Review: The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams

Posted November 18, 2011 by Carmel in / 7 Comments

The Shadow Reader cover

Title: The Shadow Reader
Series: McKenzie Lewis #1
Author: Sandy Williams
Publisher: Ace
Published: October 25, 2011
My Copy: borrowed from JulieYMandKAC

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 haven’t read anything Fae-related since finishing the Fever series. It was pretty much my only experience with these supes and well, let’s be honest, it’s a tough act to follow. Sandy Williams makes her presence known with roaring fierceness in The Shadow Reader, her debut book. The excellent pacing, captivating Fae Court politics and poignant love story will have you burning through the pages faster than a brush fire.

McKenzie’s love life is a mess (understatement of the year!). She’s torn between her 10 year childhood crush on the “good guy”, Kyol and her kidnapper, Aren, the rebel leader. She spends a big chunk of the book being held against her will by the Court’s opposition where she’s bombarded with information that contradicts everything that she’s ever been told about the Fae. Lewis finds herself inexplicably drawn to her kidnapper and at first she chalks it up to a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome. I could definitely understand the attraction and her dilemma because Aren is a I-feel-weak-in-the-knees kind of sexy. The back and forth between these two is hysterical. They both have balls the size of coconuts and refuse to give an inch to the other’s will. In spite of McKenzie’s growing feelings towards the rebel and his convincing arguments that she’s been lied to for years; she refuses to waiver in her dedication to the king’s sword-master. That is until she learns to speak Fae and finds herself back at Court after her release. The truth hurts!

I adored McKenzie’s character in this novel! She’s a prized human among the Fae because her skills are nearly unmatched. Both sides want her as a ally or at least to use her as a weapon in their war. They’re prepared to offer her anything and everything in exchange for her allegiance. Lewis isn’t swayed by their generous bribes; she just wants to return to her world and lead a normal human life. She wants to finish her degree, get a job, settle down and have kids. You know, “normal” stuff. McKenzie’s fighting skills are sub-par but her fierceness of spirit and relentlessness to do the right thing is awe inspiring. She didn’t ask for any of this and doesn’t want it but as usual, fate has other plans. Such bravery too! McKenzie Lewis is a very appropriate name for this series.

The inner working of the Fae Court including the divisions of land and power were well thought out and engaging. This element added an extra level of depth to the story line. The Shadow Reader isn’t just a moving love story but also a thought provoking, politically laden tale of growth and change. This book will make your blood pressure rise, your eyes water and satisfy your need for gruesome battle scenes.

Sandy Williams may be a newcomer to the author scene but The Shadow Reader is not a clumsy, awkward first attempt at writing. The McKenzie Lewis tale is hers and hers alone to tell and she does it finesse and obvious talent. Don’t believe the hype surrounding this book because it’s better than just good it’s great.

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About the Blogger
I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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7 responses to “Review: The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams

  1. @Jessica@a GREAT read – It’s definitely a worthwhile read. I hope you enjoy it!

    @Amanda Bonilla – Aaww, thanks! You just made my day! 🙂

  2. I have been stalking this book from the time I first heard of it and it is definitely on my wishlist. I am glad you liked it and have affirmed my intuition that it is going to be a great read 🙂 Thanks for sharing today your opinions are valued.

  3. it sounds so good, I can’t wait to read it with all the great things I’ve heard about it. It’s in my TBR pile so I think I’ll do it soon.

  4. I also loved McKenzie and really enjoyed the writer’s voice. No first time glitches here. Great review Carmel!

  5. @Denise Z – Glad to have helped close the deal on your decision to read this one. 😛

    @Melliane – The Shadow Reader is definitely worth a read!

    @Julie – Thanks! For the book and for the nice comment. 😉