Willow’s Review of The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Series: McKenzie Lewis
ARC won via a contest hosted by My Bookish Ways compliments of the author Sandy Williams
Book Description by Goodreads
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.
Great book! As a debut novel, Williams has written a beautiful and very compelling story. Filled with action, romance, and mystery, this is one of those books that makes for an enjoyable read and should satisfy even the pickiest of readers. At several points I had to stop myself from skipping ahead to see how it would end.
When I first started reading I had mixed feelings for the main female character. McKenzie starts off as being extremely immature and annoying, but by the end of the novel I loved her! She’s one of those characters that grows and gains strength and maturity as the story progresses. This was an absolute pleasure to see as I’ve read several books where the character consistently stayed the same no matter what he/she went through.
The other characters in the story were wonderful. My heart went out to Kyol and by the end of the book I felt like he had gotten shafted. I cried my eyes out during the ending scene with Naito and Kelia; Williams couldn’t have written a more beautiful pair of star-crossed lovers. My respect for Lena grew so much that by the time the book ended I couldn’t wait to see what happened next for her.
Since this was the first book in a series, I was really curious how Williams was going to end it. While there were questions that were left unanswered, the ending didn’t have the feeling of a major cliffhanger. If anything it felt more like a natural conclusion with just enough ambiguity to allow for a sequel. This is the type of ending that I enjoy. I’m not saying major cliffhangers aren’t great to have in a story, but in my opinion there’s nothing worse than a book that leaves you with no answers.
My only complaint about the book is that it would have been nice to have had some sort of glossary/index describing what certain terms meant (i.e. edarratae) and linking characters to their multiple names. But seeing as I was reading an uncorrected proof, this may have been added to the final copy. If so, you can bet this feline will be checking it and giving it a look over.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel. I felt it was a unique story that fits in well with the Urban Fantasy genre. The world that Williams creates is an intriguing one and I am looking forward to seeing where she goes with it in the next book.