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Maia

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  1. I enjoyed this season a lot, but is this going to be a show where they forever try to return to their reality and never succeed? I mean, it would be logical if their actions in the past affected the future, but then the Temporal Commission agents slaughter people who aren't their targets with abandon, so it seems odd that the continuity suddenly goes all "Sound of Thunder" on the Umbrella siblings. Also, I forgot, but didn't they get to examine Redginald's body back in season 1? How could they have missed the fact of him being a rather alien alien? And his and Grace's romance is also kinda out there - wouldn't she have eventually noticed? And yea, I too would like to know about the goldfish - everybody else in the Commission is boringly human, so why? BTW, it seems like the aliens - or just Redginald? already had a base on the dark side of the moon in the early sixties - but Luther didn't go there, did he? I mean that explains why his reports and samples were ignored by Dad, but are there more aliens living there, perhaps? In Redginald's flashback in the first season there were many ships leaving their doomed planet.
  2. I liked, but didn't love it yet. Definitely has potential, though. Sigh. I'll never understand obsession with Fett . The dude was passably competent in ESB and then a complete chump in RoTJ, where he appeared only briefly. I was perplexed by the attention he received in the PT and would hate it if he somehow managed to survive the Sarlacc. Gimme Rex or another old clonetrooper though! Ditto, Bo-Katan and Ahsoka. I am also seriously tired of Tatooine - come on, there is the whole big galaxy out there!
  3. Finished Harrow and liked it overall, though I found Gideon's voice to be more engaging. Also, Muir's love of inserting pop-culture/out of place memes and similes that didn't bother me with Gideon, really bothered me with Harrow. I mean, neither of them should know what an ice-cream, ticket, etc. is, but at least Gideon could have gotten some of that from her comics' - which also it wasn't ever explained how she was getting them, but eh, it is now clear that these inclusions are just the author's thing. I was very confused about the flashbacks at first, of course, but the eventual reveal worked for me. OTOH, I am still not wholly clear about some of the other plots. Yea, though I still don't understand who the enemies of the Houses outside the system are and how they got there. Or, for that matter, if the First House (Earth) was destroyed by nuclear war, why did the sun need to be re-ignited? Harrow the Ninth spoilers:
  4. Nahri and Ali getting transported to the human world at the end of book 2 and stripped of their magic teased more than we got, IMHO. At the very least I expected that Nahri would have to had to disguise or try to explain Ali in some very creative ways, but of course he was conveniently mostly unnoticeable to the muggles. And BTW, what's the deal with all djinn magic failing once the Seal left Daevabad? Haven't we been told that the Djinn already posessed their new powers when released from bondage, despite Anahid still freely wandering around with the Seal for years? It was never explained how and why all the magic was now tied to the Seal remaining in the city. Marid bargains were mostly rape and worse - Sobeck raped and then ate most of the newly adolescent girls sacrificed to him, after all, so this is hardly an exoneration. And I am sure that pre-Suleiman Djinn engaged in such too, which may have been what eventually produced Suleiman in the first place, given that humans in this setting don't have any magical powers. Sure, it was strongly hinted, though not explicitely confirmed that the Peri meddled with him too, like they also put up Anahid to curb and punish the marid and then the Gehziri to topple the Nahids. I really loved this aspect of the The Empire of Gold, BTW, wheels within wheels, a succession of people being nudged and helped to achieve the obscure goals of shadowy and supposedly neutral pseudo-angels. It was very satisfying how Nahri saw through them and refused to play their game. Anyway, the post-Suleiman djinn had no reason to bargain for shafit children, as such interference with humans was seen as one of the reasons why their ancestors had been punished and transformed in the first place. Given the fact that nuDjinn are normally invisible to humans and that shafit are usually abandoned in human society by their Djinn sire, it suggest very dark implications about the provenance of most first-generation shafit and provides some very good reasons to object to this practice. It is a crime and is indeed fairly likely to backfire (again?) eventually. But the narrative never explores these aspects, instead using the issue of shafit manipulatively and cheaply. For instance, you'd think that the Nahids would have come like a ton of bricks on the Djinn irresponsibly siring shafit offspring in the past, instead of or at least alongside with oppressing and eventually trying to genocide the shafit themselves. Yet there was no sign of it in the books, nor of any laws that forbid such behavior to the djinn. Also, if all the tribes except the daevas tended to fully integrate shafit living in their communities, you'd think that there would have been more opposition to shafit being sold and used as slaves in Daevabad and beyond it, with the blessing of Gezhiri government But no, it is just used as a reason for the rest of them to go to war with the daevas and to paint them as morally superior. Along with this, my greatest disappointments with this book was how it reduced Manizheh from a very complex and nuanced character into a 2-dimensional villain and the very contrived treatment of Kaveh and Muthandir . One of the things that I most enjoyed in The Kingdom of Copper was how it depicted Ghassan, Muthandir and Manizheh as interesting, flawed and relateable antagonists. Mind, I guessed that Manizheh was alive and that she had staged the brutal butchering of her party in order to escape back in book 1. And despite the horribleness of it I could understand that like an animal gnawing through it's own foot to escape a trap, a person could be driven to such terrible action to free themselves. And indeed what we saw from Ghassan - Nahri interactions and his efforts to break her down gave a good hint of how in a few more decades of despair it could have come to something so extreme. It was also clear that Manizheh was lying about some things in the second book, but on the whole it was believable that she tried to be as honest as she could, that some of the more ruthless decisions she made were due to time constraints and that she would have gone for less destructive options otherwise. Also, she seemed competent and sincerely devoted to the well-being of the daevas and Deavabad. Unfortunately, the author felt that she needed to make her "worse than Ghassan" for some reason, when the protagonists already recognized that the late king was bad enough to openly rebel against and would have certainly also fought against somebody who was no better. As a result, Manizheh was re-made into a stock villain and a compulsive liar who was impossible to sympathise with. Also, incompetent. The greatest healer in centuries, who knew that speed was critical, tried to kill Ghassan by suffocating him? Please. She decided to wantonly disregard all the human-related prohibitions and pointlessly destroyed a village? In the end, I almost expected her to scream "Unlimited Power!" while she was destroying Daevabad and giving away the Seal to ifrit. Etc., etc. I also don't understand why Nahri being Manizheh's daughter was retconned. I mean, it should have been obvious that in a patriarchal Djinn society as depicted in the first 2 books, it ought to have been 99.5% likely that Nahri was Rustam's. However, nobody ever brought up this possibility and Manizheh not only claimed Nahri for her own child, but IIRC even thought of her as such in her PoV. And it was a much more interesting connection - it was clear that Nahri must have been conceived for a (likely nefarious) purpose, but despite that and despite her being a shafit, Manizheh was still reluctantly attached to her and proud of her. The belated revelations about Rustam felt hugely flat and contrived to me - you'd think that nobody entertained the likelyhood of his paternity for a reason - i.e. he must have been known as very gay. And as a Nahid healer he should have also known how to prevent an accidental pregnancy. Finally, the notion that Kaveh didn't have the support of important city daevas came completely out of the left field. Also, somehow the very same militarily trained daevas who had been thrown out of the barracks, abused, some of them even killed IIRC, while Muthandir didn't lift a finger to help them, remained slavishly devoted to him still? To the extent that they refused to protect their own quarter? Or thought that it was a good idea to kill Dara, tear Kaveh apart and leave the city at the mercy of ifrit?! What?! I was bemused by Muthandir's survival in the previous book after he had his great death scene, no less, but his antics in this one are complete nonsense. And then I belatedly understood that the author desperately wanted to avoid "bury your gays" criticism. Unfortunately, she failed to convince me that Muthandir's relationship with Jamshid was a wholesome one, because not only didn't the former try to intervene when Jamshid was dying of his wounds, but he also neglected Ali's warnings about the impending attack on the Navastem procession, in which Jamshid was also almost killed. And even if she wanted to preserve Muthandir at all costs, it would have made vastly more sense to just leave him in his cell for this part of the series. I liked everything else a lot and I think that it was a satisfying enough conclusion to the trilogy, which avoided the worst pitfalls, but it was a definite step down from the complexity and nuance of "The City of Copper" and didn't quite fulfill it's promise, IMHO.
  5. I hated Harry/Luccio for all the reasons you list and, of course, it was eventually revealed that it took mind-control to make her do it. I also find it regrettable that Harry has to have sexual/romantic tension with most somewhat prominent female characters and that they get unceremoniously shuffled off the stage once it is done with. Murphy is pretty much marked for death in BG anyway. BTW, looking at Dresden files re-read, I stumbled on Butcher's proclamation that none of the other Carpenter kids are magical because Charity stopped practicing magic and consequently lost her talent before their conception. But I thought from the previous books and short stories that there are "muggleborn" wizards in this world? Like that kid from the zoo. And some practitioners who start later in life, like that Wiccan group? Anyway, it would have been interesting if we saw younger talents coming up and some of them being Carpenters would have been suitably dramatic and fun. Particularly if they tried to ignore their gift because of Charity and general unwillingness to sacrifice technology or fight monsters, but it just wouldn't go away. I like the theory that Butters will use his sword's special powers to kill Thomas's Hunger and that now fully human Thomas will become the bearer of Amorrachius. Since Butcher clearly only wants the guys is knights of the Cross, given how he treated Murphy in this regard, it might as well be him.
  6. Yea, I was very disappointed when their visit to Egypt turned out to be both brief and completely disconnected from the historical setting. And then a pistol that could fire more than once without recharging made it's appearance, too! I mean, this is like, 1807? For that matter, is it even feasible for one from that era to fire iron bullets with any accuracy? Anyway, to start with, what I had issue with, is the whole hypocritical and manipulative attitude the narrative has towards shafit. Revelation that the djinn are normally invisible when among the mortals gives a very dark connotation to how they come to be. Even the Gezhiri tribe that Ali was living with didn't show themselves to humans, so it seems that their shafit members were acquired in a seriously problematic manner. But at least they didn't abandon their half-blood offspring to the very limited mercy of human society. Nahri's own experiences demonstrate that due to their strange appearance (and hers is closer to stock human than many of the others would have been) and their powers, the shafit and their mothers/parents, if they are of the second generation are likely to be persecuted by humans, if not outright killed. And yes, this makes it inevitable that some of them would eventually use their powers against the humans and draw attention to themselves. Nahri herself has done so. So, the Nahid position that siring shafit (because 99% of them come from male djinn) and abandoning them in the mortal world is evil and might lead to a Suleiman-like backlash actually makes sense. However, this stance treated by the story like it is baseless and narrow-minded. Of course, their ire should have been directed at the misbehaving (rapist) djinn, rather than shafit themselves, and the Nahid objections to and mistreatment of the shafit well integrated into djinn society can't be either excused or justified, even before it culminated in the attempted genocide. But still, the view of non-daevas on shafit vascillates at the speed of the plot. At one hand, they are OK with shafit being enslaved and oppressed, even casually killed on occasion, - on the other, "wouldn't somebody think of the shafit!" is used as a mark of them being morally superior/on the side of right when it is convenient. Daevas, for all their faults, are at least consistent in that they don't rape mortals to produce shafit in the first place.
  7. Exactly what I said. Both Ladies of the Fae Courts are young(ish) even by human standards, leave alone Fae ones, yet it is not seen as a detriment power-wise. And apparently no proper Fae were in consideration for the mantle(s) for some reason. And now we know that Anyway, I have read the free story "Christmas Eve" that takes place after the events of Peace Talks/Battle Ground and spoilers:
  8. Huh, couldn't disagree more. I felt very let down by the sheer stupidity of this conclusion. Mind, the underlying ideas could have worked, but the implementation was just completely nonsensical. I.e.: I am usually luke-warm on Scalzi - despite liking MilSF he never was my thing, but I was liking the Flow trilogy until now. Even though the main tenet of it - that humanity can only survive long-term on or around a naturally habitable planet was always rather iffy and only became more so. And on to another series with an unsatisfying conclusion - "The Books of the Raksura" by Martha Wells. Consisting of "The Cloud Roads", "The Serpent Seas", "The Siren Depths", "The Edge of Worlds", and "The Harbours of the Sun". I blew through them in a little more than a week, enjoying the journey nearly the whole way, until the series just abruptly ended, without resolving the mysteries that have been building up for the last 3 books. Huh? Was the final duology supposed to be a trilogy and then the third book was suddenly cancelled and the author had to quickly wrap up somehow? Anyway, I can still highly recommend the first 3 books, which are written in a self-contained manner, with each offering a complete story. They are set in a colorful and highly original world inhabited by multitudes of different intelligent species. The protagonist and sole PoV for the first 4 books is a shape-shifter who got separated from his people and is searching for somewhere to belong. Adventures and drama ensue. Finally, "The Empire of Gold" by S.A. Chakraborty. It decently concluded her Daevabad Trilogy. It was not as great as it could have been, IMHO, but neither did it drop the ball in the ways that I most feared. I loved certain new revelations and how deep down the rabbit hole they went. All in all, a satisfying conclusion, which counts for a lot with me, as few authors manage to create one for their series, IMHO. "The Kingdom of Copper", the second book with all it's intrigue and character complexity was the high point for me, but all in all I'd still say that the trilogy is very good. I'll post some more detailed thoughts on "The Empire of Gold" in the dedicated thread when I have time. P.S. And Jim Butcher's "Peace Talks", of course, which is a fine popcorn romp, even if somewhat disjointed.
  9. Well, this was quick popcorn fun. Yea, there are all those hanging plot hooks, etc., but at this point I don't really expect the over-arching plot to be terribly coherent and satisfying. Among other things because I fear that As to the "plot-of-the-book", I feel that the excuses for why Harry can't ever have decent backing for anything and has to constantly enlist his small circle of friends and frenemies have worn thin long time ago. And the higher the stakes, the more incongrous it gets. But I am prepared to roll with it - I just can't take the books particularly seriously anymore, so I am fine with them, as long as they are snappy enough. To be fair, most (all?) urban fantasy series and a lot of SF in general tends to suffer from this contrivance.
  10. I go through periods of a few weeks of playing obssessively and then go on hiatus from gaming for months or even years. And for some bizarre reason while I had "Skyrim" for half a decade, I didn't start it until a few days ago. And I am obssessed again! Playing a stealthy character and it was huge fun so far. I am playing "naturally" - i.e. no training strategies, in fact no training until now, discovering alchemy recipes strictly in-game, etc. I am really impressed by the improvements to archery, stealth and the Thieves' Guild missions. And the atmosphere, of course, is really great, though this last is nothing new for the Elder Scrolls. Too bad that this is likely their last single-player installment in the series, what with the MMO apparently flourishing.
  11. You don't think that a mass die-off would have also nuked the economy? Particularly, given the fact that even routine medical intervention would have become inaccessible during it. Let's not go all doomsday - there are already promising leads on drugs that could be used to cure it. Not the vaccine, which is a year away at best, not new drugs that need to be extensively tested for side-effects, but stuff that has been around forever as treatments for other diseases and which is pretty cheap. So, what is needed now are bigger trials and then rapid ramping up of production. Ditto with tests and protective equipment. Getting a handle on this relatively quickly is very doable, as long as people in power aren't stupid about it. Frankly, I am shocked that military-industrial complex is so unprepared - it looks like if anybody had used a biological weapon at any point, US and NATO would have been complete sitting ducks. Puts all the terrorist hysteria of the 2000-ies in a new light... Also, this demonstrates that countries need to have their own production of certain basic medical supplies, if at all possible. Viruses can potentially be so much worse...
  12. Just finished "Prosper's Demon" and it was kind of "eh"? His shorts/novellas are normally more interesting. Is "Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City" better than "Savages"? Because I was lukewarm about the latter.
  13. I liked it, but I remember thinking that the eventual resolution was not entirely satisfying and some more intriguing things remained unexplained, like Another thing to keep in mind is that female characters are very much marginalized in it, IIRC. OTOH, the setting was very inventive and I remember that writing and characterization were pretty good. The new covers are gorgeous. P.S. Do I recall correctly that it was hinted that
  14. I am a huge fan of Hobb, but I dropped this one series after the first book. The worldbuilding was too stupid and neither plot nor characters engaged me. De gustibus and all that. Anyway, I have read some YA lately: "The Witchlands" series by Susan Dennard, consisting of "Truthwitch", "Windwitch", "Sightwitch" (novella) and "Bloodwitch" so far. Picked it on a whim from my library. They are swashbuckling fun, nothing extraordinary, but lacking most of the annoying YA tropes and featuring such welcome plot points as female friendships, along with male ones. I do find the break-neck pace where they constantly jump from the frying pan into the fire and moving across the continent a bit overdone, and the series isn't finished, but it was such a welcome change of pace from disappointing "Children of Virtue and Vengeance" by Adeyemi and "Graceling" by Cashore. "Ship of Smoke and Steel" and "City of Stone and Silence" by Django Wexler, from his "Wells of Sorcery" series, also unfinished. I have been hearing about the author for some time here and elsewhere and wanted to try something of his - conveniently, my library obliged. I didn't expect to ever say it - I like a good fight in my fiction as much as anybody, but there was too much fighting and as the author's "go-to" for plot advancement it became rather repetitive. Also, certain aspects of worldbuilding and plot didn't seem internally plausible. But I liked the characters and other aspects of worldbuilding, so I'll certainly read the next installment when it reaches the library. "Deeplight" by Frances Hardinge. This is the third book of hers that I read and I loved all of them! Refreshingly different from most YA. Yes, it is another "coming of age" story, but it has such inventive worldbuilding and such engaging characters that it doesn't matter. The plot was also twisty and interesting. I really hope that she does more with this setting. And here is some not-YA that I forgot to mention in my previous post: "Stormsong" by C.L. Polk. I liked her previous book "Witchmark", with some reservations, and unfortunately this sequel justified all of my concerns. Basically, the author abandons any pretence that the faux-Edwardian atmosphere of the series is more than cosmetic in order to cut corners and provide simple solutions to complex problems. Also, while the PoV character of the previous book (they are single-PoV) came across as competent in his field and his relative isolation made sense, none of it works for the current PoV. She just appears incompetent due to Polk ham-fistedly applying the same romance formula to her and wanting to short-circuit the central problem of the setting - the problem which made me interested in it in the first place. It doesn't help that each of the books only covers, like, a week.
  15. Bayaz, in retaliation for her refusal to become next in the chain of his puppets and/or in an attempt to bring her to heel. Glokta is toast, I assume, either from natural causes, due to Bayaz or assassinated by one of his many enemies.
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