(1) "Soldier" (Sentinel)
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 28th February 2002 (5)
This is an alternative universe story, the start of a series, where "Anthropologist student Blair Sandburg discovers his Holy Grail is a mentally disturbed homeless man." The premise is intriguing, so I read it. It opens well enough, with nice touches here and there (such as, that Blair had originally been feeding the homeless to impress a girl...). Unfortunately, it also skims over some things too fast, such as Blair concluding, almost out of the blue, that "Soldier" is a Sentinel.
The story finished off with a "Five Years Later" scene, which I don't think was at all necessary to the story; it's a bit like reading the end of the story without the middle, or perhaps it was meant as a teaser to get readers interested in the rest of the series (when it gets written), and I don't think we needed that either. Either we'll be interested in them when they come out, or we won't. I guess I was also disappointed that after five years, the mental state of "Soldier" doesn't seem all that different -- which actually makes me not want to read any more of the series, since what I would like to see is the blossoming and healing of the hurt, not a Sentinel who will always behave like a five-year old. Of course, I guess that depends on whether the damage is physical or psychological. I had assumed it was purely psychological, but if it's physical also (brain damage) then that would explain it. But it still doesn't entice me to see more.
Of course, now that I do a double-take when I go back and note down the series title, I understand why the author wanted things to go that way (duh! I am so stupid!) but even understanding that now doesn't eliminate disappointment due to my former expectations. I just find it hard to get my brain around applying "Of Mice and Men" to Jim and Blair...