The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams
Series: McKenzie Lewis #1
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Published by Ace (10.25.2011)
Paperback, 307 pages
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.
I. HATE. LOVE. TRIANGLES!!!! Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system. I was thoroughly unimpressed by this book. The plot was good, sure, but it just lacked for me. Even the ending – with everything falling apart and the death of an important character – felt rushed. Maybe because I was skimming to get to the end and get it over with, who knows. It wasn’t a bad book necessarily, but it wasn’t memorable at all. Her prose wasn’t too bad, but she really needs a synonym for mirth. I got extremely sick of that word after seeing it every chapter in the first half.
In the first 10 pages, I had already skipped to the very last page and read the ending. I seriously considered returning it to the library then and there simply because of the love triangle – and also because I had no clue what the hell was going on. It was like Williams dumped me right in the middle of a series. There really should have been a first book setting the scene of her world and telling the background and history (and also the “love” between Kyol and McKenzie). I was confused and lost because she didn’t explain anything, just threw terms at you like fissure and jaedric. I didn’t really understand what was going on until I got pretty far in and finally got a feel for the world she creates.
Then there’s McKenzie. Stubborn, fickle, and hard-headed. I didn’t care much for her. While I like a female protag to have some fight, she just took it too far. First, she claims to have “loved” Kyol for ten years, but then Aren comes along and kidnaps her, and she’s immediately resisting developing feelings for him. Then, she continuously blames Stockholm Syndrome. Like, every chapter. Saying that the ‘damn Stockholm Syndrome’ is messing with her mind. Ok first of all, it’s not an actual illness. It’s just the term used to describe feelings toward a captor. While I love stories of Stockholm Syndrome or hate turning to love, this one irritated me.
McKenzie is a dumbass. Along with the constant blaming of Stockholm Syndrome for her developing feelings of Aren, she also repeatedly tries escaping. She knows that the fae are faster and she’s outnumbered. She even states this. Yet she still keeps trying, even after she earns a broken arm from an attempt.
Then there’s Aren. How is he ‘fierce and uncompromising?’ Because right from the beginning he is compassionate and gentle toward McKenzie. There’s only a couple instances where he is anything other than benign, and that’s because she really deserved it.
I probably won’t be picking up book 2 when it comes out. If it was in Aren’s POV maybe, but I don’t want to hear any more of McKenzie.
The plot wasn’t too bad, but I’m not big into books about war.
Writing Style: 3/5
A little mirth would have been nice. Ha, ha.
I mainly just wanted to slap McKenzie. I couldn’t really relate to any of the characters, and even when one died I had trouble feeling any emotion at all.
Overall rating: 2.5/5 starfish