Saturday, August 29, 2015

Under the Dome, Season 3, Episode 11: Love is a Battlefield

Julia and Norrie make it back to the safe point, with Jim lecturing Norrie on being careless (though, really, as Julia almost points out, Norrie needed to be put them at risk to save Julia from another of her terrible ideas. Because Julia.) She also warns them that Eva is now super pregnant and ready to give birth to new evil alien baby at any moment, powered by girl sacrifice.

Jim suggests killing Eva and her evil baby and Julia is outraged that the solution to evil kind controlling aliens invading the planet may include violence

Damn it Julia, stop making me agree with Jim.

No, she’s going for the cure (particularly since Barbie kissed Eva which is obviously an ulterior motive). So they need Christine’s DNA and a test subject (not Hunter because he’s not in the full throes of the infection).

Hunter shows Norrie the footage he found including Lily’s now white-staticy father (the sign of the possessed). Norrie’s also kind of edgy after killing someone.

Julia manages to find Christine’s hair from the barn where Eva was kept – please note that there were 12 girls sacrificed in this barn and who knows how many more attendants and guards. It’s also filled with straw. But Julia found not just a hair, but a hair she KNOWS is Christine’s. Even a CSI writer would be calling bullshit.

Jim has also caught on to the fact Julia is all pro-cure and suddenly not quite sure about love conquering all the minute Barbie goes back to Eva, though Julia does have the excuse that they need the cure before the dome calcifies and kills them all.

Which is when they’re found by Junior and some Kinship extras – and the Acteon guards happily kill the extras leaving Junior as their prisoner. And guinea pig for cure testing. He gets tied up to a stretcher while science happens and Jim clumsily tries to reach out to his son. Maybe they could connect through mutual awfulness? It’s the one thing they have in common! Junior ominously declares they will need the Kinship to survive.

While they’re doing that Hunter and Norrie show Julia that Partrick, Lily’s father, a possessed man, is still alive. In classic Julia fashion she storms in, calls off the cure and accuses Hector of lying. All in front of Lily as well. While Lily goes to watch the video Hector described what happened to Patrick (basically became possessed energy). Jim is worried that could happen to Junior – hey no loss there!

Jim agrees to try the cure. Hector doesn’t have to pry it out of Julia’s cold dead hand. Alas.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson

Ok, standard disclaimer that I seem to have to write every time I review a collection of short stories – I don’t particularly like them. I am not a fan of short stories, I’m not fan of stand alone stories that aren’t part of a larger series and I’m not a fan of collections of stories that aren’t related to each other

Now, this is a collection of short stories, none of them are from series, and none of them are related to each other. There’s also 19 short stories in this book. I tend to lose interest in any collections of stories that go over 10. I don’t think there’s even really a uniting theme – they’re all by the same author and they’re all speculative fiction, but that’s about it

In other words, I started this book trying very much to like it because I’d heard good things – but fearing that I was going to hate it simply because of my own dislike of short stories.

Thankfully, I loved it. Most of it anyway

It started really well with The Easthound. I loved how this really creepy story of a dystopia led by children really managed to pack a lot of world building in through without any real infodumping – the lack of adults, the fear of growing up, literally starving themselves so they wouldn’t age, the horror of being children with no adults to look after them and how that permeates how they react to the world. They’re children trying to survive – and the way they look at the world is childlike, almost a terrifying game of survival.

I think this sense of the creepy works really well in many of the stories – Old Habits. It’s take on ghosts and what they hunger for is chilling and a truly terrifying view of a horrific afterlife without being s dramatic and gory as so many others

The Smile on My Face  was amazing fun and an awesome look at body issues and self-worth with a dash of mythology and a whole lot of getting behind someone and cheering her – and a great scene of battling against rape and sexual assault without graphic depiction of victimisation – it’ strong and awesome all through. I especially like how, despite their being a Mean Girl, Gilla still reaches out to her in clear solidarity (even if it is also an excellent snide put down) because even a Mean Girl would need someone to believe her if she were a victim. On the other end of the scale, Emily Breakfast was also a fun little story (with a large number of LGBT characters and my only brief issue is the only real characterisation was distinctly sexual in nature) that wasn’t as creepy or intimidating as some, but who can be against dragon chickens? More thoughtful was Shift which not only completely took a Shakespearean story and brought out a whole new idea from it – but then had several shifts and complexities that made this story (and it’s apparent antagonists) much much more fun than I imagined and, again, very thoughtful.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Accidentally Catty (Accidentals #5) by Dakota Cassidy

After stopping to help an injured cougar veterinarian Katie Woods quickly realises that she just brought a ton of trouble into her life when her hand suddenly turns into a paw after being scratched.  With a set full of new teeth, Katie goes through all the logical medical reasons for her sudden transformation.  Lucky for Katie, the crew of OOPS is on the task. Having been through an accidental turning before, Wanda, Marty, Nina and Casey are on the case.  Katie thought that suddenly having a paw was pretty wild but when the cougar who scratched her turned into a handsome Englishman, Kate quickly realised that this already complicated situation is even more complicated - or, at least, that is what her quickly beating heart is telling her.

This book five of the Accidentals series and it's now absolutely formulaic. It goes like this: girl gets accidentally scratched/bitten by some supernatural creature, girl has a freak out cause she is no longer completely human, boy feels immediate attraction and of course responsibility for the change, boy is also dealing with some kind of mortal danger, girl and boy solve his problems and have their HEA.  These books are so formulaic that at this point I swear they've been written by the numbers.

Each male interest comes with their own little twist and in Shaw's case it's amnesia.  Because he cannot remember who he is let alone his own name, Shaw is of little help assisting Katie with her change.  Shaw is the typical tall dark and handsome type with a shade of commanding and creepy.  Creepy how you may wonder? When a man sniffs a womans panties to ensure that he is straight, I'd say a shade of creepy is an accurate description. On the side of good, Shaw is entertaining and sarcastic, easily my favorite character in Accidentally Catty.

Unfortunately, once again, Nina makes an appearance in this book.  I just want this character to disappear into a massive plot hole and never ever return.  Being a vampire, Nina is the enforcer of the OOPS crew but has the class of a billy goat.  Look, I'm not one with virgin ears or eyes but I am sick of Nina's dialogue because every second word she says is fuck.  The constant swearing doesn't make her look tough but it just makes her look ignorant with a teeny vocabulary.  I also don't understand exactly why the women are friends with Nina. They all constantly have to hold her back and tell her to shut up, even as she bullies them, curses them out and threatens them every second page.

Okay sorry about the Nina rant but I cannot stand that character and in fact, I deserve a cookie for putting up with her for FIVE books.  Okay, back to Katie.  Kate is in her early forties and recovering after a bad divorce in which her work reputation was ruined.  When Shaw enters her life, the last thing she is looking for is romance, particularly with someone who doesn't look old enough to vote.  Kate quickly becomes obsessed with the idea that she is a cradle robber and goes into complete denial. So how does she deal with having an attraction she feels is inappropriate? Well, she  tries to convince herself that Shaw is gay.

Sense8, Season One, Episode Two: I Am Also A We

Nomi tells Amanita about seeing Angel and how she feels like she knows Angel but doesn't know from where.  We learn that Nomi was a hacktavist and still hacks for security companies.  Amanita encourages Nomi to write about how she feels.  We also learn that Nomi does not have a good relationship with her family.

Will is visiting Deshawn, who makes a crack about Will being hot for him and asserting his heterosexuality.  Deshawn and Will both agree that Will being there isn't helping either of their reputations though Will adds that he would have saved anyone who needed him. Will then talks about his father  Michael being shot and how it ended Michael's career and killed parts of him.  DeShawn rightfully comments that when cops get shot, it's on the news for days but when kids like him get shot, nothing gets said because kids like him don't mean anything to anyone. DeShawn asks about Will's childhood and we get a flash to the past of Michael handcuffing Will after Will was caught shoplifting.  Will however picks the lock on the handcuffs and takes off. DeShawn is impressed but Will explains that there wasn't much to play with at a police station as a kid.  Will stands to leave and Deshawn promises never to forget what Will did, adding that he still doesn't owe him anything.

Nomi is doing a video blog about her life and the mistakes that she has made.  We get a quick flash to Kala in India.  Nomi talks about being afraid to be who she is for a long time because her family taught her that there's something wrong with people like her.  The next flash we get is to Lito.  Nomi starts talking about Pride, as we get flashes of Wolfie and Riley.  Finally, we see Will in a bar, helping his drunk and passed out father.  Nomi talks about her desperation to be a part of the Pride parade. We get a flash to Capheus standing on a hill at Pride observing.  Nomi says that today she is marching for the part of her that was once to afraid to march and for all of the people who cannot march - people living lives like she did.  Pride is in full swing and Amanata drives a motorcycle and Nomi sits on the back.  Nomi notices Jonas in the crowd and then passes out, falling off the motorcycle.

Nomi then finds herself in a hospital gown in London standing beside Riley.  Riley is at Nomi's bedside and both women are singing the same song.  When Nomi regains real awareness, her mother and sister are in the room.  Her mother is insistent on calling Nomi, Michael, declaring that Nomi will always be Michael.  Nomi asks for Amanita and is told by her mother that the hospital only allows family visitation for those in critical care.  Nomi makes it clear that Amanita is her family and asks her mother and sister to leave but her mother is insistent on staying. Nomi's mother says that she loves her and will not leave until Nomi talks to Dr. Metzger .

At the station, Will tells Diego that he has proof that he is not crazy.  Will shows the security footage from the store across the street from the alley, only to discover two hours of footage has been erased.  It's Diego who notices that there was a witness.

In the hospital, Dr. Metzger tells Nomi that there are two masses on her brain growing into each other - undifferentiated frontal lobe syndrome. Nomi learns that she is going to need surgery and her mother is quick to pipe up that Nomi will need to use their insurance because the surgery is so expensive.  Dr. Metzger adds that without the surgery, Nomi's mental capacity will deteriorate and she will experience hallucinations as well as memory loss.  Nomi's mother is insistent that Nomi will need her family and Nomi is equally insistent that her mother is no longer her family.  Nomi again has to tell her mother to stop calling her Michael and once again asks her to leave.

Lito is on the red carpet and he kisses his date Daniela, before going off to get mobbed by the female fans who showed up to see him at the opening of his new film. Lito and Daniela then walk over to talk to reporters and  are asked if they are an item.  Lito says that he and Daniela are friends, and Daniela clarifies to say, "good friends."

Rajan gives a speech about how he won Kala's heart.  Rajan talks about how their first date was to a movie and he hoped that Kala would fall in love with him.  Rajan puts down his drink and the pace of the music picks up.  Before you know it, Rajan is performing a scene right out of a Bollywood movie. Rajan then offers his hand to Kala and though she is resistant at first, Kala joins him on the dance floor.  The dance ends to cheers from the audience.

Daniela and Lito are walking and talking about what it was like to shoot the film.  Daniela confronts Lito about how he lied to an actress about how great she was - but for Lito, it's just acting. Daniela invites Lito to join her upstairs but he turns her down, saying that he has an early call tomorrow.  Daniela is shocked and tries again but Lito holds his ground and leaves with a smile.

Next, we see Wolfie having sex with some anonymous woman.

Breathless from the dance, Kala stands next to her sister Dala, saying that she is hot.  Dala has nothing but praises for Rajan, adding that if Kala won't marry him, she will.

Wolfie lies in bed with his lover and admits to having a real craving for Indian food.

Rajan and his father  Manendra approach Kala and her family to talk about their anticipation for the wedding. Manendra comments that the food is good at the party tonight, even though he doesn't like Indian food. Something isn't right about that man. Sanyam  is gracious and compliments Rajan's dancing, even though Manendra snarked about Sanyam serving Indian food at the party. Rajan asks for permission to say goodnight to Kala.

Lito has returned home and awakes the sleeping Hernando with a kiss. Now we know who Lito's heart belongs to. Lito undresses as he talk about the movie opening.  Lito climbs on top of Hernando, who asks about being able to go to Lito's premiere, causing Lito  to sigh. Hernando explains that he is just jealous and wants to be Lito's arm piece. Lito says a cheesy line about Hernando having his heart and Hernando picks up on it right away. Okay, I have to say it, am I the only one who notices how the camera keeps focusing on Lito's underwear clad crotch? Mmmmm.  Lito assures Hernando that Daniela wants what she cannot have.

Wolfgang is chatting with his lover at an Indian restaurant and makes it clear that he isn't looking for a relationship. When Wolfie looks up, he sees Kala walk by.   At home in India, Kala sees Wofie standing on a terrace.

Lito and Hernando are sleeping when Daniela rings the buzzer.  Daniela makes it clear that she wants to come up for the night cap that Lito denied her earlier, waving a bottle of booze at the security camera.  Lito is insistent that Daniela go home, until she mentions that there are photographers outside. It's Hernando who encourages Lito to let Daniela in.

Rajan is talking with Kala about their families and how they got along the evening of the party.  Rajan brings up Kala's hesitation when it comes to marriage, saying that though they grew up in separate worlds, he wants to live in the world together. The two share a kiss which is almost chaste and then say goodnight. Kala looks over the terrace but this time, Wolfie is not there.

From Dusk Till Dawn, Season 2, Episode 1: Opening Night

Santanico opens with a nifty voice over of her history – and how she is free. Big bads are coming for her – and she’s coming for them. It sounds so very epic.

From epic we go to a meat packing plant which does not look pleasant – tired workers, unsafe working conditions and a terrible boss who is happy to sexually harass his workers. Only this worker is Santanico who lets Richie into the plant with a gun. They want to rob him and, surprisingly, creepy boss Balthasar isn’t that impressed, he knows all about Calebras (snake vampires) and knows who they are – the rebels after the big boss.

Maybe because he has his own calebros who can spit venom – which he does, right into Santanico and Reggie’s eyes, knocking them out. Well that didn’t go well.

This is, of course, another “start the episode in the damn middle because we can’t be bothered to make it interesting” trope and we now have to go to the beginning of the story with Reggie and Santanico having sex with a whole lot of biting and discussing their heist.

It’s all part of Richard’s plan to slowly track down the big boss – Santanico thinks it’s just an easy matter of finding and killing the Emperor Malvado, Richard thinks they’re actually going to need to plan and track him through his network: tedious but necessary. He describes it as a criminal gang while she describes Malvado as a lord demanding tribute. She does so in extremely epic terms – she has a flare for the dramatic.

While watching, Richard tries to get Santanico to think and be cold rather than so emotional. They have apparently also made a rule about feeding on civilians. They have a conscience it seems. They also have a damn long winded way of recruiting allies with film trivia. He also has pointless trivia while giving Santanico pretty jewellery for awkward romance conversation. I think she seems… conflicted. Perhaps not as ready to accept their relationship as a relationship.

That day as she contemplates the necklace, while deliberately putting her hand in sunlight she reminisces Malvado pushing her to dance while she clearly loathes it.

Back to the present, Santanico and Richie wake up (apparently early) from the venom and get to killing Calebros (a surreal scene with the workers in the meat packing plant not noticing with their ear protection despite the fight happening right next to them)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Day Shift (Midnight #2) by Charlaine Harris

Mannfred thought he was attending a normal appointment with his client – until she died in the middle of his reading

Now he is accused of theft and who knows what else – legal problems which are all the more problematic with the media attention to this secretive, small town.

Attention they especially don’t need when they have a new guest staying with the Rev – a small child who is growing up at an incredible rate and definitely does not to be caught on camera

To add to the strangeness of new people to town – the old hotel has opened and something fishy is definitely going on

I like the subtlety of this world that is slowly growing as more and more members of this small town are shown to be supernaturally different in some ways. After the last book with a lot of subtle hints, this book doubles up on the hints but is also being less coy with some being more overtly labelled. I like how this is paced and working – there’s still a lot of mystery there but it’s natural mystery. There’s no attempt to drag it out, there’s no attempt to pretend we don’t know things when clearly we do and no attempt to hint around things we already know or should already know.

This aspect of the world building really works and creates this wonderful little town full of secrets and it’s really balanced thematically. We get this really strong sense of community, everyone knows everyone else, everyone looks out for each other, everyone cares for each other they often eat together and are very neighbourly. But at the same time, everyone also respects each other’s privacy; yes everyone knows they have secrets and everyone is equally determined not to pry into anyone else’s business. This manages to make the town both very close community and also more than a little creepy. The underlying secrecy and the things they’re not talking about underpins the whole book.

The Strain, Season 2, Episode 7: The Born

Romans! It’s Quinlan’s back story as a Roman Centurian back in the day, fighting in daylight (though covered in mud and ending all his fights almost instantly). He had a senator patron – who knew all about what he was: a half-breed vampire/human. He tolerated being a gladiator for his own reasons.

In the present we have Vasiliy and Dutch being all cute and couply though she still has some issues that have her put some distance between them. They briefly lament Fitzwilliam’s death.

Despite the distance they do discuss moving in some of Dutch’s things – only when they go to her place it is locked. Vasiliy doesn’t tolerate locks. Inside is Nikki – Dutch’s ex-girlfriend (or maybe not so ex), very much alive. Dutch is overjoyed. Vasiliy less so. He’s a little snarky about Nikki hiding while they were fighting and he wants them to leave asap. Dutch agrees – and thinks Nikki should come with them. Not what Vasily intended

When they get back to the base with Nora looking at Nikki’s bad ankle, Vasiliy continues to be rather arseholish. He also wants Dutch to confront Nikki about her stuff she stole – and to tell Nikki that he and Dutch are a couple. She won’t – nor will she come with him on Abraham’s mission; she chooses to stay with Nikki.

That mission involves going to the buildings that Palmer has bought and whining to Abraham about Dutch. Abraham could not possibly care less about his romantic moping. What they do care about is the school bus from the blind school they find. A security guard finds them – but that’s ok because Quinlan finds the security guard.

Inside they see the whole blind-spider-vampire hatchery and face several of the lightning fast spider vamps. They’re too fast for Abe and Vasiliy –but then Quinlan shows himself and just slaughters them with terrifying efficiency.

Having established how awesome he is, Quinlan introduces himself and says he’s been hunting the Master all his lie – with a little flashback of Quinlan stalking the Master, the Master actually avoiding him and Quinlan knowing the history of Abraham’s sword-cane. And he’s super impressed that Abraham managed to wound the Master enough to make him shift bodies – the first time anyone has managed that. They’ve also led Quinlan to his nesting place

That would be there, where they are, right now. Abraham is super excited that they’re this close to the Master though Vasiliy spares a moment to be duly freaked out by Quinlan. He goes to scatter all the people on the site and wave bombs around for funsies while Quinland and Abraham hunt the Master

Teen Wolf, Season 5, Episode 10: Status Asthmaticus

Scott said no to biting Hayden – because he thinks it will kill her. And while arguing about it with Liam he has another asthma attack. It doesn’t help when Theo points out she is definitely dying from whatever the Doctors are doing

Call in a medical professional – go go Melissa. And things are tense because it’s not just a full moon but a Super Moon. Theo tries to play confidante to Scott – and how Liam is going to need a lot of Pack help to support – but the Pack is in ruins and Scott is hyper depressed and doubtful. Theo says he will help bringing everyone back together.

Liam glares at Scott all glowy eyed and wrathful while he’s asleep. Hayden doesn’t get any better – and she begs Scott bring her sister to her. Hayden continues to deteriorate – Melissa takes her to the hospital.

 Stiles is also not having a good night, first his fight with Scott and then his jeep dying on him again with lots of angst over the wrench Scott thinks he beat Donovan to death with. Then his jeep gets towed away – it’s probably broken beyond repair as he tells Malia when she picks him up. (The jeep has always been pretty important to Stiles and is another hefty kick when he’s down). In his depression he also offends poor Malia. Who also knows all about Malia – because she is a lot more observant and a lot smarter than anyone gives her credit for. She never mentioned it because it never mattered to her….

…but that’s not much comfort since it matters a lot to Stiles.

Meanwhile there’s a police call to dispatch who hears that a suspect is “loping” and too big to be human. Ah policing in Beacon Hills. It’s heading towards Beacon Hills School (of course) and menacing Clarke.

The sheriff runs there to find Clarke – still alive. And a whole lot of impressive wreckage. It’s the night of the full moon – and the Dread Doctors ominously declare that success is “imminent”.

When the sheriff returns to the office he checks a note Clarke left him several episodes – that confirms that Stiles was the one in the Library when Theo claimed he killed Donovan.

Lydia is in the prison cells where Parrish is locked up where they vaguely speculate that he also has a death related power – like her. It’s more flirtiness (and I add further “do not want” again). As well as the benefit of knowing exactly what kind of supernatural you are, being less unsure about everything. He also talks about how Lydia once scared him because of her Bansheenesss. She also ominously talks about the Wild Hunt (which has been occasionally mentioned from time to time).

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fear The Walking Dead, Season One, Episode One: Pilot

Nick wakes up in a crack house in search of his girlfriend.  When he finally finds her, she has already turned into a walker and is busy eating a human (being The Walking Dead, naturally the first victim is a black man) Nick is horrified and rushes out of the building and into the middle of the street where he is promptly hit by a car.  Emergency services arrive as the driver tells anyone who will listen that he didn't see Nick.

Madison rushes around the house picking up dirty laundry and she pauses to get her daughter Alicia to hurry up. Travis is under the sink trying to fix the plumbing.  Travis manages to fix the problem and he and Madison share a kiss which is interrupted by the phone.  Travis answers and at it's the hospital calling to say that their son is in the hospital. 

When they arrive at the hospital, Madison immediately asks what Nick was on and is informed that because Nick is over 18, they cannot release this information.  The doctor informs Madison that Nick presented as delusional ( no wonder after seeing his girlfriend chomping down on someone.)

Nick is being interviewed by the police and claims that he went for a walk.  They bring up Nick mentioning the blood and gore but he's still pretty out of it.  The cops change tactics and question where Nick scored.  The interview is cut short when Madison arrives and kicks the cops out of the room since Nick is not being charged.  Nick snarks to his mother that L.A. is not a pedestrian friendly city adding that what happened was an accident.  Madison wants to put Nick back in treatment and Nick is adamant that no one can help him. A fight quickly breaks out and Alicia walks off disgusted.

Travis heads outside when he gets a call from his ex wife Eliza. It seems that this weekend it's Travis's turn to keep his son Chris but Chris is not at all enthused about the possibility of spending time with his father.  Travis asks to speak to his son and Eliza and Chris start to bicker.  Travis finally gets to talk to Chris and says that he is doing the best he can and that they are all building a family. Travis suggests that coming to support Nick is not a bad thing but Chris argues back that Nick is not his friend and most certainly not his brother.  Nick goes as far as to point out that Chris wouldn't have to be there for him like that. Chris gives the phone back to his mother and Travis tells Eliza to keep their  child.

Travis heads back into the hospital and meets Madison coming out of Nick's room.  Madison is concerned about finding a facility where Nick isn't already blacklisted.  Travis promises to stay with Chris and Madison is concerned that Travis didn't sign up for this.  Travis is quick to reassure her.

Madison and Alicia drive away from the hospital and Madison assures her daughter that Nick is going to be okay.  Alicia points out that Nick is an adult and that Madison cannot just ship him away to rehab.  Alicia suggests cutting Nick off but Madison won't hear of it even when Alicia points out that Nick is worse.  Madison is certain that Nick just needs to get the junk out of his system. 

Madison arrives at work and reports that Nick has been found and is Temple hospital to Arnie.  Arnie is surprised to see her and mentions that a lot of students have called in sick. Tobias walks through the metal detectors setting it off. Tobias tries to rush away but Madison calls for out him to wait.  After a quick search they find 77 cents in Tobias' pocket. Madison walks off with Tobias saying that they haven't spoken in a while. Madison asks Tobias to hand over what he is holding in his right pocket and it turns out to be a slim knife.  Madison questions what is going on and a surly Tobias says nothing. Madison wonders if Dominic has been bothering him and Tobias says that he has been tutoring him now.  Madison again asks about the knife threatening to expel him.  Tobias however is certain that no one is going to do anything they think they are.  Madison asks for more information but Tobias is not forthcoming.  Tobias says that thought the government is saying that the recent deaths are not connected he doesn't believe it.  Madison however suggests that Tobias needs to spend less time online because if there's a problem the authorities would tell the population.  Tobias is not convinced but tells Madison that she's right before asking to go. 

Alicia makes her way to the bleachers where kids a doing graffiti for their senior project.

Travis is sitting by Nick's bedside when Nick sits up suddenly.  Travis asks if what Nick saw was a hallucination and Nick answers that nothing like that has ever happened to him before.  Nick wonders if he is losing his shit. Travis simply says that a psych exam will decide that.  Nick asks to get out of his restraints but Travis refuses pointing out that Nick ran into traffic.  Nick argues that he ran away from what he saw.  Travis explains that he was in a junkie community and that his friend was with him when he scored.  When he went to find her after the nod, everyone was dead and his friend had blood all over her mouth.  Nick adds that his friend came at him.  Nick finally reveals that his friend was eating the dead bodies.  Travis is convinced that this is about the drugs.  Nick is concerned that if this is not about the drugs then it came out of his mind, thus making him insane. Nick is adamant that he doesn't want to be insane.

Much alter, Travis pulls up to the church where Nick scored and did his drugs. Once Travis gets inside he sees the graffiti all over the walls.

Madison has returned to the hospital and she checks on a sleeping Nick.

Travis continues to make his way through the church room by room.  Travis comes across a junkie who flips out and takes off running. Travis tries to ask what happened but the junkie was too quick for him.  Travis stops to examine the blood splatter on the walls and continues his search of the church.  Travis calls out asking if anyone is there but gets not response.  Travis slips and falls on the blood and is horrified at the amount of it. 

The next morning Travis and Alicia show up at the hospital to find that Madison has fallen asleep next to Nick in his hospital bed.  Travis hands Madison a change of clothing and the two leave the room, leaving Alicia with her brother.  Nick brings up the differences between them and Alicia snarks that she doesn't compare herself with crazy.  Nick vows that it won't be like this anymore but Alicia is certain that things will get worse.  Nick again asserts that he is choosing to end things now.

Outside the hospital, Travis tells Madison about finding the church and his belief that something really bad happened there.  Travis points out that Nick needs to know if what he saw was real or not but Madison believes that what Travis is doing is enabling Nick, pointing out that it's a crack house where bad things happen. Travis explains that he jut wants to help and Madison replies that Travis cannot use Nick to repair things with Chris. Madison suggests that they can help both kids.  The two kiss before she takes off. 

Travis returns to Nick's bedside and informs him that the psychiatrist will see him today.  Travis offers his apologies but Nick says that this is nothing new.  Nick's plan is to get his head shrunk and get clean, causing Travis to question if Nick really means it. 

Alicia is now cuddled up with her boyfriend talking about her plans for college.  Alicia simply wants to get away. She is told that her brother's sobriety is not her responsibility.  Alicia goes back to her chant about having one more year until she can get away.  Alicia makes plans to meet her boyfriend at the beach and then head back to his place because his parents are away.

Madison arrives at the school.  Travis is teaching class and the students aren't very engaged.  Russell has fallen asleep.  Madison appears in the doorway of Travis's class and listens as he talks to the now awake Russell.  Madison moves away from Travis's classroom and heads to see Artie who is slumped over in his chair.  Artie it seems was listening to the teachers in their classrooms through intercom.

Canine by Kaitlin Bergfield

Our protagonist is a werewolf on the run from his family, desperate to hide from a legacy they are determined he will follow. He has found the best way to hide is as a dog, pretending to be a domestic dog he is taken in by various kind “room-mates” until his situation becomes impossible to maintain and he has to move on

He’s been managing for years now – but his latest room-mate has discovered his secret. Werewolf law is very clear – showing yourself to a human is a death sentence

And the wolf has to decide whether to run, keep hiding – or confront those hunting him.

There are several interesting elements to this book. A werewolf trying to pass himself off as a household pet is something I’ve never seen before and it’s definitely original. I really like how much detail has gone into thinking this through – the lengths the Protagonist (who is nameless for most of the book) has to go to to hide his humanity are quite extensive. Being able to wash, wear clothes, have ID, stay in the country (he is English and living in the US), brush his teeth or even read a book all take so much effort and thinking. There are nice elements like the effort he has to go to to make it seem like he doesn’t know what people are saying around him – because dogs don’t understand and it’s hard to maintain that fiction. I also like little references like his love of chocolate – even though it makes him terribly sick. Or having to cower in front of other dogs because even little dogs will bite him if he doesn’t.

There’s a lot of thought that has gone into the real difficulty of a werewolf living like this. It’s involved and a difficult way to live which requires a lot of interesting thought and development.

The characters he ends up living with – Galen and Sean – are an interesting gay couple. They have lives, histories, conflicts, hobbies and conflicts. They have problems with work and family, they have to deal with homophobia but other personal and relationship conflicts as well. Except for some of the problems I’ll get to later, they have the potential to be very good characters.

He also covers nicely how dog ownership can really help people, how it can help people dealing with high stress lives, people who really benefitted from the comfort and support of a dog.

Unfortunately this also comes with him being happy he can see his “room-mates” naked.

There are other problems as well

Falling Skies, Season 5, Episode 9: Reunion

So the Espheni now have a Queen. Yes a queen. This is a thing Espheni have but has not come up at any point in the last five seasons nor have the Volm bothered to mention at all because the writers are not even pretending they’re not making this shit up as they go along. 

Ben is spying on the Espheni and this queen using his Spikes, the conveniently-stumbled-upon-alien-tech and ice baths because why not (hey, post-apocalyptic Virginia apparently not in winter – where are you getting all that ice?)

Anne would rather Ben not kill himself in ice water but Tom is totally fine to with sacrificing him to touch the communicator, get hot, then have an ice bath.

At the military base we now have not just militias but entire military regiments who have appeared out of freaking nowhere and are now communicating with Digaan through the radio (after five seasons of silence) to accept the guidance of Mason’s Minions, praise be to Mason. A world map behind them implies they’re leading forces all over the world – like Risk but with clipboards and plot armour and even more ridiculous ideas than trying to defend Asia.

They also luck into more communications technology so they can communicate with the staggering, suddenly appearing, 42 militias all worshipping Mason for reasons unknown. Time for a speech of course

Tom also hallucinates his dead wife some more. So he wanders off alone to where he could be so easily ambushed. Instead he comes across a giant space ship – hey another alien ship for you to go riding in Tom! Hallucination Rachel tells Tom how they rescued him because they, the Dorni, like to choose humans who are useful (his epic plot armour is very useful indeed). Apparently The Queen is making it hard for the Dorni to hallucinate/communicate. They also think that the Queen arriving is pretty much the Espheni’s victory flag which makes her kind of bitter since she’s the last survivor of the Dorni who were destroyed by the Espheni (and turned into Skitters). She has a special weapon for the Queen. Which only Tom can use – it will destroy all the Espheni if he takes it to the queen

Yeaaaah even Tom mason must realise there’s a catch to this. Right? Right? He picks up the weapon. Uh-huh. Of course he does.

We hear someone die over the radio, reminding us that while the Masons & co may have forgotten the aliens for a few episodes, they’re still out there.

Ben debates with Maggie about risking his life some more being a spy and we get more nasty claims that the Nazcar lines are actually alien made. Ben is super sure it’s important and totally worth risking his life for

Matt and Evelyn continue to be couply and Maggie decides to apologise for Matt for the whole love triangle crap with his brothers which he had to deal with. Because both brothers being a pain in everyone’s arse is totally her fault (and it’s not like it, like any storyline, had been developed in enough of a manner to be a pain in anyone’s arse except mine).

Monday, August 24, 2015

Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels #8) by Ilona Andrews

Kate has now magically claimed the city of Atlanta – in direct opposition to her father, Nimrod, the Builder of Towers. She and Curran, the former Beast Lord of Atlanta, have also left the Pack and are trying to build a new life and home in the suburbs. It’s a lot of changes to get used to.

And they have no time to get used to it  - not with an ancient and powerful being awakening in the city, one that may be immune to Kate’s magic and whose power is growing after every terrifying event

And Curran has a project – the Mercenary’s Guild is falling apart and he is determined to get it back in shape. Whether they want it or not.

This is my happy book face.

It’s a combination of sheer glee that I got to read a book this awesome, utter depression that it is now over and an undercurrent of exhaustion because I was up all night and nothing short of heavy weapons would make me put this book down. That is my happy book face

I actually pick up a new Kate Daniels book with a little bit of trepidation because I expect this to be the one to disappoint me – my expectations for this series are so high that eventually I will slam into a huge wall of disappointment

I thought this book would be that wall, after all, so much changed in the last book: They’ve left the Pack, Kate has established herself much more as a power, everyone knows who she is and Roland – that big mysterious bad who has overshadowed the whole series, has become directly involved rather than some shadowy, potential evil. That’s a lot of changes.

Thankfully all of those changes worked so well and made me take back a lot of my misgivings. I was, originally, little irritated by Kate and Curran leaving the Pack; but here we see not just Kate leaving the Pack to protect them but Curran underlining that he also left the Pack because the Pack failed him. This is something that has developed over the series in a wonderfully subtle way – both Kate and Curran, while fighting for others and epicly sacrificing for others, have also established that it’s ok to make room for yourself, to demand your own happiness. Kate has grown to let people into her life, to love Curran and her friends, even though it puts them at risk from Roland and goes against everything her surrogate father taught her. And here we see Curran turn to the Pack - the Pack he has worked for, sacrificed for, battled for and risked everything for – and say “you failed me”. Curran has turned round and said that, yes, he deserves better than how the Pack treated him and Kate – and he walked away. No ridiculous over-the-top-martyrdom we see so often in the genre (though they do risk and sacrifice a lot), but firmly saying “no, there’s a limit. I did all this for you, I deserve better than this.” Curran and Kate’s walking away was not just about protecting the Pack but about asserting their own worth and value

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Killjoys, Season 1, Episode 10: Escape Velocity

Time to go back in time after all the excitement of last episode – 18 hours ago at the Leith Bazaar. Monks with guns shoot up the place, killing lots of people

This is why Alvis was arrested last episode, accused of ordering the attack. Dutch, John, D’avin, Pree and Pawter all debate what to do. While D’avin has some initial doubt about the innocence of the revolutionary – to Dutch it comes down to them owing Alvis for helping them so many times in the past. Their plan at the moment is to wait to see what the Company plans

The three Killjoys then discuss what Khlyen said last episode – that something was coming and Dutch needs her team. They need info – about Khlyen, Level 6 and Red 17 all of which were mentioned. Preferably by hacking the files they stole from the RAC

They’re interrupted by an emergency broadcast – of Alvis pleading guilty. Dutch & co naturally believe the confession is faked/coerced. Alvis is sentenced to death and a curfew is enforced. Dutch is determined to free him and not convinced that this isn’t linked

Dutch goes to ask company man Hills for more info – Hills isn’t very sympathetic about Alvis’s plight but he tells them that the Lethians have a powerful case against him. Dutch begs to be able to see him before he dies – he agrees but he still thinks Dutch needs to keep out of it for her own sake.

Dutch sees Alvis who confessed to protect his fellow monks. He is worried about Westerley, though and he tells her about his plans for Westerley and his hidden weapons. Dutch really doesn’t care since she’s there for him but he decides saving the planet is a condition of saving him.

John and D’avin go to the empty and damaged Leithe market to get Bellus’s opinion (since her business is in the market). They want to talk to her about Level 6 – she talks about rumours of RAC agents being forced into Level 6 when they disappear with lots of extra worrisome rumours like re-animation, gene splicing and other goodness. For extra suspicion, they’re completely off the hook for raiding the RAC.

John gets his hacker contact, Carline get to work on Khlyen’s data. And she gets stabbed by Khlyen for her trouble. He doesn’t care about the files – he wants the liquid John stole, which she doesn’t have.

Back to Dutch & co who are all dressed up as Monks to enter the tunnels under Westerley (populated by “rat-people” – people without a job who the company basically drives under ground). They have to prove themselves to the Rat King but he doesn’t trust them – and wants them to perform a Monk-ritual to prove it. Thankfully John has done his monk homework and pulls off being a monk excellently

Defiance, Season 3, Episode 12: The Awakening

Yewl is using her doctor’s surgery to drug more people for the cages which I think will serve as the omec lardar. Honestly I’m find with this so long as she keeps up her quality snark. Datak tries to talk to her but she can’t combat the mind control (with added pain that “I was engineered for slavery” which is what the Indogene were created for)

Nolan is planning to hunt down Kindzi when Stahma arrives to report Datak’s disappearance – of course, absolutely no-one really gives a damn about her or Datak. Stahma tells her that Kindzi especially wants her dead – and Nolan tells her about T’evgin being dead. Then there’s loud noise

The Omec space ship is discharging its sleep pods. Stahma tells them about the legion of Omec just waiting to snack on them all. Amanda is furious with Stahma for not sharing sooner and Stahma fires back that it was Amanda who rolled out the welcome carpet for the Omec – and handed over the Gulanite.

Yewl Stakes out one of her prisoners in the forest and some sleep pods land containing Kindzi and two other Omec who eat the chained prisoner. When they eat, Kindzi tells the other Omec that Stahma betrayed T’evgin and murdered him – she also claims leadership since she “took his strength” presumably by eating T’evgin’s heart.

They’re watched by Nolan and Irisa who also see Yewl. Nolan has a sniper rifle and shoots Kindzi – right in the head. Which she regards as little more than an inconvenience, removing the bullet from her skull. She shoots her several more times, doing as little

I’m guessing that “took his strength” is literal then.

They sensibly run away from the charging invulnerable alien, leaving her alone with her new followers who are a little confused that T’evgin was killed by people with bullets which clearly do little more than muss an ancient Omec’s wardrobe. Kindzi again accuses Stahma of poisoning him.

Nolan, Amanda and Irisa brainstorm how Kindzi could be so invulnerable now – and Amanda conveniently had a book of Omec heart eating rituals on one of her shelves, how useful! Nolan’s plan is to go up to the ship and stop all 10,000 Omec arriving (hey, got a “teleporting to Omec spacecraft” book there, Amanda?) and Berlin reports all the people going missing because of Yewl. Though no-one can figure out why Yewl would serve the Omec (what, you have a book on irrelevant Omec funerary practices but not on the origin of the Indogene?)