The Shadow Reader hits the ground running as the fabulous first installment in what promises to be a terrific trilogy. First, some background: at the age of sixteen, McKenzie Lewis began seeing things and beings she could not explain, soon learning that she was experiencing the Fae. Prized for her ability as a human with the Sight, and also because she could read shadows and map where the Fae fissure (travel) to, McKenzie was kidnapped by a false-blood Fae seeking to overthrow the king. Rescued by Kyol, the Fae king’s swordmaster, McKenzie agreed to work for the Court.
When The Shadow Reader begins, ten years have passed, McKenzie having worked for the Fae Court in exchange for them paying her living expenses. Having made up her mind to retire and live a normal life, especially since Kyol has made it clear that the two of them can never be together, McKenzie tries once again to take the final for her last class fulfilling the requirements for her English degree. In the middle of the exam, Kyol shows up, telling McKenzie she must go with him as the rebels have located her. When their escape goes awry, McKenzie ends up as a captive of the rebels, whose leader, Aren, proves quite different than she expects. While the rebels attempt various means to employ McKenzie’s help, she learns that not everything she has believed for the past ten years regarding the Fae wars may be true.
The intricate world-building regarding the Fae gets experienced seemingly first-hand by the reader thanks to the imagery Williams utilizes in this excellent novel. Likewise, the intriguing, distinct characters, primary and secondary, add further dimension to the tale. Despite her numerous unsuccessful escape attempts and other missteps, McKenzie proves a very likeable protagonist, demonstrating the difficulties of a young woman literally caught between two worlds, discovering that she does not really fit in either–at least not initially. With its notable balance between story, world, and character, The Shadow Reader will appeal to fans of all types of fantasy, and will have readers racing to get book two, The Shattered Dark.
- Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Ace (October 25, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1937007014
- ISBN-13: 978-1937007010