Author at Cascade Library

Beggar's Ride (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 3rd January 2001

I first saw this recommended on the "Best Sentinel Fan fiction" recommendation page (now part of Cascade Library), and put it on my list of stories to read. It kept on being put off for more urgent things, but I'm glad now that I've read it at last. It was very good, very long, and very absorbing. Alas, I who like surprises, unfortunately happened to glance at the last page (trying to make sure I'd gotten the whole thing from the printout pile) and my eye caught one phrase in the author's notes, which spoiled a major plot point; having read about that phenomenon before, I recognized it immediately when it turned up in the story, long before Jim and Blair were able to. So it wasn't a surprise to me at all. But it was still good to see it all unfold. And there was still the other aspect of the mystery left for me to puzzle over, not to mention wondering how long it would take Jim and Blair to twig, and the emotional tension that was boiling off the main guest-character, Morag. The characterization of Morag was excellent, and half of that was the way that Jim observed her so astutely. Not beating us over the head, just dropping little images, like the way her eyes changed, the way she was shuttered away from the world.

The only jarring thing was making Blair a Trekkie. Yeah, I'd buy that he might be somewhat interested, particularly in the anthropological phenomenon of Trekdom, but I really couldn't see him as an obsessed fan who got upset at missing an episode. That just seemed a little too extreme, when in the show, Blair showed absolutely no interest in Trek or SF at all. Mind you, the dream at the start was fun, but I just couldn't buy it after a while. Certainly not a major thing.

Other worthwhile things in this: lots of good Jim PoV (I like Jim!) and all those appropriate quotes at the start of sections. Some people don't like quotes, but in a long story, they add spice, and help you get in the mood.

Another thing to note: take the rating seriously (R in the USA, the equivalent in Australia is M) because there are things mentioned here that are very nasty.

Sid & Nancy scale: chocolate layer cake with nuts sprinkled on top.

Endgame (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 28th November 2000 (3)

The opening got my attention -- a good use of Jim's senses, introducing the guest-character of the story. I liked the way this built up, the problem gradually revealed, the choices that both Jim and Blair made -- the right choices this time -- and the affirmation of their friendship. Unfortunately this feels like the first part of a longer story; I feel let down that the obvious next step hasn't been written about. I'd like a follow-up story, what actually happened next. (Hmmm, I think that's about as spoiler-free a review as I could possibly make!) One thing I don't understand: why is it called "Endgame"?