Sci-Fi

Brotherhood in Death

Brotherhood in Death (In Death #42) By: J.D. Robb

Plot:

Dennis Mira just had two unpleasant surprises. First he learned that his cousin Edward was secretly meeting with a real estate agent about their late grandfather’s magnificent West Village brownstone, despite the promise they both made to keep it in the family. Then, when he went to the house to confront Edward about it, he got a blunt object to the back of the head.

Luckily Dennis is married to Charlotte Mira, the NYPSD’s top profiler and a good friend of Lieutenant Eve Dallas. When the two arrive on the scene, he explains that the last thing he saw was Edward in a chair, bruised and bloody. When he came to, his cousin was gone. With the mess cleaned up and the security disks removed, there’s nothing left behind but a few traces for forensics to analyze.

As a former lawyer, judge, and senator, Edward Mira mingled with the elite and crossed paths with criminals, making enemies on a regular basis. Like so many politicians, he also made some very close friends behind closed—and locked—doors. But a badge and a billionaire husband can get you into places others can’t go, and Eve intends to shine some light on the dirty deals and dark motives behind the disappearance of a powerful man, the family discord over a multimillion-dollar piece of real estate . . . and a new case that no one saw coming.

Review:

“Brotherhood in Death” was an enjoyable read not just because the murder was interesting and you could empathize, but because we finally got to learn more about Dennis Mira the husband to Dr. Mira. Basically, they’re Eve’s parents. There were several emotional scenes for everyone and I cried more than a couple times.

There wasn’t as much Rourke in this story but I was actually kind of glad at that, he was there when he needed to be and not too much more. Eve is great at her job she doesn’t always need him to help even though she’s almost always the one in the lead.

The negative for me was the ending. Unless there’s a huge shift in rape stats, which I find it hard to believe, Eve’s reaction to the murderers was mostly un-empathetic. If only they’d come to the police they would have been believed when they were told they dreamt of demons raping them. Are you serious Eve? Really? You? I get that what they did was wrong, very wrong, but she shouldn’t have gone down that route.

Apart from the ending I felt that “Brotherhood in Death” was a great addition to the series and I’m actually looking forward to reading the next book and here we are over forty books in, crazy.

4/5

Side Note: The majority of rapes go unreported, it’s estimated that in the US only 16% of rapes are reported to the police and only 25% of those result in a conviction. Roughly 5% of rapists will spend time in jail. 1 out of every 6 women, 1 out of every 33 men are victims of an attempted or completed rape.

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Renegades

Renegades (Renegades #1) By: Marissa Meyer

Plot:

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies — humans with extraordinary abilities — who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone… except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice — and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

Review:

Why do YA superhero books have to start out killing a baby? I understand setting up a tragic past, but come on do something else, please.

It took me a while to get into Renegades, partly, I believe, because it reminded me a lot of Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. As the world was revealed and the characters more developed those similarities lessened, but it was still a world recovering from an apocalypse, still had young adults with powers making stupid decisions and being emo.

Nova and Adrian are frustrating characters for me, they’re both smart kids, capable of critical thinking, but they have both swallowed the kool-aid so completely on their respective sides that they can’t seem to see the negatives. They’d walk right up to the edge and then turn around, they couldn’t take that final step. It was annoying.

My fear is that the next book, which is supposed to be the final one, doesn’t try to fix things, that it picks a side and you’re supposed to just accept the problems that come with it. Surely that’s not where she’s going with this.

I was disappointed with the level of world building. What there was only really existed for the Renegades. The rest of the world didn’t matter, it was just sort of there ignored in the background.

There was some potential here, but I wasn’t thrilled with really anything in this book.

3/5

The World’s End (2013)

The World’s End (2013)

Director:

Edgar Wright

Starring:

Simon Pegg

Nick Frost

Martin Freeman

Paddy Considine

Rosamund Pike

Eddie Marsan

Plot:

Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from twenty years earlier unwittingly become humanity’s only hope for survival.

Review:

Gary King, Simon Pegg, peaked in high school and he’s unable to move past it. He is stuck and decides to relive his glory days and get the boys back together. They have all moved on with their lives to varying degrees of success, but he’s able to get them all back together because they were bros.

The movie starts out with them doing a pub crawl, the golden mile, 12 pubs. Things quickly go crazy. Aliens, robots, bar brawls, lots of laughs ensue. It’s a hilarious movie, not my favorite of the cornetto trilogy, but it’s still really funny. Nick Frost is easily the best character.

The ending is probably the worst part. For some reason they did an epilogue and showed everyone’s life after the final decision was made and I didn’t like it. It wasn’t funny or fun it was kind of eh. The rest of the movie is great, though.

If you like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz then you’ve got to see this.

4/5

Altered Carbon (2018-?)

Altered Carbon (2018-?)

Network:

Netflix

Starring:

Joel Kinnaman

James Purefoy

Martha Higareda

Chris Conner

Dichen Lachman

Renée Elise Goldsberry

Kristen Lehman

Plot:

Set in a future where consciousness is digitized and stored, a prisoner returns to life in a new body and must solve a mind-bending murder to win his freedom.

Review:

It’s been almost a week since I finished watching Altered Carbon and I’ve done a lot of talking about it, my original opinion was mostly neutral but it has become more negative the more I’ve thought about it. AC is visually remarkable, especially considering it’s a TV show. The world created was interesting and definitely something worth exploring. There have been lots of complaints about the acting, but I personally don’t have a problem with it considering it’s a Sci-Fi show and that’s honestly what I expect. My main problems with the show are the characters, story, and the treatment of women.

In AC bodies are called sleeves, if you’re wealthy you can slip in and out of different sleeves depending on your whim. If you are poor, not so much, but it is possible for you to earn enough in your lifetime so that you can feasibly not die. This makes the human body almost like a car and for some disposable, which is supposed to explain a lot of things, like why there is so much nudity in the show.

My problem with that is that the nudity is almost completely one sided. You see all but one main female cast member completely naked. You see one male lead and it’s so brief I missed it. There is a scene where Dichen Lachman’s character jumps into six different sleeves of herself, all completely naked, and fights on a ton of glass. There are multiple sex scenes were you see full frontal female nudity, but the most you get male wise is butt. There are discarded female sex bots all over one episode, but almost no male ones.

I counted 2.5 penises, though I’m told I missed maybe 2 more. I lost track of how much bush I saw. If this was a futuristic world in which women appeared to be able to do everything that men could, they were revolutionaries, capitalists, and police officers, why was there so little in the way of their sexual entertainment? Why were their bodies the only ones on display?

Even ignoring the nudity the female characters were treated and written horribly. It was a violent world, but they almost always ended up worse than the male characters. They made decisions that seemed to go against character, though, most of that seemed to be in situations involving them being naked which just adds to my frustration on that front. Clearly the reason for the female nudity had very little to do with story.

Kristen Ortega, Martha Higareda, stalked Kovacs, Joel Kinnaman, from the beginning because he was in the sleeve of her boyfriend. She hated him because of it and was constantly calling him a terrorist, but this did not stop her from sleeping with him and falling in love to the point where when her boyfriend is cleared and Kovacs is returning the sleeve she is visibly disappointed. She was tortured, her partner killed protecting her, and her entire family brutally murdered. She’s finally at least getting the man she’s supposed to have loved enough that it messed her up emotionally at the beginning of the story, but she’s bummed because…reasons.

Reileen Kawahara, Dichen Lachman, is Kovacs sister. She has miraculously survived these two hundred and fifty years because she has no morals or scruples. This was hinted at in flash backs to their original lives and not out of character at all. What does feel out of character is her sudden incestuous feelings toward Kovacs. While she’s taken over the body of Kristen, she comes on hard to him. He realizes it’s her and is grossed out, but her explanation is nothing is off limits when you’re rich and basically a god. She goes from a younger sister that idolizes her brother to a madam that does truly heinous things all in the pursuit of money and apparently wants to get in his pants. Her getting her brother free is basically a stretch goal and her real purpose was to cover her own ass. She ends up dying, which is much deserved, though who knows if it’s permanent.

Quellcrist Falconer, Renée Elise Goldsberry, is leading a revolution. She’s created a technology that she thought would be good, but of course turned out bad. She’s trying to correct things, she’s got a plan, too bad she falls in love with Kovacs. She ends up dying at the hands of his sister, or does she? She’s currently saved on a stack waiting to be rescued by Kovacs.

Miriam Bancroft, Kristen Lehman, is married to Laurens Bancroft, James Purefoy, and is basically stuck. She can’t do anything because he owns everything, but she’s got her kids. Her kids are everything to her apparently, though apart from a couple seemingly throw away comments you don’t really know this until the last episode. She has been with her husband forever and seems to exist for him. Her body is specifically engineered to be amazing at sex to the point it excretes some kind of pheromone or something. Naturally she has sex with Kovacs and then any time she’s around him is trying to get him to go to an island where all of her clones are so that he can have sex with lots of her. You discover that she killed a sleeve and an unborn baby because of her great love of her children and not wanting someone else to give birth to a child by her husband. She has charges read against her and she’s led away by the police.

I’m not going to list the rest of the female cast, but their histories are similar. They’re dedicated to getting ahead at whatever cost, they do everything for their children, and they’re sexually abused and left for dead.

Just so you can see the contrast here’s a breakdown of some of the male characters.

Kovacs is woken up after two hundred and fifty years in jail, he’s put in an enhanced body, sadly they missed an opportunity here. He went from being Asian to a white male, if bodies are as exchangeable as they keep trying to say in the show it would have been nice if they hadn’t been so tone deaf.

He’s told if he can solve Bancroft’s murder he will get a full pardon and a ton of money, in the meantime he’s allowed to roam free and has access to a ton of money. He indulges in lots of drugs, has sex with his boss’s wife and the cop tailing him and wins a lot of fights. At one point he’s tortured for quite a while, but he eventually breaks himself out and destroys the whole place. The show ends with him killing his sister (maybe), learning his true love is in a stack somewhere and just needs to be found and put in a body, and getting a ton of money and a full pardon.

Laurens Bancroft is RICH and thinks of himself as a benevolent god. He’s kept his children in arrested development and they hate him for it. He believes one of his sleeves was murdered and wants Kovacs to figure out who did it. All the evidence points to suicide, but he refuses to believe that’s what happened. Turns out that’s exactly what happened. His wife drugged him because she was being blackmailed after she killed his baby momma. He gets super violent while on these drugs and permanently kills one of his prostitutes. He can’t believe he’d do something like that and it breaks him, he felt there was a line he’d never cross. So that he will never have to remember what he’s done he kills his sleeve before his memories can be backed up. The show ends with him being arrested, though the charges are never read by the police. He reconciles with his son and leaves him in charge, but let’s be honest there’s no way he’s not getting free with his money and the confession of his wife drugging him.

Poe, Chris Conner, is the most interesting character in the whole show. He’s a hotel AI and takes care of his guest, Kovacs, every whim. He dies a heroes death.

Like I said Altered Carbon is visually amazing to watch, the world interesting, but the story and characters are seriously lacking. There’s a lot wrong with it and I don’t think I’d say I enjoyed watching most of it, but it’s got a lot of potential. If it is picked up for a second season I hope it’s able to live up to that potential and do a lot better. I’m honestly not sure if I would watch a second season though.

2/5

Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time – Christmas Special

Doctor Who Twice Upon a Time Christmas Special

Network:

BBC

Director:

Rachel Talalay

Starring:

Peter Capaldi

David Bradley

Pearl Mackie

Plot:

The Twelfth Doctor, still refusing to change, goes on a last adventure with the First Doctor.

Review:

The Doctor meets up with his original self in this Christmas special in a story that honestly didn’t need to be. The first Doctor, David Bradley, apparently didn’t want to change either, which goes against what we’ve always known, but whatever. The twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi, is thinking about refusing to regenerate because he’s old and tired and people aren’t watching him as much as when David Tennant was the Doctor. Instead they stumble across each other and fuck up some time shit and they decide they should move on with their lives and regenerate.

It was awkward seeing the first Doctor because he was very much a product of the times he was created in, which goes against what you think the Doctor should be. The Twelfth Doctor was embarrassed by him and his old school sensibilities, which could have been amusing, but since they were all gender stereotypes which the Doctor really never should have had, it was just awkward.

Bill, Pearl Mackie, and Clara, Jenna Coleman, showed up as well because the companions are always there at the end, but since I greatly dislike Clara and Bill never grew on me it didn’t really mean much.

I feel like Peter Capaldi never got to shine as the Doctor. He is a good actor, but the storylines were just never there. I am so happy that Moffat is no longer going to be the lead and I hope we can return to the stories that made the Tennant years so wonderful. Even the first Matt Smith year was good, but these last few years have almost turned me off Who completely.

3/5