Series: McKenzie Lewis #1
Published by Penguin on October 25th 2011
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Urban
Sexual Content: Kissing. References to rape.
Reviewed by: Abigail
A Houston college student, McKenzie Lewis can track fae by reading the shadows they leave behind. For years she has been working for the fae King, tracking rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn't her only secret. She's in love with Kyol, the King's sword-master-but human and fae relationships are forbidden. When McKenzie is captured by Aren, the fierce rebel leader, she learns that not everything is as she thought. And McKenzie must decide who to trust and where she stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.
There is something shocking about McKenzie Lewis, the protagonist in THE SHADOW READER by Sandy Williams. She’s not a super woman/warrior goddess/magical titan capable of destroying the universe with a wink. Nope, unlike many urban fantasy heroines these days, McKenzie is pretty normal. She does have one ability that sets her apart from the rest of us; she’s a shadow reader, someone who can watch a fae ‘fissure’ (instantly teleport from one location to another) and know exactly where they will reappear. A highly coveted skill when there is a fae civil war going on, which is why McKenzie finds herself being sought after by both sides.
Where do I start with all the things I loved about THE SHADOW READER? The fae mythology wasn’t overly complex, but it was unique and perfectly suited to this world. I especially loved the idea of chaos lusters, tiny, visible lightning bolts that dance over the skin under certain circumstances like when fae touch humans. And speaking of touching, the tug-of-war going on with McKenzie’s heart was nothing compared to what I felt. How do you choose between the honorable warrior Kyol loyal to the fae king and the determined rebel leader Aren?
Another highlight for me was the constant cloud of doubt I was kept in. I was thrown back and forth suspecting first Kyol then Aren and back again so many times that I got dizzy. Just like McKenzie, I never knew who to fully trust, who to love, or who to align with. And just when I’d think I ‘d finally figured it out, something would happen and raise the questions all over again. The action was relentless and the emotions kept so sky high that I couldn’t decide until the very end.
THE SHADOW READER is a fantastically fun urban fantasy! One of the best debuts of the year and easily my favorite fae urban fantasy since Karen Marie Moning’s Darkfever series. Wonderfully integrated mythology that flowed naturally in the story without needing lengthy explanations, a to die for love triangle, and a relatable non-super woman protagonist who relies on her brain and bravery to fight for what she wants. This is a book that checked off all my urban fantasy wish list boxes and I can’t wait to read the sequel.More Reviews: