Showing posts with label Buffy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Buffy. Show all posts

Monday, December 26, 2022

An Anita Blake Limited Edition Lot Find I REFUSED to Leave Behind

Okay. Okay. Okay. So, Anita Blake and I have beefed back and forth for years. I stopped reading the series for a few years, jumped back on, stopped again, and recently decided to jump back on to catch up on Blake's (and Hamilton's) latest offering with 2020's Sucker Punch and 2021's Rafael. I had some deep, ripping issues with 2018's Serpentine; I welcome you to find the video in which I shared my concerns.

Nevertheless, my continuing to read Hamilton on and off is driven chiefly by the state of nostalgia her work generates. Summer of 2007. Just discovering how the urban fantasy/action woman stories stretched outside Buffy meant everything during that time. Not to mention how incredible the first nine Anita Blake books were (though I've gradually become accustomed to the tone change after book nine).

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Monday, May 16, 2016

Tales of the Slayer | Buffy Goodness

As one of those debut episode, long-living passionate Buffy, the Vampire Slayer fans, it goes without saying I watch the series year round.  Episode after episode (except season three’s obnoxious Xander-driven "Zeppo" episode).  Season after season.  I’m there.  I used to run through the DVD boxsets, then indulged in the convenience of watching the damn show on Netflix.  Bandwidth be damned.
I’m currently on the last four episodes of my favorite season–which would be season three.  And we all know the theme of this season: good slayer versus dark slayer.  And sure, I would love to dive into all the complexities, context, and other conversations (ha, 3 c’s) about the topic.  But it’s been done time and time again.  Nevertheless, my longing interest on the topic reverted back to the whole slayer mythology.  I’ve always, always been interested in slayers past–particularly Nikki Wood.  First, she’s a black slayer.  Second, every single thing about her was ripped out of Pam Grier's rampaging performances in 70's Blaxploitation films.  Seriously, it’s a sub-genre of film sworn to Queen Grier, and certainly an immediate source to fulfil my thirst in the black female action hero.  As opposed to her many counterparts.
But I digress.
My point is, while pondering about slayers, I realized I had the Tales of the Slayer books to go back to re-familiarize myself with many of their stories.  However, some stories I remember perfectly.  Even after years of finishing her story in one of the volumes, imprints remained.  So with a little dusting, it would be nice to dive back into the slayer fray for a tale or two.  
No, for real.  These books have been shamefully in a tote for over ten years.  Sick.  I know.
Nonetheless, let me see if I can flip through and recall some of my favorite slayer stories.  Or at least the ones better written.  Because some of the writers… well… suffered to tell a decent slayer story.  And yes, somewhere after volumes three my interest faded over the years; I never went back to get volume four.  Pitifully.  But now’s the chance to reconnect and order that SOB.  Especially because that’s the volume featuring slayers facing the Cruciamentum (those who know understand what the hell that ridiculous test is).
So.  Anybody got a favorite Slayer out there?  Comment below.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

#MarchMysteryMadness: The Preparation Book Haul

I’ve been a Barnes and Noble member for years and recently found the benefit of using the member card online.  FREE SHIPPING!  Where have I been?  (Oh, I’ve been on Amazon where they upped their free shipping price margin.)  Nonetheless, with #MarchMysteryMadness coming up, I needed to stock books to fulfill the upcoming mystery reading challenges.  So those, and some books I've collected from a couple of used bookstores, are featured in this haul post.  Many are from familiar series I plan on tackling #MarchMysteryMadness with–furthering my excitement for the challenges next month.

1.       Finally got a copy of Burn Marks.  It's book six in Sara Paresky’s V. I. Warshawski private-eye, hard-boiled series.  Now I’ve passed this particular 3rd edition hardback many times at the used bookstore.  Until now.  It’s right where I’m at with the series, so I went ahead and grabbed it.  The book is in great condition.  For a 1990’s release, the pages are super clean and crisp.  All that aside, this one has got to be a winning chapter in the Warshawski series.  You see, another one of Warshawski’s distant relatives is coming back in the picture.  And she's all set to hire her niece to solve a murder.  (For more on my Sara Paretsky reviews, see the LABELS at the bottom of the post.)
The other three books will feature on my #MarchMysteryMadness TBR video...
4.      Blanche Among the Talented Tenth by Barbara Neely.  Blanche is back!  I've had the third book since forever, but since I have to read a series in order, it has sat on my shelf awaiting book two.  Until now!  A black, domestic housekeeper solving murders makes a boy's dreams come true! (Visit Barbara Neely LABEL below for my thoughts on the first book in the series.)
5.       I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, book four in Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series.  YAY! It's finally in my hands!  Bookstore after bookstore I’ve searched, after reading The Red Herring Without Mustard [book three].  Actually, I would have to drive over the mountain to another Barnes & Noble in the valley to get a copy of this book.  Though I couldn’t see myself attempting so with a recently replaced crankshaft, and a cracked axle boot.  I feared my car wouldn’t pull the hill.  So I’ve ordered the book instead and can’t wait to continue with Flavia and her murder-solving mischief.  (For those unsure of what I’m even talking about, click the Alan Bradley LABEL below for all things de Luce.)

6.      The Goldfinch by Donna Tart.  Always, always wanted to give this book a go.  With all the acclaim and praise, it slammed onto my reading radar.  I was curious, and finally found this crisp copy for $4 at my public library’s bookstore.  With it in hand, I drew the attention of a staff member who stopped to gloat her love/hate relationship with the book.  This, naturally, fueled my excitement.
7.      No Rest for the Wiccan.  Another “I been to bookstore after bookstore” book.  Book four in Madelyn Alt’s Bewitching Mystery series required an online order as well.  I have a soft spot for this cozy mystery series about a witch solving local murders.  But I’ll digress for now.  (Click the Madelyn Alt LABEL for my thoughts on the previous book.)
8.      Two copies of Susan Wittig Albert’s China Bayles cozies.  That’s entry two [Witches’ Bane] and three [Hangman’s Root].  I’ve craved these hard-to-finds after discovering the first book while browsing the used bookstore.  And loved it.  (For my thoughts on the first book, click the Susan Wittig Albert LABEL below.)
Well, that’s it guys.  I’ve been hauling the hell out of books so far this year–and can’t wait to get into them all.  I have a copy of Buffy Season 10: Old Demons on the way also.  And in an attempt to use my Kindle more, I ordered/downloaded Marcia Muller’s Ask the Cards a Question.  It's book two in Muller’s Sharon McCone series.
So basically I’m back in my reading playground.  Cozies.  Female sleuths.  And murders.  With a splash of literature on the side.  Anyway, happy reading and all that jazz!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

2015's 6 FINAL READS ~ PART 1

It’s time to go ahead and tidy 2015 and my fluxing reading ADHD on up.  So what I want to do is a rundown of the final six books I’ve read this year–unless I can squeeze in one more.  (Another Rita Mae Brown Mrs. Murphy mystery is looking mighty good right about now.)  Some of these books I’d like to dedicate an entire post toward.  And they really, really deserve one.  But this will have to do, as there are more books and posts ahead for 2016.  So let’s get started.  Let me share with you the six books I’ve unofficially wrapped the year with.

1.       Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody
Calling from the highest mountain to the deepest sea, this books deserves a full post.  I finished it mid-November where it immediately fell into my favorite reads list of the year.  Published in 1968, it's an autobiography of the author's experience growing up in rural Mississippi.  As well as how her childhood turned her into a prolific Civil Rights activist.  
To elaborate, Anne Moody came from tenant farmers on a Mississippi plantation.  Not one to find comfort in her upbringing, she had unconventional expectations for herself.  Many of which she expressed to the point of becoming problematic to others.  Still, she had enough drive for better for her family and the African-American community.  And she would see the drive realized.  
The first half of the book chronicles Moody's growing ambition for change.  She takes readers on her journey through her humorous and desperate childhood.  Then moves into her high school years and college life, where you get her relatable life events.  I found this half of the book builds the identity of Moody, molding her leader and activist nature.  Though I found her just a touch self-absorbed underneath some subjects of conversation.  Particularly her academic comparisons with other students.  Nonetheless, her childhood and young adult journey provides the foundation for the remaining half of the book.  Because the second half showcases Moody's immense contribution to organizations such as NAACP and CORE.  
Years seeing this picture, I never knew the story of the courageous
woman (and others) behind this sit-in.  My mouth dropped.
And it's interesting because the second half's direction was almost unforeseen to me.  The book switched focus, with nuggets of Moody's personal life sprinkled between her activism.  When I picked up the book, I had no prior knowledge of how prolific the author actually was.  I would even wager to cry "blindsided."  But moved by the intimate story behind her voice.  It’s so easy to recognize Civil Rights leaders such as Malcom X and Martin Luther King.  So how often do we recognize those who took action in smaller (though no less powerful) integral efforts?  Moody withstood protests, sit-ins and death threats.  She rallied for Mississippi residents to vote and start political change.  Even as an entire community appeared petrified of retaliation from empowered white leaders circling their community.  She questioned her resolve a number of times–to the point of collapsing.  Yet, she kept going.  
Just an all-around intense, courageous, and emotional read; powered by historical black leaders and events.  One day I’ll have to go back and fully flesh out my thoughts on the book.  In the meantime, a "thank you" will suffice if this book hasn't hit your radar yet.  (More on ANNE MOODY'S biography)
Book two in Harris’s Midnight, Texas Trilogy.  I started on its May release, but didn’t actually complete it until November.  Why?  Because I was so bored with it.  Or I couldn’t snap into engagement mode all the way.  When I made the decision to dedicate myself to Day Shift, I enjoyed it enough to breeze right through happily.  Now I can’t say it was all that exciting by its end, and I can’t say it was all that uninteresting.  God.  I’m really up and down about this one. 
Anyway, what I will say is I’m still a fan of Harris’s work and do look forward to the final book in the Midnight, Texas Trilogy.  I wish I had more to share.  Yet, I think that five-and-a-half-month break kind of took whatever glory or upset I have.  I just can’t pick the book apart.  I’ll make up for it when the third book comes next May.  In the meantime, maybe its Goodreads page can serve you some interest.  Sorry, guys.  I have nothing.
But take this one thought with you:  An eccentric cast of characters with secrets and murder on the mind.
Okay.  We know I live and breathe for Buffy.  TV show.  Comics.  TV tie-in books.  I’m there for it all.  Eighteen years (where the HELL did time go?) and counting.  Sadly, I wasn’t there for this book.  It’s another book that took me five and a half months to complete.  Sad, sad days.  What made me pick up this book in particular had a lot to do with Buffy facing a vampire who once was a slayer named Celina.  I’ve always, always wanted to ride into that avenue of discussion.  What would the vamp-slayer be like?  How would Buffy take her on? 
Now I like the character of Anya all right.  I really do.  We're alike in more ways than one.  But as it concerns this book–which dropped loads of angst of her pondering death versus immortality–I just couldn't Anya anymore.  Adjacently, I just didn’t care for Buffy's struggles after awhile.  I laugh at the thought, but seriously found myself gurgling along with this one.  I will say Buffy’s final confrontation with Celina made up for much of my disinterest.  During their heated battle, I was living for the barbs and shared introspection.  While trading blows, the two squared with what it took to be a slayer/hero versus the darker colors of a predator.
I’ve recognized this in the past but, having spent time shifting through these tie-ins, I only enjoy the Buffy-centered books.  The books where her slayerness–in some form or fashion–is addressed in a new, challenging way.  Those books that really look into what it means to be a slayer, through Buffy.  This book served, but it was that damn Anya storyline (no hate or shade to her) that irritated the whole experience.
All right my friends!  Stay tuned for the second half where I share the last (unofficial) three books I've tied the year over with.  What were the six or so books you left 2015 with?  Leave all your comments below!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Buffy Volume 3 Gets Personal

Romance.  Romance.  Romance.  Repeated romance.  That is–though nowhere near wholly true–what Buffy, the Vampire Slayer Season 10 Volume 3 contains.  Just glancing at the cover art above, you can guess who all couples this volume's romance.  So, yes.  That’s Buffy and Spike getting back together.  A touch, touch-touch old and echo-ish from their blossoming (and tumultuous) relationship from the TV show.  I would even stretch to tag it as (fan?) service for those die-hard aggressives who ‘ship the two.  The only reason I wouldn’t is because of the characters’ history.  So it only seemed appropriate these two finally just… well… committed!  It’s the current situation, and unfolded in classic Buffy on psychological-trekking psychedelics style.  Obviously that’s the selling point/highlight of this volume. 
Only, that’s not all the bustling romance.
Xander of Dawn’s relationship comes to another tier or resolution.   The ghost of Xander’s former, Anya, continues to make her “psychoanalysis” appearance via Xander’s consciousness.  So that web of character commentary and growth comes together leaking from the show.
The same goes for Willow’s lighter situation with a demi-god.  Andrew continues to come to terms with his sexuality–I think.  Something about him seems back-and-forth.  Didn’t he recognize he was gay before?  Or maybe that’s just us watchers/readers picking up the signals.
Aside–but not-so aside–the romance comes the reemergence of Olivia's character.  A character in which I want more from.  And has since she appeared on the TV show.  As a woman of color, I ask the writers move her into the inner circle pronto!
As it goes for Season 10's story arc, Buffy and the gang are still working out their issues with writing the rules of magic.  Despite the arc's motion taking a slight backseat in this volume, it’s still present and carrying the characters' motives.  To me, I still find season ten's arc contained and undeviating.  Unlike a few aggravating moments in seasons past where the writers threw chum buckets filled with plot threads out to sea (see what I did there?).  No ma'am.  Season 10 still makes sense!  Thank God these guys got a grip on its reins.  

Nonetheless, adjacent to Buffy and friends' quest comes a new super bad seeking the rights to magic.  Along with another demon connected to vampires in a way I refuse to give up as a spoiler. 
Buffy Season 10 still f'ing ROCKS!  Demons.  Gore.  Comedy.  Character.  And romance.  God bless the child.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Buffy & Roberts. Do They Clash? (Weekend Haul)

After another needling week at the 9-5, I enjoyed a little quiet time at Barnes & Nobles Saturday.  First, I had to make myself move and get off my ass to get there.  Driving on the freeway to avoid construction gives me the chance to talk myself out of the trip.  Each time.  Second, I usually avoid quiet times at the bookstore on weekends.  My Barnes & Nobles connects to a town center, which is always flooded with shoppers on the weekend.  That couldn't be more evident when I stood in line for damn near fifteen minutes to buy a Redbull out of the conjoining Starbucks.  Eventually, I settled down with the laptop and updated my Zazzle shop (new notebooks and phone cases) while trying to keep it cute.  For a good two hours I sat at peace before meeting up with friends to finish up the night.
So with two 20% off Barnes & Nobles coupons burning in my pocket, I finally cut the $18.99 price of Buffy Season 10 Volume 3 down to $14.50.  Very, very necessary.

In this volume Buffy and friends are still going on about rewriting the rules of magic.  However, a new enemy has arrived.  He's named the Sculptor.  He uses human flesh to sculpt and create monsters.  As always, Buffy's personal life comes into the situation as well.  She continues to juggle around her relationships with others, particularly Spike.  We'll see how this goes.  So far, Season 10 hasn't disappointed!

To further my Nora Roberts kick; later I grabbed a copy of her latest trilogy-opener, Stars of Fortune.  That inner compelling voice kept begging me to buy this book.  And I followed it.  Hope it leads to something great.  I'm in the middle of the second book in her Key Trilogy and will have to force myself not to use Stars to interrupt.  In the meantime, check out Amazon's synopsis...

Sasha Riggs is a reclusive artist, haunted by dreams and nightmares that she turns into extraordinary paintings. Her visions lead her to the Greek island of Corfu, where five others have been lured to seek the legendary fire star, part of an ancient prophecy. Sasha recognizes them, because she has drawn them: a magician, an archaeologist, a wanderer, a fighter, a loner. All on a quest. All with secrets.
Sasha is the one who holds them together—the seer. And in the magician, Bran Killian, she sees a man of immense power and compassion. As Sasha struggles with her rare ability, Bran is there to support her, challenge her, and believe in her.
When a dark threat looms, the six must use their combined powers—including trust, unity, and love—to find the fire star and keep the world on course.

Here's to continued reading success.  Or something like that.  Anyway, I'm sure Buffy will close out this week as my work schedule continues to throw salt all over my weekday reading.  Ugh.  Nonetheless, if you've read any of the two, share your comments and thoughts below.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Find My Kill Switch | Surviving Dead Ice

I’ve been meaning to get back to you guys on my experience with Laurell K Hamilton’s twenty-fourth Anita Blake not-so adventure, Dead Ice. The truth is I had to cleanse my reading pallet with something else in the meantime.  Now if you will, think wasabi level pallet cleansing. Anyway, this particular entry didn’t take months to read, so score one for energy drinks and those pulled pork sandwiches I mentioned in a previous post. Nonetheless, it took damn near two weeks for me to finish.  Insufferably so?  Yes, mostly toward the middle and end.  Though it suffered from the standard uselessly overtaxing furry politics and relationship soap operatic melodrama–that continuously killed the crime thriller buzz–it didn't totally shrivel up and suck.  But it didn't collect any prizes either as it continued to circle the drain.  I have a wagon full of things I want to snark about; foot jittery to serve you with them all. However, to try to sum a bit of it up, Hamilton’s camel clutching way of making her readers undergo Anita’s solar system size ego (which doubles as bloating insecurity) remains one.  Also, Anita continues to talk a very good game, but is mostly dense at the end of her barking. The many vampires, aliens, poltergeist, zombies, and animals in her life remain noncommittal. Seriously, I can’t think of one of Antia’s lovers who sparks the slimiest sense of concern or welfare inside of me. 

However, I do believe the character of Asher is now the punching bag the character of Richard once was.  Which is lame because his "issues" are obviously pulled out of somebody's ass just so Anita can have someone to fuss with, while pumping page counts on the tired subject.  The details are hardly worth getting into, as it's just daytime TV types of drama anyway.  With a supernatural spin, of course.  Nevertheless, that doesn't shake off the weariness it creates. The truth is every male character’s life only revolves around Anita's conjecture and vagina (or milky breast, or throat pulse, or whatever). Even so, in the general, I’ve long conceded that this series has turned into the author’s high school fantasy gone wild. I just can’t seem to see it any other way.  I've also long since learned to unhook myself over the majority of the relationship mumbo-jumbo-gumbo-humbo-dumbo-tumbo. 

There’s no need to get invested; all roads of angst, politics, and quarrels on sex/relationships lead simply to Anita’s vagina monologues. Again and again.  And in the infamous words of Cyndi Lauper–though nowhere near as ingeniously expressed and told–"time after time."

Nevertheless, I keep reading. It’s a thing where the real joy comes from the post snarking. What I can say is Dead Ice kind of did a throwback to my favorite book in the series (back when it was engaging, for me anyway). That book would be book number two, The Laughing Corpse.  That, I will say, was a nice touch despite long overdue.  So in keeping with all I've said, I’m not going to go any further. The truth is if you’re familiar with this series, you either share pieces of my view or don’t at all. And if you’re new to this series, I would suggest you not even bother getting to this point. So no sense in my trying to hearten anyone. 

Eventually, you’ll probably find yourself like me; jade, unconcerned, and still wondering what happened to the series after book nine. Now! This post is for those who found themselves rolling their eyes through the majority of Dead Ice. God people, I though I was going to have to get my eyes checked after this one! And the way Hamilton repeats everything to the reader page after page did not help the situation.  Not to mention her obsession with gyms and fitness. Anyway, let’s get to where I rolled my eyes, shared through a few lines taken from the book...
*Activating Kill Switch*

I fought the urge to sigh.  If you're a cop and a woman, never date a celebrity; it ruins your reputation for being a hardass.  I was a U.S. Marshal, but ever since we'd gone public with our engagement I'd become Jean-Claude's fiancee, not Marshal Blake, to most of the women I met, and a lot of the men.  I'd really had hopes that the FBI would be above such things in the middle of crime-fighting, but apparently not.
Two pages into the book and this ever so common subject comes up right on time.  Why does the author always–and I mean always–have to bring up Anita's obsession with gender role constructs and the this-versus-that of being a woman in her career field.  A field, which I believe, she should be removed from because of potential bias in the face of her assignments.  The truth is she does sleep with all the vampires and wereanimals in the city of St. Louis.  She's involved in their power plays and politics.  She's, essentially, the center of the supernatural communities' attention.  Yet, she gloats about the FBI needing her to kill supernatural creatures case after case, year after year.  Meanwhile, her vagina is up on the table (often pimped out by the city's master vampire, Jean-Claude) should any supernatural creature need a power boost.  Somebody, fire her!
'She said, these rings would be worthy of Helen of Troy, another raven-haired beauty [indicating Anita Blake]'
'Raven-haired means black hair,' Lisandro said. [Duh, dude. Duh.]
'Are you saying she compared me to Helen of Troy?' [Asks Anita Blake]
Nice try!
You are not Helen of Troy, Anita.  Cease this degree of madness, Hamilton.  Anita's not on that kind of level and never will be.
'I can't imagine a world where I didn't get grief for looking the way I do as a man.'
The insipidity boring (not to mention emasculated) Micah character states this because he's so short and so "beautiful."  Needless to say, the cringe for me was so real.  This line seemed shot straight out of somebody's fantasy delusions. 
'But the only reason I'm with Jade is that she's my black tiger to call; we're metaphysically tied to each other.  We didn't exactly choose each other.  I'm all full up on vampires.'
Is that a fact?
'I did, because what if by refusing to risk screwing up my own happily-ever-after, I cause the Great Evil to rise again and destroy not only you, Nathaniel, and Jean-Claude, but everyone and everything?  The destruction of civilization as we know it seems a high price to pay for not wanting to add another person to our commitment ceremony.'
Did you just read the same thing?  Micah states this, and I've finally come to the conclusion that he irritates me more than any of Anita's other were-posse members.  Evidently, Anita has to add two were-tigers to her harem in order to keep the Mother of all Darkness–or the reportedly mother of vampires–from reviving.  That, of course, means finding two tigers for Anita to sleep with so that the Great Evil doesn't destroy civilization and mankind via some joke of a cosmic prophecy. Really.  Just step back and really, I mean really, digest Micah's statement.  It sums up the series beautifully.   I actually went to clean my bathroom after this one.  Priorities, man.  Priorities.
'I'm sleeping with all of you, so sex with all of us would work, but we're talking about a lot more than just sex.'
I vanquish you and your petty lies in the name of truth and justice!
'Lazarus was dead only a few days.  You've been dead a lot longer than that, Mr. Warrington.  Do you truly believe that Anita can do what our Lord and Savior never dared?'
First, resurrecting and raising zombies are two different things.  Resurrecting is bringing someone back to life.  Zombie raising is waking one's corpse up from the grave.  Now, obviously Mr. Warrington is a zombie Anita raised.  So let's look at it, though.  According to this piece of dialogue, Jesus couldn't resurrect the dead over an extensive period of his or her death.  As it concerns this dialogue, he wouldn't dare try.  However, Anita's power is suggested as having the strength and ease to do so?  To, quite implied, step into realms of resurrection that Jesus wouldn't even touch.  Just let that shit marinate for a second.  Got it yet?  Great.  So is Hamilton trying to use her Anita avatar to square with Jesus now?  That's only slightly not weird.
'I'm sorry, Susannah, really sorry; that must have been awful.'  And just like that I had my lesson.  I shouldn't assume that every woman a man bashes gave him a good reason to do it.
Girl, what!?
Cringe!  Anita states this.  Are we reading this correctly?  Is she saying that if a men beats on a woman it's usually with good reason?  Yikes!
'I don't understand any of this.'
She and everybody else says this a lot!  And I mean a lot!  It's actually a recurring answer within the past 5 or 6 books.  "The wall is painted purple."  "I don't understand any of this."
I studied his profile, because he was the only one looking away now.  'So, you're not apologizing for almost killing him, really; you're apologizing for accidentally almost killing him.'
Get the hell outta here with this nonsense!
'Don't apologize for not being little; you'll be able to lift weights that I can't even imagine lifting.'
This is Anita talking to a damn lycanthrope of some sort.  Or shapeshifter.  Anyway, it's a creature that can shift into a humanoid version of an animal.  So why oh why is this conversation necessary?  I can only guess Hamilton's gym obsession again.  Otherwise, I hardly see why a shapeshifter should concern him or herself with building muscle.  Or is that just me?
'Your eyes better stay on my face, Benito, because one rule across all were-animal cultures is that if someone is just nude and not trying to be sexy you're suppose to ignore it.'
Anita and her mouth again.  She knows she likes the attention and she knows she wants it.  Who is she kidding?  A housefly?  Something in which she'll never sleep with.  It's attitudes like this that really screws with the inconsistent of Anita's already cruelly flawed character, from a developmental standpoint.  She demands and obsesses over her need for adoration, praise, sex, attention, and every golden sparkle she wants; however, she loathes and gets snotty by the backwash.  If this was explored correctly in Anita's development, I would accept it.  But since it's just a key-in-a-hole-to-turn piece of impulsive Mary Sue drivel, I can't.  Even the whole "rule across all were-animals" is pretty dumb when you consider they all fight to have sex with one another as power plays, and sleep naked in groups.  Per this series world-building, of course.
'The hell you're not; you come in here threatening to kill one of your own people because your lover chose him over you.  If you were all human, that would be first-degree homicide.  You threatened to kill Asher so that Jean-Claude will agree to you becoming my hyena to call; it's like threatening to kill someone unless a woman agrees to marry you.  Again, that's a crime; marriage under duress isn't legal, and threatening to kill people, well, the cops frown on that, too.  Then you threaten to pull out all of your hyenas and go to another city, knowing that we didn't have enough muscle to protect the city from other preternatural baddies without our guys unless we play with you.  That may not be illegal, but it's still not honorable.  But wait, there's more, you threaten to use all the soldiers at your beck and call to declare a preternatural war of a scale that hasn't been seen in this country since the 1800s.  Dozens, maybe hundreds, would die, and threatening shit like that is what makes gang task forces bust your gang up and take the leader off to jail.'
 Oh, dear. So self-righteous when it conveniences her.
'Sometimes, but it's more you are so powerful psychically that you just bull your way through everything, so subtle energies are lost to you because you give off so much of your own energy it makes you blind to other practitioners.'
So basically Anita is so powerful and wonderful that she overshadows everybody else in her business.  So much so that even she only sees herself.  Heh.
'I think they need to kiss everybody, not just me, to see if there's a spark, because I do not want to have another woman in my life who doesn't work with the men in my life.'
My blood pressure at this point.
'...The longer we keep him on [a video chat line], the better chance we have of our techs tracing this to its source.'
'You mean where they're filming?' I asked.
Nooooo, Anita.  Where they're quoting scripture and eating cold hot dogs.  Like, WTF?  Of course where they're filming–Ms. Badass Federal Marshal!  This dumb question coming from the necromancer whose power overshadows everyone else's.
Enough.  I'm done. BOOM! 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Buffy Season Ten Still Tops!

My love for Buffy and friends is never ending. Since I was fourteen, she’s been my best friend–and I’m glad to say she’s still managing so even in comic form. Now with that little gush out of the way, let’s get into my itty-bitty thoughts on Buffy, the Vampire Slayer Season Ten Volume Two, I Wish.

Per graphic novel standards, I Wish follows immediately behind the previous entry, New Rules. We learned that at the end of Season Eight, Buffy destroyed the existence of magic on the Earthly plane. By the end of Season Nine, she restored magic to save her sister, Dawn. However, the restoration of magic comes void of rules, leaving Buffy and her friends to rewrite its laws.  But there's a large catch. Rewriting the laws of magic is privy to creating a “monkey’s paw” effect. What is that you ask? Well, it’s having a wish granted with some ugly–many times drastic–side effects. (Background: The term “monkey’s paw” is derived from a short horror story of the same name, written by W. W. Jacobs. In Jacobs’ “Monkey’s Paw," a sergeant of the British Army is given a magical monkey’s paw that grants him three wishes. Wary of the consequences, the sergeant tries to relieve himself of the paw. Unfortunately, his family obtains it and proceeds to have their wishes granted. In turn, this leads to… well… I'll let you discover the rest.)

Nevertheless, drawing back to my point, Buffy and her friends are aware of this (they've had years of experience with the repercussion of magic). So given the power to recreate the rules of magic, without careful and hyper-unambiguous wording on their part, could obliterate everything they’ve worked so hard to protect.  Seriously, Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles were the guardians of the Hellmouth back when Sunnydale was sunny.  Now they've graduated to guardians of Earth where the stakes are too astronomical to even think about.  Obviously no one is touching rewriting magic before all thoughts of reason are considered, assembled, and re-assembled by all parties involved (which includes every filum of monsters outside of the Slayer's nucleus).  Until then, creating the rules of magic is off limits.

Except Buffy and her friends aren’t so free of the beneficial possibilities and potentials recreating the rules could have on their personal and individual circumstances. Nor is the new trio of mega-Big Bads trying to pick Buffy's team off to rewrite their own, destructive rules. And this is where I Wish truly, and I mean truly, earns its title.  Simply stated, I Wish maintains the character-driven atmosphere loved most inside the Buffyverse.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The OSI Gone Bye-Bye-Bye

I forgot to mention Jes Battis back when I made posts related to urban fantasy authors whose series I've loved but are no longer in operation. So besides the lovely Lynn Benedict, Battis is definitely up there. Battis wrote a five-book series surrounding a young Canadian Occult Special Investigator named Tess Corday. I know. I know. First, you'd like to know exactly what an Occult Special Investigator or OSI is. Well, it’s an investigative unit that specializes in the occult, or occult rattled cases. It’s like an alternative division to the whole CSI mechanic and how it pertains to law enforcement. Therefore, Tess’s job usually has her castigated by unruly vampires, necromancers and other nightly fiends. Well, opposed to murderous humans and the occasional blue-collar criminal. So it‘s all about the world she lives in, and one that Battis painted quite nicely (until it sort of fell apart in the last book).

Despite his set-up, Battis's protagonist is very much human. Although later her father’s genetic truths come to light. This becomes an overarching plot, unfolding next to the case-by-case format spanning the five books. And while all that is tugging and momentum-filled, Tess isn't alone in her journey.  There are secondary characters with their own stories to tell. Her best friend, Derrick, is gay and telepathic.  He also works for the OSI. Additionally, his boyfriend is a hearing-impaired profiler of sorts. Nonetheless, the two (gradually more) share an apartment with a teenage pseudo-vampire named Mia.  Mia bears a striking personality resemblance to Buffy’s sister Dawn, although Mia isn't nowhere near as insufferable.  Tess and her best friend become Mia's guardians after the first book, Night Child. I was always confused about Mia's circumstances, but there’s something about her breaking out into vampire mode and ruling the underworld one day. It’s hazy, but somewhat of the gist of her story. Nonetheless, while these three jump-start the series, there is also Tess’s boyfriend and local chief necromancer, Lucian Agrado.

So the cast is wide and diverse, and generally different. Especially with the tie of the hearing-impaired character. You don't see these characters too often in urban fantasy, or I can't recall a time. Furthermore, while Lucian gave great body and sex appeal, he wasn't like other male characters in this genre where their bod and sex appeal becomes the focal point of the protagonist’s obsession. No. Lucian very much kept Tess in check, and her likewise. Together the cast got into plenty of trouble. Each with a sort of ability and charm that compliments the next, leading to the resolutions behind many of Tess’s cases. 

I truly miss and enjoy the series, even though the last book was just this long, morbid monologue/meditation provided by Tess regarding her values and that of her father. Though sadly, I think the series really started to pick up with the third book (that’s when I solidified my love of Battis work), but didn't get the chance to really shine.

All that aside, you can tell Battis watches a lot of Buffy, my personal favorite TV show.  So if you like Buffy, you may love this charming and humorous treat.  Interesting investigations, a slice of love, friendship-driven, and mysterious family secrets abound.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

New Rules: Buffy Season 10 Wins

At the end of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer Season Eight comics/graphic novels, Buffy destroyed the the source of all magic on Earth called the Seed of Wonder. Almost instantaneously magic died out. At the end of Season Nine, Buffy and the Scoobies came together to create a new Seed to save Dawn, Buffy‘s magic-breed sister. In turn they generated a new, restarted system of magic on Earth. It’s fresh. It’s new. It’s un-evolved and raw. Magical creatures, and those who use magic, can kind of wield this untethered magic and make things up as they go.

However, one consequence of this new system of magic arrives in the form of vampires who can walk in sunlight, and shape shift into various other monsters linked to classic vampire mythology (like bats, vapors, wolves, etc.). They're many. They're harder to kill. And they've taken it upon themselves to wipe out your standard variety vampire as they go about creating “new rules” on Earth.

With magic begging to be rewritten, Buffy and the Scoobies (I actually dislike referring to Xander, Willow, and the others as that) have to come together to properly reclaim the state of affairs. And the key to doing so appears in the suddenly blank pages of the “slayer handbook," best known as the Vampyr book.  The book is like a manual to all things vampire, magic, demony, and Slayer-ish. When a few monsters and demons take interest in the book, Buffy and the Scoobies realize that they have to protect it from those who want to use it to rewrite the laws of magic to their own nefarious liking.

And that's the nutshell version...

I have got to say that I really loved New Rulesand that's besides the fact that I'm a die-hard Buffy fanatic.  The truth is that I could keep up with what took place in New Rules, and that's a testament to some improved focus and writing.  I enjoyed Season Eight and Nine, but I had a problem: I was always overwhelmed by the branching stories (some sprung from spin-offs) to the point where I couldn't follow along with all things overarching.  Seriously, some of the storytelling in Season Eight and Nine were like ADD manifested. The character of Spike piloting a spaceship. Dawn as a centaur. That one chapter where future slayers jumped into the past to kill Buffy.  Oh, and a few character mis-directions headed toward some unprofound conclusion.  Then there were some chapters/volumes that were amazingly well-done (Season Nine's Freefall), but ended abruptly before the focus changed in the proceeding. It was just so much going on at one time, and I'm sure a complete back-to-back re-read would work. Nevertheless, so far New Rules feels so much more contained and paced. Also, it had that same classic Buffy humor and fun, without too much of the excessive wackiness that I kind of rolled my eyes at in previous volumes.

While there were some storylines that tied in from spin-off graphic novels featuring other characters in the Buffyverse, that didn't take away from the set-up of New Rules as the opening of Season Ten. I just hope everything remains consistent through each proceeding volume. It’s so much better when the story is simple, and not about the writers making every little thing they can be possible in the comics that couldn't be done on TV.  Buffy has always been about wit, character, choices, sacrifice, and heroism–among many other things.  To me that's enough and everything.  Not so much spaceships and the occasional fairy.  

I won't spoil anything, but the super exciting bonus of Season Ten is that past characters emerge in the battle to reclaim (or snatch) the rules of magic.

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