Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Seventh Grave and No Body (Charley Davidson #7) by Darynda Jones

Charley is facing pregnancy, ominous prophecy and 12 lethal hell hounds hunting her down which are seemingly utterly unkillable

She has also given up coffee. The horror!

After that she also has to deal with her ongoing complex relationship with Reyes, her missing father, a serial killer who is hiding their murders as suicides and a grave robber.

First thing I really like about this book – Charley is finally starting to realise her potential.

Oh, every now and then she has managed to throw out a cool shiny super power without being able to replicate it or quite knowing what she is doing. And Reyes repeatedly said something about how super awesomely powerful she was because awesome and special and awesome. But we didn’t really see it. Ultimately, Reyes was the powerful one barring her odd one-off moments. Reyes was the menacing big scary son-of-lucifer who repeatedly had to come to her rescue and often tried to lock her up/imprison her “for her own good” and to “keep her safe.” This annoying practice was only exacerbated by his habit of making decisions to force their relationship onwards despite her objections and generally being an arrogant patronising arsehole to her.

This book finally had Charley change that which still maintaining balance– managing to give her massive, conscious power without making her a terrible Mary Sue or breaking the story or making any opposition insignificant. And not only is Charley now consciously wielding her awesome powers, saving the others (who nobly and powerfully get badly mailed while she uses super powers – yes, for once we have a book where Charley isn’t the one who gets super mauled) and being the super weapon that saves the day – but she’s also using them against Reyes

Yes, it is acknowledged that Charley can not only bring down Reyes (and Osh), but that she can do it easily. She can drop him. She can do it easily. Not only can she do it, but she is willing to do it and does do it. When he does his endless “I’m going to force you to do this” posturing she now, finally, turns it round and points out how hollow it is. He no longer has any real power to imprison her (since she can walk through the actual chains he uses to control her, yes, actual chains) and no realistic power to stop her. This subverts the entire series to date, an entire series of Reyes’ dominance and, yes, that is amazing and long past time.

The Leftovers, Season 2, Episode 8: International Assassin

Kevin wakes up, half downed and naked in a bath. In what looks like a hotel room. Kevin I even more confused than I am – and considerably more traumatised. He finds a wardrobe with very different outfits in it with a sign on it basically telling him to dress as who he is. He picks a basic suit (notably not picking the cop uniform).

And someone brings him flowers in the name “Harvey” then tries to kill him with a knife. Oh and Kevin has a wallet full of Euros (a LOT of Euros). I think violent attack is a bit extreme for someone for not tipping. Kevin wins of course.

He goes to the populated lobby and sees the concierge – it’s Virgil. He pretends to know nothing but passes Kevin an illicit meeting apparently with ominous people watching. Then there’s classical music and a little girl drowning in a pool.

And a giraffe

Ok, no giraffe, but it would hardly make this less random. Kevin rescues her, daddy is not grateful.

He meets Virgil who a) advises him not to drink the water and b) tells him that his suit makes him an international assassin, hence the person trying to kill him. Also giraffe (no really, it would be no more out of place here).

Virgil gives Kevin a job to kill Patti who is running for president so he can then go home in a Godfather rip off scene. Why am I not drunk watching this? There really should have been a warning on – you know how you get age restrictions? Well this should have a minimum drink required

There’s also Guilty Remnant.

More randomness, a broken TV, weird music and another fire alarm and lots of weird little (a man with balloons - "it's a boy balloons" for an awake Mary - forshadowing? A woman arguing in Spanish about what looks like an organ donation).

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Etiquette of Exiles (Senyaza #3.5) by Chrysoula Tzavelas

The Senyaza series has a very rich and detailed world with a huge number of different and complicated forces attached. We have the fae of various courts all with their own agendas. We have kaiju, we have angels, we have half-angels, we have beings I can’t even begin to label. On top of that the whole sense of the other world is one that is so alien, so creepy and spooky and surreal that it takes a lot of thought

Then we have the books to date each of which manages to cover so much of this world because every last book has a different story and a different focus with a different protagonist and segment of the world.

That means in 3 books we have had a huge cast of characters, a vast world and a whole lot of development and complexity. Which is what I love so much about this series

Except… this is an issue for me with the short story anthology, exacerbated by me not having read the books, especially the earlier books, for some time. I don’t recognise enough of the characters in the early short stories to really understand what is happening or what is relevant. I don’t mean they’re bad stories – I really liked the feel of Other Reasons – for example. In fact, not only did I love it I was desperate for more – because it felt like I had missed most of the story and came in half way. I wanted to know the rest of this story because there wasn’t enough there for it to stand alone for me. I feel much the same for Wicked Stepself, I really like this story (despite the second person format which I really hate) – a wonderful, powerful surreal session and a really powerful core for a whole new story which I really really want to follow more. But I’m just not sure how this relates to the rest of the series - can feel it, but with my fuzzy memory it feels like a new story in this world. One I really really want to read – but not one I find connected to what is currently there.

Stainless was much better at standing alone. A beautiful, surreal story of a woman in a sexist society, being abandoned and shamed for having a child – finding strength and purpose in a really creepy and terrifying setting. Surreal, powerful – but slightly disconnected from the rest of the book, and the series.  It felt like something completely separate.

I think the same can be said for Winter War – again I have to stress I liked this story and it did add so much to the surreal nature of the world and a beautiful snippet into this wild and wonderful world… but not exactly connected to anything else. I say the same about Her Daughter, Pinned to the Sky again awesomely shows off the world, the surreal nature, the amazing powers being raised. Same statement again with the Endless Silence of Forgotten Things and the Far City Cheer Squad.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Doctor Who: Season Nine, Episode Ten: Fear the Raven

Fear the Raven brought the return of Me (read: Ashildr)  This time we find Me, as the acting Mayor of a refugee camp for aliens hidden in pockets of London.  When we first met Me, she was a Viking whom the Doctor decided to bring back to life because he saves people.  Even in the act of saving Me, the Doctor knew that he was messing with time and fate. He knew that there would be consequences to saving Ashildir but was just so happy to have saved lives. The Doctor begins Fear the Raven by playing with fate again when he decides to save Rigsy.  I know, he's the Doctor, and he saves people but had he ignored this impulse, Clara would be alive today. The Doctor is always talking about the rules he cannot break and yet time and time again he does so, as if the rules don't apply to him. Ashildr is the result of the Doctor's hubris and Clara pays the penalty.

When we next meet Ashildr, we learn that there are some very personal consequences from the Doctor's actions.  Ashildr is forced to keep a diary to remember her life because while she has an infinite lifespan, she doesn't have an infinite memory. The Doctor reads an entry from Ashildr's diary which details the loss of her two children - an entry she saved to remind herself to never ever have children again.  It is absolutely painful to watch as she mourns her babies.  The reoccurring theme of The Woman who Lived is that the Doctor is an absentee father.  The results of the Doctor's absenteeism is that he is at least partially responsible for Clara's death.  Had he kept better check on Ashildr, or mentored her, or even not saved her life, it's possible that Clara might still be alive. Then there is the issue that even after seeing what happens when Ashildr is left to her own devices, the Doctor once again losses track of her and only remembers or even notices Ashildr's existence when she appears in the background of a photo of Clara.

From the very beginning of Fear the Raven, it is obvious that Clara's recklessness has reached a ridiculous level. Rigsy, who we first met in Flatline, states that Clara enjoyed hanging outside of the Tardis far too much.  Throughout the season, Clara has made it clear that she is more than a pretty face and has repeatedly shown her intelligence but unfortunately, this has been coupled with an increasing desire to take risks, certain that if she messes up that the Doctor will pull her out of the fire. The Doctor's purple coat served as a warning that this might be the end of the Impossible Girl because purple is regarded in many cultures as the colour of death and mourning.

The Walking Dead, Season Six, Episode Seven: Heads Up

Nicholas falls on top of Glenn and the zombies devour him, leaving Glenn safe on the bottom. With the zombies distracted, Glenn pulls his way to safety and hides under the dumpster.  Zombies reach for Glenn on both sides and he uses his knife to slash at those he can reach before passing out. Zombies slowly start to peel off and walk away.  Hours pass and it's now the next day when Glenn crawls out from under the dumpster.  Glenn reaches into his pack desperate for water but the bottle is empty.  Glenn does however manage to find a gun.  Enid calls Glenn's attention from a roof and throws down a bottle of water to him.  Glenn then climbs into a store looking for Enid and she calls out that there's another water bottle in the corner and that Glenn is to take it and go.   Glenn drinks the water down and finds Enid's stash of empty cans.   Glenn asks what Enid is doing there but she refuses to answer.  Glen then asks about Alexandria because of the gunfire and she replies that what happened is what always happened, "people died." Glenn thinks that the walkers broke through the wall and Enid replies that it was people, and again instructs Glenn to go.  Glenn asks about Maggie, but this time he gets no answer.  Glenn moves forward into the building looking for Enid, only to find that she went out a window and has taken off.  Glenn frantically attempts to follow.

Rick walks the perimeter of Alexandria, checking the walls, as Morgan works on his Kata.  Rick suggests to Morgan that they need to talk a little later and Morgan agrees.  Rick looks at the look out area where Maggie is standing watch and decides to join her. Rick tells Maggie that she doesn't have to be up there but Maggie says that she to be in case Glenn sends up a signal.  Rick responds that when they leave the walls it's never easy but they have come back from harder things.  Rick is certain that Glenn, Sasha, Abraham and Darryl will be back.  Rick is so confidant that he suggests not waiting on the missing members of the crew, but finding a way to draw the walkers away from Alexandria. Rick says that they can take their time and do it right so that when the others return they can walk right back in.  Maggie brings up Judith and the fact that Judith is starting to look like Lori. It seems that this makes them both happy.

Glenn continues his pursuit of Enid and pauses to kill a walker.  Glenn finds the note David wrote to his wife as a goodbye.

At Alexandria, Gabriel puts up a note informing the community of a prayer circle he plans on hosting. Rick and Carl pass by Gabriel and Rick grabs the note and crumples it up without skipping a beat. This even shocks Carl.  Gabriel simply puts another note back up but doesn't confront Rick.

Rick starts to teach Ron how to shoot a gun and Carl advises him that he has to be strong enough to wait for his moment. Ron suggests shooting at the walkers but Rick says no because of the sound riling the walking up.  Ron then suggests shooting practice in the middle in town but Rick simply looks at Ron. Ron says that he simply wants to learn more.

Morgan walks up to the infirmary but turns to walk away.  Denise opens the door and offers him oatmeal but he declines.  Denise asks Morgan what is up and he says that he is fine.  Denise tells Morgan that he can tell her if he is not.  Rick walks by and sees Morgan and says that it's time for them to talk.

Rick explains that he tried to cut off the herd with the RV and five people with the W's on their forehead stopped him. Rick says that they tried to kill him and that Carol said she saw Morgan, who said he wouldn't kill those people. Carol asks if Morgan let any of them go and Morgan responds that he didn't want to have to kill five people if he didn't have to kill. An angry Carol points out that the W's burned people alive.  Morgan questions why Rick didn't kill him in King County, after he pulled a knife on him and Rick explains that it's because he knew Morgan. Morgan says that back then, he would have killed Rick as soon as looking at him.  Morgan points out that Rick let him live and then he was there to help Aaron and Darryl.  Morgan adds that if he wasn't there, Aaron and Darryl  would have died, then maybe those wolves wouldn't have been able to come to Alexandria.  Morgan says that he doesn't know what is right anymore and that he did want to kill those men but he also knows that people can change. Morgan adds that all life is precious and that this idea changed him and keeps him living.  Morgan admits that he thought about letting that idea go and Michonne responds that he might have to because things aren't as simple as four words.  Morgan asks if he belongs here and Rick questions if Morgan can make it now without getting blood on his hands.  Morgans responds that he doesn't know.

Rick is now talking to Michonne about how to draw away the walkers.  Rick believes that they need to get their people on it. Michonne asks about adding the Alexandrians, but Rick is adamant that they need to keep it to themselves now. Michonne points out that they are catching their breathe right now and are in here together.  Michonne says anything else is just an excuse.  Deanna joins them with plans for the expansion and when Rick says that they have other things on their plate. Deanna explains that these are for what Alexandria can be after this. It seems that Deanna is certain that they are all going to get through this.

Rosita is instructing the Alexandrians and Eugene how to fight with a blade and kill walkers.  All pretend to slash away except for Eugene. Rosita orders Eugene to get a grip and questions what he is so afraid of. Eugene responds death and Rosita says that dying is simple, it's the people around you dying that's the hard part because you have to keep living knowing that they're gone.  Rosita argues that what Eugene should be scared of is living knowing that he didn't do everything to keep the others here.  Eugene walks off after Rosita taunts him about the noises scaring him.

Da Vinci's Demons, Season 3, Episode 5: Anima Venator

Leo and Zoroaster are heading back to Florence and Zoroastr is duly bitter about Leo’s inattention, paranoia and ingratitude.

They arrive in the city and to Leo’s ruined workshop with Zoroaster trying to make Leo come away and see sense.

Zoroaster goes to the palace to be reluctantly greeted by Dragonetti to go see Vanessa – who is still neck deep in politics and trying to get the Council of Florence to follow her (in this case, the councillors are outraged that Clarice, murdered in Rome, hasn’t been repatriated for burial, while Vanessa wants the pope to hold his little Crusade Pageant because it’s going to bring in lot of cash). She makes a skilful argument for profiting from Rome without joining them – Zoroaster and Nico are duly impressed by Vanessa’s awesome control over the council.

He tells them that Leo is rather changed and much darker and more scarred than the Leo they last knew.

Nah, he was always smoking opium and seeing things, not much has changed. Which means when his mother arrives to tell him she was all wrong and how she too now is against the Sons of Mithras as well as warning him that Lucrezia is in danger she could easily be a hallucination. The possible hallucination also warns him about the super dangerous Leafy Book – and asks him to wield it. He refuses, thinking it could all be a trick/hallucination/mind control

Leo gets back to geniusing while Zoroaster and Nico try to talk to him. They throw water on him after he sets himself on fire as part of his experimentation. He barely even greets poor Nico – who is outraged that Leo would work for Sixtus. He comes to his senses long enough to greet Nico before telling him to leave because it’s so terribad dangerous.

Riario and Laura travel to Florence on the first stop of their Crusade pageant and it’s apparent they put a lot of hope on Florence joining them and getting the Crusade started. They’re greeted by Vanessa who Laura quickly focuses on  - showing her the skulls of the beheaded at Otranto (I assume representatives since I doubt they were able to relcaim them). It helps that Laura also hates Sixtus – the also believe Lorenzo died in the siege.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Z Nation, Season Two, Episode Eleven: Corporate Retreat

The crew fights their way through a forest fire killing Z after Z.  Doc says that he thought they killed all of these zombies last week and Addie replies that maybe the Grand Canyon filled up.  They come to a clearing and make their way to what looks like a hotel. They struggle to pry the doors open and Addy calls on Murphy to control the zombies headed in their direction.  Stretching his arms in the air, Murphy sends the zombies on their way. What the group doesn't know that inside the hotel, there's a group of survivors trying to decide whether to let them in or fire on them.  Immediately, the group in the hotel are extremely suspicious of Murphy because of his blue skin.  It's Iggy who rushes to let in Warren and the crew, stating that it's been more than a year since they have seen other people.  Iggy is warned that if he opens the door that there will be consequences.  Doc notices that there's someone inside and Warren points her gun yelling, "open up or you'll be sorry." Iggy complies and pulls the doors open. It's then that Warren notices that there are weapons being pointed at her and that she does not have the high ground.

Gideon gives the order for Warren and the group to turn around and leave but she says that though she doesn't want to hurt anyone, they cannot go back because there are too many zombies out there. Doc adds that there isn't a lot of oxygen either.  Gideon says that while he may be the facilitator, everyone participates in the decision making.  Warren asks for some shelter until the smoke clears.  Gideon asks his group to lower their weapons so that the two groups can chat.  It's Dana who suggests a popcorn circle process.  This involves someone holding a stick, indicating that it's their turn to talk and then the stick gets passed on so that everyone can have input.  Ummm, do these people realise that they are in the middle of a zombie apocalypse?  It seems that the group was attending a conflict resolution seminar when the outbreak happened. When Gideon is handed back the stick, he says that he wants to play a game called "honesty integrity" in which he gives Warren and the crew his unfiltered impressions of each of them.  Are you rolling your eyes? I know that I am. Gideon picks Warren as the leader saying that she has a wisdom born of loss.  Vasquez is called the enforcer, Addy the strong one who has more loss than she can handle, Doc is the sad one who has manged to keep his sense of humor. Gideon then asks for permission from the group to hug Doc.  Gideon then approaches 10K, who apparently has a good heart but is a little bit angry. Gideon picks up on the dislike between 10K and Murphy.  Gideon tells Murphy that he has the weight of the world on his shoulders and that Murphy does more for the group than the group realises.  Gideon hands the stick to Warren and she agrees that her group will stand down.

Murphy asks for food and Gideon decides that they need to have a meeting.  Warren picks Addy to help her represent her side and Gideon picks Dani.  Some of Gideon's group don't seem pleased with his choice.  Gideon tells Addy and Warren that as long as they follow their rules they are welcome to stay until the smoke clears up.  Warren says that this is fine with her as they have someplace to be. Gideon then offers food but says that everyone is limited to 1,000 calories per day.

Haven, Season 5, Episode 21: Close to Home

This flashback is terrible – it’s a recap of everything and just draws attention to how flimsy things are. Yes I’m grumpy

Audrey and Nathan are all couply and Nathan even tries to be cure about coffee burns and keeps his shirt off to remind us he can at least come almost close to being about half as sexy as Duke. Of course it can’t last and angsty Nathan is soon there telling her he has to go to the Void to get the McGuffin to make the new barn work. Just as soon as Duke gets back with Hayley

Which he does. After taking waaaay too much time to mope and navel gaze the arsehole has finally returned to actually help (it’s a good thing he’s hot. Though more shirtlessness may prompt forgiveness).

Back to Audrey and Nathan being mopey and romantic and experiencing shortages in the cut off Haven. She also suggests that she should go to the void since the void squishes humans and she isn’t – but Nathan says no for reasons. Duke finally arrives and is greeted with a hug rather than being shunned and hit with axes

Audrey, at least, is duly pissed with him. Duke warns Nathan about his super cryptic vision of dystopian awfulness caused by Nathan going into the void. We’re believing in visions now? The fact he mentions “croatoan” which Duke has never heard of tells them it’s true – but Nathan still has to go. Only this time he has to come back

They brief Hayley about what they need and she’s pretty calm about the whole thing – I mean accepting the ability to walk through walls and completely forgetting a town means she’s pretty mellow about any revelations now. Hayley also uses insight from her mother top realise she can actually hold a Thinny open – rather than just briefly open it, so we have a key to getting Nathan back.

So Nathan ends up in the void which looks like a lot of caves and a spooky forest. And it’s all green lit so we know it’s spooky. Nathan falls in a pit and meets… William. Well that’s Nathan thoroughly screwed – especially when William reveals that machines with moving parts – like guns – don’t work.

Nathan quickly lies to convince William to help him find the old barn to save “Mara’s” life (honest). William seems to believe that because Croatoan could destroy the whole world.

Grimm, Season Five, Episode Four: Maiden Quest

"After three days and nights,
whoever tries
and does not succeed
shall be put to death"

Baby Kelly is crying and no matter what his parents do, they cannot seem to calm him, as they frantically try to cook dinner.  They decide to call Rosealee to learn if the baby has colic.  Rosalee and Monroe are trying to have a quiet romantic dinner when a frantic Adalind calls complaining that they have tried everything and that Kelly won't stop crying.  Rosealee suggests trying some fennel but suddenly, the baby stops crying, attracted by the light on the cell phone.  Nick is quick to suggest getting Kelly his own phone.

Daniel Troyer is leading a ceremony regarding vengeance for the murder of his only son and the prospect of marrying his daughter Emily. Three Wesen draw feathers to see who will be the first to attempt to seek justice.  It's Issac who draws the longest feather and he is ordered to bring Daniel, the headd of Frankie Atkins.  Before leaving, Issac tells Emily that he has loved her for years and that this is his chance to prove it.

Nick and Adalind sit and have dinner together.  Adalind admits that since her mother wasn't around, she had to teach herself how to cook.  Adalind then asks about mommy Grimm and learns that she was a good cook, until she disappeared when Nick was 12. Adalind reveals that her father took off when she was four.  Adalind then acknowledges that their arrangement is weird (um yeah, ya think) and that she appreciates Nick taking care of the both of them. Adalind then brings up the job opportunity, adding that she doesn't like to rely on anyone.  Nick however thinks that it might be too soon for Adalind to go back to work.  Adalind wants to contribute because she doesn't like feeling so helpless but then in a total twist, asks Nick to stay with her and Kelly in their room again tonight. Adalind feels safer with Nick sleeping next to her because she knows that he will kill anything that comes through the door.  Nick simply gives her the eye but does not respond.

Frankie Atkins prepares to leave his dance club when Issac enters.  Issac follows Frankie outside, as Frankie orders his bodyguard to go and get the car.  The bodyguard is knocked unconscious by Issac. As Frankie attempts to get into the car, he is knocked to the ground by Issac. Issac draws his sword to inflict the killing blow and finds himself attacked by another Wesen and killed, as Issac hides underneath his Humvee in a panic.

Renard meets Andrew, who wants to run for the mayor of Portland.  It seems that Andrew wants Renard's support and so Renard asks for more information on what Andrew plans to do.

Wu, Hank, Nick arrive outside of the club.   Wu gives Nick and Hank the details of the murder and that Issac was the son of a prominent defense attorney in town.  The cops examine the sword and Wu adds that Frankie claims that he was saved by someone wearing an animal mask.  Nick and Hank head inside the club to question Frankie, who claims that he has never seen Issac before and  that he hid under the Humvee until the cops.  Frankie is adamant that he has never seen anything like this before and that he owes the man in the animal costume.

Back at the station, Hank and Nick try to find a connection between Frankie and Issac, particularly why Issac was trying to kill Frankie.  Nick and Hank decide to discuss the situation with Renard because Renard knows Issac's mother Amanda Proctor.  Renard reveals that Amanda and her son are Weten Ogen and offers to go with the Hank and Nick to inform Amanda about the death of her son.

Adalind tells Kelly that he is not an only child and brings up Diana. It's Adalind's hope that they will all be together some day.  Adalind gets a call from Rosealee, who is checking in on Kelly and to say that she has put together a few things for them. Rosealee offers to come over and Adalind agrees to go to her instead, claiming to have fortress fever.

Daniel is holding court again and he informs the remaining men that Issac almost succeeded in his mission but failed at the last second. It seems that Daniel believes that one of the two remaining suitor took Issac out.  Daniel then tasks Eli with taking out Frankie. warning that now that Frankie knows someone is trying to kill him, the mission will be more difficult.

Eli heads outside and he is stopped by Emily, who tells Eli that he doesn't have to kill Frankie, because this tradition isn't worth it.  Eli is certain that what happened to Issac will not happen to him. Eli says that he has a way in and warns that if Amos gets in his way, he will kill Amos.  Eli tells Emily that this is their time and that together, they will make a great family.

Renard, Hank and Nick go to Amanda's office to ask why Issac would try to kill Frankie.  Amanda says that as far as she knows, Issac didn't even know Frankie.  Nick brings up Issac's criminal record but Amanda is adamant that Issac wouldn't try and kill Frankie. Renard then reveals that Nick is a Grimm and Amanda is not pleased that Renard brought Nick into her office.  Amanda woges and asks Nick if this is what he wanted to see.  The cops asks where Issac was before he tried to kill Frankie and Amanda tells the cops about Issac's dinner with Daniel and that Daniel is a Weten Ogen just like her.

The cops leave the office and decide to go and see Issac, to see what they can find out.

At the spice shop, Monroe prepares to leave for a repair.  Rosealee holds an letter from a guy she used to know in Seattle, and worries about opening.  Monroe wonders if he should leave Rosealee with the letter and she makes it clear that there's nothing he shouldn't hear.  Rosealee reads the letter and learns that Carlos, a man she used to know in Seattle is dead. Rosealee puts the letter down in disgust and claims that both the letter writer and Carlos were not good men.  Both Rosealee and Monroe agree that they want to put the past behind them.