Saturday, February 14, 2015

Grimm Season Four, Episode Thirteen: Trial by Fire

"And glory like the phoenix
midst her fires,
Exhales her odours. blazes,
and expires"

Mason and Joan are taking inventory in an outdoors store, when Barstow, who is a Excandesco, woges and sets the store on fire. The store busts into flames which quickly multiply when in an attempt to get out, Mason throws a chair throw a window.

Juliet has a flashback to woging and killing the Wesen who attacked her.  Juliet and Nick talk about what he did with the body and what Adalind might do once she discovers that Nick is a Grimm again. 

The next morning Nick and Hank arrive at the store and the details from Wu.  Nick and Hank go over the scene and shown that the fire inexplicable turned.  They head outside to speak to the owner and his son  John and Andy Harrison briefly.  Back in the car, they question what explains a fire with a mind of its own and wonder if this is an insurance scam.  Back at the station, Hank gets off the phone with the insurance and of course Harrison & Sons had a five million dollar policy on the store and had just filed for bankruptcy. Nick and Hank decide to talk to the lawyer who filed the bankruptcy and ask for a list of the debtors and the company's financial records.

At the station, Sam reports that Kelly sold the truck she left Portland in.  Renard decides to check a listing of all vehicles sold, sure in the knowledge that Kelly is going to need a car.

Now back at the station, Nick asks Wu to run a background check on Charles Laney, the lawyer handling the bankruptcy for  Harrison & Sons.   Wu mentions that an officer in arson says that the fire pattern matches one his former partner was obsessed with.  Hank and Nick want to talk to the cop but find out that Orson may not be receptive because they arrested for murder.

At the prison, Orson who is a Bauerschwein, woges when he hears that Hank and Nick want to see him, saying "hell no."  While waiting for Orson, Nick explains that he didn't really know what was going on back then because he was just coming into his Grimm powers.  Orson makes his way in and they tell him about the fire and he snarks about doing Nick's job.  Nick shows Orson the pictures of the victims, adding that no accelerant was used and that Grady suggested Orson might know who they are looking for. Orson says that he would have caught the arsonists but then Nick arrested him, adding that if he saw him again, he could identify him. 

When next we see Orson, he is in the police station with an ankle monitor on and is escorted into Renard's office.  Renard explains to Orson that he has two days to assist the detectives and if Orson messes up, he will never get parole.  Orson starts to become vague about the arsonist and so Nick asks if the arsonist is a Wesen and Hank reveals that he knows that Orson is a Bauerschwein and that Nick is a Grimm.  Orson is shocked, then reveals that the arsonists likes to light a fire and then stick around and watch. Nick tells Hank and Orson to look through the files while he does some research.

At the Grimm trailer, Wu and Nick find out that the wesen they are looking for is a Excandesco.  The story that Nick reads is the Roman fire which was on blamed on Christians. Yes, more historical appropriation from Grimm but at least because it's ancient history, it's not as horrifying as their recent acts of appropriation.  Unfortunately, the Grimm wiki has no information on how to stop a Excandesco.

Charles Laney meets with Barstow and reveals that there were two kids inside the Harrison building and that two homicide cops came to see him.  Barstow argues that this is not his fault but is told that he has to clean house get rid of everyone who can identify him.  Barstow takes Laney at his word, grabs Laney's throat and sets him on fire.

Orson and Hank are talking, when Nick enters to ask if Orson has ever heard of an Excandesco.  They wonder if the arsonist is the accelerant himself.  Orson explains that the arsonists could essentially be a human match.  Nick and Hank talk about how to arrest the arsonist, if they cannot get close to him. Orson suggests that he can make something to protect the Nick and Hank.  Hank suggests that the spice shop might have the things they need.  Nick decides that he should call first because of the history between Orson and Monroe.  When Nick gets a hold of Rosalie and learns that Monroe is going to be gone for several hours, he decides to head over.

Vampire Diaries, Season 6, Episode 14: Stay

Oooh a flashback to when Liz was more actively sheriff and kind of awesome. I’m definitely up for an episode all about Liz… except this flashback was then about Elena’s parents dying so I suspect the exposition of Liz is going to fall into the big gravity well that is Elena.

Yes, in the present while packing up her things she is drawn to pull out the Gilbert file of Jeremy and Elena’s parents’ death again

Or maybe it’ll be about Jeremy – because we see Damon compel some actual qualifications for Jeremy out of his teacher and Alaric and Matt drinking with Jeremy to say goodbye (hilariously, Vampire Diaries pretends for a second that Alaric might, might, possibly object to underage drinking. Like every kid on this show hasn’t been hitting the hard liquor since they were 14. Not that I blame them given the storylines and Elena’s constant presence). The going away party is interrupted because the eternally obsessed and unnecessary Enzo has arranged for Sarah Salvatore to drop in and be escorted around by the equally unnecessary Matt.

Damon and Elena don’t even try to pretend they didn’t compel Jeremy’s graduation out of his teacher (and Damon is delightfuly snarky about Jeremy’s complete lack of any academic achievement. He also makes a joke about killing Jeremy. Again. Which I have to admit is funny and I have to almost appreciate Vampire Diaries completely mocking their own morality. Someone on the writing team knows EXACTLY what awful material they’re working with).

Elena and Jeremy try to have a sibling bonding moment. They don’t sell it to me – they’ve been largely separate for far too long. The happy smiling and eating chips could, possibly, have redeemed it but Elena has a pity party in the middle, completely ruining the whole moment.

Alas, Elena is called off and Enzo makes an appearance to menace Jeremy and force Matt to co-operate further in his inane plan. Enzo has Mat lure Sarah to a spooky deserted tunnel – then runs Matt over in a hit and run. Enzo then arrives to save Matt with his vampire blood – in front of Sarah.

Caroline and Stefan are moving all of Liz’s stuff to an isolated cabin so she can die in peace surrounded by lots of stuff she loves (and, apparently, the Gilbert parent case because everything must revolve around Elena somehow). They flirt some and Caroline has the idea that Stefan is only there because Liz asked him to be because she is just that bad at reading signals. They also break out the booze as they continue to bond over Stefan comforting Caroline over her mother’s impending death and they finally kiss.

On to Damon and Liz who manage to put more feeling and emotion in a few short words than most of the cast pull off with epic melt downs. Liz doesn’t want to leave her job with so many open cases and unfinished business. Damon helps, awesomely opening files and announcing “this one was me” over and over again.

These tiny side issues aside we turn to the REALLY IMPORTANT CASE Elena’s parents’ ACCIDENTAL death. Because ELENA! Damon swears earnestly that he wasn’t involved (because all the other murders are totally ok, but being involved in killing Elena’s family – except Jeremy – would just be devastating). Ah but there’s a reason for this – Liz has been sitting on a taped phone call from Miranda, Elena’s mother, for the last SIX SEASONS in which Miranda says she needs to talk to Liz urgently. This being Mystic Falls they reach for the booze and make more snarky comments about Damon’s many many many murders.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The 100, Season Two, Episode Twelve: Rubicon

Emerson rushes through the woods, desperate to make his way back to Mt. Weather because Clarke only gave him 6 hours of air to make an 8 hour trip.  Emerson makes it to just outside of perimeter and collapses with his air running out fast. Cage shows up and gives Emerson a new tank of air.  Emerson is shocked to see Cage so far away from the doorway but he is told to just relax.  Clearly, Cage has taken his sample of marrow from one of the 47.

In the bunker, Jasper and Monty discuss the fact that Jasper saw Bellamy.  The conversation is short because Dr. Tsing bursts in surrounded by guards.  The guards originally grab Harper but Tsing orders someone else to be taken instead.  Jasper asks them to stop and reveals that Dante said that they could go.  Tsing then informs the 47 that Dante had to step down for health concerns and adds that they are all special to them, before turning on her heel and leaving.

At Camp Jaha, Clarke goes to questions Raven as to whether or not Bellamy has checked in.  Raven is not pleased to see Ryder standing guard over Clarke but she says that it's Lexa's orders.  Clarke notices that Raven is focusing on the damn and Raven argues that for now, there's only so much they can do.  When Raven reports that she has only built two high frequency tone generators, Clarke again loses her shit, forcing Raven to point out that they are scrounging for parts. Clarke says that she is about to meet with Lexa and the 12 leaders of the clan and is upset because they are not ready to go yet.  Bellamy finally contacts them to report that he has not found the source of the acid fog but that it will have to wait because the 47 are being taken to a classified level every few hours.

Clarke then approaches Cain to say that she is staying at Camp Jaha because their people at Mt. Weather are in trouble, ordering Cain to go to the meeting instead of her.  When Clarke turns on her heel to leave, Cain grabs her arm, causing Ryder to reach for his knife.  The Grounders are not playing around about protecting Clarke.  Clarke has to shoot Ryder a look to get him to back off.  Cain makes it clear that being a leader means choosing which battles to fight.  Clarke again asks Cain to go to the meeting and this time he agrees.  Clarke starts to leave, and when Abby arrives, Clarke tries to blow her off, saying that Cain will explain.    Cain and Abby talk for awhile about the fact that Clarke is in charge and then Abby hands over a note from Jaha, explaining his mission to the city of light.  Neither are impressed that Jaha took 12 people and 12 guns

Jaha makes his way through the desert with his little convoy of people.  It's Murphy who seems to be his cheerleader when people express doubt.  Emori jumps up out of a cart claiming that she and her brother were attacked on the their way to the city of life and her brother was killed.  Jaha orders Emori be given water and Murphy is quick to comply, though one of the group members complains that they barely have enough water for themselves.  Jaha announces that he is on his way to the city of light and Emori replies that everyone is looking for it and almost no one finds it.  Emori agrees to act as a guide for Jaha and crew, if they pull her cart. 

Bellamy is crawling through the air vents and watches as Tsing extracts bone marrow from one of the 47. Tsing gives it to Emerson, saying that this is the last treatment he will ever need. Cage asks about Clarke's secret army.  Emerson apologises for failing, adding that Clarke said that if the 47 are released that she would allow the Mt. Weather people to leave.  Cage is not concerned because he knows about the war council meeting and plans to aim a missile.  Okay, why isn't anyone wondering how the Mt. Weather people know about the meeting?  Obviously, they must have some kind of mole.

Raven says that they have to warn the people and Clarke says that if she leaves now, she can get to the meeting in time.  Clarke adds that when she gets back, she wants the acid fog to be down and their friends safe.  Bellamy then asks about his sister and Clarke lies about Octavia being at the meeting.

The Accidental Vampire (Argeneau #7) by Lynsay Sands

After being turned into a vampire on a trip to Mexico, Elvi Stone returned to her home in small town Ontario.  The residents, feeling guilty for encouraging Elvi to go on the trip, after the loss of her daughter and husband, decide to protect Elvi because she is one of their own.  Not having met her sire, Elvi has no real understanding of what it is to be an immortal and is forced to turn to movies, books, and folklore, to muddle through.  With her friends entering the senior stages of their life and the realization that when they do finally die, Elvi well be alone, they decide to hunt down a boyfriend for Elvi by visiting clubs in Toronto, looking for a vampire boyfriend and when that finally fails, placing an advertisement in the singles pages of all things.  What they don't realise is that vampires are supposed to keep their existence secret from mortals and through their attempts to find Evli a love match, they have brought her to the attention of the council and the powerful Argeneau family.  When Victor arrives, ready to deal with what he believes to be a rogue vampire, what he does not expect is to find that he cannot read Elvi's mind, or control her in anyway.

The Accidental Vampire is a typical paranormal romance - boy meets girl, they fall in love, a misunderstanding occurs, they work through it and declare undying love for each other.  It's formulaic at best and filled with essentialist gender stereotyping.  That being said, it's what I have come to expect from Lynsay Sands, after reading seven of her books. I know going in not to expect a literary masterpiece and settle in for light fluff and the occasional laugh.  Sands has a talent for infusing her romance stories with a touch of humor, which doesn't always make me laugh but at least puts a smile on my face.

Believing all of the vampire lore to be true, Elvi has not touched a drop of food in five years.  When suddenly, Elvi learns that she can eat, it becomes a cheesecake emergency, leading her to rush to the local A&P for the essentials of cheesecake and chocolate.  I must admit that not being able to eat for five years, I would have considered it an emergency myself and chocolate would be high on my list. Essentialist or not, chocolate and women go together.

As a protagonist , Elvi is a touch naive.  Some of it I am sure is from the fact that she is from a small town; however, a woman of her advanced age (read: 62), really should be more aware than she is.  I do however like the fact that she refuses to be controlled and is always ready to stand toe to toe with Victor.  However, when pushed, Elvi does not fear to use Victor as a threat, when she promises to have Victor retrieve a young man, if he refuses to step forward on his own.

The Use of Atrocities in Fantasy

We live in a world that has been - and continues to be - blighted by horrific atrocities. From brutal, widescale violence, to vast natural disasters, to horrendous wars to unthinkable abuse and cruelty inflicted over and over again, our world and our history has some terrible scars.

It is only natural that some of those scars will be reflected in the media - indeed, many of our shows and books are set in worlds and settings ravaged by war, evil and atrocity on a grand scale. But there is a difference between depicting a generic, fictional atrocity - and depicting, drawing on or, all too often, appropriating an actual real life atrocity.

When drawing on an actual atrocity, our first question must be “why?” Why is this being depicted? And there are certainly good reasons - many people have lived through these devastating atrocities and it can be insulting and erasing to remove this from their history. Similarly, there are places and times when/where these events happens - to not include them is to disrespectfully edit history, often at the demands of nostalgia.

There are other reasons to depict these atrocities - because they shouldn’t be forgotten, they should be part of our social consciousness, they should be there for us to remember, be affected by, understand and, I naively hope, learn from.

So, yes, we can see, accept and even praise some depictions of these atrocities - and we have done so. Like on Forever we see how Abe, as a Holocaust survivor, has been shaped by that terrible atrocity and how that also touched on Henry and Abigail’s story - but without having to have Henry heroically tackle Goebbels or imply that secret immortals were behind events or anything equally ludicrous.

The Originals had Marcel fight in the First World War, both showing the horrors of war and, specifically, how racism exacerbated the plight of Black American soldiers who were sent over to be little more than cannon fodder. Again, there was no dismissing the importance, the horror or the wrongness of the events, nor any attempt to ascribe them all to supernatural cause. The atrocity was invoked respectfully and with reason.

Even True Blood, for all this genre’s love of romanticising the antebellum south and civil war, had Bill Crompton harshly describe the abject horrors of conflict to an audience of people who were invested in sugar coating the past.

But what singles these examples out for praise is how they have used the atrocities they referenced. They have a reason to be there, they are integral parts of the plot or characterisation and they are treated as respect. They’re not used for entertainment or shock value or dramatic influence or, perhaps most disrespectfully of all, one off references to be discarded at will. Nor is there any attempt to edit history to make woo-woo a driving force or major element of these atrocities. It doesn’t take woo-woo to make an atrocity, alas, quite mundane humanity is more than capable.

Alas, there are many shows that don’t have close to that level of respect

In episode nine, of this season’s Walking Dead, the genocide in Rwanda was invoked. We were told that no matter how ugly the news was, Tyreese never turned off because someone had to bear witness.  The following radio report was read by Andrew Lincoln:

“At least 68 citizens of the republic have been killed in four deadly attacks along the main coastal district. The group has continued their campaign of random violence, moving across the countryside unfettered with the republic’s military forces in disarray … There have been troubling reports of cannibalism having broken out in refugee camps along the republic’s transportation corridor. And despite the string of victories by rebel forces, there are disturbing reports of increasing the brutality of their tactics including the wholesale destruction of villages, burning down local prisons, targeting of civilians, and even the widespread mutilation of children and young mothers.”

Over a period of 4 months in 1994, 70% of the Tutsi population was killed in Rwanada.  Between 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans were killed.  This world event had long lasting consequences, not only for Rwanda but for surrounding countries.  To be clear, The Walking Dead is pure fiction and while the story is at times horrifying as it portrays human depravity, desperation and death on a mass scale, it’s still fiction.  To invoke something as serious as the Rwandan genocide and then juxtapose that to a fake zombie apocalypse is the height of disrespect for this terrible time in human history.

On Constantine, a man possessed by a hunger demon is linked to a famine in Sudan, not some generic famine or mentioning that this demon caused starvation; but actually a specific atrocity (or series of devastating acts, sadly, since Sudan is still at risk of famine). The 1998 famine in Sudan, alone, caused the death of over 70,000 people and the displacement of many more. Yet this devastating loss of life is used as nothing more than a prologue for this week’s demon; worse, this human-exacerbated disaster is implied to be of supernatural origin.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Third Grave Dead Ahead (Charley Davidson #3) by Darynda Jones

Charley isn’t sleeping – and because she’s a Grim Reaper, she’s managed to get by without sleep for 15 days, all an attempt to avoid Reyes in her dreams. Of course, a sleep deprived Charley isn’t exactly  healthy or reasonably Charley – and no amount of sleep deprivation will stop Reyes escaping and approaching her in real life. He’s broken out of prison to find his step-father – the man he was thrown in prison for murdering. He’s alive, he’s out there and Reyes intends to clear his name

Of course Charley has a busy life and in addition to tackling Reyes and his handy-knife-wielding, she has a missing doctor’s wife (and a suspicious doctor) and an animal loving motorcycle gang to deal with. Also, her dad wants her to quit her job.

A lot of the elements I love about this series are very much present in this book. Charley is fun, immensely, incredibly fun. She’s ridiculously silly, she will wisecrack about anything and for some reason it doesn’t annoy me. I’d theorised in the last book that her super-healing combined with her lack of fear of death was part of the reason why she was so irreverent and reckless – but I recognise I may be stretching to try and justify an unrealistic element of a book I just find so fun. So, yes, it may not make sense, but it’s excellent. Almost as excellent as the way she bounces of Cookie – the Banter between these two best friends is hilarious and I could honestly read an entire book that just involves her and Cookie going about their day, solving a case without any supernatural elements at all.

Yes, it does get ridiculous at times – like when she is literally being threatened with death and even tortured (though through that we do get a much darker feel so the comedy doesn’t continue forever) and her comedic sleep deprivation and driving was off the mark – with zero sense of the risk that poses to others.

I liked each of the storylines – and we had three separate ones in this book. Charley looking for her client’s missing wife (which also had excellent portrayals of the different forms an abusive, controlling relationship can take), clearing Reyes’s name (which was probably the weakest investigation because it, ultimately, relied on the perpetrator trying to kill Charley which is always a rather weak investigative tool) and a brief, but fun interaction with Charley and the biker gang and the acquisition of her new guardian. I liked all of these stories individually – but collectively the story was left a little distracted – too many things going on which is then mixed with Charley’s book-long sleep deprivation means the book often loses focus and there’s a few times when I forgot an actual plot line was ongoing.

A far greater problem for me is Reyes. The oh-so-very-very-very sexy love interest. And I don’t care – I don’t care how sexy he is or if he has a body beyond all concept of beauty, he has crossed so many lines now that I cringe every time he appears. In this book he takes Charley hostage at knife point, he threatens her family, her hurts her, kidnaps her and is generally irredeemable. And Charley doesn’t see it – she continues to make excuses for him and mentally justify his actions and seems to think that “he’s ruthless and will do whatever he needs” is some kind of excuse rather than a great big warning flag that he needs to be dropped yesterday. Worse, his endless sexiness (and the fact that Charley can’t even sleep because of the lure of his sexy sexy body) becomes more cringeworthy because it feels like Charley is tolerating this completely intolerable abuser not because of fear or even a moral drive for justice even if he’s evil – but because he’s just that hot.

Forever, Season 1, Episode 15: The King of Columbus Circle

There’s a busy line in an embassy (Ukesh? Urkesh? I’m fairly certain it’s a fictional country) with people applying for visas – all seems normal until, when asked his reason for visiting, one man (Armen Aronov – and they seem quite focused on his name) says he is there to die. Which is rather derailing. She runs to her boss stunned by who is applying for a travel visa.

Armen then goes to feed the pigeons and has a heart attack – so his travel plans are, we assume, curtailed.

And breakfast at Henry’s house (Henry and Abe breakfast with the excellent synchronicity of people who have eaten together thousands of times) and Abe is looking up people who share his newly discovered surname, looking for relatives. Abe is really excited about finding his family (which Henry respects) but takes a step back to assure Henry that there’s no doubt in his mind who his father is. this wonderful family moment is, if anything, ruined by Henry’s voice over about family trees.

Anyway, Henry is called in to Armen’s death but Hanson and Jo point out it’s not actually a murder and a rookie cop called it in by mistake – Armen had lung cancer. But Henry sees an odd operation scar and decides he wants analyse it anyway.

This lead to some flashbacks of Henry and his wife Abigail, going on a holiday by train back in the past after World War 2, briefly discussing having a baby (Henry is opposed) and a boy with appendicitis who Henry has to operate on in very amateurish conditions. The implication is the boy is a young Armen with ominous foreign agents threatening him with dire consequences if Armen doesn’t live because he is the son of the king and heir to the throne of Ukesh.

Back to the present and the morgue and a woman barging in claiming Armen as her husband and confirms that Armen is the king of Ukesh. Henry talks to her in Russian, of course (Jo says, very on point, that a person would have to live 10 lives to pick up what he has. Oh Forever don’t get cute about not telling Jo the big secret).

This talk of heirs and kings lead to Henry going back to the shop, sneaking out some objects and asking if Abe never wanted children or a legacy – Henry reflects but decides that being part of Henry’s immortal life ensures some level of legacy anyway. The ring Henry picked up is the Urkesh royal ring he wants to return. He goes to see Armen’s wife and, in the course of the conversation, he learns that Armen wasn’t been treated for cancer. Which is a lead because Henry recognised the signs of radiation exposure – and assumed radiation therapy – on the body.

Jo, Hanson and Lt Reece (I missed her!) exposition this fictional country – the king was deposed, his family slaughtered and he was living in exile. Reece would like to have the whole death be declared the natural causes it seems to be (and so definitely won’t be) and have it all settled before an international incident makes everything unpleasantly dramatic.

Which means no-one is thrilled when Henry dramatically calls the death an assassination.

Supernatural, Season 10, Episode 13: Halt & Catch Fire

Time for this week’s fodder, teenagers driving at night on a deserted road in a truck that becomes spookily cold. They also have a GPS phone that talks to them – really to them. The girl, Janet, is told to get out of the truck which she wisely does while the boy, Billy, is driven off a bridge.

To the Winchester cave and this week Dean is tired of trying to find a cure for the Mark since they’re not getting anywhere. Instead he wants to go on the case of the haunted truck.

On to the university where Janet attends and Dean creeping creepily over all the college women. The do the fake FBI skit (while Dean continues to creep on the college women). Other than basically recapping the haunting, Dean learns how very very dated he is. They also learn that Billy’s brother Joey died in Afghanistan, didn’t get on with Billy and that the truck was his first.

They find the truck confirm it’s a ghost and posit the theory that ghost Joey killed his little brother for driving his truck (a motive Dean agrees with). Time for salting and burning and we know this isn’t the answer because it’s waaay too early in the episode.

Julie, another college student who receives a creepy chat message from someone saying “810” “I know” which apparently frightens her – enough that she seems to forget that block buttons exist. Time for cold, telekinesis, lots of “810” messages – and being strangled with a computer wire (also screaming at a USB wire which is just… not courageous it has to be said).

Sam and Dean pull their FBI shtick to get all the info on the latest death and questioning her friend reveals nothing. Burrowing through her social media reveals nothing. The cafeteria is Dean’s idea of heaven though. But the searching does reveal to Dean that his internet browsing doesn’t disappear just because he deleted it (no we don’t need to know) and they do find the chat message.

They track down the chat account and see a woman throwing floral tributes left by a lamp post into a bin liner. They learn that her husband died shortly after they were married and she hates the fact the flowers remind her of the death. They do learn about the college student sending the floral tributes.

Some research turns up the details of the dead man, Andrew, who was cremated so unlikely to be the ghost either. Also noteworthy is his body being completely burned beyond recognition

On to some more students – Delilah (she who sent the floral tributes) and Kyle. She wants to come clean about something and is all nervous while Kyle is more sinister and threatening and in favour of silence in a the-ghost-will-totally-kill-me-next kind of way. Which then happens – courtesy of some ridiculously huge speakers and more 810 clues

To Dean and Sam finally questioning Delilah who reveals the four of them caused Andrew’s death by accidentally driving him off the road while they were all far too interested in their mobile phones and then fleeing the scene and Billy refusing to call the police because his license was suspended. Of course, Delilah is the nice one who wants the rest to go to the police but is convinced not to.

Cover Review: 2nd February - 6th February

Lady of Integrity (Magnificent Devices #7) by Shelley Adina

Ahh Steampunk. I love steampunk covers. The colours, the London skyline, the dirigible. It’s all so pretty and thematic and this in particular has the perfect sense of time and place with the colour palette. I do so like it. Ok, maybe not quite as much as some others, but it’s still lovely

Voyager (Outlander #3) by Diana Gabaldon

Aha, blandly generic cover of blandness strikes again. This book could be anything, it may as well just have a blank cover. It’s not even mysterious or intriguing or really hinting. At least a big mantitteh displaying Scotsman would give us something to look at and distract us from the awfulness within.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) by Diana Gabaldon

The love affair between the highlander Jamie and his Sassanach Claire continues.  Having successfully reunited and finding themselves in America, it's time to build a life together at last, after a twenty year separation.  Though Claire and Jamie love each other, their life path certainly cannot run smooth and whether it is the Indigenous people of the area, the untamed land, or the continual threat from the English, they must stay on their toes.

For her part, Brianna is having trouble reconciling the fact that her mother is gone. Due to the difference of time between them, Claire is technically long dead but for Brianna, her mother remains alive in many ways.  Chief among Brianna's concerns is to discover whether Claire found Jamie and if they are happy in the life they share together.  Brianna must also deal with the growing love she feels for Roger but before she commit her life to him, she must find her parents, no matter how dangerous the journey is.

The POV for Drums of Autumn changes several times but the story remains easy to follow, even if the characters seem to become more and more despicable with each word they utter.  Gabaldon continues along with the homophobia, racism and yes, rape that we have become accustomed to in this series. At this point, I believe that Gabaldon must deem these problematic elements necessary to her story.

Having the Frasers in the New World and exposed to Indigenous people gives rampant opportunity for racist behaviour.  To some degree, Jamie is a man of his time and has a racist attitude towards the Native Americans; however, this didn't have to happen this way simply because the Outlander series is a  historical fictional novel.  Obviously, even then, there were those who saw the humanity of the indigenous communities and it would not have broken the tenuous historical setting of the series to have Jamie see people of colour as his equals.  Jamie and Claire both consistently refer to the Native American tribes with which they interact with as savages.  Claire however does not have the same excuse as Jamie, because having lived in 1968, she is completely knowledgeable about the disastrous effects of colonization on the Indigenous peoples of America. Claire is only interested in the Indigenous tribes to the degree that she can learn about herbs from them.

Since the Frasers are in pre-revolutionary America, slavery as an institution is flourishing.   For her part, Claire continues to be extremely against  slavery and considering the problems Jamie has had with the English, he is not in favour of it either.  Jamie turns down a large inheritance, in part because it would make him the owner of a large amount of slaves.  Don't get excited, remember whose series this is.  Claire and Jamie's daughter Brianna feels akin to her parents on the issue of slavery and also attempts to reject the same inheritance her father turned down to avoid becoming the owner of slaves.  Brianna, however, is partial to the way she benefits from slavery.
"She ought to feel guilty at being waited on by slaves, she thought drowsily.  She must remember to, later.  There were a lot things she didn't mean to think about until later; one more wouldn't hurt." (841) 
 Owning slaves is wrong but having them do labour for you apparently isn't all that bad.  Yeah, for soul crushing white supremacist institutions, as long as those near it can manage to twist the narrative away from their privilege and culpability.

Sleepy Hollow, Season Two, Episode Sixteen: What Lies Beneath

City workers head under the street and find a long hidden staircase that leads them a sealed vault which of course makes them curious enough to open it.  Naturally, the workers are pulled into the hidden vault.

Ichabod and Abby are walking  on a warship museum, with Ichabod wondering if he has totally assimilated to the times.  Abby it seems is worried that they are fighting evil without an end game and Crane reminds her that the bible said there would be seven years of tribulation but did not clarify as to form.  Great, let's get biblical again Sleepy Hollow. The field trip ends, when Abby gets a text from Reyes about a missing persons case. 

At the scene, (cause it makes so much sense that the cops have no problems with Crane randomly showing up) Abby informs Crane about the missing workers. Abby however does pause to boot a journalist who is taking unauthorized pictures. Calvin however tells Abby that from the reaction of the authorities, it's clear that they have no idea where the missing men are.  When Calvin reveals that he is the brother to one of the missing men, Abby promises that they are doing all they can to find the men. Calvin is not convinced and tells Abby she is trying to pull one over because three men just don't go missing, in a town the size of Sleepy Hollow. Calvin adds that he grew up in Sleepy Hollow and is well aware of its history for weird occurrences.  Abby again promises to tell Calvin that she will contact him when they know more.

Abby and Crane are now in the tunnels and Crane finds the trapdoor the men were pulled through.  Abby uses radar mapping to see inside the door and of course, there is a chamber designed two hundred years ago. Everything must have a link with Revolutionary War so that Crane can be relevant.  Crane believes that it was probably designed by Jefferson. Abby finds a cell phone one of the men dropped and when she and Crane view the footage, they manage to see the  monster.

Frank heads into the bar and meets up with Jenny. Frank asks Jenny to help get a few items from the precinct evidence locker.  Frank explains that when he was arrested, they took his personal items, including his wedding ring and now that he is getting his marriage back together, he really wants the ring back.  Jenny points out that Frank should call in some favours, since he knows all the cops there but Frank points out that he was convicted of a double homicide. Frank makes it clear that he needs to hack the evidence room code lock and Jenny agrees to not only get him the hack but act as look out, in payment for all that Frank has done. I don't trust Frank given that we saw him meet with Parish in the last episode; however, it's nice to see someone on the team listen to him and come through for him.

At the archives, Ichabod and Abby wonder what the purpose of the chamber.  In typical name dropping fashion, after doing his typical invective commentary towards Franklin, Crane goes on to say that he had a complicated relationship with Jefferson.  It seems that Jefferson acted like a mentor and then suddenly unfriended Crane, leaving him wondering what happened.  Abby reads through a journal and learns that Jefferson et all conjured something nasty to guard the chamber.  They decide that the best way to find out more is to head back down there.

This time, Crane and Abby are able to get the trapdoor open and they descend down the ladder.  Abby uses the radio to try and contact the missing me and they ask for help. A bunch of creatures jump out of the darkness, so Abby and Crane make a run for it.  When Crane has almost reached the top of the ladder, one of the creatures jumps on his back trying to pull him down, as Abby struggles to pull him up.  Calvin shows up, camera in tow, taking pictures, as Abby yells for him to stay back.  As soon as Abby gets the trapdoor closed, Calvin snarks about Abby's promise to call him.

Abby and Crane make their way out of the tunnels, as Calvin asks them to stop and talk to him.  Calvin is certain that both Crane and Abby know what is going on and are trying to hide it.  Abby tries to tell Calvin that he cannot be down there but Calvin picks up the phone, reminding them that his brother is down there, adding that he is going to call his editor, and contacts in the military.  Ichabod tries to warn that there are consequences to his actions and so Calvin wants to know why it's only Crane and Abby crawling around down here.  Abby tells Calvin that his brother is alive but the last thing they need is a media circus, promising Calvin limited media access.  Crane pulls Abby aside, concerned about whether or not they can trust Calvin but Abby feels that they will be better able to control Calvin, if they give him limited access.  Abby then snarks that it was Crane's people who put freedom of the press into the Constitution and Crane snarks back that they didn't predict the 24 hour news cycle.

Abby takes Calvin's phone away and heads back into the archives with Crane. Crane suggests that the creatures are supernatural guards but worries that since they haven't had any contact with anyone, now that they are awake, they would be starving.  In the tunnel, the creatures are feasting on one of the workmen, as two others watch in fear.  Calvin, Abby and Crane head back into the tunnels and we get a repeat of the can we trust Calvin debate.

The Originals, Season Two, Episode Thirteen: The Devil Is Damned

Finn is busy scrying to find Hope's location and when it doesn't work, he tosses aside his magical items.  Freya enters the room and Finn demands to know who she is.  When Freya starts to talk about what they did as children, Finn is shocked; the two hug then hug.

Elijah is on speaker phone talking to Klaus and Rebekah about the sudden appearance of Freya.  Rebekah does however say that though Freya could be anyone telling any lie, she believes that Freya  felt familiar.  Klaus questions how it's possible that Freya is alive.  This is a salient question because unlike the other Original siblings, Freya was not cursed with vampirism. Klaus questions if Dahlia is still alive as well, since she put a curse on the first borns of their family.  Elijah points out that what they should be concentrating on is insuring that no one learns of Hope's existence.  When Klaus threatens Jackson, Elijah says that Jackson will do nothing to jeopardize the wedding.  This is the first time that Rebekah learns that Hayley is getting married.

Deep in the bayou, Hayley questions why she keeps finding broomsticks and Jackson explains that in the past, it was hard to get a preacher out this far and if the intended couple couldn't wait to get their giddy on, the community would allow the couple to jump the broom. Yes, that's a disgusting bit of appropriation.  The discussion then turns to the crib that Jackson is building for Hope, with a moon crescent in the headboard.  Jackson then reveals that he has learned that packs outside of Louisiana want in on the wedding ceremony to have access to Hayley's power.  It turns out that if the wolves accept Jackson as their Alpha, they can participate in the ritual. Jackson suggests that this is a good thing because it means that after the wedding, Hayley will have a huge werewolf army to protect Hope.

After a call from Aidan, Klaus learns that Finn has Marcel.  Klaus tells Rebekah that he is enraged but doesn't get to go on long about his angst because Kol walks in.  Kol asks for help because Finn has cursed him but Klaus doesn't believe him.  Kol isn't exactly apologetic, telling Rebekah that she deserved what happened to her; however, he adds that he doesn't deserve to die at the hands of his own family.  It's Rebekah who assures Klaus that Kol is not lying.  Kol reveals that Finn is trying to get a secret out of Marcel and when Klaus and Rebekah exchange looks, Kol realises that Finn is right about Klaus having a secret.

Freya reveals that she is alive because of a spell Dahlia placed her which forces her to sleep for 100 years at a time and then wake for a year, before going back to sleep.  Apparently, it started as a way for them to stay young and beautiful but Freya realised that all of Dahlia's stories are lies.  Freya reveals that Dahlia is still alive which is a problem because she fled from her.  Finn asks about the curse Dahlia placed and Freya questions why Finn is concerned because their siblings are vampires.  Finn then reveals that Klaus had a daughter.  Freya immediately asks where the child is but Finn reveals that he does not know and that the child is impossible to find.  Freya points out that though Finn is powerful, she found him and then lists the ingredients she will need to find the child.  Freya says that some things have to die, so that others may live.

Marcel manages to wake and crawl his way to Gia, promising that they are going to get through all of this together.  Finn enters, saying that he has a job for Marcel and when Marcel refuses, Finn rips the heart out of one of Marcel's vampires.  Finn then demands that Marcel bring him some of Hayley's blood.

Cami and Elijah are still playing house and when Hope gets injured cutting her forehead,  Elijah gets lost and starts to hallucinate the red door again.

Kol questions what Klaus's secret is but Klaus points out that secrets are for those who have earned the right to keep them.  Kol says that as a weak witch there is nothing he can do, so Klaus asks Kol to call Davina; however, Kol doesn't want Davina to know that he is sick.  Klaus then questions if Kol remembers the spell Finn used on him, suggesting that if the spell can be remembered, then Finn can be trapped and killed.  Kol immediately backs up, not wanting Klaus inside his head but Klaus is faster and he learns about Finn's desire to drive a dagger into his heart. Klaus's response is to toss Kol across the room.

Elijah bandages up Hope, as Cami tells him that he clearly went somewhere when he saw the blood, adding that blood is clearly a trigger.  Cami is in full counselor mode saying that he does the work to face his atrocities and that he has done the work.  Cami suggests that Elijah needs to stay physically busy and hands him, I kid you not, a honey do list.

Jackson plays with the kids in the Bayou as Hayley watches.  Hayley informs Jackson that the meeting is taking place and sends him ahead, promising to be right there.  The moment Jackson leaves, Hayley confronts Marcel, who has been watching her.  Marcel explains that Finn sent him for Hayley's blood for a locator spell to find Hope.  Marcel says that he has to give him something because Finn is going to kill a vampire every hour until he gets it.  Hayley marches off saying that she has to call Klaus.

Klaus however is in a rage after learning that Kol asked for help, though he was plotting to put him to sleep with the dagger. Klaus declares that he is no better than Finn but Kol says that he is the odd one out and came to Klaus because he, Elijah and Rebekah are his family.  Kol tells Klaus that if he wants to figure out where Finn is, he can find him himself and then uses magic to cause both Rebekah and Klaus to fall to their knees before storming out.  Rebekah stands and tells Klaus that his temper will be the end of him one day, before storming out.

Kol is distraught and he sits crying, as he bleeds from his nose.  Kol then gets a call from Finn, who he assumes is calling to gloat.  Finn reveals that he is calling with a proposition.  Finn asks Kol to bring him some of Klaus's blood, promising to heal Kol.  Kol picks up the diamond and says that it would be his pleasure.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dying by the Hour (Jesse Sullivan #2) by Kory M Shrum

Jesse is now very high profile as a Necronite and Death Replacement Agent – which means she’s also a target for a lot of hatred, especially from the United Church.

But more dangerous than the constant hatred attacks she faces is the dark conspiracy that comes from her own long hidden father that shadows the church’s actions. That conspiracy is still active – people are disappearing, probably dying and Jesse and Alice have to find them… though what they will do and what they will risk to do it may be far too great.

This book continues several of the elements I loved about the first book – the world setting is excellent, the whole concept of Necronites is one I want to really delve into. The whole idea of “death replacement” as a profession is original and something I love to see – I would actually like to see a lot more of it.

The ongoing conflict with the church is also a nice angle – with a combination of grand conspiracy theories from shadowy leaders as well as on the ground prejudice from fanatical members, both willing to pursue their own hatreds and follow orders. I like the extra conflict that comes from what Death Replacement agents can actually do – the choice between hatred and life is very clear. I also think the growing conspiracy and shadowy motive behind the church helps put things like the unification in a more understandable light since there is clearly something guiding their hand behind the scenes. The depiction of prejudice is good and we’re getting some history into the previous military detention and experiment on necronites (which, in turn, provides more motivation for other dubious characters in the book) – but there is some definite appropriation of LGBT issues and comparisons being made which is all the more shady as the Necronites gain new abilities.

Our protagonist is Jesse who is rather flailing in all of this – but in a somewhat good way. In some ways she seems to be trying to pursue a somewhat ordinary life – as much as possible. A lot of that isn’t willing because people are keeping her in the dark (including Brinkley and Alice). I like Jesse, she has a snarky viewpoint, is very over her depth and definitely afraid of what’s happening around her even as she becomes inured about the constant hatred and prejudice she faces. It’s also great to see a bisexual protagonist. She and Alice have an interesting relationship, full of conflict and distance because of Jesse being with Lane and each side trying to protect the other which comes with a lot of work and worry and secrets. I find it interesting in how that in turn relates to Alice’s relationship with Nikki and Jesse with Lane – they’re both with “love interests” who are more casual, who they have less invested in, who isn’t so high stress. I think that could do to be developed more since it is a valid concern and something that would make an important point on their relationships - that for all Alice and Jesse are passionate about each other, they have no fun and it’s all torn with guilt and responsibility and duty. It needed developing.

As it is that leaves Alice being an extremely competent, skilled, intelligent character – and a Lesbian as well – who is excellent to follow; but she also feels a little creepily obsessed with Jesse to a rather unhealthy degree – and Nikki is orbiting Alice on the sidelines in a kind of unhealthy “one day you’ll love me!” kind of way. I do like that it’s clear Nikki knows Alice’s feelings and she isn’t being exploited, but I’m waiting for everything to messily come apart.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Converting a book to a film is difficult – far more so than a TV series. A book inevitably has more content, more nuance, more scenes and more development than you can fit into even the longest of films (this film is a little over 2 hours long, though it does feel longer). It’s difficult to decide what to cut and what to keep but almost inevitably something has to be sacrificed. That can be hard, it can be a disaster but it is probably a better idea than doing what Mortal Instruments did:


This was a bad idea. Even with this film being eleventy hours long, the plot didn’t fit. The Simon/Clary/Jace love triangle (the romance at all for that matter, it ate far too much space), the vampire interlude, the side track to Magnus for him to say “don’t worry about it, it wears off” (pretty much the entirety of Magnus there), many many many LONG fight scenes, werewolves thrown in just ‘cos, some weird conflict over Luke which wasn’t even close to developed (thankfully) and even the whole incest thing that absolutely no-one wanted – it’s ALLL THERE. Interspaced with lots of scenes which basically have me picturing the director cackling “we have HOW MUCH BUDGET?! CGI ALL THE THINGS! MOAR PRETTY! MOAR!”

So things suffered. Exposition was just rammed in everywhere, just about any character at any time may feel the need to deliver a quick lecture because we need ALL THE THINGS to be mentioned whether relevant or not and we have zero time to develop any of it. The romance between Jace and Clary was ludicrously fast forwarded (and this isn’t just because I can’t see Jamie Campbell Bower and not think “12 year old” no matter how tall he is which means not only did I have to endure incesty-ness, but 12 year old incestyness. No thanks), to the point of being almost hilarious how deeply passionate these two were about each other despite only knowing each other for… 16 hours?

And when Valentine finally appeared I honestly think if I hadn’t read the book I would have had no idea who he was. So much time was spent on flashy fight scenes, pointless side tracks, more flashy fight scenes, boring romance, more flashy fight scenes and big impressive camera pans with swelling music over pretty pretty CGI that there was no real development of the actual villain, what his motives are or even establishing him as a major threat rather than just another element of the eternal exposition. And when he showed up he spent more time on family drama than actually being a conceivable villain.

I actually almost want to argue that Ysabelle is the protagonist of this movie. While Jace and Clary are angsting romantically with Valentine, she’s running around with a flame thrower getting shit done. Of course it didn’t help that Clary’s sole claim to protagonist-ness is that she is the Keeper of the McGuffin and the super-shiny-power-of-shininess which she did nothing to develop, achieve or earn but just had it because she’s the protagonist. Oh Clary Sue step aside and take Sleeping Mother with you (wow, Lena Headey was under-used on this movie) and let Ysabelle take over.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Fangs for the Fantasy Podcast 2015 Episode 5

It's time for episode 5 of the Fangs for the Fantasy podcast! We continue our critical analysis of the genre in all it's many forms, all through our social justice lens

We're going to look at Walking Dead, Bitten, Constantine, Vampire Diaries and no doubt many more shows - as well as the books we've read including our book of the week.

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

This week we discuss The Walking Dead, Z Nation, Bitten, Constantine, Vampire Diaries, Helix

We also look at the treatment of marginalised people in Dystopians.

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

2nd February - 9th February: The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr
9th February - 16th February: Fury’s Kiss by Karen Chance
16th February - 23rd February: Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop
23rd February - 2nd March: Dark Debt by Chloe Neil
2nd March - 9th March: Fury's Kiss by Karen Chance
9th March - 16th March: Ash by Malinda Lo

The Walking Dead, Season Five, Episode Nine: What Happened and What's Going On

The Walking Dead opens with someone shoveling dirt, a framed picture of a house, and Stokes giving a funeral sermon.  We see flashes of the prison and two twin Black boys.  Later, Noah talks to Rick about his plan to head home with Beth.  Rick talks to the crew, telling everyone that the place Noah is from was secure when he was last there and that Beth wanted to make sure Noah got there.  They decide that though it's a long trip, if the place is secure, it's the last long trip they have to make. 

We get a flash of Lizzie and Mikah smiling and one says, "it's better now."

The group splits up into two groups, with Rick, Noah, Tyreese, Michonne, and Glenn, in a car.  Rick contacts Carol by the radio and Carol promises to come and look for the group, if they don't check in in twenty minutes. Noah tries to assure Tyreese that the trade for Beth was the right play but Tyreese is convinced that it all happened the way it was supposed to. When they get close, Rick asks Tyreese to pull over, adding that they will go in on foot just in case.

They make their way through the woods, with Michonne in the lead and Glenn taking up the rear. When they arrive, it quickly becomes apparent that all of the people are either dead or gone.  Noah quickly hops over the fence and Rick et all have to run to keep up with him.  In the center of town, Noah stops when he sees the ground littered with bodies and a walker making its way towards them.  It's Tyreese who offers his condolences, as Noah cries and Michonne who takes out the walker.  As Noah continues to cry (badly at that because Tyler James Williams is a horrible actor ) Rick suggests they look around for anything useful and head back.  Glenn agrees that they can make a quick sweep, and Tyreese agrees to stay with Noah.  Rick contacts Carol to tell her that the location is gone.

Rick tells Michonne that they will figure out and though she says yes, it's clear Michonne is filled with doubt.  Rick and Glenn talk about how he knew that Dawn mean to kill Beth but he wanted to kill Dawn anyway. Rick makes the point that coming here was for Beth.

Noah continues to weep, as Tyreese stands guard.  Tyreese explains that he wanted to die for who and what he lost, then brings up the time he stepped into a crowd of Walkers.  Tyreese believes that because he kept going, he was able to save Judith and reunite her with Rick.  Tyreese tells Noah that this isn't the end.  Noah slowly rises to his feet with Tyreese's encouragement, then takes off running again, forcing Tyreese to follow him. 

Glenn brings up Terminus and the guy in the storage container.  Glenn says that after the prison he got Maggie back and things went okay.  Glenn picks up a bat and brings up the lose of Washington and finding Beth dead so soon after finding out she was alive.  Glenn declares that he would have shot Dawn dead, right or wrong.  Michonne interrupts the men to say that they need to stop because one can be out here to long.

Tyreese chases Noah to the front lawn of his former home, telling him that he doesn't want to go in there but Noah is insistent.  Tyreese pulls a knife and takes the lead as they approach the house.  Inside, they find a rotting carcass of a woman on the floor and I assume she is Noah's mother.  Noah gets on his knees and draws a blanket over her head, saying that he is sorry it took him so long to return.  Hearing a noise, Tyreese starts to make his way through the house.  Behind a closed door, the shadows move and it's clear that a walker is trapped in a bedroom.  Tyreese makes his way into what was clearly Noah's twin brothers room and looks at the pictures of the boys on the wall.  What he doesn't realise is that a walker is sneaking up on him.  The walker bites Tyreese in the arm and he tosses it across the room.  Noah comes in an puts a toy airplane through the head of the walker, promising Tyreese that he will be back with help.

The Diabolical Miss Hyde (Electric Empire #1) by Viola Carr

Dr. Eliza Jekyll is a doctor at Bethlem hospital – and a crime scene investigator, helping the police investigate a series of disturbing murders and mutilations that are stalking London

But Eliza has a secret – and a serum she is driven to take which lets the much wilder Lizzie Hyde out to play; a character who is much more in key with the dark underclass of London unlike the oh-so-proper Eliza Jekyll. Eliza tries to keep her repressed – but Lizzie’s knowledge and connections may be essential to the case.

This is a problem with Captain Lafayette, an enforcer for the Royal Society, police of all things mystical and unorthodox joins the investigation for reasons unknown. Her secret could end up with her burned at the stake.

This book has a whole lot of awesome concepts that I love. The world is excellent – a wonderful brass-and-electricity steampunk world with all of that aesthetics, taking a well researched Victorian London with both it’s very proper upstairs world and its gritty, grossly abused, unequal underclass who strived underneath it. We have a deeply unequal world and a deeply unjust one that explores the revolutions and responses to revolution that were so common at that time that we don’t often see in Steampunks (or, if we do, we have some nebulous “anarchists” or “insurrectionists” without much exploration of their motivations).

With all this repression it’s also built into the supernatural and super-science elements of the show itself; we have people of fae descent with strangely different bodies who are repressed and driven into the shadows by the ordered Royal Society. In this oppressive society, not only are the mystical human beings driven out, but also the science/quasi science itself is repressed. The sheer huge potential of Steampunk and Victorian Gothic with its ether and technology and strange potions is obviously a threat to the staid establishment and is heavily and viciously policed.

The protagonist is also an interesting twist: Dr. Eliza Jekyll and Miss Lizzie Hyde; with an extra twist on the whole “good and evil” dichotomy of the Jekyll/Hyde storyline. It’s not good and evil, it’s, if anything, order and chaos. Or maybe law & society vs underclass. Or even upper class vs underclass. Or, probably more accurately, they don’t really fit neatly in any of those categories. Lizzie is more ruthless but has often moral barriers and, in some ways, more compassion than Eliza does. Eliza, though, is easily subversive and rebellious in her own role as a female doctor, a police surgeon and a doctor in Bethlem Mental Hospital. There’s no simple black vs white this vs that line between the two which in turn makes their own storyline compelling as Eliza begins in repressing her “sister” but slowly opens to her more and more.

Along with all this we have an interesting murder mystery – and it’s interesting to me because it’s almost woo-woo-less. Eliza doesn’t have some arcane technology or special ability that makes her a super expert at solving crimes. What she has is her credentials, her knowledge and her skill which is interesting in and of itself though I’d quite like to have seen more of it.

Book of the Week

It's another Monday and time for another episode of the Fangs for the Fantasy Podcast!

You will be able to listen to us on our youtube channel, or by the link in the sidebar or by the post here that will be posted. We hope to see you there

Like all  the Fangs for the Fantasy podcast(archives here) we read a book and discuss it on the show.  For those wanting to read with us, our next books of the week are

2nd February - 9th February: The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr
9th February - 16th February: Fury’s Kiss by Karen Chance
16th February - 23rd February: Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop
23rd February - 2nd March: Dark Debt by Chloe Neil
2nd March - 9th March: Fury's Kiss by Karen Chance
9th March - 16th March: Ash by Malinda Lo