Sunday, March 31, 2019

Shadowhunters Talk: 3x02 "The Powers That Be"

This episode opens with Magnus and Alec going to the party to "celebrate" Lorenzo becoming High Warlock of Brooklyn. I love seeing them go to warlock events together. So much of their relationship that we see on the show involves them being alone, with their friends, or around Shadowhunters. We've seen a lot less of them around groups of warlocks, and it just makes me really happy to see Alec making an attempt to enter into Magnus' world.

Also, we get to see Madzie again, which is always great. Seeing Alec interact with her always makes me smile, no matter how many times I watched those scenes over again. I'm not one of the fans who wants them to adopt Madzie because their relationship definitely isn't ready for that yet, but it does make me smile happily at the idea of them having kids someday.

There's a "surge" of magic during the party that leads to the warlocks losing control of their magic, but Magnus maintains control better than the others. This leads to Lorenzo accusing Magnus of working with Asmodeus to cause it. Of course, we know it's actually Lilith, who's from Edom like Asmodeus. It's Magnus' connection to Edom that gives him a greater immunity, of sorts, to the "power outages", but I can't lie: I like the idea of Magnus being the one who can maintain some control of his magic.

He really is one of the most powerful warlocks in the world. That's said on the show as well as in the books, but I think it's easy to forget without moments like this. Of course, this episode is also when we get some greater information about why Magnus is so powerful: Asmodeus is his father. This is one of those details I was waiting anxiously to see how they'd handle in the show, and I quite like it coming out this way.

The one thing where I was like "Magnus, no!" (not because the writing was at fault but just because it made me sad) was Magnus feeling the need to apologize for not telling Alec sooner. Who his dad is shouldn't matter, so he shouldn't need to make a big deal out of it and announce it as if he was lying by leaving out the information. I think Alec understands that too, but it's sad to see Magnus feeling the need to apologize anyway.

Jace's determination to take Clary on a date despite not having a clue what to do added some nice humor to this episode that I enjoyed. There's a part of me that wonders how Jace could not know just one restaurant he could take Clary too, but I enjoyed the storyline nonetheless. Even the awkward date part of the episode was handled well I think. I like how Clary and Simon learning that Jace and Maia had slept together was a bit awkward but neither of them freaked out about it. It was a good way to handle that whole thing.

We see Izzy dissecting her ruby necklace here, which is a detail I don't think I paid much attention to the first couple of times I watched this episode. It's nice to know that the ruby wasn't completely gone after Azazel destroyed it in the last season. I kind of like that she put it into a bracelet instead of a necklace as well. To me, that seems more functional while fighting, though it's a bit sad to lose the necklace that has so much history.

We also get Alec and Magnus discussing sandalwood shampoo in this episode, which is a nice reference to a moment in the books that can make book fans smile. Honestly, I'm not sure why that bit became such a thing in fandom when the moment in the books is so tiny and unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but I have to admit that I grin a little every time I see things labelled as sandalwood scented because it makes me think of Alec, so it was nice to have that thrown into the show, even if it was a small scene just like in the books.

Alec distracts Lorenzo and helps Magnus sneak in to inspect the ley lines. I loved seeing them work together here, and the significant looks they were sharing were hilarious. I also couldn't help but giggle when Lorenzo accused Alec of not being a loyal boyfriend.

This time around, I really noticed how large Lorenzo's house is though. This guy is living in New York city in a mansion. (Since he's the High Warlock of Brooklyn, I'm assuming the house is in Brooklyn and not farther out of the city.) Now, I've never lived in New York city, so I can't claim to be an expert on housing prices there, but this time around I realized just how much Lorenzo is flexing his wealth having that house. That's an aspect of his personality that's really hyped up in the episode, and obviously I realized that it was a mansion the first time I saw the episode. I just didn't consider how much more expensive that mansion would be in New York than elsewhere until this particular watch. I mean, Lorenzo is really showing off there. Especially when you compare that house to Magnus' loft despite it also being hinted throughout the series that Magnus probably has a lot of money of his own.

The Institute's core comes up again in this episode as Alec has Magnus tap into it as a way of working against the ley lines. To be honest, the core is one part of the story that I don't understand that well. It's something new the show added, and I still don't entirely understand the core's purpose or why it's there. Even after this episode, I don't entirely understand what Magnus is doing with the core and ley lines or how them interacting works. The core itself does look cool though.

I love seeing Alec and Magnus working together to access the core. Alec's line, "As long as you're here, I'm not leaving," was my favorite line of the episode. It comes not long after Jace's really long winded speech to Clary, and to be honest, I find Alec's one line here more romantic than Jace's speech. I don't actually like Jace's speech because of the, "You're more special than the other girls, so I need to be more careful with you," tone of it. Alec's line on the other hand is really simple and not overblown. Plus, with the possibility of Alec leaving having been raised in the previous episode, it becomes even more special, and I think that the line being short and just off the cuff makes it even better.

If Magnus apologizing for not telling Alec who is dad was sooner broke my heart, hearing him say that he hoped it didn't make Alec think less of him shattered it into tiny pieces. Alec's response here was wonderful though I have to admit that I wish he'd said it earlier when he first learned that Asmodeus was his father, since it was pretty clear as a viewer that Magnus was insecure about it.

This time while watching I had a little laugh to myself thinking, "Alec can't judge anyone for their father because his father is terrible." I admit that a lot of my very strong judgment of Robert Lightwood is things from the book, not the show, I'd still apply it to the show. So...

The episode ends with some of the werewolves accidentally activating Simon's Mark of Cain. What was going to happen wasn't a surprise to anyone who's read the books, but it made me more excited for what was coming next with the mark.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Book Review: The Gatekeeper's Sons by Eva Pohler

ISBN: 1452448434
Published: August 13, 2012
Publisher: Green Press/Eva Pohler
Read from September 17 to November 13, 2017
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Fifteen-year-old Therese watches her parents die. While in a coma, she meets the twin sons of Hades—Hypnos, the god of sleep, and Thanatos, the god of death. She thinks she's manipulating a dream, not kissing the god of death and totally rocking his world.
Than makes a deal with Hades and goes as a mortal to the Upperworld to try and win Therese's heart, but not all the gods are happy. Some give her gifts. Others try to kill her.
The deal requires Therese to avenge the death of her parents. With the help of Than’s fierce and exotic sisters, the Furies, she finds herself in an arena face to face with the murderer, and only one will survive.


I really didn't like this book. As you can see above, I read this book more than a year ago, and it has stuck with me in the worst possible way. I had to read the synopsis to remember the plot, but as soon as I did, my reaction was along the lines of, "Oh God... No." Everything came rushing back, and I dreaded having to write out all of the things I hated about this book. This isn't going to be everything, though, because there's just not enough space for that.

There's a lot to unpack when it comes to the plot of this book. As the synopsis mentions, Therese enters a coma and meets Hades' sons there, one of whom she immediately starts kissing because she thinks it's a dream. The way the things develop from there is strange. You're told that Than, Hades' son, hasn't been in love before because he has the duty of accompanying the dead to the underworld, but he responds easily to Therese kissing him and has what must be considered insta-love.

Considering this seems to have been his first kiss, him falling in love was far too much for me to suspend my disbelief, and the ickiness of Than knowing it's real and Therese thinking it's a dream didn't set the book off on a good start for me.

And the insta-love just continued in full force from there. Than is an immortal god, but he falls in love with Therese instantly and makes a lot of sacrifices for her despite barely knowing her. Again, I couldn't believe that an ancient god would so quickly fall in love with a human and change his life for her. This was made even worse by the fact that Therese consistently acts like a child with an school girl crush the entire book. It's nearly possible to interpret her feelings as being anything but shallow, so when things start to get "serious" between them, it felt like I should warn a child off from getting her feelings hurt. Nothing about their relationship is mature, yet it's presented as if it is throughout the book.

This is the first book of a series, and the series as a whole would have greatly benefited from slowing down the progress of Than and Therese's relationship. It happens too fast, yet you never see their feelings for each other develop. They're just said to be there. I didn't get any chemistry from them.

Ultimately, the book read like a fifteen-year-old's dream of her future instead of a real—if fantastical—experience. Even at fifteen, I don't think I would have found anything that happens in this book realistic. Absolutely no part of the plot flows in a natural way or has a plausible explanation for it.

Oh, and I do want to mention that Therese is fifteen because I was quite weirded out by an immortal god falling for a fifteen-year-old and wanting her to commit to him for life, especially a life that might be for eternity.

And even though he does nothing of worth for the entire book, I can't end this review without giving a shout out to Than's twin brother, Hypnos, who regularly makes out with girls in their dreams without them knowing he's real. This is never commented on as being creepy behavior by any character in the book. They only roll their eyes as if it's annoying but ultimately nothing to be concerned about. It's been more than a year since I read this book, and thinking about that still infuriates me. That behavior is not okay, but the book doesn't condemn it in the slightest.

If I remember correctly, he also kisses Therese at one point despite her relationship with his brother, and this is brushed over in a very strange way.

All in all, I guess it's impressive how much I hated this book if I'm willing to rant about it this much more than a year after I read it.