Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Burned (House of Night #7) by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Zoey’s soul has been shattered but, sadly, because my suffering has not ended that means everyone is running around trying to save her.

Meanwhile Stevie Rae is determined to make even worse relationship decisions than Zoey. That sounds like a near impossible task, but she is up to the challenge.

This book is… so very typical of the House of Night series.

We have a plot line that completely rests on Zoey even though it really should be about someone else – Heath. Heath is the one who died – but no, it’s all about Zoey and her shattered soul. Y’know, I’d be a teeny tiny bit of sympathetic towards her if every last death in this series wasn’t all about her. Heath just follows Stark and Stevie Rae as yet another death that was all about precious precious Zoey.

So with Zoey properly centred as all important, nearly everyone else (except Stevie Rae, which we’ll come to) runs around trying to help her. This involves, inevitably, cryptic clues, poetry and everyone spending far far far far far too long trying to interpret everything because Nyx is incapable of being clear and the rest of the cast don’t have two brain cells between them.

Of course all of this happens with Neferet and Kalona planning terrbad naughty things and with Neferet manipulating the Council to try and make them believe she’s still on team good guy. And Nyx, while happy to send cryptic poetry, happy to send prophecies, happy to have little conversations with Aphrodite and Zoey and is even willing to slap Kalona upside the head in the Otherworld. But she STILL cannot bring herself to send her precious High Council a memo, or informative bowel problems or anything. Seriously, you’d think they’d be due a text or something. A tweet. Smoke signals, carrier pigeons (or raven monsters) something, anything. Nyx is trolling, pure and simple.

But while we’re discussing Kalona let’s touch on the intolerable retcon and redemption we can see hoving into view with inevitable awfulness: Kalona is going to be redeemed. I know this is coming because we spent time in this book AGAIN saying how sad and tortured poor Kalona is with an added side dish of how terribad evil Neferet is. Yes, she is definitely promoted to biggest of big bads and directly connected to the Darkness more than Kalona (more than that later) and is even imprisoning and forcing the poor tortured evil Kalona. I’ve said before, this series is much much more invested in having a female villain. The last two books have tried very hard to downplay Kalona’s villainy while bigging up Neferet’s awfulness.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Da Vinci's Demons, Season 3, Episode 10: Ira Deorum

After a brief interlude with Rahim and Leo, the new battle is on. Leo, Laura, Nico and Dracula intend to lead their teeny tiny forces against the Turks (who lost all their tanks episode) and rely on the Book of Leaves-inspired lightening device to fry all the Turks who are conveniently wearing lightening attracting armour.

Of course all this may fall apart because Zoroaster and Sophia were captured last episode. Thankfully Lucrezia has also being captured. Lucrezia doesn’t stay captive for long – and when Bayezid goes to question her he finds that chaining her up only gives her new weapons to throttle him with. He’s duly strangled to death before Lucrezia happily goes on a little rampage (finding a convenient crossbow from somewhere) to free Sophia and Zoroaster.

They then head to set up the machine – with Zoroaster failing and badly injuring himself (and seeming to be dead – this episode does a series of “zomg this character is dead!” moment most of which don’t come to pass. I actually think it would have been much more dramatic, especially as it’s the last season, if a huge number of the cast were duly slaughtered. This probably says how little I’m actually invested in these people).

While the battle begins (Laura is kind of awesome) and we have several near-death moments (including Vlad being stabbed by his brother Gedik – who is probably Radu – who is not all that happy that Bayezid is dead) Leo finally declares surrender and orders his men to take off their (highly conductive) armour

Just in time for Lucrezia to finish putting together the lightening machine (albeit taking an arrow in the process) and then we have lots of zappy zappy zappy – the entire Ottoman army is slaughtered. The remains surrender and the city is free.

Except for Lucrezia who, of course, dies in the name of Maximum Manpain for Leo. We always knew that she was heading for the nearest walk-in fridge and she’s finally settled herself in among the ice trays.

That’s a very quick summation but there weren’t a whole lot of twists there – and we kind of expected everything to go the way it did. It’s not a bad ending, it’s a quite satisfactory conclusion to the whole Ottoman storyline, but it’s a bit… predictable? Safe? Lacking in twists or intrigue or interests? Leo geniused the enemy and everyone is now dead?