Saturday, January 17, 2015

Resurection, Season 2, Episode 11: True Believer

Robert dreams of walking through the woods with James and they discuss what happened the day Bellamy first died.  Mr. Henderson walks out of the woods in complete panic and though Bellamy tries to assure him that he is fine, he begs to be taken back.  When Bellamy awakes, he tells Maggie about the dream he had about James and she encourages him to speak to him.  Bellamy is still uncertain, sure in his belief that Janes has an angle. Realising that Bellamy and Maggie are talking about Preacher James, Jenny tells them the story of how Preacher James healed a man, giving him the ability to walk.  Bellamy becomes certain that James is a con man when Jenny reveals that at James's sermons, there was always a collection plate.

Henry and Fred are having breakfast together and they discuss the fight that Lucille and Henry are having.  Henry asks for advice on the situation and Fred brings up the factory but Henry declares that it is about the Langston legacy.  In frustration, Fred tells Henry that he doesn't want to hear the truth because the factory was about their mother.  Fred believes that what happened with factory made Lucille believe that Margaret was more important to Henry than her and Jacob.  Henry wonders if Margaret is okay.

Margaret makes her way into the dining room of the facility and all of the resident stop speaking.  Margaret is clearly disturbed.  In the corner, a woman is bullied out of her glasses and Margaret intervenes and demands that the glasses be returned.  After pausing for a moment, the bully hands Margaret the glasses and she returns them to the owner before sitting and returning to her meal

Jacob and Lucille walk hand in hand and Jacob wonders when his father is coming home.  Lucille assures Jacob that what is going on has nothing to do with him and that he can see Henry whenever he wants.  Jacob then sees Jenny and Bellamy walking down the street and the two  kids run off together.  Across the street, Lucille notices a crowd of people gathered together.  It turns out that Preacher James is giving a sermon on the street corner.  James fixates on Mrs. Henderson, who is in mourning for her husband.  James tells Mrs. Henderson that she has to believe in a miracle and sure enough, Mr. Henderson arrives. 

At the hospital, Rachel arrives because she is experiencing contractions.  Rachel explains everything that happened with Janine and her daring escape to Maggie, who suggests informing Fred but Rachel makes it clear that she is not afraid of Janine. It turns out that what Rachel was experiencing was Braxton Hicks contractions but her pregnancy is moving rapidly forward.  Maggie promises Rachel that she will find her a place to stay and Rachel is adamant that she wants to pay her own way and does not want charity.

Bellamy walks into the local bar and finds Pastor James.  James reveals that he was asked to bring Tom back from the dead and says that unfortunately, he couldn't oblige.  Bellamy tells James that he couldn't bring Tom back because it is not in his power to do so. James brings up their shared dream and Bellamy asserts that Mrs. Henderson was conned into believing that James brought her husband back.  James declares that he did bring Mr. Henderson back and that Henderson called out for help, which James provided. Bellamy then reveals that he knows that James was a con artist in his past life but James questions how Bellamy can continue to doubt, given the miracles he has seen.  James questions what he has to do to make Bellamy believe and in return, Bellamy threatens him with the government holding center for the Returned, if James continues to con people.

Henry is in Fred's spare room and he breaks down and calls Lucile.  Henry asks to get together to talk and they agree to meet at Twain's for dinner at 6pm tonight. 

Back at the facility, Robin, the woman whose glasses Margaret returned, enters Margaret's room.  Robin reveals that she knows who Margaret is and that her uncle worked at Langston furniture. Robin thanks Margaret for what she did and Margaret says that she has always known how to handle bullies.  When Robin suggests that the bullies are afraid of Margaret, Margaret says that they should be.  Robin then brings up Richard and asks if Margaret killed him but Margaret instead changes the topic and simply says that she can be thanked by being left alone.  Instead of leaving, Robin informs Margaret that there are Returned who want to escape and begs Margaret for help but Margaret reveals that she has no desire to leave the facility.

Lucille is waiting at the restaurant for Henry.  Bellamy sits in his office and Henry suddenly appears to thank Bellamy for returning Jacob to him.  Fred knocks on the door to ask if Bellamy wants some Indian food and Bellamy is quick to turn that down.  When Bellamy turns around, Henry is gone.  Henry and Fred rush outside to find Henry dead in his SUV.  Later, Henry lies on a stretcher, as Fred tells Bellamy that because he is the youngest, he doesn't know a life without Henry. Fred is wracked with guilt because he tried to have Jacob taken away, adding that Henry forgave him.  Bellamy tries to assure Fred that he made up for it but Fred believes he has not.  Bellamy gives Fred a comforting tap before heading to a crying Maggie.  Maggie brings up the fact that Henry spent 30 years grieving Jacob adding that she finds it incredibly sad that now that Jacob has returned, Henry is dead.  Maggie believes that Henry died of a sudden cardiac arrest like his father. When Maggie finally completely breaks down, Bellamy embraces her. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Dying for a Living (Jesse Sullivan #1) by Kory M Shrum

Jesse is a Necronite – one of those few people capable of returning from the dead. And, as a Death Replacement Agent, her job is to die often so others do not – all for a hefty fee.

But not everyone is happy with the revelation of the Necronites, especially not the military who used to control them or the united church that condemns them. Both of which have considerable power

So when she is murdered by someone who is trying to kill her for real – and it’s clear that there’s some severe problems with the agency she works for (and who is doing the investigating) – Jesse has to find the truth behind the attempted murder herself. Or her next death could be her last.

The concept of this book is excellently original and drew me right in; we have people who, if their heads are intact, come back from the dead. More, they can prevent other people from dying, working with predictions, if they’re on hand at the time of death they can save that person – at the cost of dying (and returning) themselves. That’s already a fascinating concept but it’s also built into the world building in some really interesting ways – like the idea that having a death replacement appointment can reduce your health insurance. Or that Necronites have become  Death Replacement Agents - a whole profession but with added concerns from the military that studied them and controlled them to the church that hates them.

The church is a major element in this society - and it is “the church” because the various Christian sects have united, preserving their unique elements while at the same time being unified in purpose and leadership. This has a lot of great world building elements of part of it – with Christians often praising the unified church as proof of co-operation, love and hope as these long warring factions have come together. On the flip side we have non-Christians and minorities who have been frequently persecuted by Christians duly wary of a now much more powerful and influential church flexing its muscles and expanding its influence. The church also came together, apparently, in opposition to the Necronites which has some interesting parallels with the real world where we’ve seen disparate, and often antagonistic, religious groups unite in opposition to, for example, LGBT rights.

The oppression, persecution and fear of the Necronites is well maintained and presented in many parts of the story and Jesse’s life as well as the wider world building. Unlike a lot of supernatural prejudice tropes, this one works better because (at this stage in the series – I suspect it will change) Jesse and her fellow Necronites don’t have a great deal of power. They have no super powers beyond their ability to come back from the dead – it’s not a typical story of predatory, hyper-able monsters filling in for marginalised people. It’s generally well done but there are someunfortunate comparisons and appropriation of actual marginalised groups

The world building has a lot of nice touches in fitting the Necronites into greater society – including expanded roles for coroners, new government agents and even the description of coming back from the dead – which is really unpleasant with such horrible things to deal with like rigor mortis. 

American Horror Story, Season 4, Episode 12: Show Stoppers

It’s Elsa’s going away party/dinner and inaugurating Chester as the new owner which is still going ahead. This includes Marjorie the doll saying nasty things to Elsa, and Elsa celebrating Stanley. This is going to be commemorated by movie night – a film where someone tries to con the performers of a Freak Show and faces their comeuppance. Stanley isn’t thrilled to watch it but Maggie insists he stays. Stanley senses a change in the air as a big package is brought into the room.

Inside is the preserved head of the Morbidity Museum director (murdered by Desiree after Maggie fainted). He tries to protest his innocence but Maggie has already exposed him. They stab him in the leg and chase him out into the stormy night – all carrying knives.

Onwards – Jimmy is being hidden by the show while he makes his recovery, though he’s sad about Dell’s death; Elsa accurately counters his attempts to romanticise the man’s memory. Jimmy is still pouty and angry and calls Maggie a “slut”; Elsa is not impressed by his desperate attempts to deny Dell’s killing of Ma Petite. She also defends Maggie for coming clean and saving them. She both calls him out and comforts him over the loss of his hands – and commands him to let Maggie help him.

Maggie treats his wounds which is agonisingly painful. She still professes love and being with him forever, he points out she’s kind of partly responsible for having his hands cut off. This has not endeared her to him – and her apologies and insistence she will make things right will neither resurrect Ma Petite or get his hands back.

Elsa gets a visit from the man who made her legs – and they embrace happily. She takes him, Massimo, to see Jimmy and convinces Jimmy of his skill by showing him her wooden legs. She also professes her love for Massimo and recounts the rest of his story. After Massimo taught Elsa to walk again, they were ready to flee Germany as the Nazis rose to power – but Massimo insisted on staying and hunting down the men who cut off Elsa’s legs. But the leader, Dr. Hans Grouper, got the better of him – he captured Massimo and tortured him over and over again. Massimo didn’t get to America until 1947 when he sought out Elsa. But Massimo claims the torture destroyed his soul – he can no longer love

Over to Bette and Dot having sex with Chester – under the disturbing watchful gaze of Marjorie (and there is not a sexy enough guy in the world to make that enjoyable). They ask him to put her away and he does – which of course means she rants at him later. She calls him a murderer, he says she did it and she points out she is actually a doll (what is the paradox of an inanimate object telling you they’re an inanimate object?) We have a flashback of him killing his wife and her lover; he collapses in tears and begs Marjorie to stay – and she says the twins have to go.

The sisters are feeling all happy and gooey when they go back to the bedroom – when Dandy drops in to tell them he is so sorry and wants to be friends and how brutally murdering his mother has totally reformed him: and he gives them his dossier on Chester.

Urban Fantasy Awards 2015!

It’s Awards season! With the handing out of little statues to lots of very very practiced speeches now nigh, it is time for Fangs to prepare our own awards to the gems of the genre we know and love!

And unlike the real Oscars (#oscarssowhite), we actually value depiction and inclusion of marginalised people in the genre. As we watch a wave of uber-privileged cis, straight, white, able bodied folks pat each other on the back for being so incredibly awesome

Over the next few weeks leading up to the Oscars we will be calling on you, our Fang├Ęd Followers to give us your nominations, cast your votes, battle it out until one emerges victorious and is given the coveted prize of the GOLDEN FANGS!

Because we’re us, and we’re mean Negative Nancies equally committed to excoriating the awful every bit as much as we’re joyfully yapping after our favourites, we also have categories for those that will shamed by and award of the DREAD FANPOODLE!

This week, we’re looking for Nominations! Put your contenders in the ring, polish up your vampires, and help us find the sparkling cream of the genre. To ensure as many people can pass on their ideas as possible, we’re be listening to suggestions emailed to us (, sent to us through Tumblr, Goodreads, Librarything, Booklikes,Twitter, Facebook, the comments section and carrier pigeon.

Send us your nominations

Categories for Golden Fangs!

Best New Series of the Year

Best Indie Book

Most Original Monster

Most Original concept

Best Vampire

Best wereanimal

Best Fae

Best Magic-user

Funniest Series

Most Inclusive Series

Best Protagonist

Best book/series with a Female Protagonist

Best book/series with POC Protagonist

Best Book/series with LGBTQ protagonist

Best Book/Series with Disabled protagonist

Best non-western setting

Best Dystopian Series

Best Steampunk

Best Series that ended

Lifetime Achievement Award
What series, TV show or even writer, producer et al deserves a special prize for long standing awesomeness in this genre?

Categories for Dread Fanpoodles!

Most Blatant Token!

Most Awful Stereotype

Most Convoluted Romance

Most Ridiculous Erasure

Spunkiest Agent

Most Unintentionally Hilarious sex scene

Must Pungently Violet of Purple Prose

Series That Most Reduces Your Faith In the Human Race
This is a series that isn’t just bad - because bad books are pretty easy. No, this is a book that is adored by a truly terrifying number of people while being so bad it actually makes you question whether humanity deserves to continue to exist when this is so enthusiastically hailed.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Blade on the Hunt (Rowan Summerwaite #3) By Lauren Dane

Rowan has made a full recovery after nearly dying at the hands of Enyo. Not only that, but the addition of all that vampire blood into her system and her goddess rising within her means she’s never been stronger or more ready to hunt – she will find Enyo and kill her

And not just for her own considerable sense of vengeance. Her father, Theo, the first and most powerful vampire is enraged by the attack on his daughter and a loose cannon ready to rampage across the planet if need be to find his own answers.

As she and her team follow Enyo’s trail (and she firmly sets aside any distractions that try to derail her) it quickly becomes clear that Enyo is just the tip of the iceberg – there’s something rotten in the Vampire Nation and Hunter Corp – and perhaps beyond.

Rowan is probably a character you love or hate – I imagine there’s a lot of division over her. Personally I love her. She’s harsh and abrupt – and that does come across as the classic anti-social badass or even Keille Independence. But I think she draws the lines in the right place, she doesn’t rant and rave for no reason – and she doesn’t explode, she’s always in control. But she takes no prisoners, she refuses to waste her time and when there’s a job to be done she expects to get it done and not have to jump through extra hoops. Whenever political processes are getting in the way – whether the Hunter’s Guild or the Vampire Nation, she is brutally scathing in her assessment. Whenever organisations want to play games (or even people – she has no patience for Warren and Clive grandstanding over her) she simply refuses to play. This is her operation. This is what she’s going to do. You get with the program or she leaves you behind after cursing you out and maybe threatening to do unpleasant things to your anatomy. Yes she’s angry, harsh and has zero respect for authority – but only because people are being distracted by nonsense, keeping secrets and pursuing unwise, distracting and even outright disastrous agendas which are stopping her doing her job.

So, personally, I love it. I love her take no prisoners approach. I love her complete irreverence with everyone. I love the way she is quite willing to curse out a fool for being a damn fool – because she always does it with good reason, it’s never gratuitous and you can see a clear motive as to why. It’s also noteworthy that those who have earned her respect, those who act in a sensible manner, get her respect back. That said, if someone said they couldn’t connect with her because she was a classic rage monster, I would understand where they were coming from.

And some of her snark is just perfect: “I’m going to get you some pearls to clutch every time I say something outrageous.” And “I thought you creatures liked to pontificate about your plans and machinations like you’re all Machiavelli? If that’s not true and it’s only in the company I keep I’m going to be super pissed at how much pontificating I’ve listened to over the years.” May be my favourites.

I also think her personality links in well with her character development – as the step-daughter of Theo, the First Vampire, she isn’t all that impressed with anyone in the Vampire Nation. She’s too used to being closer to the very top rung of the ladder and also deeply aware of its flaws. Her experience with the vampires has also given her so much more insight and competence than most of her fellow Hunters that she’s impatient with their waffling. Ultimately, Rowan doesn’t like her time being wasted, she’s extremely competent, very goal orientated and those are high standards she applies not just to herself but also to the people around her; and they often fall short.

Forever, Season 1, Episode 13: Diamonds are Forever

Opening scene with a thief clearing out a jewellery store before we head to Abraham’s antique shop for classic banter between him and Henry. From there we turn to a shadowy figure knocking at Jo’s door who is gone before she can answer it. This is relevant because Henry monologues about fate.

To the next day and a crime scene in Jo’s neighbourhood – an apparent hit and run. Henry is quick to say it’s not an accident and when they get back to the morgue he points out several injuries that are consistent with being repeatedly arrested and abused by the police (though no-one seems to think receiving repeated permanent injuries from the police is a questionable thing at all and instead thinks it’s indicative of what a bad man he is). Hanson does some digging and it’s revealed that the victim, Aaron, was prosecuted by Sean Moore, Jo’s dead husband.

Jo is a little shaken and Hanson tries to be comforting in an awkward fashion. They also learn that Aaron was suspected in the jewel robbery. They speak to his wife who insists that he’s a changed man from his criminal days – but Jo is completely resistant to the idea that he could possibly have changed. This leads to the first of Henry’s flashbacks to when he was in prison in the 19th century with a Catholic priest who helps him escape by killing himself because God’s will.

Henry and Jo go to the theft crime scene which is being investigated by detective Hank, an old friend of Jo’s (and Henry noting Hank unconscious gestures denoting attraction to Jo). They enjoy Henry’s method in which he explains Aaron’s innocence of the theft. Having blowing up Hank’s case (Jo: “he does that, a lot”) we move on.

To the police station where Hanson is still trying to be awkwardly comforting and they watch old evidence from when Aaron was arrested including lots of video footage of dead-hubby Simon for some reason. Back to genius mode, Henry concludes the person who wore the mask had diabetes which leads to Diego, one of Aaron’s associates who Henry diagnoses from a photograph.

Jo, Hanson and suspicious-Hank (yes I’m calling it) go to arrest Diego and there’s a firefight in which Hanson is wounded – and Diego is dead from Hank’s bullet (definitely calling it). When they have Diego on the slab, Henry discovers Diego has swallowed a bag of diamonds.

Time to go to Abraham (because chain of evidence is for other people – and yes, he did lecture Henry about this last episode) to assay the stones who pronounces them to be “meh”. Which contradicts what the shop owner claimed which confuses Henry (apparently lying on an insurance claim is confusing to Henry). Henry is also confused that Diego stole “worthless” diamonds

Cover review 5th January - 9th January

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1) by Ilona Andrews

Aaaargh… what? Why? Who did this? Why take this story and put such a romance cover on it? Not only is this book not a romance, but it’s highlighting the most irritating part of the book!? And what is she wearing? An off the shoulder dress? Nevada, WHYYYYY? This is how we depict the awesome skill, dedicated family and general excellence? And posing like that with Mad?


Talon (Talon #1) by Julie Kagawa

Hmmmm… I kind of like this. It’s very very low on detail, but because of that it’s intriguing. “The Talon” label and then that scaly background - it draws my eye, it’s intriguing, it’s different and it really emphasises the dragon aspect of the book

Shame the book doesn’t match this

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson #2) by Darynda Jones

Charley Davidson is the Grimm Reaper, the portal through which the dead can reach Heaven. She’s also a private investigator and when her best friend reports one of her friends has gone missing under worrying circumstances, she has to get on the case. A string of murders lead to a long buried past

One case would be enough to handle but there’s also Reyes, Charley’s mysterious and dangerous love interest – also the son of Satan. He’s hurt, he’s dying and Charley will find him in time –whether he wants her to or not.

This book should be silly. It should be ridiculous. I should be rolling my eyes. But I’m not doing any of those things because I’m laughing and smiling so much. Charley is simply hilarious and even if her character is snarking away at some of the most bizarre times, it still works. It shouldn’t, but it does.

For a while I just put this down to writing style and was willing to completely ignore the shattering of anything resembling common sense or the simple fact that absolutely no-one would act this way simply because it was funny enough for me to not care about realism. But reading through this I realise this is actually part of Charley’s character development – it’s mentioned almost in passing that she wasn’t afraid of things even as a child and that she generally doesn’t feel much fear either due to what she is (the Grim Reaper) or due to what she’s seen (as the Grim Reaper) which means her endless snark works. She isn’t cowering or worried because she genuinely isn’t afraid, has seen worse and it doesn’t come close to suppressing her sense of fun.

Which is what Charley is – immense fun. She’s sarcastic, witty, confident and skilled. She’s good at what she does, she knows she is and she’s quite happy to amuse herself along the way and she does (and me) immensely. Her character interactions in general are excellent, but especially with her best friend Cookie. I honestly think they have one of the best friendships I’ve seen in the genre, I think I could read a whole book of them doing nothing but drinking coffee and bantering back and forth

Does this levity always work? No, I’m afraid, though I always enjoy it. But there are at times, especially given the severity of the cases they’re working, when it seems badly out of place even while I’m laughing.

But Charley is more than just fun, at least. She is good at her job, she does care and while she may be very light hearted, she does get angry and hurt in this book – especially form her family; because she does care. Her father and her uncle both, for separate reasons, treat her appallingly and she doesn’t downplay that slightly. She also recognises and snarkily challenges paternalistic sexism aimed at her from these men, and their protestations of love and protection are not enough for her to instantly forgive them – even if her grudge is expressed through constant (awesome) snark. She also has, as I mentioned, an excellent relationship with Cookie (who is also extremely capable and funny) and a growing one with her sister. There are women who are less impressive, but they are countered by numerous good female characters.

The Leftovers, Season 1, Episode 5: Gladys

It looks like a Guilty Remnant episode, with Patti (the boss) focusing on Gladys before sending her out on the usual GR activities – including vandalism with white paint (in public and broad daylight – seriously, how come the police do so little about the GR? Kevin rumbles and rants about the GR holding demonstrations but they stalk people, break into people’s houses, steal and paint over windows and newspaper dispensers and get no consequences?)

We see more hostile reactions to their stalking and even Gladys walking around an old man who falls in the street and begs for help.

While they separate to shop, Gladys is alone when a gloved man grabs her from behind and drags her into the woods. They tie her to a tree then brutally and horrifically stone her to death, not stopping even when she begs. It’s a horrendously graphic scene.

Patti gathers the GR and tries to stop Meg joining but she insists she wants to help. They go to the petrol station where Gladys vanished then search the woods where she was taken. While they’re looking, some dogs run past, chased and shot by the random-dog-killing-guy. Lauren finds Gladys’s body.

Over to Kevin, waking up and starting his day while the news reports of another cult being raided by an agency. He finds a number of his shirts are missing and the burglar alarm has been turned off (though he assumes it’s Jill). And Aimee stayed the night again. He opens the door to find Patti holding a sign saying what happened.

At the GR neighbourhood/headquarters/base, Laurie is visibly shaken, but not Meg who isn’t surprised – she points out they’re pushing people to remember something everyone wants to forget. She considered it inevitable – and that she’s oddly unscared; she says as she takes one of Laurie’s cigarettes. But Laurie has a full blown panic attack.

Kevin leads his team investigating and correcting any half-assed jobs people are doing. He tells Patti he needs the GR to stay off the streets because he can’t protect them, fully expecting her to tell him no – but she agrees. He also interviews dog-killing-guy who is called Dean (a park ranger goes past and identifies him) who complains about Kevin avoiding him for their fun dog hunting expeditions.

Kevin decides to see Jill at school who naturally panics because she assumes something has happened to Laurie. He just wanted to tell her the person who was attacked wasn’t Laurie so she doesn’t panic or worry – well intentioned but his execution was somewhat flawed. When she stops crying she gets angry – she says she shouldn’t have cried since Laurie wouldn’t have cried for her.

At the police station he has a huge argument with one of his officers who contacted the office of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Cults (I would say those things don’t go together – but since when have tobacco and firearms?) because the GR fit their criteria. Kevin, as is his wont, completely loses his temper and lunges at the officer but Mayor Lucy is there, the only one who can talk sense into this man (and should probably be looking at how to fire him/replace him/something). But Lucy is actually pissed at officer Lou for calling ATFEC and demands he call to take it back. That sorted Lucy asks if Kevin needs anything and he asks for a curfew to give an impression of a response and so he can force the GR to stay inside. She agrees and needs him to attend a meeting to make it happen – but is also concerned because Kevin has obvious bias when it comes to the GR

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Librarians, Season 1, Episode 8: And the Heart of Darkness

A spooky forest in Slovakia and a bloodstained woman running in horror from a house – only to be found by the Librarians. She gasps that there’s something horrible in the house (in American accented English). She tells them her friends are still caught inside

Cassandra is tracing broken ley lines (something Jenkins told them to do and her brilliant brain can manage despite the nose bleeds it causes, much to Eve’s concern). Which also leads them to the house.

Calling Jenkins he adds to the general badness that is broken ley lines and he tells them the house may be a very very nasty haunting. They reach the house and Eve’s concern about Cassandra has her tell Cassandra to stay outside and look after the frightened girl – Cassandra knows what she’s doing and isn’t very pleased by being protected.

Jake tells them that the house is an American frontier house – and very out of place in Slovakia. They go inside and place magical scrolls to fix things – only to have thrown knives and broken crockery drive them out.

Outside they prepare to go back in again but the scared girl, Katie, runs in alone for her friends which interrupts Eve trying to sideline Cassandra again. Inside they catch Katie and, again, Eve tells Cassandra and Katie to stay on the ground floor while she, Jake and Ezekiel go upstairs. Cassandra isn’t pleased – especially since Katie asks her if all she does is read maps.

Upstairs they split up even while Ezekiel tells them how foolish it is. Each finds lots and lots of really well done creepiness (+10 creepy points show) and each finds a picture of two people infront of the house with their faces ripped off (the picture is ripped, not their actual faces, that would be messy and not photogenic). Eve also has a vision of the missing kids.

They take some blood stained clothes they find to Katie who freaks out and storms off – she doesn’t have the best sense of self-preservation. Cassandra goes after her, snarking that she’s the “Katie-wrangler”. They call Jenkins for information and he tells them that lots of horrible slaughter urban legends all took place in this particular house. Nice. One of Six haunted houses. He researches and discovers it’s the Shatter Box which tends to move around, feeding on victims over a century.

To stop the house they need to find its mysterious “Dark Heart” (which could be anything) and destroy it – before midnight when it moves on. Yes the House is the monster

Which is time for a shadowy robed figure with an axe to ghost around.

For extra tension, Katie describes the scary man made of shadow and smoke.

Time for Ezekiel to disappear and some stellar creepiness. Every creepy haunted house trope you can imagine and they’re really well done. Eve tries to convince Cassandra to leave to protect Katie – and because the team has different skills; Cassandra’s doesn’t include combat. Cassandra goes out to the car and thinks that the protectiveness is linked to both her weakness – and her past betrayal. But Katie spins it another way – points out she was the one trusted to protect Katie.

The Librarians, Season 1, Episode 7: And the Rule of Three

Open with Jonah, a man who is studying for everything when he suddenly freezes, unable to move except for a single tear trailing down his face.

At the Annex it’s everyone’s day off but everyone is either so geeky or so dedicated they’re not actually going anywhere. Except Ezekiel who is using it as a safe spot to run from the police. They’re all doing their thing when the Clippings Book freaks out pointing to Major Magic Mojo at a STEM fair (a high school science fare) which excites Cassandra to a rather disturbing degree. Eve is less impressed.

In between Eve not getting it and Cassandra geeking out quite adorably, Lucinda McCabe, whose company sponsors the fair would like to know who the hell they are and what the hell they’re doing there, albeit more politely. When Jake introduces them as The Librarians (because they don’t do cover stories) they’re taken to be judges.

They search for something magical with Cassandra excited, Ezekiel bemused and Eve bored until she finds a baking soda volcano and is quite gleeful even while Jake points out it’s ridiculously simple and beneath every other amazing exhibit there.

While Ezekiel and Cassandra discuss cliques, magic happens – from a floating Newton’s cradle to an actual erupting volcano. Lucinda rather nicely covers it up with extra Librarian cover story snark.

Eve and Jake question the kid with the volcano (who is crushing heavily on Eve) and he reveals he wasn’t supposed to be there – he was the 5th alternate and only entered because his dad made him. All the previous kids before him all had super-rare, weird ailments that knocked them out.

That leaves Ezekiel and Cassandra to investigate joined by Jenkins (the supreme god of awesome snark before which we all bow in worship) who snarks. Following Ezekiel’s hunch (and, as he points out, his own Librarian-ness) and track down the Newton’s cradle that floated. This time when they set the balls clacking, the force sends people to the floor. Jenkins points out that it’s just a detector and the laws of physics are probably being bent by a coven – and he raises the rule of three. Cassandra focuses on the clearly non-science kids lurking round the edges of the fare.

Jake and Eve run off after them but this early in the episode that’s clearly a red herring (a guy is crushing on a girl – Amy Myer – and wants her to go to prom with him). Cassandra and Ezekiel seem to find the right target – Amy Myer who has some kind of DNA experiment right before one of the other contestants starts vomiting lots of flies just as Cassandra tries to question him about Amy. I’m not exactly sure why they focused so much on Amy

Lucinda again does an awesome job of covering up another unfortunate incident. She’s good.

Strange Magic (Yancy Lazarus #1) by James A Hunter

Yancy Lazerus, wizard, rambler, rogue, musician has lived a long, exciting life and now wants to spend his time eating good ribs and listening to good Blues. But his bleeding heart would never let him stay quiet when people are in trouble – especially when his oldest friend Greg calls him to deal with demons ripping apart people.

Of course, even if he could ignore his conscious – he can’t ignore the fact he has been framed for the deaths and there are a lot of angry men with guns who want to shoot him in the head.

I really like this world setting. It’s a classic every-supernatural-there-ever-is all squashed in, so I won’t say it’s inherently original, but it has original twists. It feels very Dresden Files with just a little more gritty thrown in. With such a wide array of creatures to call upon, Strange Magic has gone in a generally different direction – the beings of the Hub and the creatures from Hindu mythology are not things I’ve seen very often before.

I also quite like the idea of the Hub, again, it’s not entirely something I haven’t seen before, but this gritty melting pot has a lot of potential and interesting additions to the story. On top of this, we got a lot of nicely detailed world building and description that screams of books and books of notes that really makes both the magic system and the magical world seem very rich and fully fleshed out – I like that a lot

This world has immense potential.

And Yancy runs through this world in a rather wonderful Noir investigation. Through gritty and grim Blues bars in the real world to equally gritty bars in the Hub – the world is shown to great advantage with the story taking us to many parts of it and revealing lots of aspects of it along the way. It has the building blocks to being an excellent supernatural Noir story. But there’s some problems that hold it back from that excellence

The first of which is Yancy is supposed to be 60 and look about 40. I don’t really believe this – his voice, his dialogue, his mind set all makes me think teenager or, at very best, early 20s. It’s not entirely a bad voice for someone who is that young – and a young wizard running around snarking away with this much banter and even childishness would be kind of fun. But he isn’t a wizard in his early 20s – nor would the characterisation be solid enough for that.

Lost Girl, Season 5, Episode 6: Clear Eyes, Fae Heart

Creepy dream sequence with Lauren, a music box and a lot of gause. Or possibly very kinky dream sequence if women and music boxes are your thing. Bo wakes from the scary dream to Tamsin recovering from her traumatising dream of closed drive throughs and kissing Bo. Tamsin is definitely being far more romantic there than Bo

Dyson goes to a murder scene and he’s brought his son because this show is desperate to make Mark relevant. The dead man is a famous sportsman – and by his body, in blood, is a triskele which Dyson carefully removes – but when he leave the blood traces the symbol again.

Dyson consults with Lauren, Bo and Tamsin, showing them the symbol and talking about End of Days cults. So the plan is to get closer to the football team with Tamsin and Bo pretending to be cheerleaders. Dyson and Lauren think it’s hilarious because there’s no way Tamsin can be perky (what, seriously? She positively unicorns on crack compared to Bo!)

So Bo poses as a recruiter, Tamsin as a cheerleader and the snarky Mean Girl already shows up reminding me that I need to make sure my booze glass is full before I watch another minute of this episode.

Glass full, yes Tamsin does decide to be competitive with a teenager – because why wouldn’t a Valkyrie who has lived for centuries need to square off against a cheerleader? Bo does manage to get some questioning in which brings more Mean Girl snark and a sideways jab at periods before revealing that the dead guy, Jake, wasn’t exactly a nice guy. While they talk another football player is hurt in a horrible looking accident – but manages to get up and walk away without any injury. Bo and Tamsin are suspicious.

Tamsin follows the guy, Clay, into the locker room (who also isn’t wearing a mourning armband for the dead Jake). Her flirting and questioning are pretty inept, so instead Bo calls on Lauren to test the team to see if they’re fae (which results in Lauren and Tamsin getting all touchy about the other, especially Tamsin). Lauren is also very not impressed by the man stripping naked in front of her.

And back to Dyson – because we need 8 gazillion povs on this show, after Mark gets in the way Dyson is approached by Alisha. She’s the wife of one of the dead people – only the dead man has got up and started walking around again and she saw him. He takes the photo she gives him and contact details when she isn’t easily put off. Mark decides to be an awful person so we can exposition about humans and fae not having relationships.

When Dyson is gone, he leaves his crime scene board full of relevant information just out in the middle go a gym so Iris (the ledger stealing woman from last week) can arrive, flirt with Mark and somehow not be seen as suspicious by him (Mark is… about average intelligence for people on this show. It’s a good thing they’re pretty). He finally clues in when she traces the triskele on his arm and says that her parents said the football match is going to explode.

And At the Dal, the Spooky Season Antagonist is tired of everyone completely failing to get near her so goes into the Dal and orders a super-old drink which impresses Trick.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Fangs for the Fantasy Podcast 2015, Episode 1

It's time (after a brief technological interlude) for our first podcast of the New Year! We will continue to examine Urban Fantasy in it's many forms through our social justice lens - with some praise, lots of snark and occasional mermaid jokes!

We looked at The Librarians movies, The Librarians series, Helix, Constantine, Lost Girl, Sleepy Hollow (and all that is wrong with Katrina), American Horror Story

And series we just want to die: American Horror Story, Vampire Diaries, Under the Dome, The Strain.

We're also stunned that Beauty and the Beast is renewed.

Our books of the week were Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews and Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey

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 those reading along, our next few books of the week are below (we occasionally have to exchange them due to unforseen availability problems or new releases)

22nd December - 5th January: Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
5th January - 12th January: Dark Currents by Jacqueline Carey
12th January - 19th January: The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde
19th January - 26th January: A Storm of Swords by George R R Martin
26th January - 2nd February: A Lady Integrity by Shelly Adina
2nd February - 9th February: The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr

Dark Currents (Agent of Hel #1) by Jacqueline Carey

Daisy is the child of a demon, which means she has a constant temptation to embrace her vast potential power – and possibly end the world. This would be a bad thing
Unfortunately her job as Hel’s (that would be the Norse goddess Hel, not Hell) liaison to the Midwestern Eldritch resort town of Pemkowet gives her a lot of temptation – especially when the children of some angry right wingers get themselves killed and the grieving parents use it as a weapon to try and drive the Eldritch out of town.
This book is a classic “everything is real” Urban Fantasy world – so we have vampires, ghouls, werewolves, demons, angels and just about everything else. This is always a tick in the plus column for me as they’re my preferred kind – so long as enough effort is put in to build the world, make it original and do something with the creatures. As I’ve said before, there’s no point in having a hundred mythical creatures in your story if I can replace half of them with werecucumbers and it not make any difference to the plot.

Which isn’t the case here – we have a definite sense of culture and distinct nature for each of the prominent supernatural beings – the vampires (however briefly appearing), the werewolves and some of the Norse critters as well as the Ghouls (which have a really fascinating and completely unique concept that I really liked). There’s also some nice research there fleshing out some of the mythology

The world itself is also really unique. We have the supernatural (or the Eldritch as they’re called here) that can only exist without fading in places with a working underworld – places where a mighty supernatural being has taken up residence and created a zone where supernatural beings can exist in great numbers; in this case we have Hel. That in turn means the supernatural being sets the rules and power of the place – in this case the Norse goddess Hel who acts through her representative (Daisy) to keep her realm in order
In turn this creates an inherent vulnerability – the Eldritch are dependent on this location to exist and to thrive, making them both subject to Hel and exposed to human wrath – humanity, if sufficiently enraged, could dig out or drive off Hel, they could destroy the underworld and drive them out. This makes for a nice underlying conflict that unites the supernatural population. It also puts an extra edge on the problems of human bigotry and human public opinion, especially as the right wing is doing what it can to pass laws against the Eldritch and drive them out. It puts an edge on the PR battle.
I also like Daisy’s own struggle when added to this world. She’s the child of a demon (and I think it’s a bad idea to have used the term “incubus” because it suggests that the story is far more sex focused than it actually is) and that represents a constant source of temptation for her – because she has no power, or very little. But she could – at any time she can accept her birthright and have amazing power. Her demonic father is always lurking around waiting to pounce on her in a moment of weakness to offer her this legacy – and I like how that temptation is done; it’s not the usually sexy sexy lust, it’s a child being at risk, it’s facing the death of someone she cares about – it’s the temptation to gain power to defend the helpless. It’s a constant pressure and adds in to another interesting part of Daisy’s character – strong emotional states attract her father, tap into her power and tempt her to giving in which puts her in a difficult position. The world building complicates this by the fact her being demonic and on Earth could trigger an actual apocalypse.