Autumn Skies

"Christmas Cookies" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 30th April 2001 (2)

The summary says "Blair bakes while Jim and Steven reflect on their past and present." Of course, this was going to be full of warm fuzzies! But there's a few hurdles to be gotten over first. One thing I liked about this one was that it actually had sections in it from Steve's point of view, as well as Jim's and Blair's. It wasn't just one of those Jim-was-a-hardass-before-he-met-Blair kind of stories, though that does make up some of it. It's about mending fences, and restoring relationships. Just a nice gentle story, not over the top.

"Cold Season" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 20th April 2001 (2)

This one is a nice, short comforty story. It's the Christmas season, Blair has the flu, he's at home alone... A touch of angst, a touch of comfort. Kinda like Chicken Soup...

"Dulce Domum" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 1st October 2001 (9)

One of those favourite gaps in Sentinel lore is "How did a temporary stay of a week, become a permanent arrangement?" This story is yet another attempt to fill in that gap, and a nice one it is too. Not too heavy, not too light. See Blair look at dumps. See Carolyn be wrapped around Blair's finger. See Jim feel guilty. See Joel be concerned. See Jim get a cold. Lots of nice bits, here. And I, not knowing Latin, appreciated the translation of the title at the end; it is thusly a cool title.

"Grasp The Sparrow's Tail" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 20th April 2001 (3)

The summary says: "Blair and the academy self-defense instructor have a little talk." (so if you can't stand Blair-as-cop, don't read it) This was an interesting little excursion into the principles of self-defence (not to mention the Sandburg Zone). I liked how the story gradually let things slip, painting a picture first, then surprising us.

"Maternal Instinct" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 30th April 2001

This is "an AU in which Grace Ellison encounters a special toddler during the summer of 1971". This story didn't work for me. Yes it is AU, but the bit at the end implied that things were basically the same in the present as they were in a universe where Jim and Blair hadn't met when kids. I couldn't buy that at all. The other thing that I couldn't buy was that being a Guide is so much a genetic talent that a Guide can make a Sentinel feel better even when a toddler. (Considering that I usually don't think it's a genetic talent at all, it was too much of a stretch for me). But I did like the sympathetic way that Grace was portrayed, along with showing her to have heightened senses too. And some cute "aw-shucks" moments, and a good portrayal of free-spirited Naomi too.

Addendum: nominated for favourite alternate universe story, 2001 Cascade Times Awards.

"Meddlesome" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 28th November 2000 (2)

I liked this. With the best of intentions, two people who each love Jim and Blair, set up tempting offers in order to try to get them to leave each other and the dangerous life they lead together. What is more, the author manages to do this without any character assassination, making it more plausible. One doesn't have to have evil intent in order to tempt someone.

"Warding Off The Tiger" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 22nd December 2001 (2)

This is really a prequel to "Grasp The Sparrow's Tail", or at least, it shows the situation which is discussed in "Grasp The Sparrow's Tail". Together they make up one story -- though I'm not sure whether it's better to read them in chronological order or in the order they were written. So what's it about? Blair at the academy self-defence class -- and a little flashback to his past, with a cameo from someone which some people will definitely recognise! (grin) Little tidbits I liked: how the flute figured in it; that the author remembered that Jim had actually read The Art of War.

"Weatherproof" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 29th July 2001 (3)

The summary says "Things get a little stormy at the loft." What an apt summary! There are storms of more than one kind in this story, though one storm is about the other. I like how we were shown why both Jim and Blair got angry -- their motivations were perfectly reasonable and understandable, unfortunately, neither of them are mind-readers. And I love how both of them quietly look out for the other one (at the points when they aren't arguing, that is!) The last scene just made me go "Awwww." This is a balanced Jim and Blair -- they fight, they get angry, and they also care about each other, but demonstrate it in actions, not words. Blair is independent, not a wimp. Jim is neither a Neanderthal nor a soppy mother-hen.


(1) "Sojourner" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 28th April 2001

I like this story, and I want to shake the author. The reason I want to shake the author is that we never actually find out the reason for the situation in the story. And what is the situation? The summary says: "A bookseller in a small town befriends a young stranger." The young stranger is Blair, far away from Cascade, far away from Jim, running away from... we know not what. But that apart, this was nice melancholy piece, seeing Blair through someone else's eyes. I like stories like that, a different view.

Addendum: nominated for favourite drama story in the 2001 Cascade Times Awards.

(2) "Sojourner Epilogue" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 28th April 2001 (2)

This one is a little epilogue to "Sojourner". Again, we don't find out what I want to know, but it's a picturesque (sniff) happy epilogue anyway.

(3) "Falling Rain" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by Kathryn A on 28th April 2001 (3)

I admit to having a particular interest in this story, because it is a response to one of my challenges, and the first response to one of my serious challenges. And I'm happy happy happy. I particularly like the way that the opening paragraph is then echoed at the end, but with a different mood. And, this being a sequel to "Sojourner", I finally get to find out what it was that set up the whole "Sojourner" situation -- it was a post-TSbyBS thing! I like the way Jim is shown missing Blair (angst) and the way they are both quietly glad to be back together (I mean, they say they are glad, but we aren't going over the top here, I like that). Sort of the warm internal glow kinda thing. And I like how the others were glad that Blair was back too. Now I want a sequel. What direction will their paths take now?

Addendum: winner of favourite smarm story in the 2001 Cascade Times Awards.