Release Date: 25th October, 2011
Publisher: Ace Books
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 is 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 not your average young woman. Unlike most mortals her age, she happens to possess the rare ability of tracking Fae (also known as a Shadow Reader), and with this gift alone she is able to read the shadows of where the fae go after they leave a realm and be able to draw maps in order to track them down at a certain point and location. For almost ten years serving at Court, McKenzie has been using her so-called 'gift' to assist the king of all Fae, King Atroth, by tracking down rebel fae members who want to destroy his kingdom. But with McKenzie in love (like forever and ever in love) with the forbidden king's sword-master, Kyol, and with her being suddenly kidnapped by a man named Aren, a rebel fae leader, everything is going to change this one woman's journey forever . . . and possibly a whole kingdom.
Now I wasn't too sure whether to pick this book up or not, but I'm so glad I did. It was an enjoyable, tense and over-the-edge kind of book, and in the end it soon became a very surprising debut novel coming from the talented Sandy Williams . . . so be on the lookout for this author in the future. I didn't think I would like it - I admit that - but I did and I have no regrets whatsoever. Along with the writing lines of Jeaniene Frost and Richelle Mead, THE SHADOW READER is highly recommended by me. I think what made me fall in love with it even more than the storyline itself was McKenzie Lewis and her character alone. She was such a fierce, strong and independent young heroine, and those traits made it even easier to feel drawn to her character despite her personality and action faults. Trust me she has a list of faults, but I love her still for them.
When it came down to the love interests (c'mon you know there's always a love interest involved), you would already know I don't like love triangles anymore - in fact I hate them - unless they're written well and are justified for good reasons. In this book's case, the love interests were done extremely well in both senses and it was one of the best that I've seen and read in adult fiction. Sure the relationship complications frustrated me to a higher level but that's one of the main reasons why I thought it rocked my world, too. Talk about hot fae boys (two of them people)! First of all, I loved the connection between Aren (the rebel Fae dude) and McKenzie. They had great chemistry and had the same old yo-yo romance that could and would drive you mad because you just wanted them to kiss and get on with it. But . . . for some reason I pondered often why exactly they liked each other. It wasn't really explained in the novel. Aren is technically 'the bad guy' and often showed those bad traits of his but I felt it was a little underdeveloped in the romance section concerning Aren and I wanted some answers on why McKenzie was so attracted to him in the first place other than his hotness . . . they're great together but I don't know . . . there was just something missing in their spark. And after all, they've only known each other for a few brief weeks.
On the other hand, we have the sometimes-tense relationship between McKenzie and Kyol (the king's sword-master). Now THEY have a more believable relationship through my eyes than McKenzie and Aren ever did. Both of these characters, McKenzie and Kyol, have worked together for almost ten years straight and since a human and fae relationship is completely forbidden, both have tried really hard (especially Kyol) to keep their feelings unnoticed. For McKenzie, she has waited all those ten years to be with Kyol and I truly felt her pain. I mean TEN YEARS! Damn that's a very long time to wait for someone you love to love you. But by the time McKenzie returns from captivity and returns to Kyol, and by the time Kyol realizes his mistakes from keeping things from McKenzie that have now done a lot of damage control on their relationship, things aren't ever going to be the same between them . . . though I do hope in the next book they work it out somehow. I loved them together! While Kyol understands McKenzie needs to move on, but I don't believe he's ever going to give up that easy on her. A secret part of me hopes he doesn't.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I can see it appealing to readers of all ages. With a lack of romantic scenes that I kind of hoped for, that still didn't stop me in wanting more and more of this book because it has some of the best actions scenes I've read so far this year! So yay for that! Anyway the bottom line is THE SHADOW READER is a must-read for Urban Fantasy fans and it's definitely something I would reread again and again!
4 1/2 / 5 stars