REVIEW by @UrbanFantasyRev: The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams (@authorsandywilliams)
A Houston college student, McKenzie Lewis can track fae by reading the shadows they leave behind. For years she has been working for the fae King, tracking rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret. She’s in love with Kyol, the King’s sword-master-but human and fae relationships are forbidden. When McKenzie is captured by Aren, the fierce rebel leader, she learns that not everything is as she thought. And McKenzie must decide who to trust and where she stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.
This is the first book in the McKenzie Lewis series and I found it creeping around on Goodreads, I find lots of great books there and this was no exception. I don’t expect much when starting a new series and since the last two books I read were so awful that my expectations for The Shadow Reader were probably lower than normal so I was pleasantly surprised when not only did it not suck but it was actually really good. McKenzie is a human who is not only able to see the Fae but she can track them when they “fissure” out for the last ten years she has been working with the Fae King against the rebels in the Fae civil war. McKenzie is also trying to live a normal human life and graduate college and this is where she is when the rebels capture her. The rebels try and get McKenzie to see there are two sides to a conflict and everything may not be what it seems with the King and Fae she has trusted and she must pick a side.
This book had me hooked from the first five pages and since I started at night it kept me up way later than I should have been awake…4am is sooo not a good look for me. The world building was incredible, intertwining he Fae worlds and ours. You get to see both sides of the war and realize most people are neither wholly good nor wholly evil. A lot of the book is centers around the love triangle between Kyol, Aren and McKenzie. Although the whole love triangle thing has been done to death this one didn’t make me want to hurl and it wasn’t as in your face, the war was the priority for them and romance took a back seat if there were battles to fight.
I really liked McKenzie, she isn’t the typical ass-kicking heroine despite the misleading book cover. She is not a fighter and she knows it but she still fights tooth and nail to escape captivity. She is fiercely loyal almost blindingly so and stubborn as a mule also nicely snarky. McKenzie doesn’t always do the right thing and you can see that it bothers her along with the casualties of the war. She even questions whether she has Stockholm Syndrome when she starts to have feelings for Aren and starts sympathizing with the rebels. If you prefer action to romance there is plenty of that here and if you like romance then the well written love triangle should suit you just fine. Even though this is the first book in a series in doesn’t end on a cliffhanger while leaving you waiting to see what’s next. The only thing I didn’t like about the book was the stupid cover…yeah yeah I know don’t judge and all that.
4.5 stars! I couldn’t put it down.