Friday, September 7, 2018

Lake Silence (The World of the Others #1) by Anne Bishop

Vicky DeVine has just manages to escape a viciously abusive marriage and in the settlement she was granted ownership of the Jumble. A house and a collection of dilapidated cabins on the banks of Lake Silence. A beautiful location for a holiday - but she only owns the cabins. The terra indigene own the land and have set strict rules on how it can be used.

Vicky DeVine, building her new life is learning and adapting quickly to what that means.

But other people have seen her land and all the potential it has - and all the money they can make if they can just get Vicky out of the way… but you ignore the Others at your own peril

This book has a lot of parallels with original The Others series. And I’m torn. Because I do wonder if perhaps there are too many close parallels…?

The protagonist is Vicky Divine. She is a very vulnerable woman who is also inclined to breakdowns. She is threatened by a human force that want to use, abuse and threaten her but she makes connections with the Terra Indigene, the Others, who are willing to protect her. She is acting, in some ways, as a liaison between the Terra Indigene and humanity, her position as landlord of the Jumble, a Terra Indigene settlement/human holiday resort, brings her into close contact with the Others. She’s also being used by the Terra Indigene who want to learn about humanity and what it means to be human. Alongside we have some police desperately trying to stop some foolish humans from provoking the Others into violent retaliation

Which sounds a lot like The Meg… a vulnerable woman who is inclined to breakdowns who was threatened by humans that want to use, abuse and threaten her. She makes connections with the Terra indigene, living in a Terra Indigene settlement,as their liaison with humanity, helping humans coexist with the Others and allowing the Others to learn more about humanity. Along side there were police desperately trying to stop some foolish humans from provoking anti-human genocide (and… kind of failing)

The parallels are… really strong

But is that a problem? I mean, while there are issues, I love The Others series. I really love it. It’s one of my favourite series and Renee and I both looked forward eagerly for the next book of The Meg. This book having many very similar elements to a series I already loved feels like something I SHOULD consider negative but honestly I kind of love it. The Others series is over… it’s gone. But here it is, rising again and the series being very similar feels like a good thing to me.

I love this book. I love the old series. I love Vicky learning about the idiosyncrasies of the Others around her. I love them learning about her. I love the focus on Aggie Crowguard who is so much fun. I love Grimshaw trying to stop something happening that will provoke a lethal response from the Others in the lake and wild country.

There is less focus on the interaction between The Others - Ilya Sanguinati, the main force in the area is far more aware of humanity than Simon Wolfguard was - he’s a lawyer and he even tries to work within human law to fight against those encroaching on Vicky’s land and the wild country. It’s an excellent, exciting and really funny balance between “here is my injunction” and “the fire elemental will turn you to ash.” And it works, it really works. That balance is struck.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 12: Weak

After the hurricane, June and Althea survived. And June is super sad she didn’t go with John. Despite the fact she was definitely in two minds about going home with him and making a happy life together. She throws in a bit of beating herself up - how she always runs when something terrible happens.

She keeps trying to call John on the walky talky. They’re both stranded near Althea’s big, scary SWAT van - they’ve ran out of diesel, but Althea is obsessed with this van. She can’t bring herself to leave it - even as they begin stripping all the resources from the area.

When they get some static on the Walky, June insists they go to high ground to find out - despite Althea being super reluctant to leave the van. And beginning to feel ill which is always worrisome in an apocalypse. You need radical healing methods

As they travel Althea is very evasive whenever June tries to ask her about her story. As they drive they see her SWAT van drive past - someone has stolen it. Althea is NOT HAVING THAT and charges after them at such a terrible unsafe scene they end up crashing off the road… and when trying to fix the car it’s clear Althea isn’t just a little ill - she’s can’t-stand-sweating-messily sick. She needs medicine - medicine she claims she has on the van

So when June hears the van’s guns she goes to investigate. She’s held at gunpoint by a man and desperately tries to reason with him by not-subtly throwing around this season’s theme. Yes we all used to be evil, stealing, taking, desperately getting by, screw everyone else but we don’t have to be that way. We can make better choices and be good people. Kumbaya et al. He’s not convinced and even makes a good point - if he does join them he will be “guy in group who once didn’t shoot June” which makes him pretty disposable

He’s kinda not wrong. I mean even aside from a “who do we save” perspective, from a narrative point the writers would so make him disposable. I mean not THE most disposable but still.

June does get the upper chance in the fight and suddenly he’s all willing to talk - and he tells him it’s time to leave. She doesn’t shoot him - just drives him off. She then calls Althea to ask her where the medicine is - which takes a while because the very sick Althea is having zombie issues. But that dealt with she manages to tell June there isn’t any - she just wanted the van back

She wanted June to risk her life to get the van back for a lie.

And Althea doesn’t even seem sorry. Even when June explains why she’s really furious - not because she nearly died. But she nearly killed - she nearly became the person she used to be again!

Ooooh that may be that subtle redemption theme sledgehammering its way into the episode again.

Also, Althea… I think we have some flowers for you to look at. You need to drop these habits before you get to Alexandria.

Thankfully they find some magical healing meds and Althea is all healed. But this is when they get a message from Morgan - he’s leading his little mystery tour of Texas broadcasting out to everyone that hey he has loads of supplies, please come murder him. (I mean, really, I get that he’s taken 8 levels of crunchy hippy here, but this is suicidal. “I am Here! I have supplies!”)

June wants to drive to them as soon as possible, naturally. But Althea wants to stay. Because the truck. And at this point we have to concede that Althea’s attachment to the truck is perhaps a bit unhealthy. June asks about this - and Althea says it’s her tapes. She needs her tapes - they not only have the stories of people she’s met but also the stories of several people she loves. Stories of people she cared about, her story. She can’t face abandonning them

Um… they’re in a car. It has carrying capacity. This isn’t The Walking Dead Survival Instinct.

Why go for this? I mean maybe she just really really likes driving around in a giant fecking tank with big big guns? In fact Althea reminds me a little bit like the people of Alexandria before Rick arrived - she’s sheltered. Not because she’s been in a safe settlement - but because she’s been driving around in something equivalent - allowing her to face off against zombies and violent people alike. I think it’s understandable that she’d view this as something of a safety blanket.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Killjoys, Season 4, Episode 7: O Mother, Where Art Thou

Multiple storylines, multiple time lines - oh how I dislike putting these together

So Johnny isn’t exactly thrilled that his brother, D’avin, has abandoned him, again. He’s quite upset - while Dutch is all super focused at following Khlyen’s plan. Honestly she feels almost blase about D’avin not being there and the idea of waiting to pick him up feels less like urgency and more like unhealthy obsession

What she does feel is hurt - it’s clear the idea that D’avin thinks she’s literally too damaged to be around his son has hurt her pretty badly.

If it’s a choice between Dutch and, well, anyone, Johnny is going to go with Dutch and follow the path to the Pulsar. Which turns out to be a Black Hole which is super bad and dangerous and everyone’s going to die so we’re going to get all emotional about this. Apparently. C’mon, no-one’s dying here

Nope they’re not because it’s a special hidden place in a fake Black Hole with a planet which Dutch goes to explore. The planet has some spooky people in leather with glowy spears who are all hostile until Dutch introduces herself as Khlyen’s daughter

And yes, that is the first time she’s ever said this.

Meanwhile Johnny is dealing with another big spear guy who wants to stab him repeatedly and Johnny has to be saved by Lucy and a whole lot of snarking

Dutch follows the path to a chamber with a cryo-pod in it. It opens and inside is the fake-assassin-woman from her message-dream-visions… She is Yeleena Kin Rit

Yes we need some flashbacks here to 250 years ago, because Yeleena Kin Rit is Aneela’s mother (so kinda sorta Dutch’s mother?) and one of the ten families. Yes, ten, not the nine - because Kin Rit (the surname Delle Sayah has given Jaq) was one of those families. The head of them, in fact

She has tracked down her husband, Khlyen (yes, Aneela’s actual father not just metaphorical here) with her squad of soldiers because he and Aneela have gone silent and she is Not Having it. Even though we only know Yaleena for only a short while, it’s abundantly clear that if she is Not Having Something then it will not stand

Seeing that Yaleena does not take no for an answer, Khlyen takes her to see Aneela - and Aneela is not in a good place. Newly Hullened she is experimenting on bodies and there is blood and viscera and it’s like watching a child play serial killer. Needless to say Yaleena is pretty shaken by this and wants an explanation. Khlyen tries to explain how it’s a voice in her head called the Lady that appeared and it’s all bad but he can fix it. He just has to go off alone

Guess how willing Yaleena is willing to let him run off alone?

They travel together with Yaleena making it clear she has definitely missed Khlyen, both as a partner and because he is politically really really good at all the machinations with the vicious noble families.

They arrive on the planet and Yaleena struggles. The air is extremely thin and she’s gasping for breath. Khlyen is untouched. The pulsar was so bright it made Yaleena flinch. Khlyen was unaffected

Yaleena is no fool and demands to know what happened - clearly Aneela isn’t the only one changed. He makes a sudden move and she shoots him. Yes Yaleena doesn’t take prisoners

Except it doesn’t hurt him of course and she was, what she describes as, a sudden nap

She wakes up and they get to talk and explain the Hullneness - including the lack of emotion which is why the, apparently, warm and loving Khlyen is now so cold to her even when she’s in emotional distress. He has a plan - this is THE original goo pool. We know that if you use the Hullen-Killing compound in a goo pool it kills all the Hullen that came from that pool. If they kill this pool then this will destroy the Hullen - and the lady - entirely

Monday, September 3, 2018

Wynonna Earp, Season 3, Episode 7: I Fall to Pieces

Wynonna and Charlie are still doing their casual stress release thing in a fire engine (which is just awkward) while Nicole campaigns for support to become the new sheriff.

Nedry is all very very supportive of this, happy to retire and snark (Jeremy’s also there and Waverley makes a quip about whether he lives there and this is just Wynonna Earp kind of lampshading that they’ve done so little with Jeremy he doesn’t even have a home) as he sets Nicole and Wynonna together clearing out his weird cupboard of weirdness. Any potential magical artefacts which he’d have trouble explaining he’s stuffed in the cupboard

Wynonna quickly derides this as make work to try and make them work together because Wynonna and Nicole don’t always get on. This has always been kind of bubbling but this episode lays it out: Nicole likes order and rules. Especially since she’s the sheriff which kind of needs some level of rules and orders and planning. While Wynonna likes to wing it, burn it all down and kind of get through it. They clash a lot and eventually their squabbling breaks some of the artefacts

We know that’s a bad idea.

Nedry also tells Nicole that she needs to get the approval of Bunny Loblaw, who controls the city council. And she is a terrible terrible person.

She visits Nicole, is clearly homophobic (and points to the show for knowing that homophobes are often smart enough not to yell slurs but do like their dog whistles: like praising Wynonna for being a “straight shooter”) and equally clearly doesn’t like that Nicole isn’t from Purgatory. She’s also allergic to cats and even thinking of backing Wynonna for Sheriff. She makes one valid complaint - she didn’t like that Nedry lied to her about the supernatural shenanigans in the city and kept her in the dark. She wants to be told

While Wynonna and Nicole bicker away (Wynonna doesn’t actually want to be sheriff but she takes issue with Nicole so passionately insisting how utterly terrible Wynonna would be as a sheriff. I mean, it’s not wrong but it is mean), Bunny sees a gnome and meets Nicole’s cat, Calamity Jane (this is an AWESOME name for a cat and I want to get a cat just so I can call her this!) which is unfortunate as she has a pet allergy and promptly passes out

There follows one of the most hilarious exchanges there has ever been on this show. And this is Wynonna Earp which has some of the biplays ever in the genre. This show is the master of snark and this set a new level

From “Balls, Bunny’s dead”. To Wynonna insisting she knows a dozen places to hide a body, “she’s alive” “fine, I’ll save them for another time.” Nicole insists Wynonna get Bunny’s purse, so which Wynonna relies “yes, cash!” Not medication.

Bunny is actually alive. And doesn’t want to go to hospital because it has too many immigrant doctors - because she is a terrible terrible person.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Chaos Unleashed (Chaos Rises #2) by Pippa DaCosta

Gamma, half demon, raised in a lab by humans to hunt down and destroy demons, needs allies to rescue her brother

And there can be no greater ally than the Demon Prince of Pride. If you can trust a Demon Prince. And the irony of the Demon Hunter allying with the Demon Prince isn’t lost on her

Gem has a goal - but does she even know what she wants? Or who she can trust?

This book series has a fun world (and this book overtly links Pippa DaCosta’s two worlds)  with demon princes and an array of different demons: from various lesser demons that are animalistic through to a range of elementals. We have half demons, a demonically scarred real world reeling from a major demonic incursion and lots of magic, battles and exploration

It’s an excellent world. The parts of the world lost to demonic power and incursion, demons trying to find their place in the world of humanity or in these little demonic lands. And even the animalistic demons are interesting in their differences and how they are used

But we don’t explore all that much of them. Oh we use a fair bit of it to explore magic and powers and, like the previous book, there is an ongoing sense that there’s a whole lot more to this world than I get to see (I like the merging of the book series because it adds a lot more weight and context to this world building. Argh I like this world but give me more!) but I have to concede that isn’t the point of this book

This book is all about identity - who people are and what they want to be. Oh we have an excellent plot with great conflicts, some interesting relationships and loyalties and some really really really nifty fight and action scenes.

But identity is the core here. Obviously we have Gem herself, the demon, the weapon created by the Institute, the human… something more? She struggles back and forth between human feelings, demonic violence the weapon’s hatred of all things demonic. And this constantly makes her doubt who she is, what she wants and even what feelings are real

There’s her brother Delta, and what is he to her? Can she see him for what he is, what their relationship actually is - can she see past what she wants him to be?

Around her is Torrent, another half demon who has the same demon/human conflict but also his own battle over what he wants to be. How will he grow, which will he preserve - what actually matters to him the most. And can you decide to be something you’re actually not because you value this identity so much?

Blood sucker slot review

As you can probably tell from the name, this game is all about blood suckers aka vampires. NetEnt, one of the worlds leading slot game developers, have really capitalised on the high popularity of all things vampire with this title. This 5-reel, 25 pay-line slot is a real treat for fans of horror, no matter their age of what device theyre playing off. Players are getting a game that ticks all the boxes and this will see the game become very popular in the online casino world.
The theme of the game is a huge draw, with more and more TV shows and films now taken on the vampire theme. Twilight was a huge movie series based on vampires and TV shows like True Blood are extremely popular with viewers. As soon as you load Blood Suckers, you hear the eerie music which really does set the scene. Theres the sound of the wind blowing in the background, while other musical features such as an organ playing when a player hits a winning combination help to develop the atmosphere.
The design of the game really ties in well with the theme too. The backdrop features a bloody hand print, while theres a ghostly mist apparent too. The symbols on the reels are all vampire related and this is great to see as the game moves away from the traditional inclusion of playing cards. Vampires, cloves of garlic and wooden stakes all feature, and this is in keeping with the premise of the game.