In my review of book #1 I predicted that I would hate this book. I was right, I do. Because the better the book, the harder the wait, so yeah, there y...moreIn my review of book #1 I predicted that I would hate this book. I was right, I do. Because the better the book, the harder the wait, so yeah, there you go: now I'll have to be subjected to an unlimited time of torture; waiting for the third book to come out. Ugh.
This second volume takes us out of the palace walls and into the field. Whereas the first book was more a slave story, this one feels like a historic novel. Loved the attention to detail, loved the atmosphere and the setting. And I loved how the intrigue and the ploys further unraveled. Border conflicts, opposing fractions, violent raiders, aggressive mercenaries... they all have a place in the cat and mouse game between Laurent and the Regent. So does Damen, who, while trying to follow his own plans, is sucked in by the games, the fights—and Laurent.
I loved how these boys—despite their distrust, their hate, their reluctance—slowly, gradually and inevitably grew closer. This was unresolved sexual tension at its best! Which led to beautiful quotes like these: (view spoiler)[ "It felt, in all the lies between them, as if this was the only true thing."(hide spoiler)]
I'm not sure how to rate this story. First of all, it came as news to me that English is the main spoken language in the Administration. I'm not sure...moreI'm not sure how to rate this story. First of all, it came as news to me that English is the main spoken language in the Administration. I'm not sure where I was supposed to have picked that up before, but--because of the impracticality of the concept--it made for a few "that's not logical"-moments. Also, was it me or was the whole 'Internal Investigations coming in'-plan hard to follow?
Second of all, I'm not sure how I feel about the character development. This story underlines Toreth's troubles, his jealousy, his unreasonable and potentially lethal possessiveness. It shows he'd still rather lash out than seem weak in front of Warrick, that he has little sense of remorse (for being caught, yes, for the act itself, no). At the other hand, it also shows he's trying. It shows he misses Warrick, and that Warrick has become his go-to-guy. It shows he wants to give monogamy a shot (in however convoluted and so for Toreth internally acceptable way possible). So, in spite of his huge mistake (view spoiler)[having Warrick followed, (hide spoiler)] I liked Toreth in this story.
Who I didn't like was Warrick. Or rather his actions. Or lack thereof. I was flabbergasted by his non-action regarding the huge personal and professional insult, danger and embarrassment Toreth put him through. SimTech was on the line too! For Warrick to just about get over it on one second? I sure hope this isn't the way Warrick is headed...
All in all, a good story which worries me. 3,5 stars["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Another short, this time from Warrick's POV, which gives a nice refection of his dynamics with family and friends (and a fun friend Cele is!). And a g...moreAnother short, this time from Warrick's POV, which gives a nice refection of his dynamics with family and friends (and a fun friend Cele is!). And a great insight about how he perceives his fling with Toreth. Come on Warick, who are you kidding? Fun little story, 3,5 stars.
Side note: why do the asshole boyfriends have to be named Mel? First Adrien, now Warrick. There are nice Mels in the world too!
Entertaining little short set four months after Mind Fuck. I'm beginning to understand the Dan-analogy some of my GR were making, although I think I c...moreEntertaining little short set four months after Mind Fuck. I'm beginning to understand the Dan-analogy some of my GR were making, although I think I can safely say: Dan would never do that to Vadim! Even Mad Dog has some morals, pooh.
I'm curious to see what this all will lead to. (less)
Very cute on line fiction about Joey, popular kid, who is forced to do a school project with Jimmy, who's rumored to be gay. I really liked the premis...moreVery cute on line fiction about Joey, popular kid, who is forced to do a school project with Jimmy, who's rumored to be gay. I really liked the premise and with some tighter writing and a little less need for suspension of disbelief, this would have gotten 5 stars. Still: sweet and endearing. 3,5 stars (less)
Basically this is just bro-cest Porn With and Attempt at Plot. I kept waiting for it to get better, what with the raving reviews and all, but it never...moreBasically this is just bro-cest Porn With and Attempt at Plot. I kept waiting for it to get better, what with the raving reviews and all, but it never did. I had to give up 3/4th in. (less)
*Note: this is the review of the old version of After Midnight that I read back in 2011.
In the words of Gordon: this shit was fucking amazing!
After M...more*Note: this is the review of the old version of After Midnight that I read back in 2011.
In the words of Gordon: this shit was fucking amazing!
After Midnight is a stand alone story in the In the Company of Shadows world, written by Sonny (half of the iCos writing team). It's different from the iCos books. Where as those are more elaborate and angsty (sometimes on the dramatic side of it), After Midnight seemed light and carefree. But deceptively so. Like the seemingly shallow main character Gordon, this story has heart. And humor, lots of humor.
I loved Gordon. Gordon the redhead, Gordon the average looking guy surrounded by supermodels, Gordon the incabaple amongst the very capable. Gordon who is tired and lonely and wants to be loved and needed. But who also has the quality to be an ass to people who least deserve it, who can be unbelievably oblivious about everything around him and who thinks with his dick more often than he does with his head. Here's a quote that best depicts him and the style of the story:
"Gordon tried to picture a scenario in which he told Chance that he could take his porn and his drugs and fuck it up his ass sideways, that wouldn't involve a ditch and a lot of gasoline shortly after, but nothing came to mind."
The story was riddled with cursing, sexual innuendo, sex and violence. And sad, engaging, scary, sweet and tender moments. The writing was smart and witty and each chapter was better than the last. I loved how Sonny didn't take the easy way out. There is no magic answer, no perfect solution; emotionally damaged people can not change over night. This made it that -despite all of the fantastical elements- the thoughts, emotions and actions seemed relateable and realistic.
A great story with great writing (I can't believe it's free!). I'm giving this 4,75 stars and rounding it up to 5. (less)
Wow... what a ride! The Interludes was yet another great part in the In the Company of Shadows series. It's not book 3 but rather a collection of stor...moreWow... what a ride! The Interludes was yet another great part in the In the Company of Shadows series. It's not book 3 but rather a collection of stories leading up to it (the WIP Fade). I really don't understand why, because despite the fact that the stories have separate titles rather than chapter numbers, they are in chronological order and as interconnected as the chapters in the previous books. Whatever the reason, this section of the series, combined with the back stories on the website, made for another very enjoyable read.
There is a lot going on in this book and we get many POVs because of it. That does make the general story feel a little less focused but it makes for a broader set up and it's intriguing to be able to see so many aspects of the iCoS world and the characters. The downside was that the Boyd/Sin story line tended to get overshadowed here and there. But that might also solely be due to the awesomeness of the other story lines (mainly: Emilio and Carhart, can you say tension?). I must also add that the Boyd/Sin story line had the tendency to get a bit juvenile angsty. I know our boys have issues, but to be apart from each other over a misunderstanding? And where was the rumor mill when you needed one?
That being said: the romance plot was still very enjoyable. But what really makes the iCos series stand out from other series is the strong action/suspense plot. While the smaller assignments seem to mainly serve the purpose of a catalyst function or showing us more aspects of a certain character, the major assignments have me on the edge of my seat. Meanwhile, the overarching suspense story lines -like the raid, the sabotage and the new admin- all simmer in the background. It all makes for that 'impending doom'-feeling in your stomach and at the moment is making it very, very hard for me not to start on the next book (I hate WIPs).
All in all, I must admit the first book of the series is still my favorite, but this installment was another great read. 4,5 stars (less)
Afterimage is the second book in the In the Company of Shadows series. In Evenfall we met Sin and Boyd and watched them defy prejudice, insecurity and...moreAfterimage is the second book in the In the Company of Shadows series. In Evenfall we met Sin and Boyd and watched them defy prejudice, insecurity and loneliness to get together. In Afterimages, we are forced to watch them lose everything again.
Quite honestly: this shift of events was a shock for me in the beginning. And not necessarily because the story didn’t unfold the way I thought it would, but also because I couldn’t quite follow the -what I perceived as- sudden change in their thoughts and emotions. Where did all the problems come from? Why were the men so quick to judge? How come they overcame bigger problems in the past and now suddenly were incapable of even the simplest things? Don’t get me wrong: the reasons for the boys’ problems are warranted. Both have severe issues and both are emotionally in a mess and socially inept. And, as the story unfolds, the reasons why it can’t work out between Boyd and Sin become crystal clear. Still: I wish the shift could have been more gradually.
Other than that this book was gooood. A great plot with separate story lines that all come together in the end. Fast action, overarching (mystery) story lines, character development,... it was all intricately weaved together.
I loved how I slowly but surely got sucked in into the mess Boyd and Sin are making of their already difficult lives. I loved how the men could be both endearing and entirely frustrating. I also loved the fact that I couldn't bring myself to hate certain secondaries. As destructive as their actions might be, all of them have redeeming qualities in one way or another and serve a catalyst function in not only bad ways, but also good. Except for maybe the character that we got introduced to in the end. Utterly frustrating, unapologetic and selfish as hell, but a delight to read about.
I just finished. Ugh, my mind is spinning with a wide variety of thoughts and feelings. And bittersweetness prevails. I can't believe this i...more*sniffle*
I just finished. Ugh, my mind is spinning with a wide variety of thoughts and feelings. And bittersweetness prevails. I can't believe this is the end. I can't believe this journey is over. But there it was, written in black and white italics: 'The End of In the Company of Shadows'.
With the last book of the series, it's really inevitable not to incorporate the series as a whole in the rating. And that general evaluation would lead to 5 stars. Which is weird, since I didn't actually rate any of the other books 5 stars separately (4-4,5 stars). But the series as a whole was just superb, all encompassing, super engaging. Good plot, great world building, and characters you just can't seem to get out of your mind. The authors have no qualms with putting their characters through the wringer... again and again. And you're with them every agonizing step of the way. I was absorbed, squeeing, raving and right out fangirling at times. If that doesn't deserve a 5 star rating, then I don't know what does.
Fade was the last part in this iCos journey and it was a fitting goodbye. It was good, it was emotional, it was dark, frustrating, infuriating and endearing. There are some chapters that were absolute genius. Which had me cry my heart out, on the edge of my seat, and laughing out loud. Especially Boyd's homecoming had a profound effect on me. Other than that, it was so good to see the old dynamics in the relationship between Sin and Boyd, (view spoiler)[(something which was only underlined by Boyd's interaction with Danny) (hide spoiler)] and great to see new dynamics unfurling (view spoiler)[(Emilio and Carhart, yeah baby!) (hide spoiler)].
The ending was everything you'd expect and more. Pretty much all story lines were tied and everything came to blows, and it was chaos and madness and beautiful. The epilogue was SUPERB! I have a dislike for epilogues since some authors tend to sap out in them, but this was the exact opposite of everything I hate in an epilogue. No perfect endings and pretty bows, but cautious happiness tempered by ambivalence, uneasiness and lingering doubts. And then: new opportunities but nothing being finalized. It was a perfect point to stop, but it still leaves you wanting more (and more and more).
This all being said, Fade wasn't my favorite book in the series. It felt less balanced than previous books, and there was a lot of telling rather than showing. This lead to some 'paraphrasing for the readers' sake' instances, and some events lacking build up or coming out of left field. Not typical for iCos. Another atypicality: some characters lacking depth or nuance (the new Marshall and Jordan as main examples).
So yeah, was it perfect? No. Was it engaging? Hell yes! Will I miss this world, these characters? Oh yeah.
Fade was a great ending to a superb series and journey, and I feel happy to have experienced it till the very end. But I am so sad to say goodbye.
A big shout out to Marleen and Kate, the super enablers. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Sylvan is an eromenos, a slave taught in the art of love since early childhood. When his master goes bankrupt, Sylvan -together with all of the master...moreSylvan is an eromenos, a slave taught in the art of love since early childhood. When his master goes bankrupt, Sylvan -together with all of the master's other possessions- gets sold. He can't believe his luck when it turns out it's the King himself who has acquired him. On top of that he's given to the King's son, the handsome and powerful Lord Nygell. But the Lord is silent and gruff, even becomes angered when Sylvan tries to serve him. And soon the desperate Sylvan finds there is nothing he can do to please his master...
The Violet and the Tom is a wonderful slave story with a twist. What I liked most was that there was no miracle kiss or fuck that set things right between the characters. Both had to work through behavior ingrained by status, upbringing and forceful conditioning. This resulted in a great story with good writing, steady pacing in which the events unfolded in a realistic tempo and manner and wonderful characterization.
The story is free available on line which brings me to the question why in hell this author didn't get published? The Violet and the Tom is a great story which definitely deserves more exposure. A well deserved 4,5 stars. (less)
Fanfiction about my favorite BDB couple: Qhuinn and Blay.
Heather nailed it with this story: the characters, the Ward-feel of the story, the angst... j...moreFanfiction about my favorite BDB couple: Qhuinn and Blay.
Heather nailed it with this story: the characters, the Ward-feel of the story, the angst... just fantastic! The story sagged in a little after chapter 19 , but picked up again towards the ending. In my opinion the best Qhuay fanfiction out there. 4,5 stars (less)