Spaz Reviews: The Shadow Reader – Sandy Williams

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Price: $7.99
  • Publisher: Ace; Original edition (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937007014
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937007010
  • Sandy Williams website

Purchase The Shadow Reader:

There can only be one allegiance.
It’s her time to choose.

Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them, reading the shadows they leave behind. But some shadows lead to danger. Others lead to lies.

A Houston college student trying to finish her degree, McKenzie has been working for the fae king for years, tracking vicious rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret. For just as long, she’s been in love with Kyol, the king’s sword-master—and relationships between humans and fae are forbidden.

But any hope for a normal life is shattered when she’s captured by Aren, the fierce and uncompromising rebel leader. He teaches her the forbidden fae language and tells her dark truths about the Court, all to persuade her to turn against the king. Time is running out, and as the fight starts to claim human lives, McKenzie has no choice but to decide once and for all whom to trust and where she ultimately stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.

McKenzie Lewis is a human who can track the fae, and has been working for the fae Court for ten years. The court has been using her to track down rebel fae, because when they leave the human realm using fissures, she is able to see the shadows and draw a map to track them down. During her work for King Atroth she becomes smitten with the king’s sword master Kyol. He has played fae cock tease game (or is that vagina tease?) with McKenzie for a full decade, leading her to believe he loves her, but using the King’s anti fae-human relationship law as the reason for not allowing them to be together. Ten dang years she waits! It seems pretty obvious to everyone that he has been using her, still everything is not as it seems. Especially when she is kidnapped by the bad boy rebel of the fae world, Aren. He is the poster-child for the Rebel side, and he immediately takes a shine to McKenzie. He also urges her to accept that Kyol and the Court are not all sunshine and flowers like they pretend to be.

I enjoyed The Shadow Reader, especially as the first book in a new series. McKenzie is a human lost in the world of fae politics and war due to her special shadow reading gift. And then there is the love triangle aspect of it between her Kyo and Aren, which I am not a huge fan of, but I do like the way it played out. I enjoyed the dialog between Aren and McKenzie greatly, especially his reactions to her constantly trying to escape, and her always ending up on the bad side of busted up. There is some fantastic tension, and awesome tenderness too.

Sadly, the heroine did suffer a few too many really annoyingly dumb moments for me, which knocked my rating down a bit. I understood her loyalty to the Fae Court but it did reach preposterous levels at times. Perhaps I am just not able to empathize greatly with complete and utter blind loyalty, but the blind loyalty McKenzie displayed for a good part of the book – even if it was explained – was a bit much at times. Nevertheless, I did like everything else – the worlds and lore, and the characters. I will definitely be returning to the series for book 2 when The Shattered Dark comes out in November 2012.

  • Mitch January 19, 2012 at 1:55 am

    Hmmm… Sounds like something I’d be into, although blind loyalty grates on me, too. Still, I might just check this one out. Do you know if the series continues with the same heroine?

    • Spaz January 19, 2012 at 11:07 am

      Hey Mitch – I seem to be the only one really affected by that,and it could be that I’m so damn cynical LOL Anyway, this is UF and is told from her POV and the next books will too.

  • Tori January 19, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Great review Pam. I loved this book.

    • Spaz January 19, 2012 at 11:07 am

      Thanks Tori! We’re in agreement on the heroes 😛

  • CdnMrs January 19, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Oh! Sounds good. Will look for this one.

    • Spaz January 19, 2012 at 11:08 am

      I want to say this borders on YA….

      • Emilia January 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm

        Kiss of death for me. Now I’m pissed that I bought it when it came out. I’ll try to overlook the YAness when I get to this book (which now won’t be very soon).

        • Spaz January 19, 2012 at 7:45 pm

          You’ll still enjoy it!! Just don’t be expecting ummm adult gratification 😛

  • MonieG January 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Reminds me of the Fever series by Moning. I’ll put this one on my TBR list . Thanks for your review!!

    • Spaz January 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      Hmmm I hadn’t thought of it in that way, but yes, there are similarities!

  • Sara January 19, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Great review. I thought the book had amazing pace and tension. I had no idea what to think about Kyol or Aren’s intentions until the very end. For a triangle, it was done well in the sense that it was integral to the storyline but… I really hate that the main character was defined entirely by her relationships. Why did she have to choose either? Why was Aren even interested in her? The story could have progressed without her making her ‘choice’ and the end. I’ve read the author argue it’s UF not paranormal romance, but to me it definitely read like PR YA. After I closed the book I realized I knew absolutely zero about the character (can’t even remember her name), and therefore couldn’t make sense of her choices. This was an all plot, no character develop kind of book, which totally works for some people but not me.
    Also, I really didn’t get how her ability worked. It might just be me, but why did she see the fae world topographically instead of eye level? It seemed like shoe-horning her ability to make it work with the story rather than developing it’s own internal logic. Or maybe I just misunderstood it. It was confusing.

    • Spaz January 19, 2012 at 7:47 pm

      Hi Sara – all very good points you’ve made. Technically it was a very solid book, but it was definitely more YA than UF – more so than I’d been led to believe. I feel the same as you, I still really didn’t know much about her at the end of the book!

  • Julie January 20, 2012 at 11:09 am

    I hate when I think I commented on something. (Yesterday was a blur :P) Anyway, the YAness is actually a draw for me. It’s on my list for… sometime when I have time.

    • Spaz January 20, 2012 at 11:11 am

      Julie – I really think you will like this!! I think Nat will too!!

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