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Afterimage - Ais, Santino Hassell This book took my heart, fed it through a paper shredder, and pissed on it to cast it along an abandoned wasteland.

Yeah, it was THAT much angst.

While book 1 showed the development of Boyd and Sin as lovers, Afterimage shows how the forces that build a relationship can be the reason for its demise. How two people can come together only to realize that the end result will only be pain.

The main gist of the story is this: Boyd gets nominated for training as a level 10 agent, which requires three months of solitude with other nominees. During this time, Sin becomes a victim of psychosis, continuing depression and guilt.

Most of the novel takes place while these characters are apart, during which circumstances that either characters are not aware of occurring to one another, drives them further apart.

While I would say 75% of the book takes place during the time when Boyd and Sin are apart. The times they are together is VERY painful to read: misunderstandings in communication continues to drive these characters apart. Even by the end, when you feel all is lost, there is a glimmer of hope that hopefully leads to a less angsty sequel.

I would have to say that one of the main issues I had with this book is pacing. This was not TOO bad a problem with book 1, but I felt it was an issue with this book. There were definitely many more scenes that were just WAY TOO LONG. I remember skimming 30 pages of a scene, because it really involved too much circular thinking (I'm looking at you, Boyd) and..."other" things. And that brings to my other issue: this book had too much circular/repetitive thinking in Boyd's mind. How many times do I have to hear him state a certain (very long, page-spanning) thought or opinion repeatedly, over several chapters? I think overall, this book made me dislike Boyd more as a character.

So while I can't say this was an enjoyable read, due to my own wish for a happy, rainbow-colored unicorn type of ending, I can't really fault the mechanics of plot. Things happened, yes. But they happened for reasons that were either good, or understandable. I would say it was even genius.

I just hope for a happy ending by the last book in this series, because Ais and Sonny has made Boyd and Sin such a vital part of my (literary) life.