Dreadful Company: A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel—Vampires Underground in Paris

 

Dreadful Company by Vivian Shaw book cover
Dreadful Company by Vivian Shaw

Dreadful Company, the second of the Dr. Greta Helsing novels , by Vivian Shaw. It continues the adventures of Greta and her friends, the vampire Ruthven and vampyre (there’s a difference) Varney, as they go to Paris for a medical conference. Unfortunately, there’s another vampire in Paris that hates Ruthven and kidnaps Greta to get at him.

1—Glittering Vampires

The vampires who kidnap Greta, led by the murderous twit Corvin, are a bit too into the “creature of the night” thing. They wear body glitter, for fuck’s sake. Corvin even steals bones from Paris’s catacombs to decorate his underground lair—which will become plot relevant down the line. There’s Lilith, Corvin’s consort, who keeps summoning and then abandoning little hairmonsters and wellmonsters. There’s Grisaille, Corvin’s second in command, who’d rather do anything but command. And there’s the newest vampire, Sofiria (nee Emily), who hasn’t really been taught anything she needs to know, not even that the glittering isn’t natural. She has to come see the captive Greta to get even remedial lessons in what it means to be a vampire.  Continue reading “Dreadful Company: A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel—Vampires Underground in Paris”

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman—Part2—From Vienna to Budapest

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss book cover
European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman, by Theodora Goss, continues the adventures of the Athena Club—a gathering of women who were all experiments and daughters of alchemists—from their meeting and formation of the Club in The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter. This time out, the Club are trying to rescue another daughter-experiment, one Lucinda Van Helsing.

I’ve broken my review up into two parts partially because this book is a doorstopper and partially because the book itself is divided into two parts. The first part of my review can be found here.

1—When Last We Left Our Heroines

Mary, Diana, Justine, and an increasingly unstable Lucinda had disappeared, kidnapped by Mr. Hyde, who is Mary and Diana’s father. He’s had them taken to a crumbling castle in the middle of the Styrian forest. Hyde wants Lucinda’s blood, and is willing to take it at gunpoint, to try to save his patient. Continue reading “European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman—Part2—From Vienna to Budapest”

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman—Part 1—From London to Vienna

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss book cover
European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman, by Theodora Goss, continues the adventures of the Athena Club—a gathering of women who were all experiments and daughters of alchemists—from their meeting and formation the Club in The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter. This time out, the Club are trying to rescue another daughter-experiment, one Lucinda Van Helsing.

I’ve broken my review up into two parts partially because this book is a doorstopper and partially because the book itself is divided into two parts.

1—The Setup

Mary Jekyll receives a letter from her old teacher Mina regarding the disappearance of Lucinda Van Helsing, spurring her and Justine—disguised as Justin—to leave early for Vienna and the home of one Irene Norton nee Adler, via the Orient Express. They also have to borrow money from Sherlock Holmes, Mary’s employer, which they all chafe at, but needs must. Meanwhile, Diana Hyde, Mary’s sister, sneaks along with Mary and Justine. Sherlock goes missing shortly thereafter. Continue reading “European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman—Part 1—From London to Vienna”

Constantine (2005 Movie)—Not As Deep As It Wants to Be

Constantine movie poster
Constantine

Constantine follows John Constantine as he tries to prevent the son of the Devil from using the Spear of Destiny to break into and overwhelm our world. Based on the DC/Vertigo comics series Hellblazer.

1—Half-Angels and Half-Demons

God and the Devil have a bet going for the souls of humanity. This means no direct interference from either side, just influencers whispering in peoples’s ears. When half-demons break the rules, John Constantine is there to send them back to Hell, a place with which he has personal experience, having committed suicide as a child and died for two minutes. John also performs exorcisms on possessed people. Continue reading “Constantine (2005 Movie)—Not As Deep As It Wants to Be”

Bram Stoker’s Dracula—Wants to be Romantic but Isn’t

Bram Stoker's Dracula movie poster
Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Bram Stoker’s Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, is a horror movie based on the book Dracula by Bram Stoker. The movie takes plenty of liberties though, like making Mina and Dracula love interests. Despite the music, I didn’t find it particularly romantic. Trigger warning for the movie for rape—Lucy was compelled against her will, so yes, it’s rape.

1—Disjointed Beginning

Dracula sets off to battle and comes home to his beloved Elisabeta having committed suicide, having been lead to believe that Dracula was dead. Enraged at being told Elisabeta’s soul is condemned, Dracula busts up the chapel and denounces God. Fast-forward four-hundred years and Jonathan Harker, played dismally by Keanu Reeves, goes to Transylvania with a picture of Mina, who just happens to be the twin—implied to be the reincarnation—of Elisabeta. When Dracula gets to England, he seeks out Mina, and rapes and murders her dearest friend Lucy while wooing Mina. I’m still not clear why Mina stopped being rude to him, she had every right. And that’s just one of the disjointed elements of this movie. The dialog at the beginning especially, between Dracula and Jonathan, and between Dracula and the female vampires seems…just off. Continue reading “Bram Stoker’s Dracula—Wants to be Romantic but Isn’t”

The Golden Compass (movie)—Beautiful and Complex

The Golden Compass movie poster
The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass is based off the book of the same name. It follows Lyra Belacqua as she seeks the truth behind the Magesterium and the reason they’ve been kidnapping children.

1—World

There’s a lot of world-building going on in this movie. Lyra lives in a world parallel to ours, where people’s souls live outside their bodies in the form of daemons, which take the shapes of animals—animals that can change shape while a person is still a child. There’s the Magisterium, a church who controls most of the world, but not Jordan College—though the college and its free-thinking traditions feel under threat. There’s Dust, about which we sadly get to know little, only that it’s connected to the soul and adulthood. There are the witches, who can fly and whose daemons can travel further from them than humans’s can. And of course, there’s the Golden Compass itself, a machine that can divine the truth of anything and which is a great threat to the Magisterium—Lyra comes into possession of the last one. And there’s so much more. Continue reading “The Golden Compass (movie)—Beautiful and Complex”

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter—Secret Societies, Murder, and Tea

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss book cover
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, by Theodora Goss, follows the meeting and adventures of the daughters and ’daughters’ of mad scientists in 1890s London. Mary Jekyll, Diana Hyde, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein, along with the help of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, investigate the murders of young women in White Chapel and their connection to the sinister Societe des Alchimistes.

1—Notes and Interruptions

The book is in epistolary format, ‘written’ by Catherine Moreau with commentary by the other girls. There’s an ‘Author’s Note’ at the end of chapter one, where Catherine explains the notes and why she’s kept them in the book—partly to help illustrate the characters of the various young women about whom she is writing and partly so you can see what she’s had to put up with while writing it. It’s very meta, but very entertaining. Continue reading “The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter—Secret Societies, Murder, and Tea”

Van Helsing—Monster Mash-Up

Van Helsing movie poster
Van Helsing

Van Helsing, directed by Stephen Sommers, follows the titular character as he fights Dracula, the Wolf-Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster. The horror movie is both tribute and homage to the classic Universal Horror movies, as well as the original books.

1—Born Dead

The plot is as follows—Dracula—played by Richard Roxburgh—commissioned Dr. Frankenstein to create a creature to power a machine that would bring to life the children of Dracula and his brides. They’re nasty little monsters birthed by the hundreds and would destroy all human life. Enter Van Helsing—played by Hugh Jackman—sent by the Vatican to save the souls of the Valerious family. Their ancestor swore they’d not enter heaven until Dracula was killed, and there are only two members of the family left. There’s also a mysterious link between the amnesiac Van Helsing and Dracula. And oh yes, they have to figure out how to finally kill Dracula. Continue reading “Van Helsing—Monster Mash-Up”

The Hitman’s Bodyguard—Unexpectedly Romantic

The Hitman's Bodyguard
The Hitman’s Bodyguard

The Hitman’s Bodyguard, directed by Patrick Hughes, stars Samuel L. Jackson as the hitman and Ryan Reynolds as the bodyguard. Michael Bryce (Reynold’s character) is contacted by his ex-girlfriend, Interpol Agent Amelia Roussel, after a mission to transport a witness goes horribly wrong. She asks Michael to protect hitman Kincaid and take him to The Hague so he can testify against a genocidal dictator. It’s more fun that it sounds.

1—Great Chemistry

The chemistry between Jackson and Reynolds is great. Kincaid has tried to kill Reynolds in the past but that’s quickly set aside for the mission. Rather, uptight, has-a-plan-for-everything Bryce and…I wouldn’t call Kincaid laid-back, precisely. More that he just goes with the flow of life while ending the lives of others. Anyway, they spark off each other and bicker throughout the whole movie. It’s great. Continue reading “The Hitman’s Bodyguard—Unexpectedly Romantic”

Supernatural—After Ten Seasons, I’ve Had Enough

Supernatural
Supernatural

Supernatural is a paranormal horror tv series that follows brothers Sam and Dean Winchester as they travel around America hunting monsters and demons. The bloody, beating heart of the show is the close but tortured relationship between the brothers.

1—In the Beginning

Supernatural begins with two deaths—that of Sam and Dean’s mom many years ago, and with Sam’s girlfriend in the present. Both end up pinned to a ceiling and catching fire. This should give you a good indication of if you can handle this show’s level of gore and violence. From there, the boys head off to find their father, who recently disappeared, and discover a demonic conspiracy. Continue reading “Supernatural—After Ten Seasons, I’ve Had Enough”