Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Review: Sister Mine, by Nalo Hopkinson


Hachette Book Group
305 pp.

Makeda and Abby are formerly conjoined twins who have family problems complicated by half of their family being gods and the other half of their family being the servitors of those gods. The children of a fertility god and a mortal woman, Abby was born with magical abilities related to music, but Makeda was apparently born without. This eventually causes a great deal of stress on the twin’s relationship, which prompts Makeda to make an attempt to live on her own.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Manga Review: Kuroshitsuji Volume Thirteen by Yana Toboso


Volume thirteen of Kuroshitsuji opens with Elizabeth, who has a sincere fondness for girly things that is complicated by having a genius for something that is not traditionally “girly.” Add to this her mother’s sincere desire that Elizabeth not end up dead, Ciel being a twit when he was little, and the Victorian era’s attitude toward women, and Elizabeth is in a very interesting bind. And by interesting, I actually mean she goes into hysterics because she is afraid that now that Ciel knows she can kick tail, he won’t want to marry her. Fortunately, Ciel is much less of a twit now than he was when he was even tinier! In fact, he seems to be rather flustered about Elizabeth and her unexpected talent for mayhem! He quickly reassures her, and Sebastian finds this completely amusing!  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Book Review: Burdens of the Dead by Mercedes Lackey, David Freer and Eric Flint


BAEN
438 pp.

The Children of Alexandria series has the following premise: Due to the libarian/philosopher/teacher Hypatia mysteriously converting to Christianity after a debate with a mysterious figure, she is able to save the Library of Alexandria and avoid being torn apart by Christian monks. With this significant change in history, magic and magical creatures exist and continue to share a somewhat uneasy existence with the mortal world. (Magic users are accepted by the Hypatian Order, and this version of Christianity is slightly less horrible to non-Christians during this time period. Jews and other non-Christians are still confined in ghettoes but you get the feeling there are fewer pogroms.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Manga Review: Kamisama Kiss Volume Twelve, Julietta Suzuki


In volume twelve of Kamisama Kiss, it quickly becomes clear that there is a major problem with the relationship between Kotaro and Himemiko. The catfish princess is attempting to protect Kotaro by keeping him ignorant of her real identity, which is never actually a very good idea. Meanwhile, Kotaro is a shy boy who has been bullied in the past and therefore has some severe trust issues.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Book Review: In a Fix by Linda Grimes


TOR
332 pp.

This review is going to be extremely unfair because I read In a Fix shortly after reading and reviewing Seanan McGuire’s Midnight Blue-Light Special.

The premise of In a Fix is that there are people called “aura adaptors” who have the ability to “borrow auras” from other people and somehow acquire their physiological characteristics. How something presumably non-physical can affect someone’s physical appearance is not adequately explained. The author hand-waves any explanation by having the heroine scoff at the idea of molecular-level shapeshifting, then a few chapters later has the heroine acquire the physical characteristics--including size--of a small child so that she can escape a pair of handcuffs. (No, I am not sure how that works.)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Damsel in Distress: Part 3 - Tropes vs Women in Video Games

Outlined: Gossamer Axe by Gael Baudino



Gossamer Axe is a stand-alone novel by Gael Baudino. It’s a Tam Lin-like story about a young woman attempting to rescue her lover from the Sidh. This is complicated by the modern setting and the way the Sidh Realm is receding from the world. You can tell this book was written in the late 80s because the cover blurb very cleverly fails to mention that Our Heroine’s lover is a girl.

Our Heroine is stumped at finding a way to defeat the Sidh bard holding her lover captive, until she discovers rock and roll. She helps various ladies find their inner goddess and rocks out, while the author discusses domestic violence (while conflating it with the D/s scene), and makes a case for Christianity ruining Ireland. (This theory is mostly grounded in Gael Baudino’s religious beliefs as she is a Dianic Wiccan.) When I was much younger I really liked this book, which is really, really hard to find. The re-read was an odd combination of nostalgia and “what the heck was I thinking at the time.”

CHRISTA: I am a strange and literally anachronistic figure with a harp! I am also a Not Very Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

CEIS: *harp*

KEVIN: I am an Irish American who plays blues guitar and has to put up with really frigging stupid Irish jokes from my co-worker who is a douche.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Reading Homestuck Part Forty Two: >Sollux: Try to stop the inevitable disaster! Fail miserably!

From here to here.

The “crabby customer” is a giant crab monster! This crab monster is the closest thing Karkat has to parental caregiver. Trolls are brood parasites who are adopted by monsters known as “lusus naturae.” After troll grubs pupate in the brood caverns and complete a number of trials, they are chosen by one of these lusus naturae who take them to the surface where “carpenter droids” build them homes to their specifications. It should be noted that the majority of adult trolls are not on the surface of the planet. Alternia is pretty much The Girl Who Owned a Lord of the Flies City Jungle Book.