Review: Dangerous Lady – Martina Cole

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Maura Ryan #1

SYNOPSIS: No one thinks a seventeen-year-old girl can take on the hard men of London’s gangland, but it’s a mistake to underestimate Maura Ryan: she’s tough, clever and beautiful —and she’s determined that nothing will stand in her way. Which makes her one very dangerous lady.

Together, she and her brother Michael are unbeatable: the Queen and King of organised crime, they run the pubs and clubs, the prostitutes and pimps of the West End. With Maura masterminding it, they pull off an audacious gold bullion robbery and have much of the Establishment in their pockets.

But notoriety has its price. The police are determined to put Maura away once and for all —and not everyone in the family thinks that’s such a bad idea. When it comes to the crunch, Maura has to face the pain of lost love in her past —and the dangerous lady discovers her heart is not made entirely of stone. – via Goodreads

 

Oh man, I haven’t read these books since I was in high school, and I recently got a library card for the library down the road from me (amazing, first one I have had since I was a young girl). When I saw this on the shelf, I was like REREAD TIME! It had been so long that I remembered bits and pieces, and thought it was time to look at the overall whole again. So damn pleased I did.

Martina Cole usually writes about the gritty London underbelly, and I read a lot of her books in high school. They won’t be for everyone. However, I do feel that this book stands above her others (and I am not a huge fan of her work in general). It’s excellent. Dangerous Lady is a masterfully crafted affair. It is a whole family that rises above, takes over London, rules over an empire. You all know how I love my mobster style stories. This was no exception.

There are an abundance of characters littered throughout this book, but you never get lost and forget them, and I feel that that alone is masterfully crafted. Maura, too, is a fantastic character. She is a unique character, a strong woman, who rose higher than what society said she was allowed to for her era. She is complex, and remains so throughout. The relationship between her and Michael is really something, too, as those two are thick as thieves.

The writing flows smoothly and the way the plot is presented and how time advances throughout the novel to tell the story of the Ryan family is good, too. It just fits. You cannot help but be drawn into this world, and it comes across and gritty, dangerous, and wholly believable. It just draws you in. The book doesn’t have a whole lot of twists, but that is alright. This is more of a family drama that comes to power and just overall great to read, especially when you take into consideration how old Cole was when she wrote this.

Overall Dangerous Lady is an absolutely absorbing read, has a great story and an array of characters and situations that will keep you hooked and it just barrels along. I loved every second of it and highly recommend this.

Daredevil: Season 1 (2014)

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daredevil season 1

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • The intro. I loved the drippy, bleeding black and red and awesome all over, and the theme song fit so perfectly and got stuck in my head for days, which was quite the annoyance.
  • How dark and gritty this show is. I really didn’t have much hope, and watched this purely because Cara was gushing about it. Getting to it, it is no lighthearted affair, though there is plenty humour sprinkled throughout it. Instead it gives us a dark and brooding character and a great villain for him to stand against. Not only that, there was a sense of realism to things, even where others are just slightly too fantastical, the vast majority of the show (like how the bad guys are, corruption, etc) actually seems viable.
  • The casting. I know that my fiancé might want to shoot Charlie Cox due to characters he has played in the past, but I think that he was perfect for this. He truly brought Matt Murdock/Daredevil to life, Elden Henson’s Foggy Nelson needs credit, as well as Deborah Ann Woll’s Karen Page. The actors all seem to gel nicely with one another, too, which is always a good thing.
  • The big bad guys. I am talking here about Toby Leonard Moore’s James Wesley and Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk. Both are great characters, and I was a huge fan of Wesley. The guy was so calm and creepy and incredibly well spoken and groomed up the wazoo and loyal to Fisk. Then there is Fisk himself, who was insane. He starts out so calm, cool, collected, and his introduction was delayed and perfectly executed, but then he starts unravelling. And trust me, what’s underneath isn’t really pretty. You go from feeling for him to thinking he’s just gone off the rails, plain and simple.
  • The choreography. Really, it was great, and looked way better than what you expect from superhero series.
  • The violence. I know this might be what kills it for a few people, but I think it was necessary. It got right down to how screwed up everything is, and how rough things have gotten and who sits where on the pecking order. It also helps a lot with development of certain characters, plot, as well as reveals and such.
  • The origin stories. Granted, we actually only got to see the stories of Murdock and Fisk, but just the way the two were handled and sprinkled throughout the season was clever. Not too much, not too little, and consistently, always giving you a little something to chew on, heartbreak and happiness, all laced throughout it. It really gives you more insight into the choices of the two, as well as their thought processes.
  • The camera work. It was clean, smooth, followed the action, and was used seamlessly to focus attention where it was needed, when it was needed. It was never jarring.
  • The humour. It was dark, and used sparingly, so it has a pretty cool flavour when it finally does come around.
  • The character development. Seriously, Matt goes from this attorney digging around some dark things, to this part-time vigilante, to this full-fledged crime fighter, losing friends and putting his life in danger all the time. As for Fisk? He goes from this unnamed terror to someone we see, don’t understand so we step closer, then get zapped with the level of crazy housed in that man. I just cannot wait to find out more about these two!
  • The build up to the suit. The suit wasn’t there from the off, which also means we get a Matt Murdock who is becoming Daredevil, becoming a vigilante, not someone in the thick of things and we must all play catch up. Let me tell you, it works. Matt struggling to find a way to fit that into his life, the simple black suit, his intensity? Great. Then we finally get to see the suit, and none of this Smallville pussyfooting around where we watched ten goddamned seasons for a few second payoff in the last damn episode. It was so worth the wait… except the mask (which I will discuss just now).

daredevil matt murdock

What I didn’t like:

  • To be very honest, I was so excited to see the suit. When it eventually made an appearance, I really liked it but then it got to the mask and… well… it sucks. It doesn’t do the suit any justice and doesn’t fit overall, which is a real pity.
  • The way that Wilson Fisk talks sometimes. I thoroughly enjoy the character and D’Onofrio does such a great job, but sometimes the way he talks is disjointed and annoying and doesn’t always gel.
  • How quickly things suddenly because “Matt, Foggy and Karen”, like one big happy family with virtually nothing to connect the dots to how we got there. She also just stepped in, from being a client, to thinking she has a say in their friendship, etc. At times that got a bit grating. Also, while we are at it, Karen could be real demanding sometimes, but I do like her.
  • How quickly Foggy moved from Karen back to Marci. Left me reeling a little bit because there was no real rise to it, it just wham happened. Alrighty then…

daredevil wilson fisk

Rating:
GRADE 8.5So when I went in for this, I didn’t really have too much hope. Constantine left a sour taste in my mouth (though I still intend on finishing it) and I never made it through the first season of Arrow, among other things, just so you can understand my excitement. Now, all sarcasm aside and all, I was hooked on Daredevil within minutes. Not even joking here. There is just so much right with this, so much that works and amazes and engages you and keeps you coming back for more. Plus two, I love the fact that all these episodes come at once. It means that I can binge without guilt and without having to wait for it to finish before I can get to what has been happening for weeks. There were other, smaller things that I also appreciated, such as the fact that Matt would take a beating and actually look like it the next day (hem hem Banshee), and it wouldn’t disappear overnight, which was also really cool. I absolutely adored the friendship between Matt and Foggy, it was super sweet and came together so well, and also bringing in Father Lantom, nice and slowly, not just there and that is that. Daredevil is certainly dark and not for kids, and it is most likely why I am a fan of it. It is not inundated by silly cheese and lack of drama and a story. Instead, we have interesting characters, plots coming together smoothly, bad guys you can identify with (again, the perfect villain is one you also want to see succeed), good guys you can understand but aren’t so perfect they seem unnatural, and events that get you thinking. Everything is slowly and deliberately built on, too, which is awesome, instead of some rush job. The show takes its time introducing you to people and places and moving things along. I mean Fisk himself didn’t make a physical appearance until much later on, which is why I think it was so successful to spend a few episodes showing how people didn’t really say his name and how terrified they were of him. Nice going guys! Ben was a great character, too, and I really loved to see how he pushed for investigation, honesty, integrity and the truth in a time where nobody seemed to care too much. Ben was a solid character to have around and brought quite a bit to the table. I thoroughly enjoyed DeKnight saying that the Matt Murdock they were going for should be one bad day away from The Punisher (check the article here). I think that they nailed this. Charlie Cox truly was the answer for this role here, I love what he has done with the character, and Elden Henson was just right for the comic relief we needed from time to time. Anyway, obviously I don’t have much to complain about. I would highly recommend checking Daredevil out, whether you are a superhero fan or suffering from superhero fatigue, there is a lot of good stuff going on here that deserves the chance to be checked out. I promise, you won’t regret it!

daredevil avocados at lawDaredevil-Fist-Bump