Wednesday, August 23, 2017

On The Run VIII

You can find the previous installment here.

Eric felt like he'd been punched in the gut. Andreas was here? He was both relieved and worried. At least he was dealing with a known quantity. Did it have to be that known quantity? He looked over at Anna, shook his head. She was as like to shoot him as talk to him. And he could see the troopers taking positions, knew already that Andreas had the entrance under observation. They couldn't make it out of here.

They let the door close and looked around. Eric jerked his head toward the stairs, and she nodded. She glanced at the ramp with the dead man on it and shuddered. No way she was going down there. They hurried up the stairs and took up positions on the second level- there was more room to hide here than on the open and airy third. They heard the entrance open and could hear the clatter of weapons, people entering. This was going fabulous.

"Eric! Dammit I just want to talk!" Eric could hear him directing his troopers this way and that, and he smiled. Andreas, of all people. Here. He heard someone say, "Sir," and then Andreas was calling to him again. "I see your proximity alarm here, Eric. I know you're in here. Come on out and we'll discuss. I don't want trouble. I'm just here about the missing technicians."

He could see Anna rolling her eyes. They said nothing- maybe they'd get lucky and Andreas would go downstairs. But no such luck. He knew that Andreas was silently directing his men, probably two to watch the ramp while the rest stormed the stairs. It was just a matter of time. This might be it- maybe he should have listened to Anna. They could have gated out- but then again they would have probably just run into the strike team on the beach. Maybe if they had waited though, for the team to move inland- even if there were guards posted at the gate, their odds would have been better. If this, maybe that... didn't really matter. He raised his fist to Anna, and she nodded. He loved her in that moment, knew she was as scared as he was, but she'd never show it.

The troopers came up in a silent rush, and still Eric held his fire. He didn't want to kill, hated it- and maybe Andreas did want to talk? The first trooper to see him though squeezed off a round immediately, and in seconds there was pulse fire everywhere. Okay enough talk. He fired back, ducking behind his cover, and saw Anna firing into the troopers as well. It was chaos. They held their position as long as they could, he wasn't sure how many had gone down, but instinct told him when they were going to be overrun, and he and Anna peeled off, going separate ways. It was a close thing, with pulse fire blowing chunks out of the ceiling above him, and he felt a stinging burn on his left arm. That was close. 

Anna was breathing hard, adrenaline coursing through her. Other than some nicks and scratches she was okay so far. She took a deep breath and felt a sob hitch in her throat. DammitI told him this would happen. She fired again, then ducked back. Well, not this exactly, but something. This was not good. Her only hope was to get to Andreas, if she could knock him off they could maybe stop this. It was a fleeting hope, but she had nothing else. She stopped firing and ducked into a doorway that opened silently. Waiting...

The first trooper came around the corner, to meet the butt of her pulse rifle. He has some dental work in his future. She flipped the rifle over and sent a pulse through the next guy's leg. He howled and went down, and she kicked his weapon away as she rushed past. Behind her she could hear more coming- had they encircled her already- but it didn't matter, she was at the stairs. Praying that Eric was alright she flew down the steps, stopping just before the ground level. She couldn't see anyone- surely Andreas had left someone behind to guard?

Where was he? She scanned the area quickly, saw no one. Bullshit. He wouldn't have sent everyone up. She heard a thump upstairs- a shock grenade? She was out of time. Then she saw the red dots on her torso. Where were they?

"Hi Anna." She felt a gun at her head.
Fuck. It all happened so fast, before she could do anything a hand covered hers, pushing her pistol down.
"Don't even think about it."

Game of Thrones: Alys Karstark

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

Alys Karstark is a character introduced in A Dance With Dragons, the fifth book of A Song of Ice and Fire. She flees her uncle who is trying to gain control of the  Karstark ancestral lands, but she's not having any of it. With her father executed and her brothers scattered (or dead), her uncle sees this as an opportunity to wed her and be lord of Karhold. She flees to Castle Black, where Jon Snow gives her safe haven. But her uncle will not give up easily.

This post will have spoilers for A Song of Ice and Fire.

You are my only hope, Lord Snow. In your father's name, I beg you. Protect me. 

Alys is first seen by Melisandre in her flames, and mistaken for Arya. The red priestess sees a girl on the run, heading north, and tells Jon- but when she arrives, she asks for protection from Cregan, her uncle (or technically a cousin since Cregan's father Arnolf is her great-uncle). Another case of Melisandre seeing one thing but misinterpreting it. Jon grants her sanctuary, and when Cregan shows up, Jon has him imprisoned.

"Daggers in the dark. I know. You will forgive my doubts, my lady. A grey girl on a dying horse, fleeing from a marriage, that was what you said. "
"I was not wrong."
"You were not right. Alys is not Arya."
"The vision was a true one. It was my reading that was false. I am as mortal as you, Jon Snow. All mortals err."

Alys is a bit like Lyanna Mormont- assertive and loyal to the north. Her father was executed for killing Lannister prisoners, and her brothers Eddard and Torrhen were killed by Jaime Lannister. Her betrothed, Daryn Hornwood, was also killed. Her brother Harrion, who is currently the heir, is a prisoner to the south.

Before the war I was betrothed to Daryn Hornwood. We were only waiting till I flowered to be wed, but the Kingslayer killed Daryn in the Whispering Wood. My father wrote that he would find some southron lord to wed me, but he never did. Your brother Robb cut off his head for killing Lannisters. 

I thought the whole reason they marched south was to kill some Lannisters. 

To prevent her from being victimized, Jon arranges for her to marry Sigorn, the new Magnar of Thenn. A wildling. This in effect creates a new noble house, which will inherit Karhold if Harrion Karstark dies. Problem solved- and Jon has an ally in Karhold. Melisandre officiates at the wedding.

Jon turned to Alys Karstark. "My lady. Are you ready?"
"Yes. Oh, yes."
"You're not scared?"
The girl smiled in a way that reminded Jon so much of his little sister that it almost broke his heart. "Let him be scared of me." The snowflakes were melting on her cheeks, but her hair was wrapped in a swirl of lace that Satin had found somewhere, and the snow had begun to collect there, giving her a frosty crown. Her cheeks were flushed and red, and her eyes sparkled. 
"Winter's lady." Jon squeezed her hand. 

I love the relationship between Jon and Alys.

"You could dance with me, you know. It would be only courteous. You danced with me anon."
"Anon?" teased Jon. 
"When we were children." She tore off a bit of bread and threw it at him. "As you know well."
"My lady should dance with her husband."
"My Magnar is not one for dancing, I fear. If you will not dance with me, at least pour me some of the mulled wine." 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Top Ten Back To School


 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new Top Ten list will be posted. Everyone is welcome to join. Link back to The Broke and the Bookish so everyone can check out other bloggers' lists. It's a fun way to get to know fellow bloggers.

This week we're celebrating (?) back to school with a Top Ten freebie. I decided to go ten schools/ academies I'd love to read more about. 

  Sanctuary Bay

A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House, #1)

Legacy (Night School, #2)


Cath and Levi. Or Regan! 

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The library in Waterfall City even though it's not a school per se.

Radio Silence

This might be kind of a cheat but school/ starting college are both a part of the story.

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

Instead of schools we have factions, but they're sort of like school (especially Erudite I would imagine).

Lost Stars (Star Wars: Journey to the Force Awakens)

We don't hear much about the Academy but this book delves into that a little bit.  

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)

Assassin school.

And... since I can't think of another book, we'll go with a show. 

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Tuesday Tagline #53


Bad things happen. Fight to make things right. Or let it wreck your life. This is kinda different from a lot of taglines, a little more in- depth maybe, I don't know, but I'm intrigued, between that and the cover. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Game of Thrones

Image result for game of thrones S7

As Game of Thrones rockets to a conclusion for season seven (seriously has this flown by or what?) we venture forth once more beyond the Wall, in search of the army of the dead. The magnificent seven, as many are calling them, only really need one dead wight though, so they can prove to Cersei that the threat exists. As asinine as that plan is, it forms the heart of this episode, the last one before the finale. And with the previous two episodes  advancing the plot in a huge way, it's a safe bet we're going to get some fireworks in this one as well. And it didn't disappoint.

Spoilers for this episode of Game of Thrones, and for the books as well.

The magnificent seven are north of the Wall and having a good time, judging from their banter. Okay maybe not fun per se, but judging from the dialogue the writers seemed to be having a good time. We hit some character beats we needed to hit- Jon and Jorah bonding a bit, including a very nice exchange about Longclaw and who should have it, along with some banter between Tormund and the Hound. Seriously those two? And Gendry let Beric know what he thought of being sold to Melisandre, but didn't exactly get an apology from him or Thoros. Speaking of the former red priest, it's amazing he can walk with all the wine he must be swilling. 

Oh and they have some Night's Watch guys with them as well- can we call them redshirts? They certainly played that role. How would you like to be one of those guys? Might just as well have a "kill me" sign on your back! Anyway we don't really know how far north they go, but they eventually find a band of zombies to ambush and the action gets started. Jon takes out a white walker and they soon have their zombie proof. But... trouble's a brewing as here comes a zombie ARMY. Jon sends Gendry back to Eastwatch to warn Dany and then he and the rest of the group go... in a different direction. Why? You got me. 

Oh I almost forgot the bear. Their first encounter with an undead bear was a tough one, with a redshirt getting offed and Thoros almost dying. I thought he was a goner, especially when the Hound froze up (see what I did there) due to the fire. Thoros ends up dying anyway, which was not really unexpected, but still tough to see. 

While all this is going on we cut back and forth to Winterfell, where Arya and Sansa are having a serious disagreement. Arya shows her the letter she found and I thought they had a pretty good exchange- they both have good points, it's too bad they couldn't just communicate a little more and work it out. Sansa mention to Littlefinger that she hasn't heard from Jon for weeks- can't he send a raven?- and Littlefinger slyly denies knowing anything about how Arya found the note. She makes a good point about how Jon's lords are pretty quick to waver in their loyalty. I couldn't agree more. 

Also Tyrion and Dany discuss the coming meeting with Cersei, and they don't agree on much. This is where the folly of this whole mission to the north is so evident- instead of working on their plans for conquest or defense of the north, they're waiting on Jon's suicide mission. And speaking of, Gendry is running back to Eastwatch and gets there in what I'm going to assume is record time? I mean really. We've discussed the ridiculous passage of time on this show at length, but this is really pushing it. Gendry makes it back in less than a day apparently, and while we don't know for sure I certainly got the impression they went a goodly ways north. At this point you just have to ignore time and travel distances and just go with it. 

Jon and the rest are surrounded by zombies but they don't move in after the first wave of them falls through ice. The whole set-up of this put me in mind of the forthcoming Battle of Ice in the next book- there has been a lot of speculation about Stannis' tactics in that battle, with him taking up position in an abandoned village near a frozen lake. Some think he is setting up the Bolton forces to fall through the ice when they attack, and this may be a nod to that from the showrunners. Anyway for some reason the Hound decides to provoke the zombies- why would you do that?- and pretty soon they all come (but don't fall through the ice-hmm). Battle ensues and it looks bad until the air force arrives- Dany got the message and has come to the rescue with all three dragons!   

Sansa meanwhile sends Brienne to King's Landing in her stead, as Cersei has invited her to come. What is THAT all about? Looks like the showrunners want Brienne there when the undead corpse is brought to Cersei. And Arya and Sansa face off once again when Sansa searches Arya's chambers and finds her faces. Nice! Meanwhile Dany's dragons are lighting the place up and it's glorious. However, then something really bad happens. 

The Night King kills Viserion with his spear or whatever it is, and Dany and company barely make it out- minus Jon who falls through the ice. That was tough watching Dany have to leave. Should she and her two remaining dragons take on the Night King? Well we have to save something for season eight, but it still rankled to see her leave when I wanted her to exact some payback! I'm surprised Rhaegal didn't at least make one pass over the Night King and his lieutenants, give 'em a taste of dragonfire. Oh, well. 

Everything up to this point was great, but then things fell apart a little for me. Jon is still alive, of course, but who comes to his rescue? Benjen Stark. Jon's uncle gives him a way out and fights off the wights long enough for Jon to escape, but it looks like Benjen is done at this point. What I want to know is, how do you keep a horse alive in that environment? Jon makes it back and while they're tending him, Dany sees his scars. She knows there is something to Mel's story. Jon tells her he would bend the knee if he could, and she is amazed that he would do that given his situation. He tells her he believes in her, and they stare at each other for a very long moment- I'm glad they didn't kiss quite yet, it would be too soon, but I thought they were going there for a second.   

It should be interesting to see how they feel about things when Jon's heritage becomes known. 

Random Thoughts

"I suppose you favor your mother," says Beric to Jon. Little does he know! Nice line though- another hint to Lyanna.

I thought the battle scenes were a little unclear at times as to who was dying! I had to go back and confirm that it was a redshirt who went down initially when the bear attacked, and again when someone fell off the cliff into the zombies. For a minute I thought that was Jorah biting the dust!

Tormund took Gendry's hammer when Gendry left which seemed like a bad idea in case, you know, Gendry ran into any wights. Luckily that didn't happen. I hope Tormund brought his hammer back? 

I'm assuming it's pretty cold north of the Wall and when they spent the night on the island with no fire, I'm not sure how they survived? I mean obviously Thoros didn't, but still. 

The flaming sword is pretty fricking awesome. 

An undead dragon? That's... not good. Discounting for a moment where they got those massive chains, it was pretty terrifying for the undead to gain Viserion's services. They paid a big price just to take a zombie to Cersei. 

"I wish we'd never gone," Jon tells Dany. Me too pal! It was pretty dumb and now you're down a dragon. I knew from the script leaks and spoilers that this was coming, and next episode should be... quite. Is the Wall coming down?    

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sunday Post #208

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

I had a good week, it was mostly a quiet one. I read a few books and I'm kind of in a lull period where I don't have a top contender for my next read? I feel like I haven't read a fantasy in ages, any suggestions? YA or adult is fine. There's stuff coming in September that I want so I just have to get through a few weeks I guess.    

Sarah Maas and Leigh Bardugo are both coming to the area in September- thanks to Kristin at Addicted to HEA for the heads-up! - and I'm thinking of going. I'll try to get pics. 

Last week I did reviews for The Good Neighbor and The Collapsing Empire. I also read Emma in the Night and Friend Request and those reviews are upcoming - I liked both a lot. Emma was a great thriller and Request was a little slow- moving but very readable, and the premise is a trip.    

The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency #1)The Good NeighborEmma in the NightFriend Request

Song of the week


Image result for the big kill pulp cover


Intrigue in Capri (Kindle Single) (An Amory Ames Mystery)Death around the Bend (Lady Hardcastle Mysteries #3)


This is a fun little short film about a rookie stormtrooper who's more than she seems! 

This is so flippin fun.I love the facial expressions at 3:25. 

Black Widow stunt double vs. Elektra stunt double