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I Belong

Review: The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams

TitleThe Shadow Reader

Author: Sandy Williams

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: McKenzie Lewis (Book 1)

Publication Date: October 25, 2011

Format: Paperback, 307 Pages

ISBN-10: 1937007014 (Ace/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-1937007010 (Ace/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Kiwi


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.

Quick & Dirty: Love triangles amid all out war.

Opening SentenceMy skin tingles a moment before a slash of white light flashes at the front of the lecture hall.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

In this series about the fae and the humans who love them, there is a civil war of sorts going on, or maybe a coup d’etat is more like it. The current king has made some disturbing decisions as of late and a band of rebels have taken up against him.

Enter into the story the king’s sword-master and best bud Kyol Taltrayn. Kyol is in charge of some of the king’s troops, and for the last ten years, the safety, training and well being of their best shadow-reader. What no one counted on was Kyol developing feelings for the young woman, or her feelings for him.

And in the other corner we have Aren Jorreb, rebel leader. When Aren and company learn of the identity of the court’s secret weapon, they do not hesitate in snatching her from her realm, and dragging her with them. Aren also didn’t count on falling for the woman, nor did he assume that he could not win her to his side, thinking himself one heck of catch. *roll eyeballs*

And torn between these two is McKenzie Lewis, Houston college student and to the fae a nalkin-shom, or shadow reader. She has the ability to not only see the fae but also determine where they came from or are going to by reading the shadows of the images left behind when they magically pop in and out. Neat trick, that. When she is kidnapped by the rebels, she meets their leader, and is attracted in the same manner to him as she is to her wannabe boyfriend from the king’s Court. Believing she is just suffering from a case of Stockholm syndrome, she continuously tries to escape him, and his army, to return to her previously scheduled life. But the rebels are having none of it, and are keeping her hidden with them until she agrees to help out their cause. Also while with the rebels, she learns a lot of things, including the fae language, which the king previously forbade her to have knowledge of. Handy when you want to keep the girl completely ignorant of your real reason for hunting the fae you want gone.

But in the end, by the time she is attacked, injured, nabbed and threatened by the King, she has switched her allegiance to the side of the rebels, and is determined to help them achieve their goal of an end to the war. And that she does, with the help of none other than the king’s best bud himself, Kyol. When things settle down, she is forced to choose between her loves, and she picks….. (sorry, you’ll just have to read the book for that one)

I can sort of see her point for picking as she did, but I’m not altogether sure he’s the one I would’ve chosen. But then, I am notoriously on the side of the loser at most times, so that’s just the way I roll.

So, I’ve heard rumors that there will be a next book after this one, which is cool. I want to know where everything went from here, how the new royal is taking on to her new role…hey maybe she can even find someone, might make her less of a nasty witch even. Sorry, she wasn’t exactly my favorite character.

Notable Scene:

“Kelia!” Naito flies across the forest floor almost as quickly as Aren fissures here. He drops to his knees, takes his hand in hers. “Baby, hang on.”

“Naito,” she whispers, focusing on his face.

Aren takes out a knife, cuts through the bindings on her side. He flings the cuirass aside to place his hands over Kelia’s bullet wounds. His hands glow blue as he flares his magic. The tension floods out of Kelia’s body. An instant later, she vanishes.

I stop breathing. No. She couldn’t have died. Aren was healing her. He was…

A spasm wracks through Naito. An anguished scream rips from his throat.

“No!” He reaches for her rising soul-shadow, clutching at the air as if he can keep it in this world. “No!”

The white shadow dissipates.


I back away. Kelia’s dead. Kyol’s gone. Fae are still dying around us. I don’t know if any rebels have made it to the Sidhe Tol. Don’t know how much longer until the reinforcements from the other attacks arrive.

Naito screams again. His pain brings tears to my eyes.

God, we shouldn’t be here. We shouldn’t have come.

I take another step back. My tears stream down my face, mixing with the rain.

Another step back and I hit something. I put a hand behind me to balance against the tree, only it’s not a tree.

I start to turn, but something wraps around me. Something invisible.

The forest blurs, darkens, then reappears in a shade of blue. A hand covers my mouth. I can’t suck in enough air to scream.

I shiver. Not from the icy grip of the In-Between but from the wet tongue that slowly licks up my neck.

McKenzie Lewis Series:

1. The Shadow Reader

2. The Shattered Dark (October 30, 2012)

FTC Advisory: Ace/Penguin provided me with a copy of The Shattered Dark. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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