Nickelodeon and Legend of Korra

It seriously never fails to surprise me just how badly Nick has treated Legend of Korra. This show is amazing and easily one of the most sophisticated animated shows on air. Given the kind of critical and mass success that Avatar: The Last Airbender enjoyed and continues to enjoy, Nick’s absolute indifference is even more hard to understand. Actually, indifference is inaccurate, they seem to have gone out of their way to sabotage this show. So they pull Book 3 off air mid-season and then cut the budget for the final season and refuse to properly promote the show. What channel does that to a popular show that airs exclusively on their channel??? I have nothing against shows such Spongebob and the like (to each their own) but to see shows like that get so much promotion and none for something like this, leaves me feeling a little cold.

As for episode 8, i think it was fine. Sure, it would have been better if we had continued with the story especially with the end looming so close, but they did a great job keeping the constraints in mind. They made this episode relevant in the grand scheme of things. It was lighthearted, it gave us an insight into Mako and what goes on in his head, it gave Korra the validation that she so desperately needs and finally it gave us Varrick (one can never have too much of him) But I wish we (the fans) could have done something to help Bryke, like something on Kickstarter for instance, only for shows. Anyway, that boat has sailed. All that’s left to do, is to enjoy what’s left and give Bryke a break with all the complaining….

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Dreamer’s Pool (Blackthorn and Grim, #1) by Juliet Marillier Review

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I always enjoy Marillier’s books though sometimes they can be a little slow to get going. The Dreamer’s Pool was an immensely enjoyable read and I found it close to impossible to put it aside for even a little while. She weaves a story rife with magic but grounds it in reality, which makes it even more relatable.

The Dreamer’s Pool is about a healer who is wrongfully imprisoned but finds herself with a second chance at life, her fellow inmate, a giant of a man of few words and a prince who finally meets his betrothed but senses that there is something amiss. The healer, Blackthorn strikes a bargain with Conmael, a fey nobleman, and in return for letting her escape the prison, she must spend seven years in the kingdom of Dalriada and help anyone who asks for it. If she reneges the terms she will find herself right where she started and if she tries to escape, an additional year will be added to her seven years of service. This isn’t as simple as it seems as the only thing driving Blackthorn is her thirst for vengeance against the local chieftain, Mathuin, who imprisoned her. She has no real choice in the matter, as her only options are either to accept the terms or die in that filthy prison. Grim, a fellow prisoner becomes her travelling companion. Prince Oran meanwhile is smitten with his betrothed, Lady Flidais, they haven’t met but have only exchanged letters. But through those letters, it is clear to him that they have a rare connection and he can’t wait to meet her. But on her arrival, things soon take a turn for the worse when the flesh and blood Flidais is a far cry from the one he fell in love with.

This book is told from three points of view: Blackthorn, Grim and Oran’s and of the three, in the beginning I preferred reading the first two. I found Oran’s pov so dull, it was almost mind numbing. While the first two dealt with complex characters and their difficult situation, Oran’s was all about how much he loved Flidais and that he couldn’t wait to be married to her. I am glad to say that as the novel progressed his part also became more interesting chiefly because of the mystery surrounding Flidais. The Dreamer’s Pool is a beautifully written book but is not over-embellished. It has the tone of a fairy tale but with very relatable characters. The story unfolds slowly but always keeps a steady pace so that the reader is never frustrated. It is so thoroughly engrossing that it is impossible not to lose yourself in the story. The main characters are all flawed in someway (some more than others) and that is one of the things I loved about this book. Especially with regard to Blackthorn and Grim, they had had such a difficult life and witnessed so much loss that it damaged them on a very deep level and Marillier did not gloss over them.

Blackthorn used to be a healer, a wise woman in her previous life. She ceased to be that person when she was imprisoned but when she was offered another chance, she had to find a way to the person she used to be. Not to be her, but to use those skills she had acquired. What I loved about Blackthorn was that she was prickly. She helped people because of the condition set by Conmael not because of the goodness of her heart. The only thing left in her heart was her hunger for vengeance against the man who stole everything from her and never had to answer for any of his crimes. She was prickly with everyone but she wasn’t cruel. When she and Grim first started travelling together, there were ample opportunities for her to turn him away with just a few words but she didn’t. She is a strong woman who paid the price of going against someone far stronger than her and her time in the prison has left her with very deep scars. Her innate distrust leads her to make mistakes but once she realises her fault, she apologises and tries to set things right.

Grim was possibly my favourite character. He was strong and loyal to a fault when it came to Blackthorn. In the beginning, he was certainly the more damaged of the pair but as the story progressed, we saw him become more sure of himself. He spent so long in that prison that he started believing everything the guards called him. He worshipped the ground Blackthorn walked on but he wasn’t afraid to stand up to her when he knew that she was making a mistake. And he also became a source of strength for her, his unwavering and unconditional loyalty helped her more than either of them realised for the longest time. It was heartening to see that in time, they really did become partners, two broken halves who managed to fit well together.

I found Oran very annoying initially but thankfully that opinion didn’t last long. I soon found him to be honest and just with the people under his care. He was kind and gentle, quite unlike what I was expecting. He was also intelligent and valued it in the people working under him. He just wasn’t quite as interesting as Blackthorn or Grim so in that regard he seemed a little lacklustre.

There are a bunch of secondary characters who were also very well conceived and those like, Flidais, Lady Sochla, Emer and Oisin (among others) stood out and were memorable. There is an antagonist here but it is not a simple case of black and white, and that was refreshing (if not particularly satisfying)

The Dreamer’s Pool was an amazing book and it makes me want to read more books by Marillier. Her unhurried style is a refreshing change from the action-packed books that I sometimes tend to read. This book would have worked fine as a stand-alone as well so I am curious where the second book will lead us and I can’t wait to find out more about Blackthorn and Grim.

On a side note, I loved the cover but the woman featured is clearly not Blackthorn (as I originally thought). Having read the book, the only person who looks like that is Lady Flidais and it doesn’t make a lot of sense having her on the cover nor does it fit any context… No idea why this should bother me but it does… Also, how old is Blackthorn? I have vague idea and if I had to guess I’d say that she’s in her mid-thirties. Very random I know…

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1) by Ilona Andrews Review

BurnforMeMore like a 2.5 out of 5 stars…

Burn for Me had its moments and could on occasion be quite engaging. It also had a cast of interesting characters but for some reason, it just didn’t impress me. Also, I don’t understand why these heroines start behaving like hormonal teenagers straight out of a convent when it comes to the male protagonist? Seriously! You would think that Nevada (the female protagonist) had never laid eyes on an attractive guy before. Plus, she was such a typical goody-too-shoes. Rogan was partially more interesting in that, he was morally ambiguous and very ruthless. He didn’t suddenly start playing nice as soon as he met his intended love interest. All in all, it seemed good while I was reading it but there’s nothing memorable or particularly unique about it..

Maybe, I’ll feel more charitable towards the book after giving it some time, but for now, it was just ok for me….

Archangel’s Shadow (Guild Hunter #7) by Nalini Singh Review

91hSxkH0IULNalini Singh is one of the more consistent authors I’ve read and I enjoy her writing. She is especially good with great characters and relationships and in this regard, Archangel’s Shadow is no exception.

While I had always liked Ash and Janvier and what little I read of their interaction, I had my reservations when Singh announced that they were the main couple in the upcoming book. They are fine characters, I was just unsure if they could carry the entire book all on their own. Turns out, I needn’t have worried because while they are the main protagonists, we see enough old faces that they end up sharing the burden and the limelight.

Archangel’s Shadow deals with the fall out of Lijuan’s attack on New York. The city is getting back on its feet and while things do seem to going smoothly at the moment, there is a sense of unease in the air. There is an increase in bloodlust among the vampire populace, a very powerful and potent new drug aimed solely at vampires that turns them into ravenous monsters and the desiccated bodies of women that start turning up. None of this augurs well for the a on the mend. Janvier and Ashwini are tasked with investigating these events and as it turns out, they are connected in more ways than one.

My primary issue with the book was that there’s a huge part in the middle where this problem almost gets pushed to the background and we get more involved with Ash and Janvier. This also would have been okay but there was hardly any progress on that front either. It was almost Singh forgot the reason these two had come together. It was impossible for me to put aside Archangel’s Legion and yet with this one, it didn’t interest quite that much. It is also a fairly slow paced narrative and there are multiple POVs, which might just be the one saving graces of the book. The central mystery also didn’t interest me all that much. It seemed like something that was primarily meant to bring these two characters together and the actual solving of said mystery was just an added bonus (should they ever get around to it)

Of the two series by Singh, I prefer Guild Hunter primarily because the number of characters is limited (to an extent) so the characters here are richer. Ash and Janvier are great characters, I’m just not sure if they were main protagonist material. Ash was a strong and capable heroine. Independent and used to taking care of herself but also not careless with her safety. Janvier was possibly one of the sweetest guys in the Guild Hunter series. He was considerate with Ash and despite his own feelings; he didn’t push her in any way. He was content with waiting for her to realise her own feelings. Their light-hearted banter was sweet. Having said that, they still weren’t all that interesting. I found myself looking forward to reading some of the other characters’ POV, they came as welcome relief. Or when they finally got back to the investigation.

Elena and Raphael are my favourite characters in this series and I am more than partial where these two are concerned so I was thrilled with how much time they got in the novel. I love their banter and just how secure they are with each other. I never tire of reading about them. (can we please have more Ellie and Raphael books, please! :D) While I still want Ellie to blow away the others with a sudden surge in her own power, I also know that it’s not going to happen anytime soon (Singh herself clarified that) But we see her taking on more responsibilities that come with being an Archangel’s consort and managing them admirably. Raphael, for his part, is slowly coming to accept that the mortal populace is more than mere cattle, that having them on their side, has its own advantages. He is starting to view them as individuals and not as disposable or as a source of food. It was also amusing to see Elena get stressed when she learned that Caliane was coming to visit. These two aren’t going to be close anytime soon but it was still a welcome relief that Caliane was willing to look at Elena as a capable and fitting companion to her son and to see in her own right, as a hunter.

Then there’s Dimitri, who was pretty much the same (though maybe he’s thawing the slightest bit when it comes to Ellie) Illium was lovable as always and I really want to read a book where he’s the main protagonist, especially since, this time there were hints of a growing darkness within him. I want to know more about him. There were also Aodhan and he too seems to be returning to the world. But it was Naasir who pretty much stole every scene he was in. He was so different even from the other vampires and yet he could be so adorable and charming. Definitely want to see more of him.

The other problem I had with was the use of Hindi phrases and names in the book. The one or two Hindi sentences used here seemed a little stilted. I live in India and I speak the language, and even I don’t talk like that. They seemed very formal. The other problem is the names. Names like Neha, Ashwini and even Tanushree are fine, but then you have others like Mahiya which just sound wrong. They seem like a tourist’s idea of an Indian name. This is one aspect that I think could use a little more work on Singh’s part.

Archangel’s Shadow may not be quite as good or entertaining as some of the previous books in the series but it certainly has its good moments and I really enjoyed for the characters and the relationships that bind them together. Those are a real treat and something that Singh is exceptionally good at building. Now, I can’t wait to find out who the next book is about (I am hoping and praying that its Illium)