Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Doctor Who Season 7 Finale

Spoilers ahead, sweeties.

It is with a heavy heart that I say this, but here it goes: Doctor Who is not what it used to be.

I miss the feel of the old seasons. Clara just doesn't have the personality of any of the previous companions. She's got spunk, but she's got nothing on Amy. She talks back a bit, but she's no Donna. At times it seems she has a thing for the Doctor, but can you have a better unrequited love story than Martha's? The Doctor cares about her, but nothing like he did for Rose. What are we left with? A companion that is merely okay.

Her one redeeming quality was the question surrounding her. I actually loved how the mystery unraveled, when it turned out she had jumped into the Doctor's timeline. Magnificent. The scene was wonderfully moving. If Clara made this sacrifice, I could appreciate her character so much more. She would be the Doctor's hero, something other companions haven't been.

It should have ended there, with Clara's sacrifice, which could have been on par with moving scenes from the previous series, almost as good as Rose disappearing into the other universe or Donna losing her memory. But then what happens?

The Doctor jumps into his own timeline and saves her. What? What!? WHAT?

Did he not JUST explain that his grave was the most dangerous place he could be and he should never EVER do that because of timey-wimey ripping holes in the universe causing paradox type problems??

Nope, it's all good. He just jumps in there and brings her back. Cue appearance of new, mysterious Doctor (you didn't actually have to spell that out for us with the big shiny letters, by the way, Moffat), and end scene.


I did like the appearances of past Doctors in this episode. I did like the conclusion of River Song's story (she was always one of my favourites). But still. This finale, and this whole season, was lacking the emotional impact of Tennant's days, and even the early Smith days.

So there you have my rant. I will keep watching new episodes of Doctor Who, but sadly, without the enthusiasm I used to have for this beloved show, and with the hope that it will redeem itself.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Top 10 TV Themes - #9: DOLLHOUSE

For the next Music Mondays, I'll be sharing my top ten favourite genre TV themes. These are those themes that I don't skip through when I'm re-watching a TV show, because they're so good or catchy. Today, we're at number 9, which is the theme song from:


Sometimes it's nice when theme songs are super short. This one has an eerie tune that matches the feel of the show, and I never felt the need to skip over it.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Author: Helene Wecker
Publisher: Harper
Pub Date: April 23, 2013

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master-the husband who commissioned her-dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Though he is no longer imprisoned, Ahmad is not entirely free-an unbreakable band of iron around his wrist binds him to the physical world.

Meeting by chance, Chava and Ahmad become unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing nature-until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful threat will soon bring the Golem and the Jinni together again, challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice. (Synopsis from Goodreads)

 It's been a long time since I've opened a book and devoured huge chunks of it at a time. The Golem and the Jinni was captivating.

There wasn't a lot of action, which I normally demand in a book; The Golem and the Jinni is just plain good storytelling. Wecker delves into what it would be like to be a supernatural creature living among humans, trying to hide. She masterfully weaves magical fantasy and historical fiction in this tale, combining the stories of characters and showing how their lives intertwine.

The characters are fleshed out and believable. Chava, the golem, is passive and afraid of herself and others, yet she stubbornly holds on to her life. She is also gentle and aware of others' feelings. The Jinni is outgoing and selfish with a temper to boot, yet somehow the two end up becoming friends. Some of the best dialogue in the story is after they meet and commence to arguing with each other.

I love how Wecker portrays them as fugitives, not as superheroes. These are creatures that would be destroyed if they are found out, and they know it. They also have to deal with the loneliness of being one of a kind.

At over 500 pages, I thought this book might be a tedious read, but it didn't feel too long and the pages flew by. The Golem and the Jinni is stunningly written and will take you to an enthralling world of magic and 19th century New York. Highly recommended.

This post was part of a TLC Book Tour for The Golem and the Jinni. Go here for a list of the rest of the tour stops, and to read more reviews of the book. Also, check out the book trailer!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Top 10 TV Themes - #10: CHUCK

Normally, I skip over the beginning credits of a show, because I want to get to the point: the show itself. But occasionally, shows have such awesome theme songs that I won't skip over them. Know the ones I'm talking about?

For the next ten Music Mondays, I'll be sharing my top ten favourite genre TV themes. These are those themes that I don't skip through when I'm re-watching a TV show, because they're so good or catchy. Today, we're starting at number 10, which is the theme song from:


It's not a musical masterpiece in the sense of huge scores and orchestras, but it is catchy and is a perfect fit for the show! 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Doctor Who Season 7.5

Who's been keeping up with the new season of Doctor Who, and what are you thoughts? What do you think of Clara, the new companion?

I've been enjoying them, but not as much as the last seasons. For me, Clara lacks the interesting personalities of the previous companions. She's got spunk and she's pretty, but so far that's all there's been to her character. I am interested to see her mystery solved, though.

My favourite episode this second half of the season was "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS," where we finally get to see more of the Doctor's beloved ship. It made me happy that we caught a glimpse of the pool and the library. I've always enjoyed the fact that she's somewhat of a living thing.

Looking forward to the finale that airs tonight! It is called "The Name of the Doctor," so that bodes interesting. Plus, you can catch a glimpse of River Song in the trailer; she's my favourite and has been conspicuously missing from this half of the season.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Best Magic Systems: Part 1

When reading sci-fi and fantasy, I am always attracted by unique magic systems. Sometimes authors come up with the most creative ideas that enthrall me and give the fantasy world life. I am going to share with you the few of the best I've come across.

First on my list is the magic system from The Seventh Tower series by Garth Nix. I love how creative the world building is in this series, and the magic system is integral to it. The story is set in a world of darkness, where a veil covers the sky, hiding the sun completely.

The Chosen, the people who live in the castle below the veil, rely on light magic as a means of life. To use light magic, you have to possess a sunstone, and every Chosen is trained in its use.

Sunstones emit different colours of light when you concentrate on them, and each colour can do different things, or they be weaved together to make more complicated spells. Red, as the first colour in the spectrum, does the most basic spells. Violet, as the last colour, can be used to make the most complex and powerful magic.

Certain powerful artifacts were made out of sunstones, like the fingernail Milla finds that produces an awesome whip of light, and sunstones are used to bind shadows to their masters.

Cool, no? I have no idea how Garth Nix came up with this stuff, but it's brilliant, and it makes this series unique.

Monday, May 6, 2013


Author: John Marco
Publisher: DAW Hardcover
Pub Date: April 2, 2013

Lukien is the Bronze Knight, beloved by his kingdom and renowned in battle throughout his world. After betraying his king and losing his beloved, he wishes only for death, but rather than die, Lukien is given a chance for redemption: to be the protector of the Inhumans—those fragile mortals who live deep in the desert, far from the prying eyes of their world. These remarkable individuals have been granted magical powers in exchange for the hardships and handicaps life has handed them. And Lukien, now immortal himself, must be their champion. But how can one man, even an immortal warrior, protect hundreds from a world of potential enemies? (Synopsis from Goodreads)

Though it was the fourth book in a series, I didn't have trouble following Lukien's journey in this book. His back story was made clear without slowing down the narrative (in fact, I'd be interested to go back and read the first books), and the plot clipped along with the adventure and some heart-wrenching events.

The thing that drew me in from the beginning was Lukien's spirit protector, Malator, who resides in Lukien's sword. Lukien seems to be close to immortal because of Malator, and this is something that the knight struggles with. At points, he just wants to give up and die--or he thinks he does, until he is brought face to face with that option.

One thing I didn't buy was Lukien's choice to bring a little girl, Cricket, along with him to a dangerous land to act as his squire. Lukien is brave and honourable, and clearly struggles with things like right and wrong, and life and death. I feel like a knight like him would never, ever bring a young girl to certain danger like that, no matter how much she begged to come along.

However, Cricket's involvement in the story is key, so I have to overlook that fact. She is my favourite character in the book, bringing cheer to Lukien's darkened heart. And the fact that she can't remember her past keeps me curious throughout their journey.

The Forever Knight was an entertaining read, well written with a tragic twist. It could be read as a stand alone, but I'd suggest starting at the beginning of the series if you are interested in following Lukien's transformational journey.

This post was part of a TLC Book Tour for The Forever Knight. Go here for a list of the rest of the tour stops, and to read more reviews of the book.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

IWSG: Motivation

Lately, I've been really frustrated with the books I've been reading. I find myself getting bored halfway through (often sooner), and starting to skim, sometimes giving up completely.

I've been trying to figure out what it is about the stories I didn't like. Bad writing? Boring plot? No and no.

I think I finally figured it out. It's character motivation--or, rather, a lack of it. The latest book I read had an interest plot, wonderful world building and a variety of unique characters, but it fell flat because the heroine didn't desire anything; she was just along for the ride. She had a stubborn personality, did some daring things, and was very likeable, but she didn't want anything. Nobody's that altruistic!

As an example of how to do it right, take Fullmetal Alchemist. Ed and Al are totally driven to get their bodies back. Plenty of other things happen to them, but that is the force behind the story, and you keep watching episode after episode because you want them to succeed too. (And, of course, this is combined with fantastic world building, loveable characters, and fascinating plot.)

I also think of the Hunger Games, where Katniss's driving force is her love for her sister and her desire to keep her safe. Or Lord of the Rings, where Frodo must destroy the ring to save the Shire.

This is the kind of motivation that I want my characters to have, and what I've been working on in my WIP; the kind that keeps people reading and that keeps my characters going.

What are your characters motivated by?

This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Check the link for some of the other blogs participating in this event!