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Series: In the Company of Shadows #1
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Years after the bombs of WWIII have changed the physical and political landscape, the Agency ruthlessly works behind the scenes to take down rebel groups that threaten the current government. Their goals justify all means. Hsin Liu Vega (Sin) is their most efficient and deadly assassin ever. However, he tends to go off on unauthorized killing sprees and somehow his assigned partners all end up dead under suspicious circumstances. That is why the Agency has had him locked up in a box on the fourth floor for years. But now they think it is time to put the psychopath back in the field. With a new partner.
Boyd’s mother, a high ranking Agency official, volunteers her teenage son for the position. Boyd is not afraid of death. In fact, his life has been such an endless cycle of apathy and despair for the last few years that he’d welcome it.
Can these two broken men form an efficient partnership? Can they learn to trust anyone, let alone each other? Sin doesn’t give a fuck about the Agency, or the androgynous boy who holds the remote to the shock collar that is supposed to control him.
On the other hand, Boyd is strangely unafraid of the man everyone calls ‘monster’ and Sin seems reluctant to let his keeper get himself killed on any missions. Yet.
“The world, the powers that be… they created a generation of soldiers like him. Boy fighters, child killers, ones who did not have the chance to live before the world armed them and so, they had no idea how to live when the fighting was no longer needed.”
This book is not perfect.
That being said, this book was pretty much 100% perfect for me.
It’s the story of Boyd Beaulieu, a young man whose highly positioned mother elects him for the job of partnering with Rank 10 Agent Hsin Vega, and it’s so fucking heartbreaking, and by the same token heartwarming, that I hardly have words to describe it.
Talk about a mindfuck, this book is filled to the brim with ’em. Like… I can’t even give a rundown of the plot because it’s so immense and elaborate, or of the worldbuilding, the characters, the writing, for the same reasons.
I don’t think I’ve ever been stricken quite so wordless after reading a book before. But seriously… this book… this book ruined my life for a good, long while. And when I finally got close to the end (or what I perceived to be close but was really just anything past the 1000-page mark), I did that Betrayals thing again where I just stopped and forced myself to put it down because I didn’t want it to end.
Luckily, the other books are already available because if they weren’t, this series would be my vice, no doubt about it.
It’s all just so dark… and heavy… and meaningful… and tragic… and hopeful… and realistic… it’s powerful and wonderful and all the disgusting and delightful things in between.
He was a child of the war; maybe not so much as those like Jorge, who had not been alive before the second bombings and who did not know what a totally clear sky looked like, but he was still born in the time of the first bombings.
“I don’t want to go back to the way I fucking was. I don’t want to go back to being alone and having to be nothing but a weapon. I don’t want to pretend that I don’t–” [Sin] stopped again and realized with a vague sense of humiliation that he was about to display the ultimate form of human weakness.
“I can’t do it without you,” he grit out. “I won’t. […] Why did you do this to me?”
With an irritated glance at the door, or more accurately the guards on the other side of the door, Sin just ran his fingers lightly over the side of Boyd’s face. In response, Boy caught his hand and briefly pressed his lips against it. They looked at each other for another long stretch before Boyd flashed a slight smile and turned to go.
“If we’re going to return to our previous partnership, then before we go on this mission I think you should know that I love you.”
p. 962 (Boyd)
“Don’t get killed or I’ll be very annoyed with you.”
p. 1049 (Sin)
Oh, fuck it. This book was perfect. NEEDS MOAR STARS.