Monday, May 28, 2012

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Book #1)
by Laini Taylor 

Genre: Fantasy/Angels
Reading Grade: Young Adult
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Source: Hardcover purchase
Age Rating: 15+

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself? 

My Review

I had to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone because who hasn't been gushing and raving over it throughout the book blogosphere, right? It is the thing to be reading and my curiosity knew no bounds...

  • Plot: Karou is an odd girl attending art school in Prague and runs secrets errands for a wish-monger named Brimstone. She lives a normal human life as far as her friends can see, but was raised by chimaera, beings that live in a secret workshop run by Brimstone who collects teeth from every living creature for some unknown reason. One day, Karou meets Akiva, a seraph, and he is drawn to her for reasons he doesn't understand. But, he is the key to discovering her true identity and the answers to all her lifelong questions about Brimstone's mysterious work.
  • Characters: Karou is mostly clueless about her life and origins, and when she asks Brimstone anything, he never gives her answers. She uses little wishes that he gives her in exchange for running his errands to make her hair blue, and make people she's mad at itch in unseemly places in public. She's unique and interesting, but not exactly amazing. Zuzana is her best friend, but at first I thought she was annoying. She did grow on me. Akiva is okay, if a little too “perfect boyfriend” material, as he just seems to be totally into Karou and nothing else. Guys just aren't really like that. But, both he and Karou have very intricate back-stories that make them more layered as characters, even if their personalities aren't all that vibrant and enticing.
  • Writing: Goodness, the writing is ridiculous. It's so effortlessly simple, yet sophisticated. Gorgeous, even though it didn't have to be. The story is already very interesting and the fabulous writing is like cake with too much frosting—not a bad thing at all—even makes the cake more fun to eat.
  • Story: Here's where I'm at a loss for why some reviewers were unimpressed by this book. The story becomes so intriguing, once you get far enough into it. Granted, I wasn't too impressed with the first 100 pages. It's just all about Karou's normal life, which is unusual, but it isn't a story, yet. A story does get underway, eventually, and it continually builds up to a very amazing tale of a fantasy world that was thrilling. It just kept getting better and better as I read on, uncovering all the mysteries that made me want to keep on reading it. So good. It's all about how Karou goes on a journey of self-discovery after meeting Akiva, and her true identity is so fascinating.
  • Overall Quality: Super high. I think if someone is looking for a very different YA fantasy book, then this is the perfect one to go with. It's totally different from the mainstream YA fantasy out there, which is refreshing. Although, I usually like the mainstream stuff, this still held some magic for me. I only wish the characters were more fun, but that wasn't a huge detriment.
  • Favorite Moment: It's hard for me pick an absolute favorite, but I really like the scene when Akiva first sees the wishbone hanging around Karou's neck and he immediately sinks down onto his knees with shock, amazement, joy. She has no idea what is going on with him, but he tells her that he has figured out who she is because of it. Pretty cool and it makes you want to know who she is, although it takes the rest of the novel to tease out the answer.
  • My Score: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

To Boldly Go Where No Dark Fantasy Novel Has Gone Before (Guest Post)

Today, I'm hosting a guest blog post by author Red Tash who is here to tell us all about her adult dark fantasy Star Trek parody, This Brilliant Darkness. Without further ado, I present Ms. Tash's charming post....

“To Boldly Go Where No Dark Fantasy Novel Has Gone Before….” 


First of all, thanks for Cathy for having me today.  I love her blog, and am thrilled to be here!  I guess the second order of business is “Who am I?”  Well, I'm Red Tash, and I'm a novelist, the author of This Brilliant Darkness and a few other books that are coming out soon. Recently, I read one of Cathy's reviews about a Star Trek novel.  I'm a member of, and I've secretly read Kirk/Spock slash on the down-low, for years. It's a guilty pleasure, because I grew up with Star Trek as part of my Sunday morning ritual—it's almost holy to me!  My perennially feuding parents could never keep it civilized long enough to actually attend church on Sunday mornings, so my peaceful, easy feelings from on high came via the holy trinity of doughnuts, CBS Sunday morning, and Star Trek reruns.  Can I get an “amen?”

Yes, I am old enough that during my childhood, the only Star Trek reruns available were from the original series.  And what a series it was!  Who didn't fall in love with the stoic Mr. Spock?  Who didn't admire the fiery Scotty?  And when this image began circling the net a few years ago, I did indeed agree with Shatner's portrayal of Kirk as Capt. of All that is Awesome:

In addition to being a Trekker, I've always been a voracious reader.  Fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery, you name it.  Lots and lots of science, thanks to Mr. Asimov.  I'm still more likely to check out a non-fiction book from the library than anything else, because I love to learn.  I think it makes life way more interesting to have an active mind than a dull, boring one.

One of my most “mind-activating” activities was writing my first publishable book.  (I say publishable because most authors write a few awful books before they put together anything worth reading.)  About eight years ago when I finally got over my enormous fear and negative self-talk about writing a novel, I began the manuscript that would eventually become This Brilliant Darkness.  As you might expect, I had years of useless knowledge built up, ready to spill out into something.

And what kind of book did I want this to be?  That was a question I didn't even dare tackle until after the first 150,000 words were on the page.  Yes, 150k!  When all was said and done, I had to sit back and go “Hmm.  Now, what?”  I had monsters, aliens, time travelers, angels, reincarnated saints, and this quirky little town that made Northern Exposure's Cicely, Alaska look bland in comparison.  So.  Much.  Stuff.

I put on my editor's hat and started cutting.  Cutting and cutting and cutting. 

There were some things that refused to leave, though.  I'd included a Star Trek parody subplot that I couldn't sacrifice.  In This Brilliant Darkness, the fictionalized City of Bloomington has an annual Star Trails parade, and our protagonist attempts to attend it on the night she is hunted by an ancient monster.  There's also subplot involving Captain Kurt, played by Bill Shackler, sending messages to Christine via videocassette, from the past. 

I knew when I finished This Brilliant Darkness that it was only half the full story, and that I needed Captain Kurt in book two like my body needs both a right arm as well as a left.  There would be no cutting Captain Kurt, no sir!  So he stayed, and, honestly, whenever I think of him and his role in book two, I think of how busy he is being awesome, just like William Shatner's Captain Kirk.  (That's all I can tell you about book two for now, because it's still a work in progress and I don't want to jinx it.)

I can tell you, though, that very soon, a short story based in the world of the Star Trails parade in Bloomington will be published in an anthology called The Corner Cafe.  The common thread between all the stories is that they mention a place called The Corner Cafe, so when someone suggested I submit a story, of course the light bulb went off in my head.  You see, it just so happens that there's a scene in This Brilliant Darkness where our heroine, Christine, stops by a place called The Corner to grab a coffee, and ends up giving The Finger to some FullCons (or maybe it was originally KlingOffs, I can't recall).  The Finger, of course, is the sign for “Live Well and Tidily” in the Star Trails mythos. 

It was a serendipitous delight to write a short story from the perspective of the aliens in the Corner Cafe who interact with Christine.  It was a hoot, being back at the Star Trails parade.  While I'll always love ST and all its iterations (I personally can't wait to see Benedict Cumberbatch in the new ST movie!), I have a lot of fun writing parade sequences with hip-hopping Red Shirts and green girls on unicycles. 

I guess it's sort of like having a holodeck, you know?  Remember how the writers of Next Generation abused that plot device?  Well, I call it abuse, but it was a lot of fun watching Picard in a fedora playing Private Dick, or seeing Worf walk the plank of a British fleet vessel.   The holodeck of ST:TNG is a bit too futuristic for the world of This Brilliant Darkness and its upcoming sequel, but who knows?  I see potential, don't you?

Sometimes, making fun isn't about being mean.  Sometimes it is about manufacturing fun, for the sake of having it.  Good, clean, fun.  And Star Trek is full of great fun, just waiting to be had.  I hope you'll enjoy that aspect of This Brilliant Darkness, and of my story in the forthcoming Corner Cafe collection!

Author Bio:

Red Tash is a journalist-turned-novelist, and the author of the Top-rated best-selling Dark Contemporary Fantasy, This Brilliant Darkness, as well as The Wizard Tales, a light contemporary horror fantasy short story series.  Coming in 2012 from Red Tash: Troll Or Derby, a YA fantasy of trolls, fairies, and roller derby, oh my!  Also, Joan of the A.R.C., a YA action/adventure story co-written with author Axel Howerton.  And much, much more!  Subscribe to Red Tash on the web at  She loves chatting with readers at Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, so do get in touch.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book Review: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (The Steampunk Chronicles, #2) 

by Kady Cross 

Genre: Historical/Fantasy/Steampunk
Reading Grade: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 22, 2012
Source: NetGalley eARC
Age Rating: 14+

Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves.

One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens. 

My Review

After reading The Girl in the Steel Corset, I wasn't all that thrilled about reading the sequel, but before I read the first book, I had already obtained an advanced reader's copy of The Girl in the Clockwork Collar. I had to read it and hope it impressed me more than its predecessor.

  • Plot: This story begins with the strange band of misfits flying across the Atlantic on an airship—steampunk style, of course—and spending the rest of it in 1897 New York City. They're there to find Jasper, the American cowboy, after he had been arrested for murder and extradited back to the U.S. A new villain is introduced, Reno Dalton, and he's a pretty ruthless killer. He has captured a Chinese girl, Mei, that Jasper is in love with and fitted her with a clockwork collar that he can tighten any time he wants if Jasper does anything he doesn't like. And, he wants Jasper to gather all the pieces of a machine he disassembled and hid all over New York City.
  • Characters: There are only a few newcomers to this book, and they are fairly uninteresting, but play their parts just fine. What changes is that the main characters from Book 1 finally become more multidimensional and interesting. In my review of Book 1, I mentioned how boring all of them were. But, in this book, they get the development they much needed before. Finley shows off her darker side better when she does cheeky things during dangerous missions. Griffin is genuinely torn over her: he's in love with her, but fears she will pick a life of crime because her dark side enjoys it so much. He can't resolve it in his heart or mind. Sam is still highly dull and Emily is no different. But, Jasper manages to finally matter to the story and has actual character growth, as life hands his own backside over to him on a silver platter.
  • Writing: Same as Book 1—fine, except for a pet-peeve of mine, head-hopping 3rd-person POV. It even seemed to happen more in this book compared to the first one.
  • Story: Here's where there is much improvement, or I just liked it better than the first book's. I genuinely liked this story and how all of it came together, including the exciting fight scenes. They weren't long and drawn out, but short and explosive, like how Finley is when she gets hopped up on her own adrenaline before a confrontation. She's not battling with her dark side anymore, meaning she stays conscious now and just draws on its power, but it still thrills her to fight anybody who can give her a challenge. Finally, she's a really fun character, unlike in Book 1 when she just bored me. Also, the romance gets moved up a small notch for all the characters. I like that it didn't jump into the stratosphere just because it's the second book in the series. It's refreshing when historical romance plays out slowly, as it should.
  • Overall Quality: All these improvements make me see it in a higher quality light. It's still far from perfect, but this installment, although less engaging, is still more satisfying to read.
  • Favorite Moment: Finley had nearly been assassinated in her hotel room, but she got away. Then, she had to go rescue Jasper from another assassin in his hotel room right after. Griffin and the others woke up and ran into Jasper's room after his assassin was taken out, Griffin only wearing PJ bottoms. Because he was so afraid for Finley, he pulled her into a sexy hug and looked into her eyes and... didn't kiss her because there were all these other people in the room. I love that she knew he would have done it had the others not been in there with them.
  • My Score: 3.5 stars out of 5.

*I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Book Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

The Girl in the Steel Corset (The Steampunk Chronicles, #1)
by Kady Cross

Genre: Historical/Fantasy/Steampunk
Reading Grade: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 24, 2011
Source: Hardcover purchase
Age Rating: 14+

In 1897 England, 16-year-old Finley Jayne is convinced she's a freak. No normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch. Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special . . . that she's one of "them." 

My Review

I finally read The Girl in the Steel Corset after having it on my shelf for almost a full year! I'd been wanting to read it, but for some stupid reason (too many other books tbr) I waited until now to do it. How's that for procrastination?

  • Plot: Finley Jayne is a servant in a big manor and has to fend off an unwelcome advance by a young, rakish lord, which she does easily because she has this “Mr. Hyde” alternate ego that takes over when she's in danger. She's very strong in that state. After escaping, she literally crashes into Griffin King, Duke of Greythorne's carriage and he decides to take her into his home because he recognizes that she's unusual, like how he and his merry band of misfit friends all are. Griffin becomes like a “Professor X” to all his friends and they have to stop a madman called The Machinist from his evil ploy against Queen Victoria.
  • Characters: Finley has a ton of potential to be a really intriguing, if not fascinating character, but she falls totally flat. She was born with a split personality, her normal self and her bad self. The bad side scares her and she can't control it at first. But, even in that state, she's so uninteresting. She's too cardboard. Griffin is just as cardboard and uninteresting. All I can think to say is that both of them felt underdeveloped, and in fact, this applies to all the characters. Some characters feel out of place, like Jasper the American cowboy. His presence was so insignificant, it felt like he could have easily not been in it at all and it wouldn't have mattered. Jack Dandy seemed like an insert just to create a love triangle between himself, Finley and Griffin. What made Dandy so dangerous was never illustrated or specified, but he supposedly was a super bad boy. Why not show us how? And, why did he fake a Cockney accent?
  • Writing: The writing is fine, but my gripes with it are that it switches from limited 3rd person POV to head-hopping 3rd person POV from time to time. Thankfully, it doesn't happen very often. Also, I don't like the dialogue very much because it seems too modern. It's set in the year 1897 and they occasionally used modern slang. Really off-putting.
  • Story: For the most part, I like the steampunk elements used because they are so plentiful. I feel like most steampunk I read is too scant on the actual technology that makes it steampunk. Although, some gadgets and do-dads seem pointless. I'd rather be informed on just the things that matter to the plot. The clothes everyone wears is just modern steampunk attire, not actual Victorian-era attire, which feels odd. I don't understand Emily's “ropey” hair. What does that mean? Also, it may as well have been set in 2012 because they have all of our technology in steampunk form. Why bother to set it in 1897, then?
  • Overall Quality: The story is meant to be a pairing of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with X-Men, but it comes off a bit too superficial and shallow, and I had a hard time feeling satisfied while reading it. It is a good story and keeps you turning the pages, though. The Organites are very interesting insofar as what they do, and the back-story on Griffin and Finley's parents adds layers of dimensionality. So, not all is lost, but I would have liked it better with multi-dimensional characters, less meaningless descriptions of the style of the clothes (style over substance problem), and more dramatic tension between the characters. I had such high hopes that this book would be amazing, but it fell so short of them. What a bummer....
  • Favorite Moment: When Sam (Griffin's best friend who is half-man, half-machine), tries to kill Finley and Finley nearly dies, but her 'Hyde' ego kicks into gear at the last second, and she nearly kills him, instead. A kick-butt, dramatic scene—I just wish there were more like it.
  • My Score: 3 stars out of 5.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Book Review: The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

by Andrew Fukuda 

Genre: Post-Apocalypse/Dystopia/Vampires
Reading Grade: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
Source: ARC from publisher
Age Rating: 16+ (for violence)

Gene is different from everyone else around him. He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood. Gene is a human, and he knows the rules. Keep the truth a secret. It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.

When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him. He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity? 
My Review

I won this from the publisher through a LibraryThing's Early Reviewers giveaway. The Hunt has a lot of hype behind it, so I wanted to see if it would live up to it...

  • Plot: Dark and riveting, with plenty of heart-pounding action. There are long stretches of slow scenes, but they provide useful information about the world-building and the characters, or whatever you need to know as the reader. The main character, Gene, is living a pretend existence as a vampiric creature, but he's exactly what those creatures live to hunt and eat. They are so dangerous and troublesome I just hate them for being so beast-like and wanting nothing but to eat 'hepers' (what they call humans). Although, I feel like I'm hating lions, tigers and bears for being beasts, and that's not fair. There must be good vampires, but we never find any in this book. The ones Gene deals with become vengeful and sadistic, so I hate—HATE them so much.
  • Characters: Gene lives all alone because his family is dead, but he still goes to school with the vampire people and tries his darnedest not to get caught doing anything heper-like. Even sweating would give him away. Can't show emotion. Can't be caught out in the sun. He's never seen another heper other than his family, so I don't know what he plans on doing with his future. He's been in survival mode all his life, and even though he's nearly done with high school, that's all he can think of to do. He does like Ashley June, although going out with her would be bad because she'd figure out what he truly is, and eat him. As would all the others. They would all EAT him in a heartbeat, even those who've known him since childhood. Frickin' beasts....
  • Writing: I really like the quick-paced writing that doesn't skimp out on fluid prose. Nor does it inundate you with purple prose, because Gene is narrating this and he wouldn't realistically use flowery words. The writing style is perfectly suited for this type of adrenaline-pumping, terrifying story.
  • Story: Irony abounds here. The vampires all believe they are highly evolved compared to the hepers—hepers are the beasts who can't even talk and are just dumb animals. Gene discovers when he meets the hepers that will be hunted down by the vampires (after he has been selected to participate in The Hunt) that they can talk, think, reason and even sing. They can do things he has always felt like doing, but couldn't understand why he wanted to do them. The vampires have no names and they freakin' drool all the time. It's a wonder they can stand up straight! Thus, the irony abounds when they affirm so fiercely that they are the evolved beings and the hepers are the lowly animals.
  • Overall Quality: It's high, although when I started to read it, I thought I stumbled upon plot hole after plot hole and a ton of illogical-nesses. I still don't know how Gene survived without water for so many days, but he does get some, eventually. And, how is it that the vampires don't figure out that he, specifically, stinks like a heper? They all just think the odor is coming from somewhere else. Maybe they are all that dumb. It's not perfect, but it builds into a very impressive narrative filled with frightening scenes that make you feel like how you do when you dream you're being chased, and all you want is to get away for your life. It's just like that, seriously!
  • Favorite Moment: Maybe it's a bit SPOILERY (don't read on if you don't want even a little spoiler), but I love when Gene gets his chance to shove all that rhetoric and nonsense from the vampires right back in their faces, especially at the vampire Director of The Hunt. He shouts, “You guys are the beasts—you're the mindless, stupid, un-evolved creatures!” Something to that effect. I loved it, especially after hating with a passion those cocky, blood-thirsty, drooling “people.”
  • My Score: 4 stars out of 5. (There is some graphic violence, just so you know.)

*I have provided my honest review in exchange for receiving an early edition from the publisher.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Legend of Korra Episode Recaps: Episode 4

"The Legend of Korra Episode Recaps" is a book blog feature created by the indubitably awesome Lisa @ Lisa Is Busy Nerding.

Korra airs Saturdays at 11am EST/10am CST on Nickelodeon.

Hi, everybody! Welcome to another weekly installment of The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra Episode Recaps/Commentary/Discussion/Whatever. I'm a day late, but that's okay. It's never too late to talk about Korra

Episode 4, "The Voice in the Night"

This show is just so amazing! GAH! It is so much better than I ever imagined it would be. It truly is meant for a more mature audience compared to the first series, Avatar: The Last Airbender. I think that's why I'm relating to it better. I've long since graduated from Middle School, after all.

First of all, episode 4 starts out with Korra dreaming that Amon is about to take away her bending, but she awakens just before he can do it. Clearly, Amon is living rent-free in her head space. In the dream Amon even taunted her, saying she'd be nothing without her bending. She's feeling insecure because she wouldn't matter anymore if she lost her abilities. 'Tis true.

Tenzin is in a council meeting with all the other nations' representatives, and the guy representing the Northern Water Tribe, Tarrlok, is proposing that he lead a special task force designed just to track down Amon and bring him to justice. Tenzin thinks this is a bad idea. It will divide benders and non-benders even more, but the other reps all out vote him. Shady Tarrlok just got his way and I bet not for the first time (and not for the last, either).

Tarrlok mentions something interesting about older Aang that upset Tenzin. Apparently Aang had to deal with a rabble-rouser back in his day who threatened Republic City, and he dealt with him head-on. Why this got under Tenzin's skin is not clear. The dude Aang dealt with was a man named Yakon forty-two years earlier. It must mean something, but what?

Mako gets off work and tries to catch a trolly, only to get hit by some idiot on a motorbike! He's about to lay into this guy until he realizes this guy is not a guy, at all. He's a young, beautiful, rich woman named Asami, and she is a huge fan of the Fire Ferrets. Fan girl alert, Mako! But, for once it's good to be a famous Pro-bender. Bolin is rubbing off on him. Asami sets up a date at a fancy shin-dig as an apology, and he's already in lurve. 

My question: What about Korra? He all to easily forgets she exists. Son, I am disappoint. -_-

Anyway, that Tarrlok dude is shifty when he interrupts Tenzin's family dinner with Korra all of a sudden. What's he up to? He wants to recruit Korra into his anti-anti-bender task force, but she refuses him, surprisingly. She's all into her airbender training, or so she says. She's even missing out on Pro-bending practices with her boys. Tarrlok will not be turned away so easily, though. 

Mako goes to Kuang's, the fancy shin-diggy restaurant that requires he have a valet dress him in duds that would pay his rent for the next three months. Chilling with Asami, he finds out she's seen ALL of his matches (stalker, much?). But, she is the daughter of Hiroshi Sato, the man who invented the Satomobile--the answer to the automobile in the Avatar universe. Is that cute, or what? So, Mako wants to meet this cool guy, fo sho. 

Bolin drops by to see Korra and give her a red rose and a cupcake. My reaction: O__O. A red rose? Wow. Korra doesn't even pick up on the gesture. It means he's in love with you, girl. She's so clueless, but Bolin is adorable making up a reason to give it to her. A messenger brings by some big goodies and gifts from Tarrlok in order to sway her to join the task force, and Bolin thinks Tarrlok is a suitor! He's about to throw-down, but is relieved to hear he's not really, after all. All this flies over Korra's head. 

Mako gets to meet Mr. Sato and Sato offers to sponsor the Fire Ferrets because none of them have the money to enter the tournament. They'll have to change their name to Future Industries Fire Ferrets, but so what? They get to play, and Mako is so happy, he's willing to tattoo the industry's logo on his chest. If you do, Mako, then you have to promise to let us see it.... -_o

Korra gets invited to a gala thrown by Tarrlok in her honor. What is that guy doing now? She and Tenzin dress up all spiffy and Korra gets to meet Asami hanging off the arm of Mako. "Who is she?" asks Korra. What she meant to say was, "Get away from my man, little girl, or I'll knock you into Episode 5!" Needless to say, she seems jealous, and not all that happy about the sponsorship by the girl's father. The real reason for Korra's gala becomes obvious when Tarrlok throws her in front of the press, all set up with questions about why she's so afraid to join the task force. Who's afraid? Not Korra! She'd hate to admit that, so she publicly joins it, after all. Tarrlok just got his way, again. Slick politician.

She gets to help take down a chi-blocking training session and arrest the chi-blockers, gets into the papers, but she's not happy. Something's eating at her. She knows what to do to feel better. Challenge Amon to a one-on-one duel! And, that's what she does, over the radio. At midnight on Avatar Aang Memorial Island. Mano y Korra. 

Tenzin tries to talk her out of it, as does Tarrlok, but he's got an fleet of airships overhead ready to strike from the sky if need be. She waits on a statue of Aang... and waits and waits. Is he even coming? Just when he seems a no-show, she gets ambushed by Amon's chi-blockers who block her bending and tie her up in whips. Amon acts like he's going to do the deed, but he just holds up her face, telling her they will duel another day. He's got a plan and their duel is going to have to wait (until the last episode). If she loses her bending now, the benders will make a martyr out of her. 

He knocks her out and she has the coolest vision ever. She sees the grown-up versions of the deceased characters, Sokka, Toph and Aang. Not only that, but she sees Aang fighting that Yakon guy who disturbed the peace of the city forty-two years earlier! It was so awesome to see these characters all grown up. Loved them all as children and teens in the first series. Yay! More, please. Funny thing is, Korra thought Tenzin was the spirit version of Aang when he finally caught up with her after Amon left. She finally lets it all out in front of Tenzin, her fears of Amon's ability and everything, overwhelmed by feels and tearbending. Yep, she can tearbend, too, just like any girl. Tenzin gives us the episode's lesson: admitting your fears is the first step to overcoming them.

Holy crud! Episode 5 is going to blow my mind! The next two episodes will be about the Pro-bending tournament and Korra gets to meet Tahno! I can't wait for that to happen. 

What did you think of this episode? Are you liking it more than the original A:TLA series?

Until next time, Korraddicts, have a great week.... 

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