The Shadow Reader

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The Shadow Reader

Book, #1

This was to me a good example of wishing romance wasn't part of the plot. It's not that I disliked any of the guys or that I had a problem with their interactions with the main character (McKenzie), it was more I didn't feel I needed to have her deliberating over whether Kyol or Aren when there were slightly more important matters to worry over (like the civil war brewing, mass murder of humanity--small things really). For the record this is categorized as an urban fantasy--which by most people's definition means that any romance therein should be in the secondary if not third spot to the main plot. If this had been a paranormal romance, I would have been more forgiving.

McKenzie began the novel as someone quite sure of herself. She had a plan. The plan was working for her. If the plan was a bit more idealistic then her situation warranted, well it was still a workable plan with flexibility built in. The plan fell apart when Aren decided to involve his little (well it's not really little) rebellion and McKenzie started to understand that maybe everything she was told wasn't quite the truth (something most readers could have told her fairly quickly). Not that Aren was completely correct, but every side always believes they are the one true truth.

Between Kyol and Aren I can see why McKenzie felt drawn to them both. Pretty much everything she wanted Kyol to say or do Aren did, and everything she wanted Aren NOT to do, Kyol was. I didn't honestly prefer one over the other. Drawbacks to a relationship with either was kind of steep, something that McKenzie definitely thought about with Kyol but not so much with Aren. I do think that part of why she chose who she did was based less on she loved him more and more on things would be a bit easier. I'm not sure it's a good sign if the guy you chose says "I know my rival will love you just as much if not more than me" and you can't argue against that.

I'll give Williams credit however--everything she promises in terms of plot, mysteries and action have a definitive ending without closing the doors to something more. To say more would be a spoiler or twenty, but suffice to say Williams delivers. Once you get past the romance entanglements the action and the fight scenes are worth the entrance fee. McKenzie isn't perfect, she's not a master and she doesn't pull hat tricks at the last second--she makes mistakes, she fights a bit dirty and she doesn't go down without blood being spent. At the end of the day I can't ask for much more from my Urban Fantasy heroine.

Book Blurb for The Shadow Reader

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.

Night Owl Reviews Sep, 2011 3.25