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Saturday, May 11, 2013
Vampire Cheerleader is at the bar with Matt the useless and they are talking about sending out cards to people to declare their upcoming graduation in order to receive a check. They both commiserate on not having anyone interested in their graduation. This of course leaves me asking for the millionth time, why the hell does a thousand year old vampire care about high school again? Caroline is doing the same thing with Elena and it seems that Elena does not care that she is graduating either. Elena starts to pump Caroline for information about Katherine but Caroline is not forthcoming.
Bonnie is meditating in the woods with Katherine standing behind her wanting to know what Bonnie is doing. Bonnie is trying to lower the veil to speak to her relative Kitsea about making Katherine truly immortal. Katherine however is not happy to be in the woods in her expensive boots. Bonnie's plan is to drop the veil to ask Kitsea how to get rid of Silas and when Katherine hears thi,s she tries to leave but Bonnie has linked the two of them together, so that she cannot leave, to avoid Silas getting into Bonnie's head.
Stefan and Damon have a tête-à-tête about Elena's desire to end Katherine's life at the hospital. Liz breaks up their conversation to say that they didn't refill the blood banks at the hospital to control the vampire population but it seems that it didn't work. Liz shows them to a dead patient who is covered in blood and says that there are four other victims in the wing drained of blood. They speculate that it might be Silas and that this has to do with dropping the veil from the other side.
Bonnie and Katherine are still in the woods and when Katherine starts to resist entering the cellar, she is forced to follow Bonnie due to magic. When Katherine threatens to kill Bonnie, Bonnie informs her that whatever happens to her, happens to Katherine as well. Bonnie continues to work on the spell and Katherine is forced to stand back and watch.
Caroline, and Rebekah are at the Mystic Grill watching Elena play darts. Caroline suggests that someone needs to do something before Elena explodes and Rebekah agrees to handle it. Rebekah grabs a bottle of booze and orders Elena to drink saying that she is putting everyone on edge. Elena tells her that though they had a "Thelma and Louise thing" when her humanity was turned off, they are not friends. Caroline asks if they are still friends and asks if Elena meant everything she said when her humanity was turned off. Elena answers that she does not feel like going down memory lane. Elena tells Caroline that she is not going to get an apology because then she will feel bad and she can't handle that. As Elena continues to throw darts, the power goes out.
When they head outside, they see that the power is out all over town and that there is a windstorm going on. Bonnie says that she has lit the final hotspot and that it's time to life the veil.
Liz, Stefan and Damon are looking at a map and they realise that the power outage originated in the Silas power triangles. Liz then informs them that Bonnie was seen leaving the Young place an hour ago with Elena. Damon realises then that Bonnie and Katherine are working together because Caroline is with Elena. Liz asks how they find Bonnie and Katherine and Stefan say that they must be somewhere in the middle of the triangle. The Salvatore brothers break up and Elena opts to go with Damon. Elena immediately asks where Katherine is and Damon asks her if she is somehow missing the end of the world crap which is occurring. Elena asks Damon if he wants Katherine dead and reminds him of all of the things that Katherine has done to him over the years. Damon again says that they need to find Bonnie, but Elena says that she doesn't care about Bonnie and only cares about finding Katherine. Damon finally tells Elena that they are together and suggests that Elena does less threatening and more looking.
Stefan finds Caroline, who says that she searched the whole school and could not find anything. They hear a noise and decide to investigate and it leads them to the cafeteria. Stefan notices ice dripping down a drain and suggests that Bonnie and Katherine are underground.
Bonnie demands that Katherine hand over the tombstone because it has the calcified blood of Kelsea. Stefan then informs Damon about where Bonnie and Caroline might be and in return, he tells Elena that she is going to have to wait where she is. Damon adds that they cannot afford for Elena to get all murderous and screw things up for them. Elena asks what if killing Katherine lets her feel all of the good things that she has lost and asks for Damon's help promising that she will be herself again once she gets over this hurdle. Damon reminds Elena that Katherine is strong and crafty. When he tells Elena that she will die, Elena stabs him in the stomach saying, that she will at least die trying before taking off.
Bonnie holds the tombstone as it begins to bleed. Bonnie lowers the veil as upstairs, Damon sits up and Alaric Saltzman appears to ask him if he needs a hand. Alaric pulls out the stake and Damon says that this is either really good or really bad. Alaric asks if he thinks he's Silas and to prove he is who he says he is, Alaric opens up a locker and pulls out a bottle of booze. How exactly is this proof that Alaric is who he says he is, when Silas can get into the head of anyone? Anyway, Alaric says that Bonnie only dropped the veil around the expression triangle. Damon asks where everyone is and Alaric says that not every ghost has a reason to come back to Mystic Falls, just beings like him, looking after their "idiot best friends."
Tess talks about work - securing Gabe since there’s a hit on his life at a 5 star hotel – but Catherine is distracted. She’s 10 days late. Oh. Oh dear.
Vincent’s reaction is more “OH GODS NO!” considering he doesn’t know what his screwed up genetics would do to a child and how the child would be hunted and even if he’s fine he’d still have a dad who is officially dead and had to hide. Then Gabe calls so Vincent has a tangent down the “if Gabe were the father” which neither Catherine or I have any time for. All that panic and the test comes back negative – but it does make for a good round of “we can never have a baby or a house or a marriage” angst. Still on the depth side Vincent recognises it as a cause of his jealousy over Gabe since he could have that normal life with her. But Catherine, again, reminds him that she doesn’t want that life and doesn’t need it.
But when she gets to work for the security detail, Catherine gets sufficiently wistful over children that Tess notices. Catherine says it’s fine she knew what she was getting into but Tess stomps on that, telling her not to do the “girl thing” where she thinks she’s agreed to terms so can’t talk about what she wants.
When they get to Gabe’s he gets rid of Tess so he can talk to Catherine – telling her he knows she was with someone when they took out the sniper. Catherine goes into full denial even as Gabe says he knows what Vincent is. She continues to deny – and Gabe’s eyes turn gold. Catherine backs off and pulls her gun and he assures her he’s not going to hurt her. It was what was done to him at Muirfield and he takes medication to stop his DNA from expressing itself; made by her mother. But the stuff he’s been synthesising doesn’t work so well – as evidenced by his eyes.
Which is why he wants to meet Vincent, the only other one like him, and why he tracked down the cases with cross-species DNA. And he knows Vincent’s DNA is different from his – by comparing DNa they may be able to help each other.
Which is why he wants to meet Vincent, the only other one like him, and why he tracked down the cases with cross-species DNA. And he knows Vincent’s DNA is different from his – by comparing DNa they may be able to help each other.
Well there’s a nifty info dump. At least Vincent doesn’t have to be jealous any more. Catherine fills in Tess on the way out – also warning her to stay out the room until Gabe’s girlfriend, Tyler, arrives who can calm him down
Friday, May 10, 2013
Willow and Paloma are sisters, doing their own thing, tearing up and down the country. They’re Shadow Warriors, nearly indestructible warriors bringing down demons and monsters, rescuing princesses and blowing up giant turd monsters – whatever that was.
After taking a job hunting down rogue vampires, things rapidly get very very complicated when there seems to be far more involved – including a captured elven princesses, some rogue werewolves and Witches who drop farmhouses on them; which is just annoying.
Of course, as if a veritable army of monsters to kill weren’t enough, there’s a far more complicated matter to deal with: hot guys, relationships and sex. Definitely more complicated than marauding vampires and demons.
This book is immense, awesome fun in a completely guilty pleasure fashion. The protagonists, Willow and Paloma are incredible fun. They don’t care what other people think of them, they enjoy themselves immensely, they love their family, they love each other and they’re frequently hilariously funny.
They’re also terribly immature in a way that makes me feel slightly guilty every time I laugh. Whether it’s willow’s epic burping or the problem with snakes in the toilet and… well a lot of immature bathroom humour and silliness.
But it’s still funny. Part of it because there’s a lot of jokes above and beyond that which hilariously works together but also because it forms part of the pattern of the sisters. Are they immature? Yes. Are they childish? Yes. Are they crude and impolite and downright nasty at times? Yes yes and yes in all counts. And they don’t care. Their crudeness emphasises just how much they don’t succumb to convention, their refusal to be policed and their simple joy in their life no matter how much it should be disapproved of. They have no shame, and I kind of love them for it.
And did I mention they’re funny? Because they’re really really really funny.
Of course it also fits with the gloriously fun and rather cartoony action of the book. As Shadow Warriors, the sisters are nearly invulnerable – at very least they’re very very very hard to kill indeed. So the fight scenes? They can be fun and corny – and have Willow maintaining a running commentary (like “I’m being throttled!” and “I’m airborne!” whenever a monster throws her). And them never needing a plan or research because they’re just that awesome. Or having manoeuvers with 80s songs codewords. It also means we can completely avoid those awful, horrendous tropes of “oh delicate female flower, stand behind me and the big strong manly men.” Sure their family worries about them – they have extremely strong family bonds and care about their siblings – but they’re not considered people who need protecting or sheltering. They’re warriors – fun, zany, unpredictable, incredibly violent warriors. And while they joke and play around a lot, they also do care about the people who could suffer at supernatural hands, something they make clear subtly in repeated ways. Also one of them collects Care bears – it seems silly but there’s a lot of depth to even casual elements of their character – like their names and the soft toys they collect.
Tommy Collins – survivor of the Wendigo attack way, way back in Season 1, Episode 2, - has been encouraged to take a holiday in a cabin in the Colorado wilderness by his girlfriend. And he hears growling – never a good thing in Supernatural world. He’s prepared for Wendigo attack! He grabs his blow torch and is ready to burn it – when he started bleeding from the ears, from the eyes and his head explodes. Well, that’s just unsporting.
At the Wincester Cave there’s a lot of walking wounded going on. Sam is feeling all kinds of fugly because of his trials and Castiel is healing slowly from his blessed bullet wound. And Dean is still really angry with Castiel. The angel tries to apologise for “everything” and Dean itemises that “everything” – it’s a long list which ends with the fact he didn’t trust Dean. Dean isn’t accepting that apology. Even Sam wants Dean to go easy on Castiel – though Dean points out he wouldn’t tolerate what Castiel did from anyone else, so why him. Sam’s only answer is “because it’s Cas!”
|This is an acceptable reason.|
Dean and Sam go looking for more research to help them with the next trail – curing a demon – and find a hidden room with a devil’s trap on the floor and chains covered in the same kind of symbols. It’s a room to imprison a demon. Well ain’t that convenient! Dean is inappropriately pleased that their cave has a dungeon.
Anyway the special research turns out to be a film reel – movie night! Yes they get popcorn, of course they get popcorn. It shows the 1950s with the Men of Letters trying out a new exorcism (and try to get insurance for THAT job – exorcism tester on Supernatural!). And the person filming it is the woman who was possessed by Abaddon. They see a possessed woman chained up in the same chains as they have in their dungeon
Hey, remember when the Winchesters used to exorcise innocent possession victims rather than just stabbing them unto death? I think it was back in season 5.
When Revolution began, I can’t say we had a particularly high hopes in terms of racial inclusion. We hoped to be surprised, but we’ve watched and read a few dystopians now and they don’t have a great record when it comes to the representation of POC. Almost inevitably, these stories revolve around the great and glorious straight, cisgender, able bodied White man and how he is going to save us all. POC are usually in very secondary roles and they die in vastly disproportionate numbers.
Revolution alas, didn’t change things, even with Charlie being the main character, we quickly lined up behind Miles Matheson, the great white hope to save us all. And the POC?
Well, firstly we had that classic dystopian problem - death. So much death. Of course, it’s a war, it’s a post-apocalyptic world, people are going to die. People are going to die in large numbers and from all demographics, people are going to have to be sacrificed and they certainly are on Revolution - in hefty numbers. But Black people, already making up a relatively small number of the cast, don’t live long or develop well before they die. The rebels had Nicholas, a preacher and a war leader, a complicated character I hoped would be developed well until... death. Then there was Alec, Miles’s former protegé (he seems to have a couple of random Black protegés) who was sold to Texas for punishment for a botched assassination. He serves Monroe faithfully despite how he was treated - he’s willing to sacrifice his life to plant a nuclear bomb in Atlanta - and, of course, is shot before he can.
Then there’s the bit parts who barely warrant a name but are there fore emotional impact - Rosie dying to emphasise the losses the rebels took, and Beth, who has to be sacrificed so we can see what the nanites do to stop her cancer.
That’s a lot of death for a not very large number of characters but, again, it’s not just about the number of deaths, it’s also about the quality of death. None of these characters were developed sufficiently for their deaths to be particularly traumatic or important. Those whose deaths were presented as even slightly emotional - Beth, Nicholas, were largely done as ways to make a point to others rather in their own right. Contrast that to massive grieving around Danny or even Maggie - their loss was felt, it was important, it had impact, they were people whose deaths mattered.
The POC who live - and who die for that matter - are so often in a secondary role and in the shadow of a White character, serving a White character, or controlled by a White character. Nicholas never develops to be the leader he could have been. Grace is a prisoner in fear of her life and has been since the very beginning of the show - a tool in Randall’s hands. James Hudson has every reason to be furious with Miles who failed him during his attempt to kill Monroe. Despite having risked Hudson’s life, Miles still tracks him down and brings the militia down on his life - costing him his home and his wife. That’s twice Miles ruins his life - and Hudson still follows Miles.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Megan is the Fire Amazon – passionate, impetuous, short tempered and driven, she is all that is fire.
Unfortunately, all that is fire doesn’t include controlled, subtle or, necessarily wise and careful. And she’s been making mistakes – mistakes that involve killing monsters in public in full view of everyone and their mobile phones. And her emotions are volatile enough that she has a habit of sparking – and setting fire to things.
The goddesses have had enough – with only Frejya in her corner, the Sentinel Johann has been sent to Megan to see whether she can learn to control herself, or whether she is too much of a liability and needs to be stripped of her powers entirely. During the course of a mission to find missing girls, it’s his job to assess her, train her and decide what to do with her.
Of course, that would be easier if their mutual passion wasn’t lighting some more sparks – or if the missing person’s case wasn’t far more dangerous and involved than was originally imagined.
I like that the consequences of the last book are carried on to this one – and not just the obvious like the enemies and Rebecca having babies – but things like their training being cut short and Megan not having a full understanding of her powers or her role. Megan’s constant attempts to ensure that she is what a fire should be is a major theme – she is playing a role, an act many times. There’s a lot of fire in her – she is, after all, the fire amazon but she’s unsure enough in the role that she feels she has to put on extra behaviour, to fake it.
This, coupled with an extra analysis of her back story both with the police and before as a child really fleshes out the character and adds a lot of nuance. Her firm morality and need to protect, her fierce independence and resentment of any kind of interference or even team effort. She’s a really well realised and well developed character.
The story itself was fairly moderate – it’s not much of a mystery or investigation but it’s more about Johann and Megan than anything else. It works, it keeps the pacing enough not to be boring and not to completely fall down the romance trap and the ending keeps the epic forces of the world well established with a high sense of both the consequences of failure as well as the power of the various actors. I definitely want to see more from the various Ancients that populate the world and what each of them are up to.
“Tell me O’ Muse, from whatever source you may know them.”
Juliette is reliving memories of her and Nick still – this may take her a while. This time she’s looking at the cat scratch scar on her hand and reliving talking to Nick about Adalind.
Nick and Monroe just get more and more domestic even if Monroe’s cooking sounds more and more scary. And Hank is back off holiday! Time for a meet at the coffee shop, Hank on crutches (makes me wonder if the actor injured himself which lead to the break) from a holiday accent- and a gunshot.
See, this is why I couldn’t be a policeman, because I don’t care if someone’s shooting heavy artillery, I am not interrupting my morning coffee.
In a bookshop across the street a man who was doing a book signing is dead with a hole in his head. Upstairs he finds Anton, a Wesen, grabbing hold of a woman called Chloe and declaring that she’s his while she tries to get away. Seeing Nick, Anton runs, - diving into the river to escape. The dead author is Evan, Chloe is his current girlfriend (well was, given the deadness thing) and Anton was the ex. Simple motivations!
Like it’s ever that simple.
Interviewing Chloe she tells them that men just fall for her so easy and they always get intense – and she thanks Nick profusely for saving her life and even kisses his hand (which Hank finds all kinds of amusing).
Wu, Hank and Nick search Anton’s home, his landlady describing him as a talented artist who called Chloe his inspiration. Inside, the loft is full of paintings of Chloe (Wu maintains a snarking commentary) and he has a painting of the murder of Evan from before it happened. There’s a confession for you. Which is when Juliette rings inviting Nick to dinner – which rather surprises him given the fact she recently told him to stay away. But hey, he escapes Monroe’s veggie steaks! But when he hangs up he becomes transfixed by Chloe’s photo.
We were lucky enough to have been invited to a press call interview with Saul Rubinek, Allison Scagliotti and Aaron Ashmore from Warehouse 13, to discuss the new season. Syfy has sent us a full transcript of the conversation - it's long but there are some gems in there
Gary Morgenstein: Welcome everyone to the Warehouse 13 press call. The series got off to a strong start Monday. And to talk about Week 2 and the rest of the season, san spoilers, are stars Saul Rubinek - yes, Artie lives.
Saul Rubinek: Hi.
Gary Morgenstein: Allison Scagliotti.
Allison Scagliotti: Hi.
Gary Morgenstein: And Aaron Ashmore.
Aaron Ashmore: Hello.
Operator: The first question comes from the line of Erin Willard from SciFiMafia.com. Please go ahead.
Erin Willard: We had a call last week with Jack and Joanne and Eddie on the call, and they were...
Saul Rubinek: Oh, my condolences.
Erin Willard: Yes. It was fun.
And, they were talking about some of the episodes that are coming up, and I was wondering if you could say if you have a favorite episode or story line that’s coming up the second half of the season?
Saul Rubinek: Yes.
Go ahead Allison.
Allison Scagliotti: Well, I would say I actually just got off another call where I was talking about favorite episodes, and the one that immediately comes to mind is - Saul, you remember when we go out in search of Beethoven’s clock and how much fun we had together.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Later, Miles replays the incident of Emma being shot in his head he is interrupted to be told that Georgian reinforcements are there. When he sees Neville, Miles reaches for a gun but Tom tells him to relax and that he has a letter for him from President Foster. Neville tells him that he is now a commissioned officer of the Georgia Federation making them partners. Miles threatens to kill Neville but Tom tells him that Foster won't like that. When Miles points out that he doesn't take orders from Foster, Neville says that Foster has provided him with men and guns and that if he doesn't agree to work with him, that he will take it all back. Tom tells him that they have an important job because Monroe is weaponizing anthrax. Neville adds that the Monroe Federation cannot make it without Ethan Campbell and asks Miles if he wants to go and get the doctor.
Charlie, Jason, Nora and Miles are walking and Charlie suggests that they shoot Neville. Nora is quick to agree with her, but Miles says that they have to get Campbell to Georgia. Nora points out that this only means that Foster will get her hands on the doctor and start making her own anthrax. Miles asks when their group became a democracy and informs Nora that she can get inline or stay there. When Jason and Neville make eye contact, Neville tells him that he couldn't just keep away. They then board a steamboat run by captain Richard Lucas of the Georgian navy. He says that it's his job to get them in and out of Parkersburg alive and that as far as anyone knows, they are on a fishing vessel.
In the Thompson Tribal lands of the Plains nation, Rachel and Aaron are trying to negotiate for food. They haven't eaten in four days but are told that food is scarce.
Neville asks Jason for a truce and Jason tells him to forget that they know each other. Jason adds that he gets why he is with Georgia now and that Neville doesn't care what side he is on, as long as his ass gets kissed. Neville replies that he is with Georgia now because Jason is a traitor and due to that, he had to escape like a criminal with Julia for the Georgia Federation. Neville adds that Julia almost died of hypothermia and calls Jason a selfish little prick and says that this is what they had to do to survive. Jason walks away without saying a word.
Back at the Monroe Federation, Flynn asks Monroe to consider the bigger picture and reminds him that the goal is to stop the insurgents not radicalize more of them. Monroe says that they have to do what it takes because the rebels aren't holding their punches. Monroe reminds Flynn that he is only an IT guy and adds that if he says something like that again, he will have his throat ripped out.
Back on the boat, Tom informs them that he is not going with them on the mission. Miles says that they are better off without him. Neville watches as they get off the boat. Miles and Jason slit the throats of two guards and we see them leaving the facility with the doctor.
Rachel and Aaron are walking when they are stopped and accused of stealing. Aaron hands over the food as Rachel apologises. A man pulls out a gun and tells them to get on their knees. Aaron is shocked but he told that there is only one punishment for all crimes in high country. Before the man can shoot, Rachel pulls out a gun and shoots him. Aaron is shocked that Rachel has a gun but apparently she got it from Miles. The two take off running but they are being pursued. Rachel stumbles and falls down a hill, leaving her with what looks like a compound fracture.
Okay to start this review, I feel it necessary to give full disclosure that I am totally a Kevin Hearne fanpoodle. This means that this review will probably just consist of the obligatory fanpoodling that happens when one of a readers favourite author released a new book. Lucky for you, The Grimoire of the Lamb is a novella so that means you won't have to tolerate much of my poodling.
The Grimoire of the Lamb is set four years before the events of Hounded. This means that while we still get Atticus and Oberon having an epic adventure in Egypt, Granuaile is missing. It all begins when a man from Egypt calls with the hope of purchasing one of Atticus' rare books. Nkosi Elkhashab is desperate to get his hand on the a grimoire, which appears to have nothing but recipes for cooking lamb, but Atticus decides that there has to be more to Elkhashab's desire than ancient culinary delights and does some research. When he learns that the grimoire contains 13 spells, which Elkhashab wants to use to "restore Egypt to its rightful place as supreme among the world," Atticus realises that no matter what happens, Elkhashab must not be allowed to possess it.
When Elkhashab manages to undo Atticus' magic and escape to Egypt, Atticus and Oberon have no choice but to follow. Like every other pantheon, Atticus is not exactly very friendly with the Gods. Before Atticus can even deal with Elkhashab, he must find a way to make peace with the goddess Bast, whose holy book he stole centuries ago.
Everyone is dressed up for a tribunal – it seems Artie is being judged for what he’s done and Pete is speaking up on his behalf. Which sounds a lot more terrifying than it is, he actually does a good job. Even more so because it was unneeded, the Regents, led by Kosan, agree that Artie is not at fault for what he did under the influence of an Artefact. They see it as a terrible tragedy that frankly, happens when working with the Warehouse. Artie is stunned and the Regents give him a video signature of Leena in the hope of helping him find closure. Arte is almost angry with his guilt and screams that he killed her – Kosan asks if he really did – would Arthur Nielson have taken her life – any life – if not under the thrall of the astrolabe?
The answer is, of course, no. After all, if Artie were capable of murder, Pete would have been dead long since. And Artie’s guilt is a worse punishment than anyone else could inflict. Claudia also seems disturbed that no-one mentioned her stabbing Artie
Back at the Warehouse Artie wants to be alone and Myka wants to make him talk. Pete wants to keep moving and hope things will sort themselves out – there’s bound to be a scary Artefact distraction soon.
Time for the scary Artefact distraction! A man running screaming through the woods in a suit no less, dropping his phone before being caught and sunk into the floor by another man wielding a blue beam. Very distracting indeed.
It’s apparently Cowan National Forest, with Myka at the Warehouse and Pete on scene where they’re digging up the body; complete with recent witnesses of a blue glow and a man being sucked into the ground. Pete’s with Claudia who is not an outdoors person. And Myka won’t let him get an ATV. He talks to Range Smith and displays the maturity of a 4 year old, of course.
Claudia walking around cursing the flies steps on the mobile phone buried under the ground and recognises the sound – she’s sat on far too many lap tops not too – and digs it up, though it’s badly damaged. Pete gets the ID of the man – Linas Bently, president of Callcast Communications. There’s also an odd carving of the Earth on one of the trees; and it turns out a local Environmental group is not happy with his company.
2 Castithan are driving down the street, going about their illegal business when they’re stopped and searched by Nolan, Irisa and Tommy. Nolan finds guns and lots of money – he tells them he’s coming after Datak, their employer, because of the body he left on their doorstep. And he’ll use the confiscated money to do it.
On the town council, Rafe is arguing for a Maglev connection that will bring a lot of money into the town. Amanda says no because they’ll have to borrow money from the Earth Republic and they’ll move in when they get their foot in the door (Rafe is fine to “massage that foot with scented oils”). The other councillors all nod and agree while Rafe pats Amanda on the head for being too young and silly and better to let the older ones take care of it. The patronising is interrupted by Datak barging his way into the office
He tells the council that the arms deal with the Votanis collective was off; something that shocks and angers the council. The Votanis collective assumed a level of discretion since it would make them look bad to be selling weapons to an unaffiliated town like Defiance – and Nolan just intercepted that shipment. No more shipments and the deposit is forfeit.
Amanda doesn’t know a thing about the arms deal and asks Rafe about it – he tells her that the council made the deal with Datak for heavy ordinance after the Stasis Net went down. She’s angry that he didn’t tell her he says she didn’t need to know, she’s the appointed mayor, not elected and the election is coming up. Rafe tells her to talk to Nolan if she wants to keep the “chair she inherited”.
As the mayor is walking through the streets a woman accosts her and demands she listen. She accuses Amanda’s sister, Kenya, of destroying her family. Her husband goes to Need Want to sleep with Kenya – or one of her staff – and the woman blames Kenya, referring to her as a disgusting pig and a slut. Amanda slaps her. And tells her that Kenya is a business woman and if her husband is cheating on her that’s his fault, not Kenya’s. Finally Amanda has done something I like. The woman spitefully says their mother must be so proud of them.
We get a flashback to when Kenya and Amanda were children, Amanda looking after her sister and giving her a necklace from their mother, an amulet of St. Finnegan, patron saint of lost children, while their mother scavenged on the battle fields of the Pale War, dying in one of the explosions.
Nolan is playing with Kenya in his own paid meet up and she tells him to keep his money. She wants him to come and see her and doesn’t want it to be financial. He asks if that means they’re… but she says no, no labels.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Anyone who has read my reviews will know I have a problem with short stories. I find them terrible paced – and can generally only tolerate them when they are part of a series and then have a strong foundation to build upon. A stand alone short story I generally don’t like and avoid – they’re either rushed and don’t cover anything in enough depth and leave a lot unanswered or they’re stretched out and never had enough meat for a story in the first place.
So I approached this book, an anthology of stand alone short stories, with a due sense of suspicion and dread.
And was happily proven wrong.
There is one story I wish had more development – Six Gun Diplomacy (an awesome story of roving trouble shooters in a great western, gunslinger style) – because I felt there was a lot of the backstory and apparently huge world that could have been built upon. This isn’t really a criticism of the short story per se – it was actually my second favourite in the book – but more praise for the characters and the world that seemed so much immense fun and to be so rich as to positively demand more stories and more development. It’s a waste of a perfectly good setting to limit them to this one short story.
Most of the rest were beautifully contained: like Where is Captain Rook (a story of European explorers trampling casual on the mysteries and lands of Native people), The Cage (a story of humanity and freedom and exploitation and what it means to be a person) and Oh My Darling of the Deep Blue Sea (a story of grief and loss and living with that loss) with all the information, character development and story neatly encompassed within the story. Everything was covered as much as it needed to be and not a word more. They were very artfully and consciously written and designed from the start to be short stories. They left no threads unfinished nor anything hanging or brushed over. They were tight, contained and extremely meaningful and powerful in their presentation. There was a lot of emotion packed into them
Other stories certainly left threads unfinished – The Ogopogo Club (a moving story of abuse and endurance and determined vengeance) and ABC (a creepy story of the unknown in the mundane and the normal, cover ups and secrets) but they did it by not even trying to end them. The relevant parts of the story have been told. The mystery, the unknown, is part of the story and the very essence of what a cryptid is about. There’s no attempt to bring these to a close because them being left open is an inherent part of what the story is about. And, again, it’s really well done
We open with a glance back to the future, to Kiera’s time, when she acted not as a cop – but as a sister to try and stop her little sister from buying drugs. She destroys the drugs she’s just bought and it’s clear that her sister, Hannah, agrees with Liber8.
In the present, Liber8’s little civil war continues with Sonya recruiting the Coalition Kings, a criminal biker gang, to be her soldiers. She gives them a package as payment, but Travis is watching and kills one of the gangers – both Liber8 teams flee the scene.
In the street, Jason, our accidental/independent time traveller, babbles randomly before going to the police station to try and talk to Kiera. Oh silly Jason, Kiera doesn’t hang around the police station, that would imply she was an agent working within the system rather than a random loose cannon. He meets Carlos instead to pass on the essential information “I think we have freelancers” which is nicely random and cryptic.
Alec is out with his house mate and some friends and his house mate is telling him all the wonderful amazing things about a new drug that lets you relive and experience memories – real and fictional ones – in vivid detail. Alec is the only one of his friends who doesn’t take it and they drive off with their house mate, their drugged house mate, in the driver’s seat.
One crash later and a slightly battered Alec is getting a lift home from Kiera. Kiera tries to lecture him which he doesn’t accept, but she also says the drug, Flash, is actually made with knowledge from the future and shouldn’t be around for decades yet; originally used to treat Alzheimer’s but people get lost in their own lives.
In prison, meanwhile, Julian gets a visit from his mother with books, his dad’s diaries and hailing him as a hero in light of recent corporate scandal exposes she says was prompted by his actions, though he doesn’t accept that he was more than a tool.
We start with a flashback to when Baelfire – Neal – first went through the portal, arriving in Victorian London.
6 months after his arrival, Baelfire is reduced to stealing to survive; he sneaks into a house to steal some bread and is confronted by a girl and a dog. Realising he’s just hungry, she offers him the bread. He introduces himself as Bay – and she is Wendy darling.
To modern Storybrooke, early morning after Tamara goes running, Neal is disturbed by the sound of broken glass and Gold having great fun bullying someone with Lacey outside the bar. Before Neal hurries down and spoils their fun. Neal doesn’t understand why Gold hasn’t tried to meet Tamara since he’s gone to so much effort to track down Neal – but Gold doesn’t see the point while Neal is still pining for Emma. He declares that Gold hasn’t changed and he can stay away from him and Henry
Meanwhile David and Emma burst into Regina’s office, guns drawn.
Whoa – David with a gun? When did Prince Charming learn how to shoot? No no no and hell no.
Henry and Mary Margaret follow when it’s safe, looking for the beans Regina stole. Emma sees something is wrong – the beanstalk is there but no beans, Regina wouldn’t leave evidence and the security system shows someone other than Regina had entered the office. Mary Margaret suspects Gold as the only one powerful enough to take down Regina, but Emma leaps to Tamara because… let’s be honest, no logical reason. Mary Margaret is doubtful too.
Great Emma, you’re making me agree with the Wet Lettuce. Do you see what you’ve done to me?
Regina is being tied down somewhere by Hook while Tamara confirms to Gregg that she broke into Regina’s office to get the magic beans. He’s a little jealous of her relationship with Neal but she tells him her engagement ring is coming off as soon as they’re done. He shows her Regina’s gem to add to the items they can send back to the “head office”.
In the Grimm and Cold North: Sam & Gilly
Sam and Gilly are on the run, and Gilly knows far more about the practicalities of fire building and surviving than he does and she realises he is highborn, noble, and used to servants building fires. He tries to impress her with an obsidian knife he found at the Fist of the First men (which I suspect will be relevant later) but she’s not that impressed by pretty things that do nothing. He tells awkward tales of the wall and Castle Black
In the North: Camping trip!
Osha and Myra play who is the toughest wilds master of them all. It escalates until Bran speaks up and intervenes calling for them to behave and make peace for them to reach the wall. Why are they heading to the wall again?
Yeah, I’m not happy with that. I suppose I’m supposed to see the natural leadership talents of Bran? Because it’s hard to get past 2 grown women acting like bad tempered children and a boy acting like an adult and telling them to cut it out.
Jojen starts fitting in his sleep, having a vision and Myra rushes over to put a thong of leather in his mouth so he doesn’t bite his tongue or crack his teeth. He had a vision of Jon – on the wrong side of the wall surrounded by enemies.
Even further North with lots of Pouting: Jon Snow
Several of the men with Jon comment on how the Nights Watch has declined. They’re preparing to climb the wall with much trepidation at the sheer size of it and Ygritte is embarrassing Jon with sexy talk in public which she mocks of course – he can kill zombies but is scared of naked girls! Then it turns serious – she knows Jon Snow is nothing if not loyal and there’s no way he stopped being a Crow. But now she’s “his woman” he’s going to be loyal to her. As far as she’s concerned, the Nights Watch doesn’t care if Jon lives or dies and Mance Rayder is the same about her – they’re both disposable soldiers. Jon promises not to betray her.
The wall climb is cold, long and impressive. Half way up an iceaxe causes a huge amount of the wall to collapse, dropping several wildlings to their death and leaving Jon and Ygritte dangling from a robe. To save themselves, the man above Ygritte begins to cut the rope, dooming Ygritte and Jon to fall. Swinging on the rope, Jon manages to reach the wall and sink in an ice axe, when the rope is cut, Ygritte falls but is supported by Jon, he pulls her onto a ledge.
Eventually they all reach the top of the wall and Ygritte sees the green south for the first time.
In the Riverlands: Brotherhood without Banners and Arya
Arya succeeds in impressing with her archery as she chants her kill list with each shot. She’s accurate, but she’s slow and she gets some pointers from Anguy about firing at more than just targets. Target practice is introduced by a Red Priestess of R’hollor, Lord of Light (same god the Brotherhood worships that puts them back together again) – that would be Mellisandre, Stannis’s priestess. Apparently Thoros of Myr was sent to the kingdoms by the High Priest to convert King Robert. Didn’t really go to plan.
Thoros takes her to see Lord Dondarrion and she examines his many scars – she calls it impossible that he could have been brought back from the dead 6 times. She doesn’t believe Thoros has this much power – but he puts it down to the god. Thoros had lost his faith until he managed to resurrect his friend Lord Dondarrion. But she’s been sent for a reason not chit chat
She’s been sent for Gendry, ignoring his and Arya’s protests. Arya calls her a witch and she looks in Arya’s eyes and sees both darkness and eyes staring back at her, many coloured eyes. “Eyes you’ll shut forever”. Mellisandre looks a little disturbed and tells Arya they’ll meet again. A reference to Jaqen H’ghar?
Monday, May 6, 2013
This week we discuss Game of Thrones, Orphan Black, The Vampire Diaries, Da Vinci’s Demons as well as the return of Warehouse 13.
Our book of the week is Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning.
6th May - 13th May: Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
13th May - 20th May: Tempting Danger by Eileen Wilks
20th May - 27th May: The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
27th May - 3rd June: Shapeshifted by Cassie Alexander
3rd June - 10th June: Binding the Shadows by Jenn Bennet
Mac’s sister, Alina, has been brutally murdered while studying abroad in Dublin. It’s collapsed Mac and her family’s life and she feels no choice but to go to Dublin from Georgia to find out what happened – particularly when she finds an extremely cryptic and unusual message on her phone.
Arriving in Dublin things are very different than she imagined – and so is she. Now facing predatory monsters, the Unseelie fae, lurking hidden among the populace visible only to her and people like her, she has to learn quickly if she wants to find out what got Alina killed, as it seems more likely to be a “What” rather than a “who.” This leads to the ignorant and lost Mac stumbling onto a multi-sided battle for the Sinsar Dubh, a powerful Unseelie artefact in demand by fae, humans, vampires and more, with only the reluctant, controlling and hostile Barrons to be her guide and mentor
Alina told her she couldn’t let “them” have it – but who is “them” and could it be Barrons himself?
This isn’t going to be a positive review – there’s just a lot about this book I didn’t like. But before I go down this long and detailed list, I’m going to hit on what did shine for me. The world had a very epic feel with a massive consequences and threat attached to the battle. There’s seeds of something major, intriguing, exciting and just plain huge in the metaplot. The way it is written – from the POV of an older, wiser, more informed Mac looking back on “how all this began” is pretty well done and adds to the feel of something almost apocalyptic coming without filling the book with lots of spoilers or dumping of future knowledge.
It’s done in a way that means, while I didn’t like this book, I’m interested enough in where it’s going to pick up the next book with something resembling eagerness.
Now to the stuff I don’t like – firstly, the characters.
I can’t say I like Mac overmuch. I get that she’s supposed to be this innocent, ingénue who grows and hardens at the end of the book – but even understanding that doesn’t make her very likeable. She’s so extremely insular – she’s from rural Georgia and mentions that constantly. She complains about not being able to understand the Irish accent – but makes no effort to ask anyone to speak more slowly when she doesn’t understand them, she just huffs about it. She’s decided that her home is full of ultra-polite people and the Irish around her are just rude for not following her standards – but her standards are bemusing to me. Like she considers it rude that, when she wakes up in Barrons’s house (as a near stranger) he left food out for her – rather than allowing her to root around in his fridge. And she feels insulted that she hasn’t been “made to feel at home” so she doesn’t explore his house. Seriously, would anyone even do that? Staying at a near strangers and feel free to root around in his kitchen and eat their food, uninvited? Go exploring through a near stranger’s home? What kind of invasive, rude, woman with absolutely no sense of boundaries is she? The people at the library are so very rude because when she randomly stripped off her clothes they didn’t rush forward to cover her with her shirts. Eh, sorry Mac, if a woman randomly stripped off in a public place I wouldn’t take off my clothes and try to force them on her…
Allison wakes up before her husband and checks the memory card on the hidden camera to see what happened during the night. There’s a moment in the early hours of the morning when he gets up and looks at her then leaves – but then the card is full.
Actually starting the day he’s a lot less patient than usual and snaps at Allison over various things that haven’t been done around the house. She asks him where he was in the night but he snaps at her about how busy they are and how much they have to get done right now. He leaves to do some shopping still snarking at her – and she hits him with a golf club.
Ok then. That was rather disproportionate.
Sarah is having an easier time talking to Paul because he’s not unconscious from a severe head injury. He’s very quick to point out her own lies and conning him – about having sex with him without being who she said she was which means both quickly put aside some of the moral outrage. They – whoever they are – have leverage over him and he knows very little about the whys of what he’s been made to do. Sarah doesn’t trust him – and does a runner out of the bedroom window. Hey at least he’s conscious
Sarah calls Cosima about Paul and she says from a scientific point of view that it makes sense that the monitors know so little so they can’t skew the results. She’s also concerned about Delphine being friendly since it may be her own monitor. Hmmm… maybe but Cosima was the one who made friendly overtures to Delphine… Sarah advises her to keep away which irritates Cosima since she is being treated as the “science monkey” and Sarah isn’t following her own advice. Cosima goes on to talk to Delphine, saying she’s bored, and gets an invitation to a “Neolution” lecture from her
Allison, with her concussed husband, then decides to interrupt to call in Sarah to help with her whole assault and battery thing. Getting rid of the kids she then drops her husband down the stairs. Oops. On a far creepier note, Paul has a bug in Beth/Sarah’s car and is tracking her. And then he starts grinding pills up into one of the booze bottles.