My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Online fiction, 577 pages
Series In the Company of Shadows #1
Evenfall is the first book in the In the Company of Shadows series. This free read is available at:
I think I'm friends with some of the coolest people on Goodreads, in my opinion, and for as long as I can remember they've been talking about this thing called ICoS and Evenfall. These discussions often include references to Hsin, the Agency, Monsters and Sonny and Ais. What? I was starting to think it was a cult following more than a book to be read. Heh, funny how I was so close to the truth. Just go check out the author's website, you'll see what I mean. These fans are serious. Even though this is a free read, I'm quite invested.
"How much desolation was there in the world today, how much more now than had been even two decades ago before that first bomb exploded on foreign soil?"
In post-WWIII America the world is frighteningly familiar. The Agency is secretly in charge of containing threats from terrorists and other rebel groups. Within this covert operation we meet Hsin, a level-10 field agent who is like no other. Boyd is a very broken boy, who's had a rough time of emotionally coping with reality. Hsin is VERY real. These two are thrust together in ridiculously dangerous situations. Despite the internal struggles, risky objectives and lack of common ground, there are sexy glances, quirky lips, tattoos, calloused hands and solid, sinuous muscle groups. Oh right, the story. So "Sin" and Boyd begin to grow on one another while we learn more about the Agency and their objectives around the world. Their assignments are made much more difficult because of their complete lack of social skills. So, what we want to know is; Can two social losers find love?
"No thanks, sweetheart. That brief moment of insanity has passed."
The storyline is solid and multifaceted unfortunately it could have been told in half the time. See, The Writing, below.
After all, a life without living was simply a death without dying."
"He is valuable material to the Agency"
Hsin Liu Vega is considered a deadly monster. Though he has been isolated and tortured, he is generally hated, feared and loathed but not without reason. On the surface, it should be Sin who has me in knots since I love the sexy, dangerous, brooding, cryptic types. Unfortunately, there isn't enough of Sin's POV throughout this book to clinch the deal. Don't get me wrong, he is fascinating and damn sexy, I guess I just need more Sin.
"Would anyone remember that he'd ever lived?"
Boyd Beaulieu on the other hand, is in the story so much you could easily forget that there are other characters. I've never met such a long-winded, endlessly pondering character - Ever. I like Boyd. He's delightfully bland, an emotional void and arousingly androgenous. I really like Boyd but he needed to turn off for a while. Through his epically long internal dialogs, I feel like I know Boyd completely. I just know him about ten times over, that's all.
Conners - Asshole.
Carhart - Diggin' him.
Vivienne - Bitch, but mysteriously so.
Lou - The boyfriend.
Ryan - Geek extraordinaire.
Owen - ??? Hm?
Jeffrey - Arrogant
Thierry - The player.
"Who are you interested in, then? Men? Women?" "I've grown to despise both."
I really like, love and care about the characters. That's the hook for me in this book. If the characters hadn't held my interest like they did, I may not have been able to slog through the sloggy parts. See, The Writing, below.
Note 1 on my Kindle is: This reads a bit like the elementary readers, Dick and Jane. That's harsh and certainly doesn't hold true for long, it's just that I was trying to capture how choppy it felt. Like I said, that didn't last. Instead it turned into the longest winded read of my life. It started to read much like a loosely edited fanfic. Most often points of the narrative were repeated multiple times and while that drove the point home it just drove me crazy. As I said, I liked the story and the characters so I really feel like this book could gain a lot from some strong, very strong editing.
I have to say that there were also many moments that reached me and caused solid emotional responses. Everything from laugh out loud moments to seriously heart-wrenching drama, to "wow, I finally just took a breath" moments are written into this book. The authors have the skills and know how, they just need the discipline to pare it down.
"A few minutes passed before he reemerged in a dark green t-shirt with a picture of a pinwheel on it and white letters beneath that said simply, 'Blow me.'"
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