(1) "Masquerade" (Sentinel)

By CiceroCat
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 7th October 2001 (11)

This isn't really a review, more of a heads-up. I can't do a proper review of this story because I am rather biased, having beta-read it, and therefore got to tell the author all the things I thought were weak with it, so she could fix 'em up (or ignore me, as the case may be). Well, she didn't ignore me, so I'm very happy, because the potential goodness got lived up to. The story as it stands still needs some polishing (I'm not a grammar/punctuation beta) but it's still worth reading.

So, what's to like? This is yet another AU by this author who seems to like making AUs with psi/magic and empathic Guides. This time she seems to have gone for the best of both worlds -- this is set in a future Cascade where not only are Sentinels recognised and trained (and their Guides with them) but magic is also taught at College as well. The magic here is something of talent and something of learning (one can't be a Mage without the gift, but one can't employ the gift without training). Of course, there's a twist, too -- Guides are not only empathic, but only women can be Guides. Enter one Blair Sandburg, ex-Anthropology student, Mage trainee... and be prepared for a bunch of angst and a touch of psi. And a positive ending, of course! With room for more.

Like her other stories, this is all told from Blair's point of view; the Jim here is rather mysterious, and the Blair here is younger than the one we know. For all the exotic curriculum, College is College, and subject to the same frustrations and troubles -- which Blair walks straight into, from the first paragraph.