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Review: The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Shadow Reader
Sandy Williams

Series: Shadow Reader #1
Genre: Fantasy
Paperback: 307 Pages
Publication: October 25, 2011
by 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 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.


From the first pages, I was drawn into McKenzie's world. There is always plenty of action to go around wherever she goes, for both sides want to make use of her shadow reading abilities. In this world, the fae travel through fissures, and certain humans like McKenzie, who is a shadow reader, can map the traces they leave behind, allowing other fae to pursue those who travel the In-Between. Her world is fascinating and new, and it's very well constructed. I enjoyed learning more about it as I journeyed with her through this novel.

McKenzie is one of my favorite heroines. I just love how her mind works. She doesn't take any BS and is fiercely loyal to those she cares about. Though Aren provides plenty of reason why she shouldn't trust the court, she won't listen to him without seeing the truth for herself. And he's one big sexy temptation to resist. I've seen a lot of pretty boys in the books I've read, and he's just irresistible. I like how she doesn't fall for any pretty face and even credits her attraction to him as being due to Stockholm's Syndrome. As a Psychology major, I appreciate the reference.

The characters as a whole are filled with personality, at least the important ones. I like how that the good guys and bad guys aren't clearly defined. Both the Court faes and rebel faes are capable of committing atrocious crimes, though not everyone does so. Some even try to stay out of politics and don't care who they're involved with as long as their business thrives. Kelia and Naito especially are adorable, and I like Lena for being the spitfire that she is. Lorn is also an interesting, and capricious, character. The love interests are also well developed, as is the romance. It doesn't feel like I'm being torn between Kyol one second and Aren the next. In fact, McKenzie herself says that she isn't some girl who can't decide between two guys who are after her. Though she deeply cares about them both, she makes her decision based on what she wants in life and feels she deserves, and I respect her for that.

This is a remarkable debut from Sandy Williams. I'm looking forward to reading The Shattered Dark, book two in this series!

Additional Information
  1. The Shadow Reader
  2. The Shattered Dark
  3. The Sharpest Blade
Similar Books

  • Makeout scenes
  • Violence

4 comments on "Review: The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams"
  1. I'm always reluctant to read fae books. I'm not sure why. But THIS sounds like something I'd really enjoy. Great review. :)

    1. Thanks, Christy. I hope you enjoy The Shadow Reader! :)

  2. I liked how the characters are in the grey. Everyone could do something cruel and something positive . I'm sad to see this trilogy end . Tnx for the review

    1. Thanks roro! I'm looking forward to reading the next novels in the series :)


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