Review: The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams

Publication Date: October 25th, 2011
Format: Kindle Copy
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

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.


It’s not very often that I indulge in Urban Fantasy and I tend to be a bit picky with this genre. I also have a tendency to abandon a series simply because I get bored with the same old plot lines. But once in a while, there’d come a book that completely catches me unawares. The Shadow Reader comes from a massive line of UF that’s out there. It’s got romance, action and all the paranormal elements that rightfully earned its UF tag. But let me tell you where I find this book unique. 

See that kick-ass looking, sword-weilding heroine on the cover? Yeah. Forget about her. Don’t shake in your boots yet, she’s not that tough. She doesn’t go around kicking ass and taking names down while she’s at it. Nope. All she is, is a glorified cartographer. She finds fissures, sort of doorways to the fairy world. Anywhere. Anytime. Give this girl a pen and paper and she can find your fairy butt. And that’s why the two opposing factions of the fairy world finds her useful, valuable – so much so that the rebels has been hot on her trail since she discovered she has the sight and the built-in fairy world GPS. This is where the story begins; McKenzie on the run from the rebels to no avail. She was kidnapped with the intent to sway her to join the rebellion. 

This book is action packed and while fairy books rarely get my mojos going anymore, The Shadow Hunter certainly did a good job of luring me into its fantastical world. I read this entire book at work. I should feel ashamed but I don’t 🙂 It was an afternoon well spent. 

I LOATHE love triangles. I really do. This has that dreaded, hated two words. But hold up. I have a theory. I am rooting for the guy that McKenzie didn’t end up with. I will not let this go. This is just the beginning of the series. I have complete faith in McKenzie that one day, she’ll wake up and realize her erroneous choice. And I think this is where this book failed to get it’s full five stars. You can’t just fill the pages with laments about how wonderful Kyol is and then show all the things that make the other guy appalling and McKenzie ended up choosing what’s-his-face anyway? No ma’am, sell me another one because I sure as heck am not buying. I’m firmly resolved that all the supposed-tingles McKenzie felt while she’s near that guy is but the same sensations she’d feel if say, another fairy creature would touch her. *crosses fingers* Okay, I admit, Kyol is annoyingly principled and loyal to a fault…and sometimes blindsided by his misplaced devotion to the court…and had always placed McKenzie second but she’s never really demanded she goes first. And I refused to believe that a person who’d been in love with a guy for ten whole years can just walk away from all the time and emotions and pieces of herself she’d invested. I just can’t accept that. Ten years and all they got was a tearful haphazard goodbye? Gah. 

While McKenzie’s choice gave me an agonizing headache, in circumspect, it’s also the very reason why I NEED to read the next book right now. I have this ache in my chest that refuse to go away until Kyol’s world righted on its axis again. It’s sad when I’m more interested about the supporting character rather than the MC. And though McKenzie is an admirable character, there is something fickle about her character that I can’t seem to shake. I have hope that this is just a phase she’s going through. And really? Stockholm Syndrome? Please. Weak, girl. Weak. 

Regardless, The Shadow Reader’s world was so easy to get lost into. I like that this was not set in a forest or in an enchanted kingdom. I love that there were no summer court and winter court and dark faes. There were just two factions. 

This book is a hit and miss and love and hate all at the same time. If you can get over the love triangle element, there is a distinct possibility that you’ll enjoy this as much as I did. 

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