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on 30 April 2014

The last time I read any Fae books that held me captivated from beginning to end was the Fever series... Don't get me wrong, I am not comparing these novels, I'm simply stating how much I loved this first book in Sandy Williams Shadow Reader series...

I absolutely loved the way this book was written, the entirety from McKenzie's POV... we move along from page to page in her time, her zone, her mind and her feelings... I loved how powerful an impact this book had on me, I was literally gripped within the first few chapters and I was devastated that my 'normal' life had to carry on, that I had to go to work, that I had to sleep...

I can't describe the story, or maybe I don't want to... I've just finished the final line and all I want to do is soak up all the words and feelings that I'm feeling...

No great cliff hanger, no great 'OMG' anywhere near the end but nonetheless, I need that next book...

I know I'm only a few books into this new year - I can hazard a guess and say that I doubt there will be a book that I read anytime soon that will wipe these memories away from me... (apart from, hopefully, the next Shadow Reader book)

I really can't say what has gripped me apart from the way this book was written. Absolute magic for me!!!
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on 10 January 2012
Sandy Williams debut book is a fun, action packed, emotionally charged adventure. I was intrigued when I saw the blurb for this on Goodreads and bought and read it the same day - any book that grips me so much that I stay up half the night reading is a keeper for me.

McKenzie is a human woman with a talent that makes her invaluable to the fae. Not only does she have the second sight which enables her to see through Fae glamour, she is a shadow reader, which means that when a fae teleports, she can map where that fae has traveled to. King Atroth recruited her when she was barely sixteen and ten years later she is still called upon.

Determined to lead a normal life, which is not possible when Fae are popping in unexpectedly wherever she goes, and it's affecting her life, her family thinks she's crazy, her school is running out of patience with her, and her crush on Kyol Taltrayn-the King's sword-master, is going nowhere. But when McKenzie is abducted everything she thought she knew is turned upside down and she doesn't know who to trust.

Mckenzie unlike most urban fantasy heroines isn't strong, brave or amazingly powerful, she's just a normal girl who happens to have a talent for tracking. She relies on her wits to help her escape rather that her powers and manages to keep her head when all around everyone is losing theirs.

I'm not normally fond of love triangles but this was so well done and the characters so real that it didn't bother me at all, I found both Kyol and Aren intriguing and the romance was built gradually that it felt natural, though I do admit the end felt a bit 50s love scene. Apart from a few minor niggles which are barely worth mentioning as I was having too much fun reading, I found The Shadow Reader a enjoyable book and look forward to reading more from this author.
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on 8 January 2014
This electrifying tale that had me sat on the edge of my seat throughout, is an outstanding debut novel of great premise! I was literally blown away by the cast of captivating characters, interesting concepts and non-stop action-packed adventure that was relentless.

I am so impressed by this acomplished author whose work i would highly recomend!
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Leading lady McKenzie has worked for the Fae Court for a decade; her ability to read the shadows left when a Fae fissures (teleports) to another location useful in tracking down rebel Fae. For 10 years McKenzie's identity has only been known by a few Fae in order to reduce the risk she may become a target, yet McKenzie is tired of the Fae war that wages. She's lost contact with her parents (after all it's understandable they questioned her sanity when she started talking to invisible Fae in her teens) and friendships are difficult to maintain when she can be whisked away to the Fae realm on a mission for an unspecified period of time. Yet McKenzie also has another secret; she's in love with the Fae King's sword master Kyol. Any liaison between human and Fae is forbidden so their relationship has developed no further than a few furtive kisses, yet suddenly McKenzie is thinking that perhaps if there was no Fae in her life, she might have been happily married and started a family by now.

When Rebel Fae capture McKenzie and hope to use her Shadow Reader ability to invade the Fae palace and overthrow/kill the King, McKenzie has no intention of helping them. She remains loyal to the Fae Court despite attempts of coercion and threats, yet events unfold that at last have McKenzie doubting whether her actions for the Fae Court have been the right ones.

This is an excellent start to a new series but it is a little difficult to label. Is it urban fantasy? Is it a magical epic fantasy? There is a darkness to the plot that could have been at odds with the magical elements, plus many key figures remain ambivalent throughout much of the plot. Both love interests Kyol and rebel leader Aren appear far from heroic at times as both manipulate, mislead, or physically hurt McKenzie to ensure her co-operation. I'm unsure at this stage who I would prefer she ends up with. The romance takes a back seat much of the time though as McKenzie is teleported to a variety of locations and meet a number of Fae with abilities thought to be extinct. The ideas surrounding the Fae are clever and imaginative; the ability to fissure in particular is a very handy skill (especially in a sword fight). 4½ stars
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I admit I can see why this book was so popular and I myself gave it high points. BUT... like with the hype surrounding Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent, I wasn't feeling much love for the main characters. I was just not connecting with them.

McKenzie, Kyol, Aren... They are like contours or shadow puppets, so as the rest of the characters. They are alright, but the only guy who was remotely interesting was that shady aristocrat who could read minds. I think my problem with this trio is that they are too whitewashed, too noble and righteous, that it becomes somewhat boring. I don't want black and white, I want shades of grey, I want a hint of greed, laziness, arrogance, pride and selfishness. You know, some human weaknesses even in tiny little things?

I also couldn't find any similarities with Fever books which someone mentioned before. There is no comparison to the complexities of Barrons and V'lane here. At all.

All in all, it's a meh review despite plenty of action and kick-ass personalities. I didn't like how human aspects of McKenzie's life, her friends and family were barely mentioned, I didn't like how she wasn't compensated enough for what she was doing for the King. So, yeah, great writing, plenty of potential, but not enough depth to be invested in this series yet. We'll see.
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on 9 November 2014
Fantastic series! Not to be missed!
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on 2 November 2015
Good Buy
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