In the Company of Shadows #1
June 2, 2014
Sometimes, every once in a while, you’ll stumble onto a free book download that blows your mind. One of my all time favorite books was a free download, and since Evenfall sounded similar I felt like I owed it to myself to try. It was also the first time I’d ever heard of Santino Hassel, but right away I knew he was a popular M/M author. Obviously I had to download it, it was free!
I did let it sit on my Kindle for a long time. It wasn’t about being turned off, or worried, it was simply about the length of the story. Evenfall is somewhere around 1000 pages. The new Directors Cuts, edited down, is still in two parts… but both parts equal book 1. I needed time to commit to a book that length. I’d probably still be waiting, except I found myself having DNFed a book, with nothing else to read and extra time. It worked out though, because Evenfall was so good!
The authors warn you in the beginning, this is an author only project. They don’t have a team of editors or a publishing house to smooth the rough edges. They tried hard to edit it themselves, but there are errors. There are scenes that could have been pared down. If you can overlook that, which wasn’t hard, you’re going on the ride of your life.
Sin and Boyd are both damaged and broken men, forced together by an Agency who only wants to use them. Sin has no attachments to anyone, or anything, having been treated like he’s rabid nearly his entire life. Boyd is so traumatized, he feels like he’s empty inside, devoid of life, and is only going through the motions until his body is as dead as his emotions. As I got to know them I felt strongly for the both of them. I wanted them to recognize each other as an ally, but it doesn’t happen immediately. I felt such frustration and anger, at both them, when they held each other at arms length multiple times through the story. Evenfall is such a slow burn that Part 1 is ONLY about how Sin and Boyd get past their issues and become friends. Basically, it was somewhere around 500 pages of anticipation. And yet, Part 1 was my favorite half. If I was rating each part alone, Part 1 would get 5 total glorious stars.
Part 2 also wasn’t a huge lust-fest. It wasn’t like one day they just jumped each other and it was all over. These men are controlled. Their lives are not their own. It’s never far from their minds. The relationship still burned slow because Santino and Ais never lost sight of the world Sin and Boyd live in. They never compromised the desolate situation. Once the men recognized their attraction, I did think the author’s bent the rules a bit in the second half, so Boyd and Sin could be alone together. I found myself slightly skeptical. However, the argument could also be made that the world was sooo tight, there wouldn’t have been much of a romance without author created opportunities. Either way, I got over it. I was able to suspended disbelief and adapt to it, though it was enough to push Part 2 into a four star read.
If I average both parts, Evenfall is an intense 4.5 star book. I think if the authors ever put this manuscript in front of a publishing house and professional editors, they’d have a masterpiece on their hands. Everything needed to suck you in and hold you captive was there. Sin and Boyd are on fire!
There are three more installments in the saga, and I do want to read them. Unfortunately, they haven’t done directors cuts yet, and likely wont. That’s a lot of reading, and from what I hear a lot of angst. I think I’ll leave the story where it is for now, revel in it, and pick up Boyd and Sin again later when I’m ready for the pain. When I have plenty of time to go under.