My rating: 5 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.
“If I were a good man,” he says, “I’d acknowledge that he is an honorable fae.....I’d step down and let you have the man you’ve always wanted, but, McKenzie, I’m not as good as him. I never will be, and I can’t step down. I’ll fight for the chance to be with you.”
A-MAZ-ING. How is it possible that more people are not talking about this book? I stayed up till four in the morning two nights in a row to read this book.....it was that good. And this is from a debut author? Holy crap, I can't wait to see what else she has in store for us.
This book delves into the word of the fae with incredible world building. McKenzie Lewis is a human who has the ability to see fae. She also has a second special ability. When fae 'fissure' (think teleporting, for lack of a better explanation), McKenzie can see the shadows of where they have gone. She can draw a map and lead other fae to the location. This makes her very valuable to the fae king, who has been using Mckenzie as a shadow reader to catch members of the rebels during the war that has been going on in the fae Realm. The king's sword master, Kylo Taltrayn, is McKenzie's handler. The two have secretly been in love for the ten years they have been working together, but have never fully given themselves to each other since fae and human are not supposed to be together and it would cost Kyol his position.
The Shadow Reader starts off with a bang when McKenzie is kidnapped by the fae rebels. This is the start of nonstop action that made it difficult to catch my breath - in the best way possible. The rebels are lead by Aren Jorreb, and he has taken McKenzie in the hopes that he can convince her to side with the rebels and read the fissure shadows for them. Little does Aren know that McKenzie has no intention of doing such a thing, and she tries to escape in about a hundred different ways during her stay with the rebels. But the rebels are chipping away at her defense of the fae king and the Court. What if she really has been working for the bad guys all this time?
New author Sandy Williams blew me away with her ability to create smart, fully imagined characters. McKenzie is an awesome leading lady. There wasn't one time when I thought she was being stupid or annoying. Her decisions made sense. And the men.....oooooh, the men! The love triangle in this book is the very best kind - there is no right or wrong answer, no smarter choice.
Kyol stands for honor and duty. He supports his king, who was also his childhood friend, with unwavering dedication. He's spent the past ten years keeping McKenzie at arm's length for fear their feelings would be discovered. But does he really love her or has he been using her all this time?
"I dedicated my life to my king. I should have dedicated it to you".
Aren is a passionate and confident leader. His quick temper is matched only be his gentleness and his willingness to do anything for his people. His intense stare and sexy smile make it hard for McKenzie to hate him, as does the fact that he continues to heal her after each of her daring escape attempts. But is what he says about the Court true, or is he really the bad guy?
“Fine," he says, his words coming out breathless. "I'll save your precious sword-master, McKenzie. But I will never, ever give you back to him.”
Ahhhhhhhh!!! (That's my fangirl scream...). This book was simply amazing. You spend most of the time trying to decide who the bad guy is and who the good guy is, and how on earth this is going to end. The story was spellbinding, addictive, and reminiscent of Moning's Fever series. Even though I can see how a reader might be on either team here, I am literally in love with Aren. Add him to my book boyfriends list! And read this book......NOW!