Inheritance (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 18th August 2002 (4)
Tags: Short Story

This is a story about assumptions overturned and opinions revised, all sparked by the catalyst of Jim having food poisoning at a restaurant meal with his brother and his father. This is told from Stephen's point of view, with a melancholy bittersweet sort of tone. Lovely. For those of you who have an aversion to it, yes, this story is post-TSbyBS, which does contribute to some of the opinions which get revised, but otherwise it's not a big part of the story.

Sudden Death -- Overtime (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 13th November 2001 (5)

This is an epilogue to "Four Point Shot" but even though that isn't one of my favourite episodes, I liked this story, because it wasn't really about "Four Point Shot" at all; more about Jim's reaction to the tear gas at the end of the episode. The core of this story isn't about the tear gas per se, it's about trust, and the lack of it, about understanding and the lack of it, between Jim and Blair. It latches on to the rockiness of Jim and Blair's relationship in the 4th season with this very good point -- how can Blair help Jim if Jim doesn't trust him? It has angst and a touch of smarm, and important things left unspoken. There were good character insights.
    If you could call this thinking. When Jim was scared, it wasn't like having a conversation with a normal person. If a normal person said "I am overwhelmed, I am pissed at you, and I need some space," it meant they were overwhelmed, pissed at you, and wanted some space. If Jim said "I am overwhelmed, I am pissed at you, and I need some space," it meant he was hurting, scared to death, and about to do something stupid and/or dangerous. When Jim was scared, he started taking random, vicious, pre-emptive strikes against his worst nightmares. As dearly as Blair would like to break his partner of the little habit of venting all over _him_, it would have to wait.


(1) Imperfections (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 16th November 2003
Tags: Novella

"If Blair's washing out of the guide program, who's taking care of Jim?" -- story description

This is an AU, but an AU that has the feel of the series -- even though it's a parallel universe AU. What do I mean by that? We have here a universe where Sentinels and Guides are well known, but they're also a normal part of society (unlike many AUs with a similar premise). Neither one is treated as a second-class citizen, nor do Guides have special empathic powers, nor is there a mystical empathic Sentinel-Guide bond, nor do Sentinels run around with bristling primal instincts. They're both just... specialists, with special needs and special training. So while this is a parallel universe, it feels like a cop show, with all these lovely little details and procedures -- it feels relaxed and normal. I really liked that. A refreshing change, an opportunity to see how Sentinels and Guides in the real world might work out.

But apart from all that, we just had our favourite characters here being themselves, really good. Jim, Blair, Joel, Simon, Jack Kelso... and others. I dunno, it all just worked. I really liked this story.

(Aside: while this is officially described as a crossover with Monk, I'm not listing it as a crossover, because Monk's appearance here is more like a cameo than a supporting character, let alone a main character. Though it was good to see how the author made his backstory fit in.)

(2) Believing in Fairy Tales (Sentinel/Multiverse)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 6th December 2003 (1)
Tags: Novella, Crossover, AU Alternate Reality, Fusion
Characters: Blair Sandburg, Jim Ellison

I was astonished (and pleased) to find this sequel to "Imperfections" already up at Cascade Library so soon. Considering how much bigger this one is than the first one, I wonder if she wrote both of them before releasing the first one.

The summary says: "Sentinels are disappearing all up and down the West Coast. This is not a good thing."

I've categorized this one as a multiverse crossover, because there's a lot more than Monk here - and some I ought to recognise but don't, but a certainly notable group of guys is the ones from Due South, and another pair I didn't recognise at all at first, but when I did, ah, what fun! Very much in character, even in this different universe.

This story is again refreshing because this time it goes and gives a completely new take on a particular aspect of Sentinel lore, which makes perfect sense, given the rationalistic Western culture, but something nobody's ever done in a AU where Sentinels are well known. I liked the little touches of detail, like the offhand remarks about the excellence of Indian (as in Asia) Sentinel/Guide pairs.

The main plot was not that unusual; evil bad guys with nefarious plans. The interesting part was more in how they were caught, not in the motives of the bad guys. I also liked how intelligently the information that Blair got was used, when it might have been considered useless.

(3) Visiting (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 3rd July 2004 (1)
Tags: Novelette

This third story in the series is set immediately after the second story, and thus I should have read it a long time ago. However, since I'd just been reminded of all my favourite stories by writing down nominations for certain awards, I was re-reading the Imperfections series and so read this one this time around. No action in this one, just aftermath, a few revelations, angst, and comfort. Very enjoyable.

(4) Necessary Parts (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 11th October 2004 (3)
Tags: Novella

This is the "Imperfections" version of the episode "Spare Parts", but all fresh and new because it isn't told from Jim's point of view. And we get Naomi! I like this Naomi.
    "Honey, why should I be upset? _My_ priorities are just fine. I'm not a criminal. I'm not obsessed with a car. I'm not violent. Seeing all those seriously messed up people, well...It's not as though I didn't know that sometimes people....I mean, Francine...." Naomi collected herself and took a deep breath. "All right, yes, I'm practically in bed with the pigs at the moment--no offense--but I never, never said that there should be no social order _at all_."

I love all their interactions here. Jim and Blair, and Blair and Naomi, and Naomi and Jim...

And I absolutely adore what new cause Naomi got it into her head to protest for at the end; lovely, lovely!