Rating: 4.5...what the hell, I'm friggin' rounding to 5.
Reading this anthology after the ICoS series is the equivalent of slipping into a lost pair of old jeans that still, surprisingly, fit. I was surprised with how much I still remembered the whole cast of characters, and the events they alluded to within the series.
The anthology is around 40,000 words long, consisting of short stories with characters that we all know and love (or hate). If I had any complaints about 1/27, it's probably the fact that it's too damn short (Boyd and Hsin don't get anymore word count than the other characters. In this way, the anthology is more focused on the overall cast and not just on the two main MCs of the series), and some of the dialogue felt a little "speechy" (e.g. one character having non-stop paragraphs of things to say). But at this point, I'll take what I can get.
Things are happening in the world of ICoS, and nothing is resolved with each chapter's conclusion. It's like quenching a thirst with only a tiny sip of tepid water. If anything, the anthology is stirring the dust which has settled since the end of Fade. I went into this thinking it was a conclusion to a beloved series, but I'm starting to feel like it's actually an interlude to just the beginning.
And that makes me so damn excited.
Because hooooly fuuuck. These characters ignite this stagnant fire
inside my reader's soul. And it burns so damn hot and bright like a supernova. Under the gravity of that explosion, I'm afraid of the black hole it will leave behind when it all finally ends.
But in the mean time, I'm riding this bang out as long as it'll last. I HAVE NO REGRETS!