Evenfall: Volume 2: Director’s Cut (In the Company of Shadows, #1 part #2)Santino Hassell and Ais

e *Contains SPOILERS*

This review considers the new version of Evenfall, Vol 1 and 2 as a whole. I am a huge fan of the original version of this book. Hands down this series is one of the most enthralling i’ve ever read.  Which made it all the more difficult to deal with the cuts.  A massive 100K was cut from the original and after completing the two volumes of the new Director’s Cut version  I believe that amount of cutting was over zealous. In my opinion the only cuts that needed to be made were- a *little* less of Boyd’s repetitive introspection, a *little* less pointless banter in the meetings with General Carhart etc, less detail of Jessica’s uncomfortable infatuation with Sin/ her attempt at seduction, and a general clean up/spell check. So while the original was a diamond in the rough with a few issues that were fixable, the new version has developed more issues, but ones that do a disservice to the story, the relationship between Hsin and Boyd and the talent of the wonderful Authors.

I don’t know what the motivation was behind cutting most of Boyd’s back story from the early part of Volume 1. In the DC version Boyd as a character became shallower and one dimensional because the reader wasn’t given the insights to his home life and psychological state before the Agency. We needed to be with him, to see how broken and tragic Boyd was to understand the progression of his character and how he eventually, slowly began to feel again. That slow and awkward back and forth of attraction, angst and confusion between Boyd and Hsin in the original version was, in my mind, pivotal to understanding the depth of their eventual relationship.

Sin was also stripped back, loosing a lot of his scowling, cockiness, confusion and angst. He didn’t come across as a man who had, at 28 never had feelings for anyone, let alone reciprocated feelings. And then when it came to sex, Sin’s confusion, self loathing and denial in the original book made the eventual surrender to Boyd all the more powerful. In this version he didn’t read like he’d never had sex and needed to be taught by Boyd. It just didn’t feel like as far of a fall or as great a surrender. It made me kind of sad.

The good things were:

-The rewriting of Paris, making the distinction between what Boyd felt for Thierry and what he felt for Sin much clearer.

-The removal of the dalliance with Jessica in Monterrey was a welcome relief, thank you Sonny and Ais! The original scenes where she made a pass at Sin made my stomach turn. It was re-written to be clear enough that Jessica was into Sin. And then  she just needed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was glad there was less of her and less of the club.

-The sex scenes between Sin and Boyd were rewritten and WAY hotter, but again, cuts were made that dumbed down their frustration, anxiety and confusion at being stuck in the one roomed apartment together. It felt like there was less sex and less intimacy in Vol 2 (I would have liked an extra sex scene before they went on their mission at the convention centre, after all, it was to be their last time together for some time, you would have thought they would want one more memory.)

I need to have a moan now about the use of Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish and so whenever it was used I had no idea what was being said. Adding pages of translations at THE END of the book was pointless. I would rather footnotes on each page or the translations in bracket so I can assimilate them with the story.

Boyd Beaulieu has always been my favourite ICoS character, but I actually missed him reading the DC. Where has his personality gone? I missed his angst and musings. I missed the descriptions of Boyd’s body. I wanted to know about his long sensual limbs and sharp narrow hips and blonde hair. We didn’t even find out he had tattoos until Monterrey! I wanted the constant reminder that he obsessively covered up his torso, and I wanted to know why earlier in the proceedings, just like in the original.

My lasting feeling after finishing the two volumes is ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’.

‘Evenfall’ was never broken.

It was a little bruised and scratched and just needed a little TLC. The removal of Boyd’s back story and personality feels more like a limb has been amputated.

I know the series is a WIP, but I hope that one day when time and money allow, a super Editor will come into Sonny and Ais’s lives and want to edit the original from the beginning again.

I will sing my praises about this Series from the highest rooftops. BUT would encourage new readers to read the ORIGINAL version of ‘Evenfall’ rather than the Directors Cut versions. It is a mind-blowing enthralling and emotional read.

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