Saturday, January 25, 2014

Vampire Diaries, Season 5, Episode 11: 500 Years of Solitude

It seems to be the in thing now to start episodes with a flashback – alas going this far back means more of Katherine’s story which means, alas, she probably isn’t dead.

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Katherine gives birth to her baby daughter – which is then taken away by her father before she even gets to hold her, while she begs to be able to hold the baby at least once.

This is cut in the present by Katherine in the hospital, flatlining and being treated by doctors while Stefan and Nadia wait outside. Even if she pulls through (and her heart starts again), Stefan warns Nadia that Katherine is definitely dying and all they can do is take her home and make her comfortable.

Meanwhile, everyone else is dealing with Damon and Elena breaking up (which happened because of reasons that are so stupid my head actually hurts if I try to contemplate them). Bonnie and Caroline drop in to comfort Elena (well, Caroline is celebrating because she hates Damon and understandably so) while Matt and Jeremy watch Damon drink.

Stefan calls with the news of Katherine’s impending death

To which Damon, Matt and Jeremy play an awesome drinking game of listing the worst things Katherine has ever done to them (I think Jeremy wins with the “she fed me to Silas and I died”). Elena, Bonnie and Caroline arrive with apparent outrage – because Elena totally gets to play this game as well (and she, rather laughably, is cutting Jeremy off, ignoring 5 seasons of hard drinking). Bonnie and Caroline add their own lists. They need more booze - just the number of people round the table who have been killed by Katherine or she has tried to kill needs a full bottle.

Of course Stefan is by Katherine’s side reassuring her - and her vanity. Stefan comes down to try and make them move it on but even he takes a drink and remembers some more of the evil she’s done – but then throws in Katherine’s 500 years on the run to point out her motives. Of course it’s also revealed that Stefan has slept with Katherine again for lots of extra questioning of his sudden softening towards her.

And Nadia shows up – telling the whole group she has buried Matt inside the safe and if they want him to live they have to help her save Katherine. She wants them to find a Traveller to teach Katherine how to live in someone else’s body – in Nadia’s body to be exact.

Caroline, meanwhile, is more concerned about all the sex people are having. Because… Caroline. And she runs into Klaus… shouldn’t he be in New Orleans? He whooshes after Caroline who continues to try and whoosh away. He’s arranged for Mat to be rescued by Rebekah so he can flirt with Caroline.

Katherine is having Damon-narrated dreams of Klaus killing her family while the real Damon is stopped from smothering her with a pillow by Liz – completely ruining his fun. Damon reveals the bad thing he didn’t drink to – Katherine taught him how to kill and how to enjoy it, she “ruined him.” Liz is more ok with Damon drugging Katherine when she gets snarky (I kind of love how Sheriff Liz went from “EVIL VAMPIRES AARGH!” in season 1 to giving Damon an “oh you!” look when he tries to kill people).

Friday, January 24, 2014

Witch Hunt (Preternatural Affairs #1) by S. M. Reine

Cesar is a witch, a witch who investigates demons, other witches and any of the other magical things out there doing things they really shouldn’t. He’s doing well and seems to be on the fast track

Until he wakes up one morning to find a dead woman in his apartment – and absolutely no idea how she got there. The mundane, non-magical police naturally think he’s the one who did it. He waits for the magical people he works for to find the truth – only to find out that they, too, suspect him

Escaping  to prove his innocence seems to be the only choice – but as he follows the clues and hones in on the truth it becomes horrendously possible that maybe they’re all right. Maybe he’s guilty.

This book is a classic example of a good book 1. The introduction to a new series set in a world that the reader won’t be very familiar with (in this case, I am familiar because it’s the same world that is carried through all of S.M Reine’s books but this is from an entirely different angle from the previous books I’ve read. I actually love the way the different series come together, you don’t have to have read each series, but in reading them all you expand the world and context of all of them, adding a lot of texture), bringing in the main characters that I have a feeling are going to be with us for the whole series.

Where this book is a good book 1 rather than a merely solid one is that it didn’t let the introduction stand as a replacement for an actual interesting story. Not only that, but we didn’t even get a generic, decent-but-nothing-that-original story in book 1 that we often get (so readers can focus their brain power on the world and characters). This story is involved – it’s a story of investigation but, far more, it’s a story of betrayal and paranoia. Cesar needs to find out who framed him so he can clear his name and he needs to keep one step ahead of the powers that be – both magical and mundane – to remain free in order to do so (especially since the magical forces seem to have written him off and the mundane forces are clearly incapable of proving anything given the circumstances). But both of these vital, involved elements rest on a very shaky foundation – who can Cesar trust? There is, afterall, an apparent agent framing him – who could this be?

And this is where the book excels – because I honestly suspected EVERYONE. Even when Cesar trusted them I didn’t. Everyone was presented as a potential murderer and traitor – and that certainly includes Cesar himself. There are twists upon twists, suspect upon suspect and it’s truly shocking how many people seem to be the ones behind it – then maybe not – then back in the frame again. And yes, that includes Cesar. His memory loss, the witness statements and the very reality of what people claim he has done mean that, yes, there’s a very good chance Cesar may have been the killer himself. His attempts to prove himself innocent may, in fact, be just exposing his actual guilt.

The story is very action heavy, the investigation and cerebral elements rapidly overshot by having to flee another threat, or facing more confusion and danger. It’s very much an action book and it’s well written enough and visual enough to make that work and keep it exciting and flowing, making the story one to pull you in and hold you right to the end.

The Tomorrow People, Season 1, Episode 11: Rumble

Opening flashback – to 6 years ago. A young Cara, on the streets, uses her telekinesis to steal and apple – and then has to run from Ultra before being rescued by 2 other paranormals – Julian and Nellie.

To the present and Stephen talks about his mother’s new boyfriend with Astrid (after Luca passes on the info – and yes, Astrid has been allowed out of the plot box). Particularly how he is capable of blocking Stephen’s telepathy meaning he’s a paranormal – and powerful.

At Tomorrow People HQ, Cara is having another leadership crisis because she fears everyone’s not listening to her (y’know, Cara as leader will get real old real fast if she spends it all whimpering) when the newly rescued Charlotte starts broadcasting telepathic horrible noise in her nightmare. John apparently did the same thing during his breakout. John helpfully comforts her through it while Cara looks on at a loss, not being imprisoned by Ultra, she can’t imagine what Charlotte has gone through.

In Ultra we get our weekly reminder that Ultra is evil as Stephen and other young paranormal candidates (yes there’s more) watch one of their fellows be de-powered. Jedikiah reminds them that he hates them all and would happily destroy any of them. I would say the reminder is unnecessary but Stephen does seem to regularly forget. To not be destroyed they need to impress – which means finding the breakout Julian Masters (yes the Julian from the beginning) who apparently recruits young paranormals to his criminal gang.

Cut to Julian stealing from someone – and then beating them until the mojo that stops Paranormals killing kicks in (which he calls “sweet music”).

Stephen passes this all on to Cara, Russell and John. Stephen considers bring Julian in as a way to solidify himself with Ultra but Cara nixes the whole thing since she knows Julian. Stephen is not impressed by Cara’s unwillingness to do anything even with the inside knowledge they have and tries to appeal to John – John makes it clear it’s Cara’s decision but adds that it’d be better for everyone if Julian weren’t an issue.

Flashback to young Cara, Nellie being kind while Julian is determined that Cara be useful – and with lots of rhetoric about superior species, being tough and finding the “killer” inside, much to Nellie’s disapproval.

To the present and they meet with Julian (who accuses Cara of copying Nellie’s style). Julian rants and raves like a proper villain – mocking them for hiding, again pushing the “we’re superior” line with an added extra of being at war with humanity. He insults Cara as a “weak jelly spined ineffectual skank” and his whole army teleports in.

Hey, I’d let him get on with fighting Ultra. He may actually achieve something or at least get out of their hair. Cara has the same plan – well, no, she just wants to avoid him and hope – but she does set a tale on him (Russell – because he convinced her not to go herself).

American Horror Story, Season 3, Episode 12: Go To Hell

American Horror Story has gone all silent movie on us – explaining the test of the Seven Wonders that the Supreme has to pass (at last, it’s been so vaguely defined!) The tests are: Telekinesis, Concilium (mind control), Transmutation (teleportation), Divination, Vitalum Vitalis (sharing/exchanging life force), Descensum (entering the afterlife) and Pyrokinesis

Since all of these are going to be used heavily, I’m going to make ‘em all red

I can shenanigans – where has Fiona’s Divination been?

Fiona adds that the Seven Wonders are dangerous – while Queenie cynically (and accurately) believes that Fiona only wants the Seven Wonders to happen so she can kill the next Supreme. She also wants to know where Marie has disappeared to – and takes issue with Fiona’s highly disrespectful description of Papa Legba; in turn Fiona lashes out at her for not bowing and scraping to Fiona’s racially charged contemptuous commentary.

Upstairs, the newly blinded Cordelia is trying to get her visions back – trying to touch Madison to find out what happened to Misty (after Madison killed her) and Madison Transmutes away; Cordelia is quick to tell her that doesn’t make her Supreme (witches powers peak when they’re under crisis). When Cordelia insists on touching her, Madison makes a homophobic joke, but Cordelia won’t be distracted. When she touches Madison though she has no vision. Her sight hasn’t returned.

Queenie continues to look for Leveau and casts a spell to take her too him – and ends up back in the fried chicken shop where she used to work (her own personal hell – when people treated her like crap, she got no respect and saw no future ahead of her). She talks to Legba who tells her that Marie isn’t there. And yes, this means Queenie just pulled off Descensum. Queenie returns from Hell, proving her power – and finds Legba waiting for her. She wants answers

We see Leveau being tortured by Madame LaLaurie – being chopped up and scattered around the city, and Queenie asks how she kills Lalaurie; apparently impossible while Leveau herself is still alive which Legba cannot change because he and Leveau have a deal. Queenie pokes out a dubious loophole – with Leveau chopped up she cannot perform an annual service for Legba so, in theory, she is in breech (a little dubious – you can call it a breach on the argument that Leveau’s breach is inevitable but the counter argument she will be in breach NEXT YEAR and “inevitable” is questionable).

Cut to Lalaurie who has apparently taken over tours of her house and is now doing her best to cover up her actions and pretend she was never a serial killer. Queenie tracks her down (not hard) and is not impressed, and tells LaLaurie to let the old (and now injured) tour guide go. Or she will offer LaLaurie a second chance (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The last thing LALAURIE deserves is another chance!) She gives Lalaurie a chance to try and do something to try and redress what she’s done. Lalaurie laughs at the very idea – repentance, redemption? She has seen what that means in the modern world – it means going on television and saying sorry, shedding a few tears, saying some empty words and not meaning a word of it (with a montage to Anthony Weiner and Paula Dean).

My gods, who would have thought that I’d actually agree with something Lalaurie said on this show?

The Originals, Season One, Episode Eleven: Après Moi, Le Déluge

Elijah goes through the history of witches with vampires and declares that they are a force to be reckoned with.  Elijah adds that Davina is the first all powerful witch. Elijah wonders if Davina has mistaken powerful for evil because of her drawings of Celeste.

Marcel heads upstairs to try and bring Davina some food but she promptly throws him and the food.  Davina is upset that Marcel does not hate Klaus for what he did.

Downstairs Elijah points out that poisoning Davina's one true love was not the way to win her trust.  Klaus calls witches a pain in the ass.

Upstairs, Davina continues to break things until she bends over coughing up dirt.

Downstairs Haleigh prepares to confess to Elijah but the room starts to shake.  When they head outside they say an earthquake is rocking the quarter.

Rebekah heads upstairs to see Davina to find out what kind of game she is playing.  Davina says that she didn't do it on purpose and does not know what is wrong with her.

Klaus wonders how a 16 year old girl rocked the entire quarter and asks Marcel how he controlled Davina when she was in the attic. Marcel says that he didn't have to because he didn't kill her boyfriend.  Elijah says that Davina cannot control her power and wonders why it is manifesting itself this way.  He decides that he needs to consult the witches.  On his way out, Elijah runs into Haleigh and she admits that she gave Sophie Celeste's burial ground in order to help her family.  Elijah tells Haleigh that Celeste made him promise to bury her where she would not be found and that she violated his privacy she made him break his promise to her.  Haleigh claims that she thought they were just bones.  Elijah says, "if you really believe that, why didn't you tell me where to find her," before walking off.  Yeah, I have to pause to say this scene was epic!

Sabine is preparing a potion to locate Davina when Sophie walks in with Celeste's bone claiming to have found a way to complete the harvest. It's seems Sophie plans on becoming an elder but Sabine reminds her that you cannot become and elder because you must be born to it. Sophie lays the bones on the ground saying that they only have a few weeks to complete the harvest and if they fail she will never see her niece again.  Sophie adds that she doesn't care about a few only bones when Elijah enters and says that he "happens to care."

Back at the Mikaelson's holdings, Elijah asks Sophie has stolen the remains of someone Davina has been drawing and asks her to explain.  Davina screams and the quarter starts to shake again. Sophie says that they need to finish the harvest because it's going to get very bad.

Apparently the power is tearing Davina apart and it will destroy New Orleans.  Klaus explains the situation to Father Kieran and Rebekah explains it to Davina. Davina does not believe Rebekah but tells her that she knows what's it life to your life ripped apart because that is how she became a vampire.  Rebekah shows Davina the sedative saying that it will keep her calm.  Davina gets upset and begs causing a wind storm to arise as Rebekah uses the sedative.

Marcel heads up to see Davina and she is still unconscious. Downstairs Elijah tells Klaus that Davina is too heavily sedated but Klaus reminds him that all agreed that she needed to be sacrificed. Marcel comes  charging in and punches Klaus.  Elijah intervenes and says that the harvest was working before it was stopped and even Sophie has come to believe it. Marcel is very upset but it seems that all Klaus is worried about is losing his weapon against the witches. Klaus says that he will not see the city burn down for a third down.  Klaus excuses him to warn some prominent citizens and asks Elijah to come along.  Elijah declines the offering saying he's going to say respect to Celeste's bones.

Sophie is at the bar and Rebekah asks if she is prepared to finish the harvest and Sophie confirms that she is willing to do anything to get her niece back.  Sophie asks why Rebekah is really hear and learns that Rebekah wants an alliance to limit the power of Klaus, Marcel and Elijah. She adds that she is aware a witch can trade punch for punch with a vampire.  Is it me or does that seem like a bit of retconning to you?

Marcel is hovering over Davina remembering himself saving her at the harvest. Marcel disconnects the sedative and take Devina saying he is done caring what klaus says.

Sophie consecrates the bones as Elijah looks on and remembers Celeste. Sabine tells Elijah that it is going to take Sophie a good deal of time to finish and that he doesn't need to stay here for this.  Elijah replies that he owes Celeste this. Elijah says that when you love someone they have the power to hurt you and that it's like nothing else.

GBLT Characters in Dracula: Playing Trope Bingo

Dracula is a period centered gothic horror and as such we were really surprised by the inclusion of GLBT characters. It has been quite normal to see erasure in period pieces and having such erasure justified as being normal for the time period. Anyone who has done even the smallest amount of research into the history of LGBT people is quite aware that they didn’t suddenly begin to exist in the 60’s and 70’s. Dracula actually had two gay men and a bisexual or lesbian woman this season. As progressive as this may have seen, Dracula really fell apart when it came to the characterisation of said characters. Inclusion doesn’t always make for positive representation, as the rest of this article will explore.

The first overtly GBLT characters we had were Lord Laurent and Daniel Davenport. Gay men living a closeted life in deeply homophobic Victorian society - which is not a bad depiction by any means. Quite the opposite, Victorian society was deeply homophobic and being openly and overtly gay was a virtual impossibility. The persecution against GBLT people was rife and vicious in this era and, as we’ve said before, it is not problematic to depict societal or historic prejudices (especially if challenged); quite the opposite, not depicting such prejudice would be a revision of history. Such erasing of prejudice does not help marginalised communities, it serves only to clean up history, so privileged people can indulge in nostalgia without the nasty stains of bigotry ruining their fun.

Dracula’s depiction even went further than merely acknowledging that GBLT people existed before the 60s - it showed some elements of the subculture that existed at the time. Just as GBLT people have been around since time immemorial, so too has GBLT culture and even GBLT activism (the first same-sex marriage in the UK happened in the 17th century): it did not all begin at Stonewall. The Molly Houses, places where GBT men gathered, as depicted in Dracula, have existed for centuries, though we rarely see this reflected in the media, certainly not in most historical dramas.

Unfortunately, while these were excellent positives, the negatives run down the same horrendous lines we’ve seen so many times before. First of all, the sexuality of Laurent is used as a weapon against him by Grayson - using blackmail to coerce Laurent. This homophobic attack is not only seen as a valid tactic but is exacerbated by it being a valid tool in the protagonist’s hands. No-one can argue that Grayson is supposed to be a nice or even a moral person, obviously not, but he is still the protagonist, he is still the person we are supposed to be supporting, supposed to be rooting for and whose victories we’re supposed to celebrate. And one of those victories was threatening a gay man with outing, so a straight man could get his way. It would have been different if there had been any attempt to call out or challenge Grayson’s behaviour - or even for the show to make it clear his actions were deeply wrong, but this didn’t happen.

It doesn’t help that there is a long history of not only this kind of blackmail, but also using this as justification for firing GBLT people from many positions on the argument that they are vulnerable to blackmail (one of the reasons given for removing Alan Turing’s clearance - and in the US it was legal to deny GBLT people security clearance right up until 1995). Again, there is an argument for depicting real world prejudices that existed and continue to exist - but there was no challenge to this and by making the protagonist the instigator of this homophobia without any questioning of it, there is even tacit approval of his actions.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Helix Sneak Peak

Helix is back again this Friday - let's see if things are going to get moving in episode 4

Circle of Fire (Damask Circle #1) by Keri Arthur

Maddie is hiding. She spends most of her life hiding, after her abusive relationship was finally ended when her disturbing power went terribly out of control.

But now she’s being haunted – well, maybe, the ghost claims he’s still alive and he needs Maddie’s help – if she will just leave the house. Eventually forced when her own family becomes a target, Maddie has to confront her powers, rebuild her sense of self and find her courage in the outside world to save the lives of kidnapped children, including her own nephew.

But that outside world is more complex than she ever imagined – and Jon himself, the very very real ghost – definitely complicates matters and Maddie’s wounded feelings.

I am going to struggle not to “not bad” this book to death.

What do I mean by that? Well, take the romance. The romance is apparent almost from the very beginning of this book. Maddie and Jon see each other and there’s instant chemistry – which isn’t bad, even if it is rather overwhelming – which is heavily spiced with lots of describing how attractive the other is – but it’s not nearly as overwhelming as it is in other books.

By the end of the book, the two are madly in love etc etc. They’ve known each other for about a week. A week and they now cannot live without each other. A week in which they’ve never really spent any true social time, concentrating entirely on the mission. They are, effectively, strangers but at least the true love forever doesn’t hit until the end of the book. Jon tries to seduce a woman for information on kidnapped children as he has done dozens of times before and Maddie gets jealous for no reason – but her snappiness over it doesn’t last and she quickly gets over it (especially when he reveals he just couldn’t do it because he can’t stop thinking of Maddie – ugh). Jon is ridiculously protective of Maddie – but it stems from her own inexperience and vulnerability that isn’t entirely unreasonable and she fights against it repeatedly. Jon tries to drive her away for her “own good”, but at least his behaviour was limited to distancing himself from her rather than active cruelty. She’s struggling to control her powers and learns under his guidance – but at least part of that growth comes from her own emerging confidence and strength

And this really sums up the book. We hit a lot of the old tropes, a lot of tropes that are either tired or problematic or both – but all of them are handled as well as it is possible to handle them. It sounds like terrible praise but my constant refrain is “this could have been so much worse.” That doesn’t sound like a compliment – but it is. These tropes and clichés were handled, if not necessarily well (I don’t think anything could make me like them) then at least with a careful restraint to prevent them truly destroying the book or at least making the story more irritating.

Sleepy Hollow, Season One, Episode 13: Bad Blood

Parish awakes suddenly after dreaming of Maloch.

Ichabod stands by a river and moves to follow a woman he believes to be Karina.  He arrives at what looks like an encampment of revolutionary soldiers.  When he catches up with the woman, he discovers she is not Katrina and is congratulated on the authenticity of his costume.  Ichabod believes that he is dreaming because she got the historical facts wrong.  She then informs him that he is in the middle of a re-enactment and that he is not wearing the official clothing. The conversation is cut short when Parish calls.

Back at the cabin, Ichabod is wearing a new outfit from the re-enactment.  Abbie reveals that Frank's hearing is this morning and that she promised Cynthia she would attend.  Ichabod reminds Abbie that Parish said the meeting was of the utmost importance. Abbie points out that Irving signed a confession to the murders of Devon Jones and Father Boleyn and that she believes this falls under the category of urgent.  Jenny pipes up and adds that Frank confessed to protect Macey.  Ichabod however, does not see this as a problem, as he has faith in the criminal justice system, until Jenny reminds him of her experience.

Parish bursts in saying that Maloch is going to release hell on earth.  Parish goes on to add that in his vision, he saw Maloch surrounded by four white trees, raising something from the earth.  Frank expands and talks about a man on a flaming horse, riding against a solar eclipse.  Jenny, Ichabod and Abbie quickly realise that the vision refers to the second of the four horsemen - war. Parish says that there will be a solar eclipse by today's end. Jenny believes that this cannot be a coincidence because today marks the 13th anniversary of the day she and Abbie first met Maloch.  For Parish this proves his dream was correct and that war is coming to Sleepy Hollow.

Abbie heads to the precinct and finds Frank's office cleared out.  An officee enters and says that Frank has been transferred upstate already but  that he left something for her.  Abbie opens the envelope and finds a book with a note saying, "read the marked pages."

Abbie returns to the cabin and Crane reveals that according to Washington's bible, a binding spell cast upon the soil upon which the horseman will emerge from will prevent him from entering this world. Abbie is not surprised that this will involve witchcraft. Ichabod says that unfortunately all of the witches they have met are now deceased.  Parish pipes up and brings up Katrina but Abbie reminds him that they burned the only map to purgatory. Ichabod pulls out the drawing of the map he made and Abbie calls him a liar.  Ichabod says that he had no intention of using the map without her consent and adds that Katrina is the only one who can stop the second horseman. Parish and Ichabod explain the ley lines on the map. Abbie then reveals that Frank found out that Knapp and Corbin were working together and asks Jenny to go through the tapes.  

Jenny pulls Abbie aside and asks if she really plans to break into purgatory to free Katrina. Abbie points out that they don't have a back plan.  Jenny brings up the issue of Crane handing over Abbie's soul but Abbie argues that she is no longer afraid. Jenny tells Abbie that she cannot lose her again and Abbie says that it took her time to come to terms with what happened to her and she vows that she will not lose her sister again.  Jenny makes it clear that she will hunt her down if she is not back by sunset.

Ichabod, Parish and Abbie follow the GPS to the point they have determined for the crossing. Parish warns that they must take this seriously and not accept any food or drink they are offered in purgatory. Parish warns that they could be trapped in purgatory forever if they embrace it.  They arrive at the spot and Ichabod pulls out the incantation that Washington said would open the doorway.  Parish once again tells them to cling to hope and their link to each other because purgatory will try to make them forget it.  Parish adds that they were chosen for this moment.  Parish steps back and Ichabod and Abbie say the incantation.

A gateway appears and Abbie and Ichabod join hands.  They walk through the gateway as Parish watches.  Abbe finds herself on a bed with jazz music playing in the background.  She catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror and notices a bandage on her head. She is in the cabin and is greeted by Andy and Corbin.   Abbie demands to see Ichabod but Corbin tells her that the doctor said what she is experiencing is normal after being knocked out in a live fire exercise at the FBI.   Corbin encourages Abbie to rest because her place is secure.  Abbie smiles and hugs Corbin. Abbie realises that she is supposed to remember something.

Ichabod finds himself outside of church and he calls out for Abbie.  He follows the sound of a harpsicord into a dinner party.  He meets his father who tells him that he has returned home as a hero to his country after fighting on behalf of the British during the revolutionary war.  He is told that he has been granted a professorship.  Crane says that he disavowed England but his father suggests that he was joking. Ichabod and his father embrace.  Ichabod's father offers him a drink.

In the cabin, Corbin places a plate of apple pie a la mode in front of Abbie. Abbie lifts her fork but stops when she get a vision of Ichabod. Once she realises that this isn't real, the food on the table starts to bleed.  Abbie quickly gets up and forces her way out the door, even as a now headless Corbin implores her not to leave.

Ichabod stands with a drink in his hand as his father makes a toast.  Ichabod raises the glass to his lips but he has a flash of Abbie and puts the glass down.  Ichabod realises that it isn't real and his father starts talking about Crane turning his back on his heritage.  His father pleads with him to drink but Crane is not convinced and he throws his glass into the fireplace.  Crane runs out of the room.

Back in Sleepy Hollow, Jenny is listening to the tape that Frank handed over. On the tape Corbin talks about finding a pamphlet which talks about a sermon at church outside of town. Abbie gathers her things and rushes out.

Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 11: First Born

Time out from eternal angst to have a flash back to Mississippi in 1863 and three demonically possessed soldiers willing to lay down their lives to protect a Knight – right until a man who is probably an angel shows up and starts zapping them (and not caring about gunfire). He also has a nasty looking knife

To the present and Dean in a bar with… Crowley! (every scene is improved by Crowley, it is known); Crowley’s there to recruit Dean to kill Abaddon. Which is awkward because a) Knights of Hell are hard to kill and b) Dean wants to kill Crowley. But apparently there’s a super weapon angels used against the Knights called the First Blade. While Dean prepares his more conventional but still Crowley kill weapon, Crowley expounds that he had a minion who very nearly had the First Blade – until John Winchester (yes, Daddy Winchester) went and killed said minion so Dean may have an insight

Yes, Crowley and Dean hunting together! Do you know what the real problem with these Sam & Dean have fallen out episodes? The side cast interests me so much more than Sam that I’m always sad when they make up (which they inevitably will).

Dean is wonderfully protective of his dad’s journal and Crowley is just perfectly snarky. Of course he is. Y’know, I would sit and watch anything – even gardening programmes – if they could have Crowley sat in a corner snarking away. Go on Dean run with it – yes you’ll regret it and yes Crowley will make your life hell – but it’ll be great fun on the way. Oh and they’re being followed by a demon, of course.

Dean and Crowley arrive at one of John’s storage lockers – and that man must have paid his bills way in advance since he’s been dead for the best part of a decade now. Lots more excellent snark from Crowley because he’s Crowley. They discover that John did hear about the First Blade and he was working with a hunter called Tara.

Off to see Tara (who remarks that Dean grew up pretty, yes yes he did). She’s less thrilled by Crowley being present. But when she hears that they’re going after Abaddon, she’s willing to help (Dean is, after all, very very pretty indeed) and share her research and a location spell – that just needs Crowley to get the last ingredient (giving her time to make Dean really really uncomfortable with the idea that his dad and Tara slept together).

They cast the spell and use a map (of the US – is there a reason why all these ancient Biblical creatures and artefacts end up in the US? They’re not even entertaining the possibility it may not be in America) and learn that the blade is in Missouri. Well, that’s wonderfully vague.

Apparently it was a little more specific than that and they arrive at a small isolated home – and Crowley starts to freak out. The man who barely let leviathan’s worry him is afraid. Who is he afraid of? Well that would be Cain. Yes, the Cain. Biblical Cain. And he doesn’t want Crowley to go anywhere – they’re here to visit, Cain insists.

And yes, Cain does have the mojo to ground the King of Hell. Apparently Cain became a demon after killing his brother – the most lethal demon ever. Until he just disappeared – and apparently became a beekeeper. And he has a delicate china tea service which Crowley can hardly hold he’s shaking so badly – and Cain magically silences Crowley. NOOOOOO! The snark! The precious snark! Having established that no-one else can find him, Cain tries to kick them out – Dean naturally flares up, wanting the First Blade, which leads to some juicy exposition: Cain was the one who created and trained the Knights. And he was the one who slaughtered them – not the Archangels. NOW they can get out.

Beauty and the Beast, Season 2, Episode 10: Ancestors

Vincent is now doing talk shows with – ye gods is that Sharon Osbourne? He’s going with the amnesia excuse (which makes him doing talk shows even more ridiculous since he has literally nothing to talk about). They fall back to talking about how sexy and single he is (and Tori looks all angsty when he says he’s single).

Vincent isn’t pleased though – for one thing he’s not happy about being called a war hero when he spent the last 10 years hiding from the army after its dubious experiments and then attempts to kill him. Being open and known to all has just vastly increased how much he has to lie.

Despite him saying he’s single, Cat still gets to angst about a newspaper headline saying Vincent is dating Tori. Tessa is there to play eternal supporter and ye gods even when Cat has broken up from Vincent these two are still incapable of having a discussion that isn’t about him.

To work, where Gabe has called them to the morgue and introduces them to FBI Agent Dana Landon (who isn’t here to investigate Gabe’s blatant evidence tampering last episode); she has a corpse to show them, Mara a professional thief. Dana shot her, but it’s possible the gang she works with who are preparing something big don’t realise she’s dead. She wants to send in a replacement to pretend to be Mara. She resembles Cat. And she needs to be ready to imitate a woman she knows nothing about to a gang of professional criminals that very night.

Cat asks how important it is. My answer: not important enough because this plan could NEVER WORK. Cat agrees – because she saw Vincent talking to the media on her phone

Meanwhile, Vincent and Tori rush to see JT who has been attacked by masked men who want Tori’s dad’s shackle but seemed surprisingly uninterested in the spooky skeleton they found. Especially since JT’s research concludes that it’s a 10,000 year old Beast that, yes, Murifield extracted the DNA from – I am just going to throw in an “I told you so” right here.

Vincent turns on his beastisenses to track the attackers. Going to the location, Vincent is snippy and Tori questions why he’s so upset when it was her stuff that was stolen and she didn’t even like it very much. She wants to focus on the future – he wants to learn about the past because it’s more honest (which has a point, especially after his actual amnesia).

Back to the police – Gabe continually tries to appeal to the slightest hint of common sense (from Cat! Oh the naivety!) and Dana came to Cat because, as a woman who arrested her own father, she has proven to have impeccable integrity (ah, no – just her loyalty to one corrupting element was more important, but a reasonable guess). Cat tries to convince Gabe that this is all totally not because of Vincent (yeah right) and she wants to do it because this is what she did before Vincent (what, spur of the moment undercover missions with no chance to plan against cop killing gangs?)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sleepy Hollow Episode, Season One, Episode 12: Indispensable Man

Abbie leaves leaves a message on Crane's phone and is shocked when he figures it out enough to text her.  She begins to chop vegetables and is interrupted by the arrival of Andy Brooks.

Crane is still trying to find out about the mysterious date in Washington's bible, when he is interrupted by a text from Abbie, saying she is on her way.  He pauses for a moment to try and figure out what this symbol ;) means and declares it charming.

We get a flashback to Crane meeting with Washington who informs him that he will be called upon to finish this fight when others cannot. Washington promises Crane that good will always rise like Lazarus from his grave.  In the present, Crane flips to a new part of the bible based on what he remembers Washington saying.

Andy is now handcuffed and he explains that Maloch does not want the bible but a map.  The bible has instructions on how how to get the map. When Abbie questions why Maloch would want a map, Andy explains it's not the map per say, as what Crane and Abbie can do with the map. Andy promises Abbie a high seat in the new order if she gives him the bible but Abbie turns him down cold.  Andy begs Abbie not risk her life to protect Ichabod because apparently, there is a prophesy which claims that Ichabod will give Abbie's soul to Maloch. Abbie has a flashback to Crane warning that Maloch said he would turn over her soul.  Andy justifies his request by saying that he loves her.  Abbie withdraws and calls Frank but while she has her back turned, Andy escapes.

Crane has pulled out chemicals to work on the bible when Abbie arrives.  Abbie makes it clear that when she calls, she expects Ichabod to answer but he declares his flip phone obsolete. Abbie then reveals Andy's visit and what he had to say.  Ichabod  tells Abbie that he read the story of Lazarus in Washington's bible and found ten extra verses, which he believes are encoded with a secret. Ichabod applies chemical to reveal an invisible message from Washington. It seems that Washington knew Ichabod was a witness.  After his death, Washington was resurrected so that he could share a map between earth and purgatory.  Ichabod quickly realises that if he can find the map, he can free his wife.

Abbie feels the priority should be getting he map before evil does and reminds Ichabod that though he wants to free Katrina, he shouldn't let that cloud his judgement. In turn, Ichabod asks Abbie not to allow Brook's prophesy to cloud hers.  Ichabod goes down a list of names in the bible and stops at Reverend Alfred Knapp, who not only guarded the horseman's head for two centuries, he was at the resurrection of Washington.  They realise that Knapp's rosary was instrumental in raising Washington from the dead.  Abbie points out that Washington called the beads cursed and Ichabod suggests that the beads would be full of sin.  Ichabod then suggests they get Parish to read their history to find out what the reverend knew about the map.

At the precinct, Frank is being questioned about the events of his daughter's possession. Obviously, because of the supernatural elements, Frank cannot give a truthful account of what occurred. Finally, Frank says evil is responsible for the beheadings.

Andy is back in the tunnel and he is being taunted by Maloch.  He begs to be taken seriously and asks to be turned into Maloch's weapon.  Maloch orders Andy to find him the map. A swarm of insects appears and he is wrapped snug in a cocoon.

Ichabod talks about his love for Katrina to his cellphone and of course, the technology has no idea what the hell he is babbling about.  Parish hops out of a taxi and they head to the cemetery, where they meet Abbie at Knapp's exhumed coffin. Parish's hand hovers over the beads and declares that they were used for something unnatural.  When Parish tries to touch the beads, they burn his hand, causing Ichabod to suggest that the beads are guarded to prevent an intrusion.   Abbie suggests that they find another way but Parish is determined to help Ichabod and Abbie. Parish again grabs the beads. He sees a few images then collapses.  Parish then reveals he saw Washington's resurrection, the map, and him carrying something by the shoreline.

Parish gets up, cradling his burned hand and moves away for a moment alone.  Ichabod and Abbie bicker about whether they should have involved Parish in the first place. Abbie wonders if the map should even be found but Ichabod reminds Abbie that Washington left the map for him because he knew he was a witness.  Abbie counters by asking why Knapp put a hex on the beads and wonders if during the two hundred years which Crane was underground the plan changed.  Abbie is worried about ramifications beyond what they can control. Abbie questions what happens if opening purgatory opens the floodgates, as they put the lid back on the coffin.  Abbie consoles Crane about his loss and asks if he is capable of sacrificing Katrina in the name of the greater good. Abbie says the fight is about what they are willing to do to keep everyone safe.

How To Run With A Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf #3) by Molly Harper

We have come to know Anna a little bit in the two previous books as the towns doctor.  What we didn't know is that Anna is running from a dark past which she thinks will never stop hunting her.  For fear of her past catching up to her and hurting the werewolves, Anna has come to see as family, she decides to leave, change her name and start over.  You know what they say about well laid plans don't you?  Anna intervenes in a struggle in a parking lot which leads to her car being blown up and under the protection of the werewolf bounty hunter Caleb.

Caleb agrees to help get Anna to Anchorage as long as she agrees to a few stops along the way.  Anna is not at all keen on this because she wants to stay a few steps ahead of her abusive ex husband Glenn.  Anna cannot help getting involved as Caleb tries to apprehend fugitives and without intending to, she quickly finds herself caring for Caleb.  Unfortunately, all good things must end at some point and for Anna, a visit from her husband might just prove to be extremely dangerous.

Okay, to be clear, the naked werewolf series is paranormal chick lit.  If you go into this series expecting more than that then you will be seriously disappointed.  It's a nice light easy read filled with funny one liners and ridiculous pop culture references. If this is your sort of thing, this series might be a good fit.

Harper did take a much darker tone in this third novel because the protagonist Anna, is a survivor of domestic abuse. Even though Anna, by the time she met Caleb, had spent years on the run, she is still very much dealing with PTSD.  Anna is extremely scared of her ex husband Glenn and still to some degree blames herself of the end of her marriage and the fact that she was left disconnected from others.  Harper does a great job talking about how abusers isolate their spouses to cut off escape routes.  Even with everything Anna has gone through, she is never afraid to stand up for herself and fights back when she must.  I really liked this about her and it was absolutely necessary for her to have this trait, otherwise the book would have read like here comes big bad werewolf to save the day.

Being Human (US) Season 4, Episode 2: That Time of the Month

Sad music montage: Aidan hugs Suzanna on the doorstep because she can’t come in even when he invites her – she burns when she tries. Sally expositions her new shiny powers to Josh the wolf (pyro thing and extra-dimensional child murder witnessing. Not the greatest skill set). Josh gets all agitated  that she’s there and Nora comes running to calm him down.

She asks Sally not to hang around the wolf cage because when Josh gets excited he hurts himself on the silver cage; Nora also shifts to despair, they’ve been trying to bring Josh back for three months and have achieved nothing. Sally thinks she can help Josh but Nora has little hope and a whole lot of fear. But, as Sally points out, what alternative do they have?

Aidan and Suzanna talk and try to adapt – firstly to both of them in modern clothes (I like this touch – if she’s been remembering him in 18th century clothes, it’s a jarring mental image to see him in a leather jacket and jeans. Or her in trousers). But why is Suzanna not dead? Flashback time to her drowning – only this time she’s pulled out of the water by Bishop. Yes, the vampire who made Aidan also made Suzanna – and she wasn’t especially thrilled by this, especially since her experience with Aidan showed how much he loathed what he was. She’s also not eager to feed. Bishop, you sure can pick ‘em

Sally has another vision, of a ruined house (Donna’s I believe) she explores while we keep cutting to her as she would appear to someone else (who could see ghosts), miming her actions on an empty green lawn. She finds a grimoire, the writing only appearing when she touches it – and yes, she can touch and lift it.

In the present, Aidan has some angst for Suzanna because he abandoned their child – but at least she looked him up; he died a grandfather which causes Aidan to have to sit down in shock at his offspring’s fertility. At this less than ideal moment, Sally arrives to show off her book-holding skills and mocking Suzanna before she realises she can see Aidan. Aidan only introduces her as a friend – to which Sally instantly dismisses her and teleports to the woods, expecting Aidan to follow.

He does and he’s very very wary of Sally leaping into magic with so little experience and so much confidence (but that’s kind of Sally’s thing – she is extremely confident, she does leap in without checking and she’s not even slightly cautious). Aidan is pretty scathing of Sally’s talents (and the comments about the hair and teeth were unnecessary. The comments about Sally biting his stomach of is much more to the point). They both appeal to Nora to make the decision: Sally again pointing out that they don’t have much choice while Aidan very much afraid of the side effects. Nora sides with Sally.

Much snark and bickering as they prepare the ritual, gather what they need and Sally reveals they need menstrual blood (quickly driving Aidan from the scene. Aidan, you drink blood, you cannot possibly be squeamish about periods). Next awkward moment – Aidan knows Nora’s on her time of the month because he can actually smell it much to just about everyone’s mutual horror and embarrassment (it has to be noted that their happy share calendar we saw last week did include Nora’s notes of when her period was) and the realisation that Aidan has ALWAYS known. Aidan walks off just chanting “no no no no no” while Nora takes care of that business.

Teen Wolf, Season 3, Episode 15: Galvanise

Damn, Agent Arsehole is still not dead! Can someone eat him already?

Agent McCall (the arsehole) has teamed up with Sheriff Stilinski (who still needs a first name) to noisily and dramatically deliver someone to Melissa’s hospital (yes, I’m calling it Melissa’s hospital – she may be the only medical professional we’ve seen in 3 seasons – who didn’t die anyway). Melissa is playing with a jack-o-lantern so may have completely cracked and think it’s Hallowe’en. Apparently there’s a big bad criminal who needs surgery and every other hospital has torn up their Hippocratic oath (insurance probably doesn’t cover it) leaving only Melissa’s.

Amusingly, they need a pre-op interview and Agent McCall the Arsehole (who still isn’t dead) asks who normally does that. Melissa. Of course it’s Melissa. I’m still not convinced it wasn’t Melissa’s clone who’s pushing the gurney. Apparently asking a heavily restrained prisoner questions requires super-dramatic music.

Agent Arsehole (still not dead) tells us the prisoner, Barrows, is a bomber who plans to repeats his crimes once he’s not tied to gurneys, in prison et al. Since he is lacking convenient explodey supplies, perhaps we can tone down the dramatic tension? When they talk to him it turns out he also thinks Hallowe’en is in January – and he killed a schoolbus full of kids because their eyes were glowing. This could mean they were werewolves – but the man who rants and raves is not exactly a very credible witness.

Stiles and Scott are playing practical jokes on the Coach because… what you need a reason? (other than the fact they also think it’s Hallowe’en) It’s coach! The man freaks out in the most perfectly dramatic, overwrought ways over anything and everything!

The next day at school, Ethan and Aidan apply to join Scott’s pack  - no longer being Alpha they’re looking for an Alpha to follow. Considering they slaughtered their last pack, recently hit Scott in the face repeatedly in the guise of helping, were followers of Deucalion and were instrumental in the killing of Boyd - their resume for this position is somewhat lacking. Scott turns them down.

Plan B – Aidan suggests going back to school (since they never finished high school), though Ethan is not a big fan; they’re desperate for a pack because before they became Alpha they were Omega – the lowest of the low, tormented by all werewolves. And now they lost their Alpha-ness and have a list of enemies and no pack to protect them. Ethan still thinks highschool is a worse choice – but is convinced to go when he sees Danny.

Inside, Scott’s eyes are instantly drawn to Kira and even Stiles can’t fail to notice – he encourages Scott to ask her out with the most bizarre pep talk ever (which is even more confusing to poor Isaac who arrives half way through.)

To the coach – I just love this character. It being Mischief night and his birthday, the Coach is used to all kinds of shenanigans and is extremely paranoid. He checks everything, including the present on his desk. He opens it and finds it full of screws – totally inadequate, he isn’t impressed. So lifts the box – and half his office falls apart, all wired to the box. And his chair collapses.

His cursing is noted with amusement by his class – and Lydia is plagued by an invisible fly.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bitten, Season One, Episode Two: Prodigal

Elena has returned to the compound and she snarks when Clay appears to welcome her home.  The scene switches to a flashback of Elena coming to the compound for the first time with Clay, comforting Elena, regarding her nervousness about meeting Jeremy.   She has a real air of innocence about her.  Back in the present, Elena walks through the front door and realises that nothing's changed. Clay asks her about picking out her own clothes and tells Elena that she looks good.  Elena wants to talk to Jeremy but Clay says that he is not there.  Clay tries for more small talk and Elena makes it clear that she just wants this done so that she can leave.  Elena tells Clay that she is not there for them, before heading outside.

On the grounds, Elena hears a gunshot and calls out in a panic for Jeremy. Clay comes rushing out and tells Elena he is not allowing her to go out there because of the hunters.  In the distance, Elena sees Jeremy return and Clay asserts that he is only trying to protect her.

Elena makes her way to Jeremy's studio and is greeted with a hug. Jeremy reports that he didn't smell a mutt and that any hint of a wolf will be met with bullets.  Jeremy says that with Elena they will have a much better chance of tracking the mutt.  Elena declares that she is only there to track the killer and once this is done, she will be leaving again.  Jeremy suggests they start tomorrow and because she is unwilling to kill the mutt should she run into him, Jeremy offers to send Clay with Elena.  Elena rejects this offer and agrees to wait for the others.  

Philip meets up with Logan and Rachel and they talk briefly about the accident.  It seems in her lie to Philip, Elena mentioned children and Logan didn't. Logan does a quick twist on his lie and Rachel tells him that he does not have to spare her feelings.

Elena is in her old room and she pauses to look at a ring before putting it away.

The mutt is at another bar and sits next to a woman.  They begin to flirt but it's cut short when the bartender intervenes, likely saving her life.

In yet another bar, Antonio and Nick listen in on people talking about wolf sitings and how the victim's family is holding up. Antonio decides that they should wait for Pete outside but before they can leave, they are confronted by Sheriff Karen Morgan. The Sorrentino's introduce themselves as old friend of the Danvers's. Deputy O'Neil reports that there have been wolf sitings on the Danvers' property, causing to the sheriff to inform the Sorrentino's that means they are going to have to trespass in order to get the wolf.  Morgan reports that there is another girl missing, just as Pete shows up. Antonio grabs Pete by the arm and ushers him out of the restaurant.

Elena is dressed for bed and when she checks her phone, she sees a call from Philip. Elena heads to the window but what she does not know is that Clay is sitting on the roof next to her bedroom window.

Elena is now sleeping and wakes to Clay.  She tells him to leave but Clay asks her to tell him that she doesn't want to see him.  Clay pulls back the sheets and begins kissing his way up Elena's body, as her breathing increases.  Clay simply says, "all you have to do is tell me no," but Elena draws him down for a kiss. This has all been a dream and Elena actually wakes up to Nick. Elena quips that of course she hasn't changed because werewolves age slowly.  They chat for awhile about their inability to go for a run, and are interrupted by the bell announcing breakfast is ready.  Nick jokes about staying in bed with Elena but she sends him on his way so that she can get dressed.

Back in T.O., Philip gets a call from Elena.  Elena lies and says that yesterday was mostly errands.  Philip mentions his run in with Logan and the fact that he brought up kids.  They chat briefly and when Elena leaves her room, stalker Clay is waiting outside.  Elena tells him to stop with sentry act because she is not going anywhere.  Clay says that Elena is just trying to get out of there as fast as she can.  Clay adds that for the last year he fought the urge to see her because he was under orders from Jeremy. Elena wonders why he is suddenly following orders.

Dirty Magic (The Prospero's War #1) by Jaye Wells

Kate Prospero is a beat cop in the city Babylon and though she is well experienced with magic and it's harmful effects she is almost killed one night when in the course of duty, Kate runs down a werewolf.  They struggle and Kate is forced to use lethal force.  What she does not realise at the time is that this one event is going to drag up skeletons from her past and make her a part of the urgent race to get a deadly new potion off the streets.

I chose to read Dirty Magic because I enjoyed Wells's Sabina Kane series.  It turns out that this new series is nothing like her previous work.  Dirty Magic is essentially a police procedural with elements of the supernatural thrown in.  If you are the type of urban fantasy reader who is heavily invested in a large world, this may not be the book for you. The greatest problem with this book for me, is that it was unbelievably slow.  There were times when I thought about giving up and I felt every one of the four hundred pages I slogged through.  The motivation of the antagonist were petty at best and it was evident once he was introduced his role in the story despite the slight of hand that Wells employed.

Kate is the typical urban fantasy heroine in that she has the requite tragic past, which includes the truly predictable dead mother. Considering the high death rate of mothers in urban fantasy, it is astonishing that women still wish to reproduce but I digress.  Kate goes to group therapy meetings to deal with her addiction to potion casting. The problem with this so-called addiction is that Kate in no way functioned like an addict - granted she had been clean for ten years - but the urge to consume a substance one is addicted to never goes away.  Kate is also heavy on moralizing and preaching to people and it became tedious after awhile.  How many times does an author have to assert that the protagonist is the "good guy." 

Lost Girl, Season Four Episode Ten: Destiny Awaits

Bo is the bathroom and she can hear the voices of her fan club in her head.  Rainer approaches from behind and says, "it had to be done, they didn't give us a chance." 

The scene switches to Diana getting into a swimming pool.  When she gets out of the pool, she discovers that her legs have been turned into stumps and she starts to scream.

Team love triangle are sulking about the fact that Bo does not want to see them right now. Lauren wonders if Bo is under some sort of possession or a spell.  Dyson is determined to keep pushing but Lauren reminds him that Bo has locked them out.  Kenzi arrives with coffee and announces that they are taking a case - Diana's case.  Lauren argues that Bo is their only case but Kenzi says that Bo has made her feelings clear.  Kenzi adds that she is not happy about this but they have to trust Bo and respect her decision. Diana wheels in and thanks them for agreeing to help.

Bo is with Rainer and she says that she wants to trust him but is worried that this is a mistake.  Bo adds that she did the impossible for him but doubts what she did.  Bo is still not ready to talk to her posse because she needs to understand - what exactly is your best guess I suppose.

We get a flashback to Bo on the train yelling at Rainer holding a knife.  He is rather dismissive and tells her to get off at the next stop, or he will pretend to court her.  Bo wants to know why she was kidnapped and he admits that he does not know why she is there.  Bo asks why send her away but he is again dismissive saying that she should just move it along. Rainer calls the handmaiden to get Bo off the train.

Lauren brings Diana a glass of water and she reveals that she is an orphaned pixie.  Dyson says that he believes her accident could be an inside job because she got injured in the company pool and so Diana suggests the culprits is Darren, the CEO.  Diana finds two roles for Dyson and Kenzi to play in undercover positions.

Dyson is now delivering mail because Kenzi has reversed the roles to her benefit.  They are both on the line with Lauren.  Dyson heads to deliver mail to Darren but is stopped by his snarky male secretary Tad.  Dyson places something on the back of the envelope and hands it over.  Kenzi crawls into a vent to track the letter and ends up in a room with legs suspended in water.  When the mail falls down the shoot, Kenzi looks through it and finds a bill for the medical bills of Tad - Darren's assistant.  In the meantime, Dyson inspects the pool and finds a pearl in the filtration system.

Back on the train, Bo holds a knife to the handmaiden and is upset about being put off the train.  She learns that the next stop not for another three days.  The handmaiden explains that Bo should give everyone a chance because they need her. Bo is handed an invitation for diner with Rainer.

Lauren examines the pearl with Dyson by her side and Kenzi still in the office.  It turns out that it's not a pearl but a crystallized salt deposit.  Dyson yells that Kenzi needs to get out of there because they are dealing with mermaids.  Kenzi rightfully gets excited but Dyson argues that they are the psychopaths of the sea. Lauren calls them a rare and fascinating species.  Kenzi argues that if they are that bad, then the people of the company deserve to be mermaid free.

Bo shows up to dinner with Rainer declaring that she has happily ever after at home ( as soon as she can choose a lover that is) and Rainer again denies bringing her on the train. Rainer holds a knife to Bo and informs her that she is not going to push him around and demand answers because she is not going to change anything.  Rainer returns to his food with Bo sulking above him.  Rainer then stands and asks if Bo is a succubus and demands to know what the dark fae are devouring these days.  Bo declares herself unaligned and Rainer calls it impossible. Bo then asks what kind of fae Rainer is but he does not answer and instead divulges that memory is his curse. Bo grabs Rainer's plate and leaves saying that she is taking her dinner to go.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fangs for the Fantasy Podcast: 2014, Episode 2

It's Monday! Time for another episode of Fangs for the Fantasy, the podcast where we examine many of the shows we've been following this week, along with our book of the week and dissect them all from a social justice lens (while indulging Rene's disturbing fish obsession).

You can join us here and you can listen live on our youtube channel, here, or in our sidebar. All will also carry a recording after the show is finished. As ever all our previous podcasts can be found in the archive

The podcast begins at 7:00pm EST (technology willing)

For the coming weeks - here are the next few books we will be reading

13th January - 20th January: Bloodlines by Eileen Wilks
20th January - 27th January: Written in Red by Anne Bishop
27th January - 3rd February: Under Attack by Hannah Jayne
3rd February - 10th February: Wild Things by Chloe Neil
10th February - 17th February: Faefever by Karen Marie Moning
17th February - 24th February: Blood Passage by Connie Suttle

Blood Lines (World of the Lupi #3) by Eileen Wilks

Magic is flaring across the world – great waves of magic emitting from the nodes causing chaos as technology shuts down and random magical occurrences afflict the world – from flights of griffins to unquenchable flames to demon outbreaks

That includes demonic attacks aimed at the heirs to many werewolf clans. The attack leaves Rule injured and committed in the complex net of Lupi politics, laws and traditions at just a point when he and Lily are most needed as the magical threat grows. Even worse, the Nokolai’s sworn enemies, the Leidolf clan are taking advantage of the chaos to ensnare Rule.

Cynna joins in the battle to fight the chaos and find the ones responsible – but her past comes back to haunt her and an old mentor has turned into a deadly enemy

This world keeps going in depth and complexity – and all of that is relevant to the story. All the vast info building of Hell last book is relevant today along with a whole lot of the theories and histories that have been expanded since the whole world exploded this book. The conflict with the different werewolf clans and their shenanigans with the heir mantle, demons wielding poison and, above all, the sudden flood of magic into the world threatening to bring about a kind of apocalypse or at least severe damage to society all combines to create something epic – a story where we really feel like the fate of the world is in balance – not the Lupi, not Lily and Rule, but the entire world. The story and the world building both leap forward in this book but they’re also excellent integrated into a whole where everything is relevant, everything is important and everything is either exciting or interesting or both.

If I have a problem it’s that there’s just too much world building. Not that it’s exposition heavy, but that there is so much going on with demons and gods and dragons and magic nodes and sorcery and different kinds of magic and the lupi and the heir mantles and demon poison and sensitives and… sometimes I feel like I need to be taking notes or be given a text book. I can follow it, but I feel you have to work to remember everything because most of it is relevant and needs to be remembered.

I like the characters in this series – Rule and Lily both circle a few tropes but manage to avoid them. They have a bond that forced a relationship, but they are adamant that their love was not forced by it or is dependent on it. Rule plays the silly protector role while Lily continually proves herself quite capable and continually proves Rule wrong in his need to shield her without being super-woman. She has some excellent conflicts between her adherence to the law and her need to keep her people safe and help her people which may not involve going through all the proper channels. She has some wonderful family connections that are fraught on some levels but deep and abiding on others and, in all, I just wish there were more of her.  Rule I’m less enamoured with – he’s not a complex character, but then I think that’s less a lack of character development and more the fact he’s not a complex person. He’s loyal to his people, his clan, his loved ones and his people’s laws, there’s no real conflict there, none of these ideals really battle each other and he knows what he has to do – it’s hard sometimes, but there’s never a battle on whether to do a thing.