I got my copy of the Director's Cut... er, stand-alone edition today, and read through it surprisingly quickly. (Or maybe I didn't notice the time passing so much when reading it.)
Some of the additional parts were very nice to see - but the Vanguard stuff felt a little less coherent, not least when building up towards, then leading back down from, a short story that is printed in another volume. To me, it felt like the effort would have been more rewarding had the events of The Black Flag
had been shown in this work, instead of leaving a point hanging that someone won't see unless they go and buy Shards and Shadows
(Even if the events were shown from an alternate perspective, so as to leave the version in S&S
equally valid, or something.)
Also, I have to say that while I understand why a character like Mirror-Decker was portrayed in the manner he was, I still find it more disturbing than I'd really care for to read some of the ways in which his cruelty towards Takeshewada-san was made manifest.
(I didn't feel overly comfortable reading some of how mirror-Reyes acted in The Black Flag
, either, to be honest.)
In all, I suppose it's hard to judge the story as a whole like this, when I feel that perhaps I might have felt differently had I not read the abridged version from Glass Empires
I have to say, though, that I'm probably not going to rush back to reading about the Mirror Universe... at least until, or unless, the time finally comes for the oppressed people of the Alliance, alongside the holdouts in Memory Omega, finally get to Rise Like Lions!
(Or if they have the wormhole open up and introduce a mirror Dominion, perhaps.)