So, I’ve had this story in my Yahoo!Inbox for like forever in order to do a recommend post, and embarrassingly I had totally forgotten about it for another bit of forever. But while cleaning out my much-too-overstuffed inbox, I followed the link I had emailed myself oh-those-many ages ago.
Re-reading the story, I started to remember the main plot points which told me that "Yes, I really do want to recommend".
And ergo, we come to today’s post: Recommended Fanfic, with a Side of Mini-Review.
“The Devil’s Gate”
Writer: hesychasm (Jintian)
Our ‘Verses: Supernatural, BTVS & AtS
Our Major Players: Jo Harvelle (spn), Faith (btvs & ats), Angel (btvs & ats)
Our Timeline: Generally Season 8 of BTVS, Post S5 of AtS, Mid Season 2 for SPN
Our Quick Plot: Jo Harvelle travels to L.A. in order to take care of some festering personal business. But messing with a Devil’s Gate on its way to becoming a bonafide Hellmouth is serious business. Thankfully, she’s intercepted by Faith and the L.A. Slayer Division who not only can help her out, but can give her a new place to call home.
The Good: What I really liked about this story/writer is her handle on the characters. Jo, Faith, Angel, Willow, Andrew and Buffy are all written very well. This is really important for characters like Buffy, because often times writers can make her a super-bitch in order to “take Faith’s side”. Our writer avoids this: Buffy does come across as something of a control freak, but she’s running a worldwide Slayer organization after all and our author remembers to keep her human in her interactions with Faith. And I found the argumentative working relationship between Willow and Andrew hilarious.
I also enjoyed the background for Jo, expanding a bit on her father’s death and tying this into Jo’s quest in Los Angeles. The way that she’s brought up to date on the Slayers’ existence is nicely set up by having Faith and her squad save Jo from tangling with something that she isn’t prepared for because she doesn’t yet know just what it is she’s confronting.
I liked also the glimpses of the original Slayer characters, but especially the scene of the memorial after their first major loss. There was some really great character interactions in this scene.
I also really liked the way that SPN’s Devil’s Gates were linked with BTVS’ Hellmouths.
The Bad: Nothing rankled while I was reading.
Other Thoughts: Like many a fic, there is so much history going on when it comes to our BTVS-characters and so some of the “let’s tell you all about us” scenes do come off like info-dumping where it isn’t realistic. For instance, Faith complains about one of her motor mouth Slayers telling Jo a bunch of stuff that isn’t her business but she’s just as guilty of it herself. It comes across as less for Jo’s benefit than for the reader’s who may be less familiar with BTVS & AtS’ entire run. I do like the way that Angel tells Jo about himself though -- It’s to put her at ease with his being a vampire, so it’s sensible for the story, but it also takes place mostly off-page so we don’t have to rehash his entire life story when we already know it.
I’m not entirely sure I can buy the Faith/Jo hooking up/starting a relationship portion. It felt a bit sudden and awkwardly placed in the story, but that could be due to the short story length. I just wasn’t able to buy into it with the little amount of building toward their physical relationship, especially from Jo’s POV -- alcohol or no; It felt abrupt.
The Score: I really liked the characters’ personalities and the way that Jo was handled as a character. I also enjoyed the way that just when it appears that the author is going to start on a “Buffy is a bitch, isn’t she!” interlude, she pulls back to let us see that Buffy does care about the Slayers she’s leading and she cares about Faith: Being focused on The Mission doesn’t turn Buffy into an easily dismissed harridan, which I appreciated.
The entirety of the Devil’s Gate issue was very well handled, especially the aftermath of the first major battle, which had very touching moments among the Slayers.
4.50 out of 5 stars