Hold on tight as you’re in for a 1000-page ride!
Really. The last time I’ve read something as long as this one was when I was still jobless and obsessed with Fictionpress. Which means that I have a lot of time. Which also means that I’m willing to grab anything that can mollify my boredom.
Evenfall took a lot of patience. Not because it wasn’t good but because I had to read it alongside work and mental fatigue.
And I’m telling you it wasn’t a walk in the park. The story wasn’t exactly fluffy you know? Set after the eruption of WW3, you can expect a lot of blood and death and gloom. And torture.
I wasn’t in it much for the story as I was invested in the characters. But to give you an idea, the novel talks about the vestiges of the war. How the world is divided into factions as an aftermath — the government, rebels and then, of course, ever poor civilians caught up in the crossfire.
Boyd, your main guy, found himself in the steps of Johnson Pharmaceuticals. He’s been summoned with little to no idea that his mother has just sentenced him to death (as General Carhart will put it).
Why death you ask?
He’s just been called to become the partner of the deadliest agent known to have arrived the doors of ‘The Agency’. As it happens, Johnson Pharmaceuticals is a front to hide whatever the government is working in the sidelines to get rid of rebels trying to overthrow the current reign. Most notorious groups like Janus have to be eliminated and the government needs a highly skilled assassin to stealthily penetrate bases and well…kill.
Enters Hsin. The ‘psychopathic’ criminal hired to do the task above. Obviously, he isn’t as functional as the normal being next door so he’d need someone who can make sure that he doesn’t do anything insane. By this, we mean The Agency’s standards. A massacre of 40 people by an individual isn’t as deranged a scenario apparently.
From there on, it’s just missions punctuated by character development, revelation and sex.
Which tells you why I was in it for Boyd and Hsin. Cause really. What happens once they eliminate Janus? Other than they’re an organized group who treats their ideals as religion, they’re not much different from the current government and I don’t see what difference they can make by taking control.
On the other hand, the missions let the characters grow. Boyd (‘void’) who lived a hollow life right after the murder of his boyfriend, found himself a new string to keep going. It isn’t the loveliest environment to receive new hope, but he can’t really complain now, can he? At least he isn’t just staring at the ceiling with nameless thoughts, waiting for death to come over.
Hsin (‘Sin’) who had been treated as The Monster and abhorred by everyone – himself included – found that he wasn’t one at all and in fact could be kinder than any other man in the Agency. He just needed a chance. Boyd (and the JKS convention perhaps) was the chance he long waited.
It was, as I said, a patient process. Can you believe that it took 1000 pages to tell this story? But it was satisfying to see their thoughts grow from cold to humane. We realize Boyd can be pissed and panicked. We realize Hsin is mortal. In fact, I think the length gave the story a bit more realistic edge. It’s not easy to go past depression (ire in Hsin’s case) that’s been a product of blame and anger and judgment from practically every person you meet.
Style wise, I won’t say it’s very spectacular. What I’d say is vivid — apt considering its motif. In war/military novels, you’d need the talent to describe your world. Not just through vague adjectives but through concrete visuals from your character’s POV. It helps too that Boyd and Hsin are too observant of the littlest details. Well, I’ll say some things are unnecessary but you’re obviously going to try this with a sack of patience right? So it won’t really matter.
Overall, I really like this. To let you know, this is just the first of the four books in the series. And may I add that the rest is just as long? You would think, ‘Huh? What else is there to say after 1000 pages?’ but boy was I wrong. Surprise! Janus is left unsolved.
It’s the epitome of a slow-paced novel.
Then again, the authors established Janus to be nearly impenetrable and this is too much large-scale of an issue so we can’t really expect it to be figured out within a year by two people with nothing but 46 chapters.
I’ll recommend this to someone who’d love something intense and dark, someone interested in military, someone patient and seeking character development. And of course, someone who loves slash fiction. I guarantee. You’re in for a lot of sexy time and banters /winkwink