safe from all of this. Philip says that hopefully she can talk some sense into Rick tomorrow.

Tyreese and Sasha are standing guard and Tyreese is trying to take out a zombie with a gun, but his aim is horrendous.  Sasha teases him about this and they share a brief light hearted moment. Andrea approaches and tells Sasha and Tyreese that a large pack of walkers is headed for the main wall and that Martinez wants them over there. They refuse to leave and want to speak to Martinez directly to confirm that this is what he really wants them do. Realizing that she is not going to be able to escape without telling them her plans, Andrea says that she cannot stay there because the governor is not what he seems and she tells Tyreese and Sasha that they should leave as well.  When Andrea pulls out her knife, Tyreese says that she is rattled and that she should put the knife down; however, Andrea is adamant that she is leaving. As they watch her leave, Sasha says that they shouldn't have let her go so Tyreese asks if he should have shot her.

Tyreese and Sasha tell the Governor about Andrea leaving and Philip says that they should have stopped her. Tyreese asks if this is a prison camp, implying that people aren't free to leave and the Governor says no.  Philip then lies and says that Andrea was on her own for an entire winter and heavily implies that Andrea is out of her damn mind. Philip asks if Andrea said anything about what panicked her and Tyreese says no.  Tyreese asks if this effects them because Andrea was with the prison group,  and Philip replies no, then sends them off with Martinez.

Philip gets ready to go after Andrea and Milton tells him to let her go because Andrea just wants to be with her people. Philip realises that Milton knew that Andrea was leaving and asks if he told her about Michonne. Clearly, Philip isn't worried about Andrea's safety, he simply wants to get to her before she can alert everyone at the prison as what his plans really are.

Interview with Shelley Adina, Author of the Magnificent Devices Series

On Sunday we had a special episode of Fangs for the Fantasy, with an interview with Shelley Adina, author of the excellent Magnificent Devices Series

Our reviews of the books can be found through our backlist, or individually:

Join us in Fan Poultrying Shelley Adina, examining the series, and hoping for some Prinny Punk!