It was past midday when Victoria properly awoke. She had set an alarm for 8 to remind her to call into work. There was no one on site who was directly in charge of her department, so she had to spend a while being shunted around the phone network before she reached someone who would actually take down the fact that she wouldn’t be in that day. A curt woman told her to “feel better soon” but she didn’t hear any compassion in those words.
Then she walked into the lounge and kicked Sam awake. Or at least awake enough to complain about being kicked. [continue]
Sam was Victoria’s oldest friend. At times, she wondered if Sam was her only friend. Outside of Sam, she just had colleagues and people she knew through Sam. Oh, and all the people she sometimes talked to online, whose blogs she read and who filled up the “friends” lists on various social networks, but none of that seemed real. Though they had a lot more reason to be there than the bitches she went to school with, who clogged up her social feeds with endless pictures of sticky babies and dogs that had hideous birth defects bred into them.
Like those bitches, Victoria had known Sam since school, but Sam hadn’t been one of the exclusive elite who got to go to Ridings School for Girls. [continue]
The training room looked more like a dance studio. A polished wood floor and a full-length mirror on one wall. Victoria was transported back to the horrific world of childhood ballet lessons. A world of pink tights and shoes that cost an extortionate amount, despite consisting of almost nothing. An outfit that elicited cries of elation from her mother whenever she put it on.
There had been one boy in her class. He wore black tights and a white vest. Victoria had envied him. Though he had an inability to stand still. He would fidget constantly, often trying to pull his tights up as far as he could, or to push his arms down inside them so he seemed like a monster made of only legs and a head. [continue]
Victoria turned the screwdriver a final quarter turn and that was it: the new servers were installed.
“Why do I still enjoy this when I do it every day as part of my job?”
“I cannot answer that, sir.” The computer was sounding better now the upgrades were in place. And the extra resources had allowed a hitherto unknown GUI to spring forth. The OS was obviously Linux at the core, but Victor’s penchant for the dramatic had led to an interface like something vomited up by Philip K Dick’s fevered imagination, and twice as confusing.
Fortunately, user-friendliness didn’t matter.
“Computer: now you’ve got the ability, give me a schematic of the building.”
A wireframe appeared on the touchscreen embedded in the desk before her. [continue]
She was in the basement. The steps that had appeared in the floor of the study had led her down here. She had been impressed by how the trap door had closed up when she had stepped off the last step, but she wasn’t impressed with the basement.
It was made of bare and featureless concrete and was full of old cardboard boxes. If she wanted to see such a thing, she could just visit her parents. Though this basement had fewer lawn mower parts. Her father didn’t share Victor’s engineering aptitude. A single bare bulb hung from the ceiling. There was no switch or pull cord. [continue]
Victoria’s heels clicked on the highly-polished wood of the hallway floor. She stopped. Her heels clicked, but the sound was dull and didn’t echo. The ceiling was high and the walls were wood-panelled to match the floor. By rights, this place should echo more than an ‘80s drum kit.
Victoria rapped a knuckle against the panelling on the wall to her right. Dead. Being entirely soundproof was likely not the last secret this place might hold, but certainly interesting.
She turned and shut the door behind her and was greeted by a muted thunk and a dull click as it latched shut. [continue]
“What are you doing here?”
Victoria ignored him as she walked into the office. Art was the architect behind her current cosmetic woes. She was pretty sure that he wasn’t yet deserving of her attention. She sat down behind her desk and immediately diverted her ire towards the mess of papers and components that littered it. It didn’t matter that she was the one that had left it all there.
“No, seriously, dude, what are you doing here?” Art scooted his office chair over so he was looking at her across the corner of her desk. “You had a close relative die. [continue]
Once again I picked this up in an attempt to find something Gail Carriger-esque. This certainly fits the bill better than my former attempt. Leaving aside the superficial similarities (feisty female lead character named Alex-, Scottish alpha werewolf love interest, published by Orbit) it fares better on the humour front. While it can’t match Gail’s writing, it scores points for knowing when to let go and have some fun. To not take itself too seriously.
While Alexandra and Alexia might share similar names and certain traits, where they differ is their likeability. Alexandra is particularly frustrating at times. She’s stubborn and bigoted and you quite often want to tell her to shut up. [continue]
Victoria’s head felt like a scab. Her hair was now barely over an inch at its longest. It itched intermittently and she couldn’t stop touching it. Worrying it.
She had learnt several things in the past few days. First, she had learnt that not being able to find an elastic band was no reason to leave her hair down at work. Then she had learnt how easily long hair can get stuck in a CPU fan. This led directly to her learning not to trust her male colleague when he said he could free her. She hadn’t seen the scissors coming. [continue]
Upon finishing this book, my overwhelming feeling was “where is this going?” Not because the book lacked direction, but because it’s very obviously a bridge to something else. The first Kick-Ass book had a tidy ending with a hint that there could be more. Kick-Ass 2 doesn’t have that neatness. It feels like there should be a few more pages to let things settle.
Also at the root of that question is that this is a darker book than the original. While Kick-Ass does take a dark direction when it comes to imagining the impact of a “real-life superhero”, Kick-Ass 2 goes off the deep end somewhat. [continue]