(McKenzie Lewis #2)
Release: October 30, 2012
McKenzie was a normal college student, save for one little twist: she’s a shadow reader, someone who can both see the fae and track their movements between our world and the Realm. It’s a gift for which she has been called insane, one for which she has risked family and friends—and one that has now plunged her into a brutal civil war between the fae.Review:
With the reign of the king and his vicious general at an end, McKenzie hoped to live a more normal life while exploring her new relationship with Aren, the rebel fae who has captured her heart. But when her best friend, Paige, disappears McKenzie knows her wish is, for now, just a dream. McKenzie is the only one who can rescue her friend, but if she’s not careful, her decisions could cost the lives of everyone she’s tried so hard to save.
The Shattered Dark is urban fantasy gold - nonstop action, complex world building, and an absorbing romance. I adored the first book in this series. In fact, I read it in two nights staying up until four in the morning. Reading this sequel wasn't much different. I read it in one day, finishing at 2 A.M. with a sigh. Sandy Williams really knows how to suck me in to her stories and I was completely emerged in McKenzie's world while reading.
In The Shadow Reader, Williams set the pace for her series with an energetic plot that never faltered. I worried that book two would not be able to keep up with that pace, but as it turns out I had nothing to worry about. The fast pace continues in The Shattered Dark, starting off right away with run-for-your-life action, which in this series means sword fights and fae and appearing out of nowhere through fissures. There is plenty of action in this book, with our heroine alternating between daring to join the battle and being ushered off to safety.
The rebels have defeated the previous king and won the castle, but now the real war has begun. The fae world is in an uproar and everyone is choosing sides between the rebels, including Aren, Lena, Naito and the others that McKenzie works with, the high nobles who oppose the rebels choice of Lena to supplant the king, and the 'remnants', the term the rebels use for those who still support the previous king's Court and are battling with the rebels. These battles provide for much of the story's action and travel from McKenzie's home town, to the Fae realm, to London, and back again.
Amidst all the fighting we have McKenzie and Aren. In the previous book much of the draw was the love triangle between these two and Kyol, the sword master for the previous king and McKenzie's long-term love interest. We watched as their relationship dissolved and McKenzie and Aren's began to heat up. Williams did a terrific job of writing a love triangle that wasn't at all annoying. I was completely lost in what would happen next. In this book we see how McKenzie and Aren's relationship evolves and struggles during the war. All they both want to do is spend some time together and get to know each other more, but the war and everything going on doesn't allow this to happen.
"I'm not a mistake, McKenzie,"he says softly, stopping beside me.
His voice is soothing, reassuring. My chest tightens, and a warm, tingling sensation rushes through me. That scares me. I've told myself to take this relationship slowly, but my heart refuses to listen. I'm growing too attached to him too quickly. I shouldn't be on the brink of falling in love with someone I know so little about. I shouldn't want to believe every word he says. That's what happened with Kyol. I loved him so blindly and so completely, I put my life on hold. I never questioned anything he told me, and I regret that so much.
Aren remains one of my favorite men in urban fantasy, with his messy curls, lazy smile, and intense feelings for McKenzie. He says some of the most swoon-worthy things I've ever read.
Aren pulls me gently toward him.
"You told me you wanted time. I've given it to you, and I'll give you as long as you need, McKenzie. I love you." He tucks a lock of my hair behind my ear. "You're worth waiting a decade for."
My one complaint about this book was the lack of time McKenzie and Aren were able to spend together romantically. But this is urban fantasy, not paranormal romance, and one of the things I love about this genre is how the romantic relationships move at a realistic pace and keep things interesting between the main couple. That is certainly the case with McKenzie and Aren.
The Shattered Dark was everything I wanted in this sequel. This remains one of my favorite series and after the bomb shell ending I am on the edge of my seat for book three. I highly recommend this book and this series!
“Nothing matters but him and us and this, the way he makes me feel like I’m everything to him. Sometime in the last month, he’s become everything to me.”
Recommended for fans of: urban fantasy, stories with Fae, sexy and brave heroes, action-packed plots, and smart heroines.