Saturday, August 1, 2015

Dominion, Season 2, Episode 4: A Bitter Truth

Noma is tied to a chair and terrified of a big spectral head. Bad CGI scares me too Nora

Did I mention how much I hate this whole “show the middle of an episode then flash back to the beginning” prologue nonsense? Because I really do loathe it – and we’re now going back 5 hours earlier.

In New Delphi, Julian (Lire) tries to sell Alex the idea of humans and angels collaborating – especially since even if they kill Gabriel, the gazillion low level angels on Earth are too many to kill. Perhaps, surprisingly, Noma is the one to object to leaving 8 Balls in the bodies they stole. Alex is more concerned with taking down Gabriel no matter what and he’s not happy that Julian is ready to protect his city rather than go on a crusade against the angels that have destroyed the planet. Alex also suspects Julian has no intention of forming an alliance with Vega and is lying.

They brainstorm why Julian would lie with Pete adding nothing useful because he’s so far out of his depth (with an added problem that no-one can know about the Exorcism Hug since a city full of 8 Balls may find that problematic). Riesen is also clear that New Delphi is definitely strong – much much more powerful than Vega ever was so they do have an army to offer.

To let Alex snoop, Riesen arranges to speak to Julian, city leader to city leader. Alex and Noma go snooping despite Noma’s very bad feeling and they find a huge warehouse full of a gazillion frozen people – armed people standing still holding weapons.

When Alex and Noma return to Riesen Julian tells them about his army – 8 Balls in stasis. But while they were snooping, Julian took Pete.

He takes them to Pete and describes New Delphi’s history – how a pack of 8 Balls saved the humans from a higher angel which began the collaboration. By capturing  higher angel, they also learned something else – how to help lower angels who WEREN’T powerful enough to possess humans to find a body. He shows off his ancient amphora and uses it to have a lower angel possess Peter. Again, I guess. He intends to use it on Noma and Alex. I suspect this will not work.

Noma is put in the chair next for an angel to possess. Except lower angels certainly cannot possess higher ones – she breaks free and gets out her wings. She and Alex grab the amphora and run. But Alex hasn’t given up with an alliance though

Julian goes back to Riesen who is a) not particularly impressed that Noma is an angel since New Delphi is full of angels and b) wouldn’t inform on his soldiers anyway. Riesen gives some unhelpful advice.

Under the Dome, Season 3, Episode 7: Ejecta

In the caves James is all fretting watching the gooey pods put Christine back together again.

Perhaps in response to this, the pod people start jumping out of high windows, much to Barbie and Eva’s consternation. This is apparently what pod people do without “someone to guide us”

Ok if Barbie doesn’t clue in by now there’s no hope for him, hanging around with Julia has killed his last brain cell. But he seems more interested in the shooting stars than he pod people

Meanwhile Julia and Big Jim continue to be the people in the world I most want to see savaged by angry baby tapirs (a fate both gruesome and overwhelmingly cute). They continue to be annoying –before they finally see the pink stars falling and crashing like a unicorn bombardment.

Being bombarded by pink explosions apparently makes pod people very mellow and Eva and Barbie conclude the pod people need Christine. I wish to point out again that Barbie is not asking questions about the whole pod-people thing or that, maybe, Julia had a point (though, to be fair, the words “Julia may have a point” would be impossible for anyone who has actually met the woman to say). They worry that the pink meteors may break through the Dome (the fact they’re bombarding Julia and Jim suggests yes).

To find out they decide to go to a tower, Under the Dome actually has a nice moment when Barbie is surprised at Eva going into danger and she shuts him down – if it’s safe enough for him then it’s safe enough for her. From the tower Eva concludes the Dome hasn’t been breached – but that the shattered meteorites are being thrown into the atmosphere in such quantities as to black out the sun and cause “an extinction level event” if the meteors are falling everywhere. She’s convinced this is the end of the world – the entire world destroyed except for those safe beneath the Dome.

Aren’t they making a pretty big assumption here? The Meteors may not be falling all over

Anyway, having assumed this, Barbie realises the Dome is the only place of safety so they have to go to Bird Island and talk the to Acteon people since they can communicate with the outside and tell people to use the Red Door to safety.

I think Eva disapproves of this plan because they key to get them out of the tower has mysteriously disappeared. She doesn’t want the people who are the strongest, most selfish and most vicious to make it through the Red Door (since a scrabble for the door and safety would cause this). Hilariously, she lists Julia as one of those people. And, no, Barbie still hasn’t question whether Julia may be right (blasphemy though that is) in the face of suicidal pod people.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Pure Magic (Black Dog #2) by Rachel Neumeier

While Natividad and her family have found security with Dimilioc and managed to defeat the Black Dog that tore their family apart and killed their parents, they are not safe

The world has changed – in the aftermath of the war with the vampires, Dimilioc is left weakened and surrounded by enemies. Her sanctuary is far from secure and the werewolves are beset on all sides: vampires, rogue Black Dogs and even a suspicious human government all

And it’s into this difficult world that Justin enters – Pure but with no knowledge of the supernatural world he’s part of and he’s not sure what to think of the savage monsters who are “offering” protection… whether he want it or not.

I do love this world setting. The whole concept of the vampires and the war with the werewolves is one that has been done before – but there are many more unique elements to it. The idea that vampires and their mind control managed to hide the supernatural – and with them dead and almost extinct that removes this “Miasma” and exposes all supernatural to humanity. The war against vampires quickly became a war between humans and Black Dogs as the more brutal and savage Black Dog organisations found themselves hunted down as the vampires were

Which leaves the Dimilioc, who value the Pure and try to behave in a civilised fashion without leaving a trail of bodies behind in a difficult position attacked from several sides: the remaining vampires still plot, they’re very understrength after the war, Black Dogs driven out from other countries trying to wipe them out are looking to carve their own territory out of Dimilioc line and, on top of that, the awkward and tentative peace with the human government and a population that is primed to fight after destroying the vampires who are not exactly on the Dimilioc’s side.

This whole, complex world is told excellently through the story. We get to address all of these and make them all work into the story without the story feeling overstuffed or with too many crowded elements which is a challenge in and of itself

At the same time it manages to be a very personal story of Natividad and Justin which is also excellent since both of them shows this world from very different angels. Natividad has always been very much in the supernatural community, even when hiding from it – which gives her a clear view on the world, vampires and Dimilioc. While Justin has lived his entire life as a human so has much less rose-tinted glasses (and much more ignorant view point) to look upon the monstrous Black Dogs. Together they bring a complete picture of the world.


'Question!' photo (c) 2007, Stefan Baudy - license:

It's been a year since we've done one of these (and I think we've lost a lot of the notes we took last time, to be honest. I blame the icy chill and weremooses one of us has to deal with).

The urban fantasy genre is huge and we’re always scouting for new shows and books in the genre. But we’re still continually surprised by shows and books that have managed to fly under our radar - so we’re throwing out to the community - what have we missed? What should we be watching? What should we be reading? Where’s the hole on our pages? What should we check out (and why? NB: "I want to see Sparky suffer reading this" is totally not a valid reason. "I want to see Renee suffer reading this" is an amusing and sensible option. It is known).

(And what have you suggested before but our organisation has completely lost? We do occasionally get suggestions by twitter or email. We also lose a lot - please do resend and join us in cursing technology {and mooses} and blaming it for our own disorganisation)

New or old, let us know what we need to see. Or even something you think we should comment on!

We’re especially interested in shows/books/games/etc that have minority protagonists or very major characters, of course. Let us know!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Guardian, a Sword, & Stilettos (The Enlighten #1) by Kristin D. Van Risseghem

Zoe Jabril is a typical teenage girl, or at least that is what she thought before she found out that her best friend is an angel and that he was assigned to watch over her.  That should be enough oddity in the life of one young woman but it's only the tip of the iceberg for Zoe.  After being attacked by demons, Zoe learns that she is destined to bring the Enlightens together and bring an end to the Devil's plot to take over the world.  That's a lot for anyone to handle, especially when one has prom to worry about and the mean girls at school just won't leave you alone.

As you may have guessed from the description, The Guardian, A Sword & Stilettos is YA. When I pick up a YA book, I expect a lack of maturity and experience from the protagonist but Zoe takes the cake.  The devil is sending demon assassins to kill Zoe and what is she concerned about?  Well, finding the perfect prom dress naturally and of course her first kiss. If that were not enough, Zoe keeps bringing up learning to defend herself but somehow never gets around to that, what with all the angst about which of her immortal male love interests to choose from.

Speaking of immortal love interests, I have to say for the record that the idea of an 80 year old Nephilim and an ancient angel in love with and pursuing a 17 year old girl because she is the chosen one is just wrong.  First off, both Shay and Kieran have been watching over Zoe since the day of her birth and when she became a teenager, they both suddenly began to feel an attraction to her.  Ummm creepy, in fact, super creepy.  Zoe does actually call Shay a stalker but still yet continues in her relationship with him because - well - woo woo naturally.  Shay causes her to tingle, so the fact that he watched her from the cradle and is actually old enough to at the very least be her grandfather is supposedly no big deal.  Had the nature of Zoe's relationship with Shay and the age difference actually been something Zoe actively thought about and tried to negotiate, I could have tolerated it better.  Instead, what we got was Zoe angsting about the fact that she has feelings for Shay and not for her best friend.  I suppose I should simply be thankful that  VanRisseghem didn't drag out the love triangle for too long.

If you can get over the creepy pedophile type feeling of both Shay and Kieran, there's also the issue that they read like teenage boys.  Yes, in terms of immortals they are young but neither one of the two should actually sound or feel like they fit in at high school.  On their first date, Shay even plays a One Direction song for Zoe.  What teenage boy listens to One Direction, let alone a Nephlim who has been alive for eighty years?  When Shay was 17, WWII was just starting.  How does someone like that relate to One Direction?  It's ridiculous and feels like Van Risseghem was just trying to squeeze in some youthful references.  Look, teenagers are just as diverse as adults and perhaps Van Risseghem should spend some time with a few to get a better sense of what they are like.  Yes, some are going to be obsessed with the latest boy band and prom while others are goal oriented and have real awareness of this world.  All in all, much of Van Risseghem's characterisation feels forced, unrealistic and trite.

Atlantis, Season 2, Episode 12: The Queen Must Die

Icarus sneaks into the curfew-ed city to meet Pythagoras, dodging guards (while the possibility of Icarus betraying Pythagoras is possible.)

They’re helping Jason, now good again, sneak into the arena they just rescued him from (much to Hercules’s disgust – Jason’s good at throwing their help back!) to rescue his fellow gladiator, Diocles.

Icarus told this to Goran who, in turn, tells it to Pasiphae who has become far more distracted by Jason than ruling the city (this would imply she’s a distracted ruler, but she was always a pretty awful ruler). Of course Cilix wants Jason killed and Medea doesn’t.

They arrange an ambush while Jason & co kill some guards to free Diocles who, in turn, wants to free everyone else. Only to have most of them slaughtered by an archer ambush. Thankfully for our heroes, Goran has most of his guards charge in after killing the extras so Jason & co can escape – and Pythagoras can contemplate who betrayed them.

After killing a bazillion guards, Jason is nearly killed but saved by Medea, her magic and her inability to realise he’s just not that into her.

Goran saw this and reports to Pasiphae that her niece is playing on Jason’s side (and that she has some nifty magic powers which would have been really fecking useful over the series). Pasiphae has trouble accepting that her evil, traitorous niece is an evil traitor.

Jason & co meet up with Diocles and a surprising number of surviving gladiators. They return to Ariadne and bow to her – but she declares Jason the real heir, as the son of King Aeson (he was a king? Did I miss that?) and she decides her family has no just claim. Jason just happily clams that title and the loyalty and kneeling of all of his followers (hey, remember when Jason was a man from the 21st century?)

Ariadne also asks Jason to marry her, renewing their promise. And no waiting time – she wants a wedding right now in the forest. Jason says yes (of course) and they make some pretty nifty  (this is a politically wise match now Jason has belatedly pulled kingship out of some orifice) preparations to have a rather good and pretty ceremony in the forest with Hercules officiating.

Icarus tends his dad and finally admits that he’s turned traitor for daddy’s sake. Daedalus is not impressed and kicks his treacherous son out for being terribad and also several kinds of stupid.

Pasiphae confronts her own treacherous relative and realise that the woo-woo bond between her and Jason is super strong (because there’s certainly no character reason for them to be connected). After feigning sympathy for a while she then threatens her with brutal death if she meets Jason again – while also trying to turn up the parental guilt to maximum (everyone else shunned Medea, only Pasiphae raised her).

She sneaks out anyway and Goran learns that trying to follow the witch is a not a great plan. She kills more guards and leaves the city. Pushed by Cilix, Pasiphae orders Medea killed. Realising the way the wind is blowing, Cilix begins plotting against Pasiphae.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wickedly Wonderful (Baba Yaga #2) by Deborah Blake

Beka Yancy is the youngest of the three North American Baba Yagas.  Her mentor has recently retired to the Otherworld and Beka finds herself dealing with an environmental disaster that leaves her mystified.  Not only are the selkies and merpeople dying but the fish have disappeared from the ocean leaving the local fishermen all struggling.  Beka has vowed that she will solve this problem but despite a number of dives, she has absolutely no clue what is happening.  If that were not enough, Kesh,  the prince of the selkies and a local fisherman named Marcus are both vying for her attention.  Beka doesn't know which way to turn and even starts to wonder whether or not she is cut out to be a Baba Yaga.

I originally picked up this series because while the Baba Yaga is a very old myth, she has not appeared in many fantasy novels.  I was very excited to see what Blake would do with this awesome witch.  Unfortunately, in Blake's Baba Yaga series, the Baba Yaga, is simply a name for a powerful witch and many of the things that make the Baba Yaga, the Baba Yaga are missing from this series.  No longer is the Baba Yaga an old crone, no longer does she fly in a mortar and pestle and no longer does she live in a cabin which is made mobile by chicken legs.  Even the dragon chudo yudo has been turned into a Newfoundland dog.

Wickedly Wonderful is essentially a paranormal romance; however, while the romance between Marcus and Beka features largely in the story, it never overwhelms the mystery of why the ocean has become polluted.  Beka is steadfast in her search and never stops working towards her end goal, even though she is constantly battling with the taciturn Marcus, who is not found of hippie people. Because of the way that Wickedly Wonderful is written, we know from the beginning who is responsible for the pollution and his motivation and simply wait for Beka to figure it out.

Beka is very different from Barbara, the protagonist in Wickedly Magical and Wickedly Dangerous. Barbara, being older than Beka, is very confidant and sure of her magical powers.  Beka spends much of Wickedly Wonderful doubting her abilities despite constant assurance from Chudo Yudo.  Beka is supposedly so insecure because she was raised without any positive reinforcement from the retiring Baba.  My issue with this is that Beka is almost a 30 year old woman and while she might reasonably have some doubt in her abilities, I think it went a touch too far.  There is also the issue of Beka's naiveté. Everyone who interacts with Kesh for instance, almost immediately says that they don't trust him, yet Beka has several meals with him and even makes excuses for his behaviour.  Beka only questions Kesh's behaviour when he gets into a testosterone pissing match with Marcus over her. I like that Beka declared that she is not a commodity to be owned but I would have liked her to question Kesh's motives more, particularly after learning that Kesh was on the outs with his family. Beka just seems to keep making the same moves though it is not progressing the case that she is investigating and I found that to be extremely frustrating. 

Teen Wolf, Season 5, Episode 6: Required Reading

Scott is attacked by one of the Dread Doctors while in the middle of an asthma attack (I think Scott did have Asthma before he became a werewolf) to be rescued by Malia and Melissa (might an medical care) before they run to a lift.

Apparently this is a consequence of reading that book.

Now to the night-time sports ground full of holes. Either they’ve been attacked by weremoles or lots more chimera have been buried.

And Stiles and Malia tell Sheriff Stilinski about the Chimera. Poor Sheriff Stilinski. Stiles is also feeling 8 kinds of fugly about Donovan who they realise is also a Chimera. Who they also realise was a Chimera. Sheriff Stilinski also disapproves of the terrible name “dread doctors.”

Stiles realises the Dread Doctors went to a whole lot of effort to get these teenagers –including a jailbreak, so why these kids?

Parrish continues to train Lydia how to fight. And flirting, of course. Interrupted by Lydia having Dread Doctor’s memories.

Theo and Scott are on the look out for more mysterious chimera – people acting strange (remember Theo is the bad guy. Also they’re looking for people acting strange in Beacon Hills). And the whole gang gathers for a Dread Doctor’s book club though side effects may include hallucinations and killing sprees. Still an easier book to read than some I have

We also learn that Lydia’s mother doesn’t remember her Kanima experience because of the Dread Doctor’s memory shenanigans. Lydia also tell them she thinks the Doctors may have messed with her.

The read, it doesn’t seem to be very riveting read. 0.5 fang I think. Stiles is also still trying to hide the whole Donovan death thing from super-sensed Malia. But then she’s trying to hide her recent Desert Wolf vision as well.

In the end they all end up falling asleep rather than reading (0.5 fangs, definitely), except Theo who is evil. Kira also talks in Japanese in her sleep – which Theo records.

School the next day for more paranoia, memory musings and electricity shenanigans. And a whole lot of worry about random students being chimera. I don’t think evil teachers openly revelling in their students leaving their oh-so-difficult course are Chimera but she should be eaten anyway.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Immortal Ever After (Argeneau #18) by Lynsay Sands

Valerie Moyer has been kidnapped and locked in a cage for ten days.  She stopped eating the food after realising that its full of drugs.  Having not eaten in four days and her energy almost completely drained, Valerie is about to engage in the fight of her life in her bid to escape and hopefully free the rest of the women who are being held captive.  What Valerie doesn't want to admit is that the people who kidnapped her are not mortal like she is.  Fortunately for Valerie, the immortal hunters are on the case.  When Anders first sees Valerie, he instinctively tries to control her and read her mind and is stunned to find that he cannot, which makes Valerie his lifemate.  Anders is an immortal just like the beings who kidnapped Valerie and so to win her heart, he will have to convince her that not all immortals are the same.

Anders has popped up in a few books in this series thus far.  It's about time he got a lifemate of his own.  I was really hoping that Anders's story would be huge because he has always been such a mysterious character.  I am glad that I learned his origin story but feel that other than his surly nature, I still don't really feel like I really know him.  He's sort of a blank slate and could really be anyone.  

Valerie as a lifemate is a huge relief, considering the last few in this series. Valerie actually manages to save herself twice and is not pleased at the very idea that Anders might see her as a damsel in distress.  I love that Valerie helped Leigh deliver while stopping occasionally to knock out an immortal with a hanger.  That scene really got me giggling.  Valerie is educated and while she has some issues with her body, she's not constantly harping on it the way that some of Sands female love interests have recently. All in all, Valerie is a big step up.

That being said, there are some issues.  Valerie was kidnapped off the street, forcefully fed on and kept in a cage for ten days. Sands says that Valerie has nightmares because of it and that is certainly natural but the character herself didn't actually feel like she was going through PTSD.  One cannot be held against one's will, drugged and abused and not have some kind of emotional trauma.  I suppose with a HEA looming, Sands felt it better to move onto Valerie getting the hots for Anders and moving the story along.  Unfortunately, this made the story feel sort of off to me. 

Falling Skies, Season 5, Episode 5: Non-Essential Personnel

We have some humans desperately sheltering in a barricaded building with injured to look after, surrounded by Skitters and no supplies. A woman, Isabella, thinks the need to leave since it’s not a great situation. When she and some of the people make a run for it they are almost caught by Skitters – and are saved by Pope and Anthony.

They recruit the survivors into his little gang, Anthony pointing out people he considers liabilities who can’t fight- they’re driven out. One of them, Isabella, points out she’s a nurse, useful – but she doesn’t get to bring the other “liabilities” with her.

Later she tries to convince Pope that she just did it to try and get them indebted to her – presenting herself as ruthless and selfish and knowing people only did what they could to get something back. Pope also tells her about his happy kidnapping.

He’s good at multi-tasking because while doing this he’s also taunting Tom and making him play hide and seek for Hal (kind of proving his point that Tom is willing to completely drop the mission for the sake of his family, but not anyone else’s). Pope continues to convince us he’s completely lost any grasp of humanity or decency. Anyway he cut Hal so nurse Isabella treats him and Hal tries to convince her not to join the dark side

Tom runs into the guys who were kicked out of Pope’s camp who update him on Pope and his numbers. He also knows Isabella isn’t a nurse. An increasingly more berserk Pope beats up Hal and almost kills him trying to get him to admit that Tom has caused many people to die. Of course he doesn’t.

They also get attacked by a super-skitter that wounds one of them – so Pope kills the injured guy. Yet he still has followers who agree with this. But Isabella isn’t a fool, she’s raided Pope’s supplies and is ready to run. Now Hal has to convince her to take him with her and risk her life for a man she’s just met. Of course she does.

Tom has some more alien ex-wife hallucinations. Honestly it’s a choice between Pope or Tom, humanity doesn’t deserve to be saved. Because if Tom dies the WHOLE WORLD IS DOOOOMED because without him the Espheni will win and destroy them all

Humanity needs Tom to survive? Yes definitely doesn’t deserve to live.

The Strain, Season 2, Episode 3: Fort Defiance

Bolivar is moving the Master’s resting mud – and he and his minions are slaughtering a few cops along the way. Eichorst and Bolivar go to see Palmer, much to Marchand’s surprise and nerves. Eichorst isn’t impressed at how close Abraham got to Palmer so he’s now having Bolivar play bodyguard and minder. And he doesn’t get to say no.

It does give Palmer chance to question Bolivar about how much of his personality remains while he’s a vampire – apparently most of it.

Marchand is a good judge of character and is not thrilled with them working with Eichorst and Bolivar – Palmer admits they’re pretty bad but wants to shield her.

Meanwhile Nora and Ethan celebrate a breakthrough – their plaguey thing does kill vampires. A little too well – the vampire dies so quickly it will hardly have chance to infect others.

Abraham has his own project – killing a vampire and bottling some goo and worms. He boils the worms, processes them and then drips the white goo into his eyes. As we’ve seen with Palmer, vampire goo can greatly increase vitality and health without being infectious.

When Nora finds him he is unconscious and bleeding through his eyes – she uses CPR on him and manages to rouse him. He deflects and questions and, later is clearly much healthier. He continues to deflect her and Nora adamantly refuses to be stonewalled in such a fashion – she deserves better. He confesses to her that he consumes the worms to maintain his health – the implication being this isn’t the first time. He points out he’s 94 years old and in very good health because of the worms.

She looks pretty horrified but he’s clear that he will do whatever it takes to face the Master – he won’t “fade as a weak old man.” Nora thanks him for telling her and walks away.

Vasily and Dutch continue their plan of securing an ever widening area – including creating warning posters and planning to seal the subway with explosions – to stop new people entering Manhattan and being infected. Explosions make Vasily and Dutch hot

And Zach has disappeared. I supposed I should pretend to care. They find him before he finds his vampiric mother (he intended to walk the dark streets looking for her. This kid has a good chance to be an object lesson in survival of the fittest). While looking for Zach, Dutch sees a “missing” poster for Nikki – her ex and room mate.

Vasily and Dutch go to plan destroying the station – but Vasily does say he’ll help Dutch find Nikki for “closure.” Which means going to Nikki’s mother who is the one posting the posters – she hasn’t seen Nikki but she takes the chance to say what a terribad person Dutch is who completely destroyed her daughter, sucking the life from her.

In tears Dutch leaves to Vasily who comforts her and kisses her and they have sex in the van.

Ephraim decides to show Zach their plague plan. Zach continues to refer to the vampires as humans. We get some parent angst from Ephraim and then Zach decides to destroy all their work so Ephraim does the parental thing and drags him close to their imprisoned vampire so he can see how nasty and deadly it is. Forcing him to see what his mother is before Nora intervenes in this stellar parenting.

Which leaves Ephraim to drink and taunt his imprisoned vampire so he can try and taunt the Master. He promises to kill himself and his son before they become vampires. Oh Ephraim, promises, promises.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Led Astray by Kelley Armstrong

This is a collection of short stories by Kelley Armstrong, drawing upon her various worlds as well as several stand alones.

There are a lot of stories that draw from Kelley Armstrong’s various world series – and some of these I haven’t read. For me this was particularly a problem for the short stories based on the Cainsville series since I hadn’t read them. In some ways I think the order of the stories was off, if Devil May Care had come first rather than last, the world would have been much more explained and developed and, with that, I would have had more investment and understanding when reading The Screams of Dragons, Gabriel’s Gargoyles and The Hunt. But, if I had read Devil May Care       first, I don’t think the same sense of mystery and alienness would have pervaded these books.

Thematically and in terms of tone all of these are very good at invoke the other, the very otherworldy feel of the fae but all with a strong sense of subtlety. They are unseen and mysterious and it’s all a lot of look-out-the-corner-of-your-eye-or-you’ll miss it etherealness that really real worked. They were creepy, they were low key, they were subtle and they were about normal or seemingly normal people caught up in this mysterious place with its mysterious people who are just ever-so-slightly off. I think that wouldn’t have carried the same weight if I’d read Devil May Care first even though I enjoyed it more, since that book is very up front and clear about what Cainsville is and why. It would have destroyed the mystery and the eeriness. I do think I am missing out a lot by not recognising any of these characters and not appreciating any new angles it my bring

I also haven’t reads the Darkes Powers/Darkness Rising universe and I’m now both eager to read them and quite frustrated by having read this first.  Kat and Branded both seem to take familiar themes from The Otherworld universe but the world building goes in a very different direction – with the same supernatural creatures I know so well eventually leading to a complex and rich dystopia. In Kat we see the beginnings of this and Branded takes the extreme several years, perhaps centuries, afterwards. I’m a little frustrated in fact because I think I’d love to read this series but now I know where it’s heading I think I will miss much of the suspense of the characters facing the pending dystopia. I loved both stories not just for the world setting but also for the characters with Kat we saw strong female friendships, family and dedication and Branded showed a level of cunning and ruthlessness from a female protagonist that was absolutely applause worthy. It’s a terrible, dark, lethal world – and she does what she must to survive and thrive in excellent, terrifying fashion.

The main reason I was interested in this book was for those stories set in the Otherworld universe – I’ve read them all, I love this series and miss it now it was over, so it was nice to hark back to it. Though I have to say, in some ways, they clashed badly with the other stories in this book. The other stories have desperate, abused children, alien, cruel and downright creepy fae, several brutal dystopias and some downright disturbing standalones. Then we have the Otherworld stories which are a bit silly and great fun. I like them, but they’re theme bombs and derail the overall feel of the book

The Messengers, Season 1, Episode 13: Houston, We Have a Problem

Recap time! Introducing all the horsemen and the fact they’re going to use the shiny rock to break the 5th seal and cause all kind of badness using drones to spread them far and wide. They also realise that the whole “you can’t kill a horseman” rule came from Rose who may not be the best source given the givens.

Since they need guidance, Joshua has a vision – the city the horseman are targeting is Houston (so they can kill the Messengers as well) and Vera’s long lost irrelevant son Michael is also involved. The vision also shows them all dying which I suppose is sad.

Of course such a big ominous announcement requires some tearful goodbye scenes: Raul to Nadia (who is taking Amy Satan-Spawn away) and Nadia calls Raul “dad.” Vera calls Alan to ask him to leave town and be safe – and to take Michael with him. She’s realised she can’t be distracted from her mission to save Michael (which shows a lot of growth of her character), she needs Alan to do it. First he needs to pick up professor Leo, Michael’s father.

To Michael’s parents who are now all tormented over the evil things the devil has made them do and they’ve realised the only way they can try to make it right is get Michael (or Brian as they call him) back to Vera – because a school aged kid being taken away from the only parents he’s ever known will definitely fix everything

Said kid overhears all this and isn’t hugely thrilled by this.

It looks like Lucifer is no longer on their side because he’s working with Ronnie, Erin’s ex-husband and Amy’s dad, to kill the Fairburns (Michael’s adoptive parents) and Michael because… because he’s the devil and he doesn’t need a reason.

Joshua’s also kind of worried about Amy Satan-Spawn and contemplates some holy child murder before she turns the ultimate power of supreme cuteness against him. Fear the power of little girl hugging you and saying how nice you are!

Erin says goodbye to Amy who is being taken away by Nadia to stay with her mother in Tulsa. She then tearfully hugs Joshua about letting her daughter go – and Rose, Horseman of Death, appears to use death woo-woo. Couldn’t she have done this earlier? I mean she was with the group for so long, she could have bumped off three or four of them!

Amusingly, Raul and Zahir talk and try to present the idea that this show is totally multi-religious because of the multi-religious Messengers (various stripes of Christianity, a Muslim (Zahir), Jew (Erin), Buddhist (Koa) and an atheist (Vera)) and kind of ignoring the whole blatant Judeo-Christian mythology all through. Oh Messengers, you tried.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Killjoys, Season 1, Episode 6: One Blood

Dutch and Khylen are having tea in a very civilised tea house with Dutch making it clear from the beginning she’s not a child. She agrees to help Khylen one more time but she has provisos – she’s not killing anyone, he stays away from her team and she wants to know why he’s in the Quad.

Of course, he’s not willing to play that game (though he pretends regret) and, instead, tries to have the whole room filled with poison gas and she has to find something a man is smuggling before falling and in doing so save some of the people in the room. She grabs it and leaves, gasping for air – leaving bodies in her wake.

She returns to the ship for another recap on D’avin’s blocked memory and Dutch hinting at the relationship between D’avin and Pawter. And D’avin and Dutch flirt between D’avin thanking Dutch for her epic-too-damn-awesome acts last week

Thankfully John arrives then because this show does NOT need Dutch and D’avin in a relationship. Please don’t. They’ve got a Black Warrant – a competitive warrant against other Killjoys which John and Dutch think will be immense fun. It’s also chance for a big Killjoy reunion in Pree’s bar with lots of fun trash talk with Fancy. While they’re in the bar D’avin tries to get out of therapy with Pawter – so she agrees to use her Kreshi connections to try and find the doctor he’s looking for.

We also hear the urban legend of the mysterious level 6 – a supposed secret higher level of Killjoys.

Anyway the warrant is for a sniper who has been stealing company stuff known as “Big Joe”. And he’s a Killjoy – the youngest to become level 5 and the oldest to still have it. Not everyone’s happy to go after one of their own or believe the accusation against him – but Dutch has to duck out because Khylen has called for the case he killed people for. Inside is a chip that plugs into Dutch’s neck establishing a neural link – which is an awesome mental connection complete with hallucination data. It’s nifty – and it shows Kylen has a lot of knowledge about Big Joe and the ship he sold which no-one else does.

It also creates a link between her and Kylen which is a bad idea.

He has an unmarked ship for her to go to the stolen ship, alone, and bring back the device on it. She had agreed to help him if he left her team behind, she refuses to do so and her team are now on his radar.

Which means John and D’avin are investigating on their own and they creatively threaten a contact to get their own lead on where the ship is. That still leaves them a little lost without Dutch and an unwelcome Fancy drops in to offer them Dutch’s location in exchange for the location of the ship.

Defiance, Season 3, Episode 8: My Name is Datak and I Have Come to Kill You

Princes Bride reference! That’s got to be worth an extra fang already

We start with a flashback – to the Votan worlds when Datak was a child on Daribo the Castithan (and Indogene) home world. Child Datak postures in front of a mirror before his dad stops his kid playing with knives (though it seems less “hey kid you’ll hurt yourself” and more “you are not worthy of lethal weapons!”)

In the present and in Defiance, the Indogene spy Bebe (now disguised as a human) and his Irathient cohort see Datak being executed on the rack – they don’t intervene. He has a whole lot of men he hands out guns to.

In the Need Want, Amanda reminds us all she’s a nice person by finding kind things to say about Datak, while Nolan is less sympathetic. They’re also not impressed by Berlin leaving.

Which is when Bebe’s men attack the Need Want, in body armour and better armed they quickly take over, capturing Nolan and Amanda and separating the humans and Votans. Using a projector they pass on a deal from Rahm – drop the stasis net and the humans get to leave (while Amanda doubts his motives, there is some logic to it: Rahm doesn’t want to lose forces and wants to use Defiance as a base since it’s so defensible, which means he doesn’t want it destroyed). When Amanda refuses, Rahm orders the hostages be killed and Nolan, Amanda and Bebe kill them. Yes, Bebe is now ingratiated into Defiance.

Many hostages are, however, dead.

Bebe calls himself Chris Vackna and a mercenary passing through – and is happily recruited.

Nolan goes to Irisa who is now preparing to fight and feeling guilty about not killing Rahm even as Nolan apologises for being so harsh to her about not doing so before. He admits to dropping the fatherhood ball. Irisa joins the militia and Nolan says how proud he is of her – she doesn’t seem that impressed by this.

Amanda has one of her reassuring speeches for the town – which they place on lockdown to try and figure out how Rahm’s forces got in – that all civilians must stay inside while the militia hunts the streets, chasing sounds of gunfire as Rahm’s forces slaughter humans they find. T’evgin disapproves of this and hunts them – with his teeth. The humans he saves ask if he will kill them, referring to the stories, but he calls them “just stories.” Nolan and “Chris” arrive and the Indogene looks properly terrified. Nolan again tries to recruit T’evgin who still holds that it is not his fight.