Into the Archives: Babylon A.D. (2008)

Why am I watching Babylon A.D. (2008) in 2017? Because we just changed out cable plan from one scam to a new scam where we have ALL THE CHANNELS! I literally feel compelled to watch all the movies. It’s an urge I’ve only ever felt in times when my body wants to nap or my eyes see passed appetizers or deserts.
Upon seeing a Vin Diesel movie that was also about my favorite subject I squealed a bit then got comfortable.

clip_image001In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a battle-hardened mercenary, Toorop (Vin Diesel), lives by his own code and the credo kill or be killed. His latest assignment is to escort a young woman named Aurora (Mélanie Thierry) and her guardian, Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh), from Kazakhstan to New York. Facing danger at each turn, Toorop begins to realize that Aurora represents the last hope for mankind’s survival.

In the first few minutes, Vin Diesel does his best Vin Diesel. He grumbles and smirks and explains to someone with a gun pointed at him that as one sided as this situation may seem, it won’t end well for the guy with the (presumed) upper hand. It’s at this point where you either commit to Vin Diesel in an Apocalyptic Wasteland: The Film or bail because you’ve already seen this movie but with cars or secret agents doing X-games sports.
I took a moment to count my blessings then hunkered down for Vin Diesel the mercenary in the not too distant future. His name is Toorop and for a long time, it’s neither clear nor important if that’s his first or last name.
Toorop is hired to transport a girl to America—a country he’s been barred from entering in (this movie is heavy-handed when it comes to exposition in dialogue). The girl is a weirdo who grew up in a remote convent isolated from the rest of the world with a lady-Monk as her guardian.
The Monk, like all Monks apparently, is skilled at hand to hand combat and unphased but everything and anything she encounters. The girl, on the other hand, seems to be a toddler in the body of a twenty-year-old. She literally wanders off every chance she gets, trusts strangers, and asks every single question that enters her mind.
At one point, it’s clear there are two factions who are fighting to get the girl away from Vin Diesel and company but not at all clear why. Also not clear is why Toorop doesn’t take the millions of dollars he’s offered to let someone else finish this job he was basically blackmailed and strong-armed into taking. Honor?
Babylon A.D. doesn’t quite explore the current landscape or how it became the way it is. The movie is a series of fight scenes, explosions, quick get-aways, sexy stares, and pseudo-religious references with a capitalist and futuristic twist. But if you saw the cover art you already knew that. Therefore, if you saw the cover art and pressed play, you will not be disappointed.

Book thoughts: The Sunshine Series by Nikki Rae


The Sunshine Series
Author: Nikki Rae
Publisher: Nikki Rae
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Vampire
This is a bit of an unorthodox review from me, since I’m reviewing all the three books of a trilogy together. I did this to make it easier though, so I could post the review all at once. (And because I didn’t want to make the author wait even longer, since she’s waited a hell of a long time already. My sincere apologies, Nikki.)
Be warned! This review might be a bit longer than usual.
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Book review: Cities and Thrones by Carrie Patel

CitiesThronesCities and Thrones
Author: Carrie Patel
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release date: July 2, 2015 (UK), July 7 (North America)
Note: This book was provided by the publisher.
Blurb:

In the fantastical, gaslit underground city of Recoletta, oligarchs from foreign states and revolutionaries from the farming communes vie for power in the wake of the city’s coup. The dark, forbidden knowledge of how the city came to be founded has been released into the world for all to read, and now someone must pay.
Inspector Liesl Malone is on her toes, trying to keep the peace, and Arnault’s spy ring is more active than ever. Has the city’s increased access to knowledge put the citizens in even more danger? Allegiances change, long-held beliefs are adjusted, and things are about to get messy.

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Book review: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

the walled cityTitle: The Walled City
Author: Ryan Graudin
Publisher: Little, Brown
Genre: YA
Release Date: November4, 2014
I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley.
Blurb:

There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run.

Jin, Mei Yee, and Dai all live in the Walled City, a lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs. Teens there traffic drugs or work in brothels–or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when Dai offers Jin a chance to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, she begins a breathtaking race against the clock to escape the Walled City itself.

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Book review: Heaven's Queen by Rachel Bach

heaven's queenTitle: Heaven’s Queen
Author: Rachel Bach
Publisher: Orbit
Genre: SF

Available now
Blurb:

From the moment she took a job on Captain Caldswell’s doomed ship, Devi Morris’ life has been one disaster after another: government conspiracies, two alien races out for her blood, an incurable virus that’s eating her alive. 
Now, with the captain missing and everyone — even her own government — determined to hunt her down, things are going from bad to impossible. The sensible plan would be to hide and wait for things to blow over, but Devi’s never been one to shy from a fight, and she’s getting mighty sick of running. 
It’s time to put this crisis on her terms and do what she knows is right. But with all human life hanging on her actions, the price of taking a stand might be more than she can pay.

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Book thoughts: The Shadow Master by Craig Cormick

the shadow master coverThe Shadow Master
Author: Craig Cormick
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Angry Robot
Available now
Note: this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Blurb:

Description

In a land riven with plague, inside the infamous Walled City, two families vie for control: the Medicis with their genius inventor Leonardo; the Lorraines with Galileo, the most brilliant alchemist of his generation.
And when two star-crossed lovers, one from either house, threaten the status quo, a third, shadowy power – one that forever seems a step ahead of all of the familial warring – plots and schemes, and bides its time, ready for the moment to attack…
A story of alternative history, love and conflict, madness and magic!
Assassination; ancient, impossible machines; torture and infamy – just another typical day in paradise.

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Book review: Child of a Hidden Sea by A.M. Dellamonica

child of a hidden sea coverChild of a Hidden Sea
Author: A.M. Dellamonica
Genre: SF/F
Publisher: Tor
Available now
Note: this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Blurb:

One minute, twenty-four-year-old Sophie Hansa is in a San Francisco alley trying to save the life of the aunt she has never known. The next, she finds herself flung into the warm and salty waters of an unfamiliar world. Glowing moths fall to the waves around her, and the sleek bodies of unseen fish glide against her submerged ankles. The world is Stormwrack, a series of island nations with a variety of cultures and economies—and a language different from any Sophie has heard. Sophie doesn’t know it yet, but she has just stepped into the middle of a political firestorm, and a conspiracy that could destroy a world she has just discovered…her world, where everyone seems to know who she is, and where she is forbidden to stay.
But Sophie is stubborn, and smart, and refuses to be cast adrift by people who don’t know her and yet wish her gone. With the help of a sister she has never known, and a ship captain who would rather she had never arrived, she must navigate the shoals of the highly charged politics of Stormwrack, and win the right to decide for herself whether she stays in this wondrous world…or is doomed to exile, in Child of a Hidden Sea by A.M. Dellamonica.

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Review: The Girl with All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

The girl with all the giftsEveryone and their mother is reading The Girl With All The Gifts, and that is how it should be.

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.
When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh.
Melanie is a very special girl.
 

It’s hard to review this without spoiling the various reveals. A smart reader will figure things out fairly early on in the book, but the discovery process is still part of it.
Enough to say that M.R. Carey has created a wonderful, unique take on a tired old concept. The Girl With All The Gifts is a heartbreaking novel, in places. The characters are real, and believable. Melanie herself is a lovely main character to spend time with.
We also spend time in the heads of the other characters. This could have spoiled the book, but Carey has the skill of writing genuinely different POV without ever confusing the reader.
The ending is right, and natural. It could never have ended any other way, but it still comes as a surprise. The whole way through The Girl With All The Gifts, we are asked to challenge our attitudes to humanity, and to ‘monsters’ and the ending makes it happen perfectly.
Read this book.

Book review: The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

the mirror empire coverThe Mirror Empire
Author: Kameron Hurley
Series: Worldbreaker Saga (book 1)
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release date: September 2, 2014 (North America); September 4, 2014 (UK)
Note: This book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Blurb:

On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past… while a world goes to war with itself.
In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin. As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war, a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.
Through tense alliances and devastating betrayal, the Dhai and their allies attempt to hold against a seemingly unstoppable force as enemy nations prepare for a coming together of worlds as old as the universe itself.
In the end, one world will rise – and many will perish.

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