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The Shadow Reader (A Shadow Reader Novel Book 1) by [Williams, Sandy]
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The Shadow Reader (A Shadow Reader Novel Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 139 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Featuring a gutsy heroine and plenty of fay lore, this urban fantasy debut should appeal to fans of Seanan McGuire's October Daye novels." ---Library Journal

About the Author

Sandy Williams writes urban fantasy novels and is the author of the Shadow Reader series.

Amy Rubinate has narrated over 140 audiobooks and has won multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards. She has a degree in oral interpretation of literature and has won national awards for poetry reading. Amy has also narrated many interactive children's books and provided character voices for toys and video games.

Product Details

  • File Size: 791 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; Ace Mass-Market ed. edition (October 25, 2011)
  • Publication Date: October 25, 2011
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0052REUJI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,575 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
There's something special about the Shadow Reader that sets it apart from other books in the urban fantasy genre. At first I couldn't put my finger on what this ephemeral bit of awesomeness was, but upon consideration it occurs to me that this book is an epic. Where most urban fantasy novels go for the supernatural mystery angle, this novel is high, epic fantasy set on a stage of the modern world, overlaid with the more fantastic world of the fey.

The story pulls you in from the start. Within a few pages of chapter one, you are racing across campus with McKenzie, fleeing fae rebels intent on kidnapping her for her unique ability. She's a shadow reader of unusual strength, someone that sees through fae glamor, and can track them by studying the portals they use to transport between locations and worlds. As we follow the story we discover that the fae are at war. A rebel force of fey has risen up and seek to supplant the current king with one of their own. McKenzie is human, but she has served in the fae king's war for years, tracking rebel leaders. Her unique skills have made her a valuable prize, and a dangerous enemy. She is kidnapped by the rebels during the first part of the story. Their intent? To either convert her to their cause or kill her.

The story sweeps us into the war. We travel between the camps of the rebels and the king, learn their truths, and begin to unravel their lies. We experience betrayals, victories, and losses, and through it all we doubt and wonder which side is the right one and who it is McKenzie should trust. This is a story about war, and ends with an epic series of cathartic events that promise to leave readers satisfied (it left me yelling "I LOVE THIS BOOK!" while my poor husband was trying to watch football).
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a first effort it is extremely polished. The characters were consistent and the story arch was well managed. I think technically it was an excellent book. 4.5 stars to the editors. And I liked that it was pretty much self contained as well... no cliff hangers and no unraveled major threads.

However, when I finished the book I was satisfied but didn't want to stay with the characters or read more... didn't give them a second thought really beyond needing to write this review. And while I would read the author again I would not read another book with this particular main character. She's a decent paranormal romance heroine of the 'needs rescuing' variety but she would be an annoying urban fantasy character. She just didn't have enough depth, self respect, skill... to be a repeat book character in an urban fantasy series. And there really wasn't room to grow.

As for the rest of the characters in the book, except for the 'husband' of a character who is actually in love with someone else, they were ultimately flat and I didn't care to know them better. I read it last night and already they are fading into ether.

For four and five stars I usually need to really enjoy the characters more, get to know them and become more invested in them. Also the story only had one surprise. The rest was predictable.

So I'm going to give it 3 stars with the caveat that if I could I would give it 3.5 stars for author potential and I look forward to further author efforts.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
There is something shocking about McKenzie Lewis, the protagonist in THE SHADOW READER by Sandy Williams. She's not a super woman/warrior goddess/magical titan capable of destroying the universe with a wink. Nope, unlike many urban fantasy heroines these days, McKenzie is pretty normal. She does have one ability that sets her apart from the rest of us; she's a shadow reader, someone who can watch a fae `fissure' (instantly teleport from one location to another) and know exactly where they will reappear. A highly coveted skill when there is a fae civil war going on, which is why McKenzie finds herself being sought after by both sides.

Where do I start with all the things I loved about THE SHADOW READER? The fae mythology wasn't overly complex, but it was unique and perfectly suited to this world. I especially loved the idea of chaos lusters, tiny, visible lightning bolts that dance over the skin under certain circumstances like when fae touch humans. And speaking of touching, the tug-of-war going on with McKenzie's heart was nothing compared to what I felt. How do you choose between the honorable warrior Kyol loyal to the fae king and the determined rebel leader Aren?

Another highlight for me was the constant cloud of doubt I was kept in. I was thrown back and forth suspecting first Kyol then Aren and back again so many times that I got dizzy. Just like McKenzie, I never knew who to fully trust, who to love, or who to align with. And just when I'd think I `d finally figured it out, something would happen and raise the questions all over again. The action was relentless and the
emotions kept so sky high that I couldn't decide until the very end.

THE SHADOW READER is a fantastically fun urban fantasy! One of the best debuts of the year.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think some books need a warning. Advisory : love triangle. Now, with that being said...

Fae can walk unseen among the humans. Only those with the Sight can see them even when they are invisible. And some humans can even "localize" the Fae when they fissure (teleportation through light. Kind of).

McKenzie Lewis is the best shadow-reader in the world. That is why her existence is a well-kept secret. She is the Court's secret weapon. And the Court's Sword master is in love with her. But she knows nothing can ever happen between Kyol and her. She has known for ten years, but still, she loves him and...
Then the Rebels kidnap her.
With the very sexy Aren (I totally approuve) among them. McKenzie hates them. She hates him. But they aren't as ruthless as she was told they were. And they are nicer to her.
It is war. It shouldn't be her war, but she has been forced into it. And now she wonders if she has been working for the wrong people all this time.

I think the same book with more politics : a five star. Because I just can't believe that someone fights a war without being remotely interested for the country (here, world) one fights for.
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