(1) "Finding Control" (Sentinel)
By Stormwolf Dawn
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 29th July 2001 (1)
This story left a very bad taste in my mouth. Yes, there was more Jim-torture than is my cup of tea, but that wasn't what really got to me. This is a far-future parallel universe series set in a galactic empire where Sentinels are slaves -- less than slaves, pets -- and Guides are their keepers. Sentinels and Guides are bonded for life. Captain James Ellison of the Star Rangers is a "wild" Sentinel, whose gifts came upon him after he'd crashed on a planet, and then been rescued. He is taken from that life, and forced into bondage. On the surface, this seems somewhat like Susan Foster's GDP series, with the roles reversed. But there is a crucial difference, a difference I cannot ignore. In this universe, the slavery is deemed to be justified, for political reasons, and there is absolutely no shadow of hope for reform. (+) And what's worse, Blair doesn't seem to see that there's anything wrong with it. The complete opposite to Jim in the GDP series, who didn't want to bond with a Guide precisely because he didn't want to "own" another human being, and actively works towards changing the status quo.
I think the only people who will enjoy this story or series are those who are seriously into Jim-torture.
(+) The Fate of the Empire Is At Stake! Yeah, right. Such a treaty should never have been signed. Any treaty which requires the enslavement of intelligent beings should be burned. War is preferable. No empire that enslaves its people deserves to stand.