Saturday, February 9, 2019

Victoria Marmot and the Meddling Goddess (Victoria Marmot #1) by Virginia McClain

Victoria is trying to get away from life for a moment, still dealing with the sudden death of her parents

But things start getting weird when a woman starts randomly narrating her life - and mentioning a quest she’s supposed to be embarking on. She has no time for such nonsense - she has a new school to attend… a school with supernatural beings which was definitely unexpected

But then there’s a surprise reunion, an actual goddess getting involved and a whole world she never expected

I’m intrigued by this book - and a little frustrated

Intrigued because as I was reading it I felt like this was something of a parody of urban fantasy, paranormal romance and paranormal YA. We open with our protagonist actually confronting the narrator in a hilarious scene where she is bemused and horrified at this person stalking her and feeling the need to describe all of her actions aloud. I laughed out loud, literally, and was hooked. Honestly this line:

"Her chestnut hair barely reflected the starlight, her mint-green eyes flashing with confusion as her caramel skin darkened to the color of milk chocolate with increasing ire.

"Who the fuck is hiding in the woods describing me like a damned dessert?"

Or that Fate is known as the “DM”. It’s geeky joy!

This follows a rather inept werewolf losing his clothes when shifting and having Victoria slightly bemused by this wolf. Oh and a vampire who keeps doing things like declaring his love and watching her while she sleeps and being treated like the depraved stalker that he is.

This is hilarious. This is awesome. Throw in a headmaster with a whole lot of cannabis and a bemusing school setting and we have a fun book here and I just want to learn more about Victoria and her weird school friends dropping real sensibilities one the rather bemusing storylines we see so often

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Magicians: Season 4, Episode 3: Bad News Bear

The gang is gathered facing the Elliot monster who is merrily deciding how to kill them in a way which will cause the most suffering.

But downstairs, Margo arrives and runs into Marina. Now Marina is running away because her god-detecting wards have done a collective Oh-fuck and since an alternate version of her (time lines are so confusing) got brutally murdered by a god she’d rather flee for the hills. But she does have a trap for a god - ambrosia that will get them super high and distracted - she tells this to Margo

Margo joins her friend, sets up the trap - and doesn’t use it. Instead trading the location of Bacchus and the means to incapacitate him in exchange for all their friend’s lives. The Monster may hate them but he really really really hates the gods so much more

Josh isn’t thrilled with this plan being a good friend of Bacchus - but Margo is nothing if not ruthless. He thinks she should have used the trap on The Monster but Margo isn’t a fool - the last time they used a god killing thing (a bullet) on the Monster, it was immune and they just killed the host. And since his current host is Elliot, Margo is not happy with that.

They’re transported magically to Fillory and Josh’s job is to poison Bacchus. Bacchus lays on ALL THE GUILT on his best friend. Josh can’t do it but he runs straight into Margo who a) nicely flips the sexism of “pussy” and b) shows her extreme ruthlessness and plans to murder the whole party if he doesn’t get on side… he does

Bacchus is poisoned.... And fed to the Beast. We get some nice exposition with the Beast telling us that he came from the same parents as the gods, that he has his “kind” were trapped together and the Beast ate them all. Hence why he’s called a monster. He knows the gods took something from him but doesn’t know what it is… but he wants it back. Bacchus can’t give it back and, while desperately begging for him to pick any other gods… the Monster slices him open and pulls out a glowy magic red heart

A heart that, to Margo’s fairy eyes, glows like the sun

Julia meanwhile meets with Henry who is just such a glorious wreck with his hidden stash of booze, confronting him about both putting a target on her gang and, at the same time, playing too safe when facing the Library and the McAllisters, compromising too easily. And I think she’s not wrong? But after last episode when we brutally saw Henry’s devastating self-doubt and hate it’s clear that Henry maybe doesn’t have the self-confidence to go all in and trust to his abilities - which is kind of what Quentin, Julia etc all did. Especially this episode. This episode pretty much sums up their entire policy of charging in and trusting that they can handle it. And Julia is even more inclined now - the reason she kept coming back to life last episode? She’s a god. Oh she lost her god powers, but there are still perks

So with Margo and Josh away, that leaves the rest to figure out how to survive. So the McAllisters (the former faerie slavers) are credited with bringing magic back - and handing it to the Library. The McAllisters have now put a huge bounty on the gangs’ lives. And, of course, Marina, not being a super nice person, intends to collect on this. Which is why she tried to bring the illusion down in the first place

Quentin steps in an insists on paying her off - with Deweys. Deweys are coins from the Library - magic credit. The Library gives a small amount of background magic to everyone - but if you want to do a bit more then you need to get some more magic from the Library. And the library has a whole set of coinage they dish out for that - the biggest is the Dewey.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Legacies: Season 1, Episode 9: What Was Hope Doing in Your Dreams?

Time for a new monster because we have a new mcguffin everyone wants - the glowy urn.

Alaric and Hope consult on what best to do and it’s time for my broken record moment! I’ll keep it brief because I’m going to revisit it at length later on - but note headmaster Alaric now has to work with his student, Hope, as an equal conspirator rather than speaking to her as an adult to a child/student. She even refuses to tell him where the urn is, dismissing his adult claims simply because she is the one with super powers. And… she’s not wrong. You can tell because Alaric backs down on this and allows her to be the sole defender of the urn be because he’s human and woefully ill-equipped to deal with this

We do have a couple of elements of angst - Hope is keeping secrets from Landon about the whole missing memories and dead mother thing. She thinks this will bring him nothing but pain but achieve little. Alaric doesn’t force the issue because he’s kind of resigned to being her lackey now. The problem is that Hope is now super awkward about this and is avoiding Landon which sends Landon’s insecurities spiralling (foster kid bounced from home to home, many of them abusive) and he tries to gently poke her with not-subtle-but-kind-of-sad “zomg please love me” near desperation

And Rafael sees this and is super concerned because he’s really really protective of Landon (who does have this whole lost puppy feel to him) and is worried that Hope is going to hurt him and isn’t happy that Hope is keeping secrets. They have a philosophical difference in which she thinks it’s ok to keep secrets and lie if it’s to help people while he thinks that’s completely unacceptable.

To top up that drama, Rafael is also having issues because he’s into Hope and realises this could be a super betrayal of Landon so ANGST

MG is also fighting with some bad self-image issues of vampirism and how vampires have to change while Kaleb is against this anti-vampire turn.

Into this steps in the latest monster - a ghostly woman who invades people’s dreams and torments them with nightmares to make them give up the location of the urn

Which doesn’t really work because only Hope knows where it is and Hope is staying awake. Alaric and Hope consult and again we have a brief debate about secrecy - and they decide the best thing to do would be to inform the school that monsters are coming. Alaric does so and evacuates the youngest students while offering the older students the choice whether they want to evacuate or stay and face mortal peril

And schools shouldn’t work this way!!!! Hey kids, want to make a life or death decision at age 13 (the mandatory evacuees seem to be very young kids)! And honest no social stigma about running away (it’s not like this may affect your reputation and future standing in packs/vampire bloodlines etc).

Yes, more on that later. Several students leave but Hope, Rafael, Kaleb and MG stay. As does Landon despite pretty much everyone telling him to get his human arse out of there. Which to me just emphasises how much Alaric should do the same.

So research - after deciding they’re being attacked by a Night Hag, a monster that manipulates nightmares, they spend a while discovering that what happens in dreams can hurt them. Rafael is injured by a nightmare of an abusive foster family (he also dreams about Hope). Landon has dull, boring first-day-at-school nightmares while MG freaks about about being a murderous vampire and Kaleb tackles his doubts as he fears vampires MAY be terribad awful mixed with his actually enjoying being one

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Siren, Season 2, Episode 2: The Wolf at the Door

The Merfolk are on land and everyone is still obeying Ryn and there’s lots of interesting ways in how they show dominance and submission - I have to say how good they are at conveying very non-human creatures here. Ryn is in control and continues to teach the others how to speak English and react with the world.

Katrina, her rival, is not a fan and keeps challenging her, but the rest of the group backs Ryn and Ryn pays special attention to Donna’s daughter.

Helen is watching over the merfolk and one man especially seems to accept her. The injury from the wolf bite isn’t great - but there’s another problem: her skin is already degrading with lack of access to the ocean (can’t they run a bath and put in a lot of salt? No? Apparently not). Going back to the ocean is a problem because the oil explorers blasting the sea with mega sonar are going to be doing this for months on end. This is a problem they can’t possibly wait it out. They consider going to another part of the ocean but merfolk are territorial and they’ll be attacked by other merfolk bands for invading their territory

Ben starts looking at the safest place to get the mermaids into the ocean and while he does Maddie agrees to watch the merfolk… Ben is clearly wary and insists she take a shot gun. Which turns out to be useful to drive off a wolf - Katrina pushes the merfolk to disobey Rynn and gets Donna’s daughter injured when she decides to lead them out of the cabin and gets attacked by a wolf - much to everyone’s surprise. Wolves don’t generally attack humans, but merefolk apparently are different. This doesn’t make Katrina popular

We get a lot of building moments with the merfolk learning a bit more about humanity, language et al. Maddie and Ryn move closer which kind of helps chip away at Maddie’s own wariness towards Ryn after what happened to Ben. We also get some nice moments of Ben teaching Ryn to drive and trying to explain laughter to Ryn which is quite hilarious - and I say again, shows just how very good this show is at depicting how alien mermaids are

And Ben and Maddie are growing closer together as Maddie realises Ben is trying to sort himself out, even attending addiction counselling to try and deal with his obsession with Ryn and her voice. Maddie approves because he is trying. But there’s also that difficult moment when Ben, while talking to Ryn, wonders whether he’s actually bonding with her and attracted to her and it’s not just the song which… is less ideal. Also for some reason the people at this addictions meeting didn’t smack him one for standing up and announcing what, to any non-mermaid experienced watcher, sounds like someone who needs either relationship counselling or a restraining order calling his bad relationship an addiction.

Another complication of this is that Maddie’s mother, Susan, who also attends this meeting for much more conventional reasons, notices that Ben is there. She is both very worried that Maddie is dating an addict since she’s already aware of how much her own addiction has really hurt her daughter and also a little irritated that Maddie is so apparently accepting and supportive of his addiction but so very angry about her own

Dale advises her that things are waaaaaaay more complicated than this and if estranged mother Susan wants to rebuild her relationship with Maddie she really really OH MY GODS REALLY shouldn’t try to split her up from her boyfriend. She actually listens, thank you all that is sensible

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Siempre Bruja: Season 1, episode 1

After so much hope, so much potential, so much excitement, this... this utter horror is what we get?!

Monday, February 4, 2019

The Magicians, Season 4, Episode 2: Lost, Found, Fucked

Marina has gathered most of our cloaked magicians together to try and break the spell on them… which doens’t work, doesn’t work at all

She also gets a magical automated voice mail from Henry Fogg telling her to cease and desist and that trying - or succeeding - in breaking the spell that is shielding them will only cause everyone to die horribly.

Marina being Marina, is not going to listen to any automated warnings. More, she realises that the cloaked people must be Henry’s most favoured students, who else would they be? She begins poking and prodding at Penny until she finds the spell that suppresses his Travelling ability (we’ve seen previously that his Travelling ability is non-human magic so isn’t subject to the limitations of magic rationing) which he uses to buzz around quite merrily.

The rest of the group are torn - and Kady puts it best: their lives are fake. Even when their fake lives are awesome (Josh’s biggest conflict is his penis is too big, Penny has legions of groupies and Kady is like a super-cop bordering on a hero) they’re blatantly comic book. No-one really has lives like this.

Marina uses Penny’s travelling ability to nip into Henry’s office, steal his shiny disguise potion and inject him with it - all witnessed by Todd. Her plan is to convince Henry to reveal the antidote to save himself. He refuses, protecting these students is too important to him. He also questions which of the many many many time lines this Marina is from. Honestly, I’ve lost track. I know one of the Marina’s was Henry’s lover but I’m pretty sure that isn’t this Marina.

It has gotten rather confusing.

Instead Henry embalks on a rather epic goodbye session, having Todd record his memoirs and laying out his deep, abiding pain in a moment that would be almost funny if it weren’t so poignant - from his alocholism, his self-loathing, his gambling and his general self destruction. He finds it cathartic, but it’s super emotional as well. We also remember that he is one of the few who remembers all 50 of the alternate time lines - 50 lifetimes all of them ending in absolute horror and awfulness. With that, even magic is a grand and awful disappointment to him. He almost welcomes losing his identity. Todd watches all of this casual revelations from his suicide plans to all his confessions with a growing sense of horror

Until he meets with Etta, his tailor who seems to know him better than anyone, knowing his clothes are a shield to keep people at bay and, ultimately what a good man he is before he breaks down in tears and tells her everything. Including how he tried to make the best lives he could for his “most annoyingly millennial of students” but Marina has doubtless planned something far worse

Someone else who learns the truth is Julia, still stuck in the identity of Kim, who is worried about him leaving since he’s the only one who believes in her (since she’s so bad at magic)... but Todd is incapable of keeping a secret and has told her everything. She realises she is one of the masked people and asks who she really is.

Of course Henry doesn’t tell her - but he can actually talk about it, since he cast the curse he is quite capable of stopping random things killing him from talking about it. He urges her not to poke this for her own safety. He, again , refuses to reverse the spell

And he goes to Marina to have his identity erased and replaced with a homeless person - and Marina calls him dad. And it’s possible among the whole time line thing I just missed that?

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Supernatural: Season 14, Episode 12: Prophet and Loss

Ok, Supernatural, is good at angst, emotion and seriously messed up relationships with lots and lots and lots of drama. But this episode turned that to 11. So. Much. Deeply. Unhealthy. Emotion.

So, Dean is still planning to lock himself in a magical metal coffin and have himself dumped in the Pacific ocean. He is conflicted about this because he has terrible nightmares about it. He is clearly really really not happy with his suicidal decision.

Sam hears this and tries to offer comfort to Dean - but Dean obviously pretends nothing is wrong because he’s Dean. To which Sam assures him it’s ok to be traumatised since he’s planning a fate that is utterly worse than death. Just like, so terrible. Sam is probably quite good at comforting - but then he isn’t trying to be comforting. He’s dumping as much awful on Dean as he can to make him reconsider.

Dean is resisting - he insists Sam not to try and distract him; that’s why he never told Castiel or Jack - he is doing this and doesn’t want anyone to shake his resolve

Of course Sam has already told Castiel - and they’ve done everything they can to find an alternative to seal in Michael, even calling in Rowena. They’ve come up with nothing

They begin their road trip to Dean’s horrible fate, Dean begins to talk about their childhood and how he regrets supporting their dad so much when he and Sam were at odds and how his dad, when annoyed at Dean, used to send him away. And as a long term 14 season Supernatural fan, can I say how much this moment mattered - because here we had Dean, Dean of all people, acknowledging that John Winchester was a less than perfect parent (yes I have always been in camp: John Winchester was an abusive father and Bobby was their real dad).

But Sam is not being dragged down painful memory lane, angrily and emotionally shuts Dean down. If he’s going to put Dean in a metal box in the ocean he is not having an emotional recap with him, absolutely not.

While they’re on with that there’s another case building up - a man is killing people in ritual ways and carving into their flesh. Carving enochian into their flesh while making biblical-ish quotes

Sam naturally seizes on this and encourages Dean to go on one last case and it doesn’t take too much of a sell to convince him to come with. They contact Castiel to question who is running around knowing Enochian, suspecting that it may be an angel. Castiel quickly drops that he knows about Dean’s suicide plan (because he’s not great at secrets) and promptly gets on with telling Dean what a terribad awful idea this is.

Dean still won’t be shifted. And no they will never ever give up on talking him out of it.

So onto the case where they interview the twin of one of the victims who talks a lot about just how much his brother meant to him. Uh-huh this is not subtle. Not subtle at all, these pot shots at their feels.