I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
on October 30, 2012 and has 304 pages.
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Second in the Shadow Reader urban fantasy about a sort-of human who can read the shadows of the fae.
On the whole, I like this series even if McKenzie makes me a bit nuts. However, I like the twist that Williams has given the fae and their world, and I like her characters with their individual range of emotions and loyalties. There’s a depth here, and Williams keeps just enough untold to tease and tantalize me into looking forward to the next story.
You’d think that taking the palace would mean you’d won the war, but that’s not how it works and groups of Court fae are attacking everywhere. Nor are all the enemy on the outside. And things just get worse when Paige is pulled into the conflict.
It’s high drama and lotsa action with betrayals everywhere and someone playing a long game of his own.
Oh, gimme a break. Surely, SURELY, Paige would talk to McKenzie without leaping to conclusions?? Especially when she doesn’t particularly trust her partner. This part is poorly done and makes no sense. It’s enough for me to drop a point in its rating. Although, she does provide some food for thought when she tells McKenzie (who happens to be in their dungeon!) that these fae aren’t bad guys.
Oh, boy, McKenzie learns some very nasty facts about her lover…
We do learn how McKenzie was freed from the nuthouse and why she feels such loyalty to Paige.
Then there’s that lame plan for the Boulder raid. What were they thinking? If this is typical of their planning, I’m not surprised it’s taken so long to overthrow the Court.
Still, considering how Williams has left this story with that tragic turnabout, it’s making me a bit nuts having to wait until this coming December for Sharpest Blade!
Even though the rebels have taken the seat of Realm government, life is still unsettled and ferocious battles continue. It’s McKenzie’s need to find a balance between human and fae that sets off this latest complication.
Worse, there are traitors amongst them, pulling their strings, betraying them.
McKenzie, a shadow reader who switched sides, has lost everything she struggled for in the human world. Paige is about her only human friend, and she’s been kidnapped. Sosch is a kimki, a creature who can sense gates, and he seems to have bonded with McKenzie.
Aren Jorreb was one of the rebel leaders and is in love with McKenzie. Naito is human and still mourning Kelia. Lee is Naito’s brother who panders to their fae-hating father, Nakano, while lying to everyone else.
Kyol Taltrayn was the king’s sword-master until he killed the king in Shadow Reader, 1. And came too late to understand how much he loved McKenzie.
Lena, from the high nobility of Adaris, is intended to be the new queen, and she’s not very good about security. Sethan was her brother, the fae they had intended to put on the throne since their father, Briant, had been tortured to death. Vinn, Trev, and Nalst are guards. Shane is a human, another shadow reader like McKenzie who has come over to the rebels. Brenth is an illusionist and Jacia, daughter of Srillan, who was supposed to form a life bond with Kyol have crossed to the rebels. Kavok is the archivist at the palace with an ability to control weather.
Lorn, Kelia’s life bond mate, insists McKenzie shadow read for him in exchange for information. Aylen is an associate he wants to track. Sara works at a wine store and has some connections in the Realm.
Lord Hison, an elder of Dice and high noble of Jutur Province, is very antihuman, and yet his support is vital for Lena’s being accepted.
Brene almost became King Atroth’s sword-master, before she was broken. Now she’s tor’um. Tylan is a Court fae, an illusionist. Caelar appears to be leading one of the bands of Court fae; he loves Brene.
Brad Jenkins is the owner of an aggregation Web site in Las Vegas.
Thrain is a false blood who kidnapped McKenzie in the beginning which brought her to the king’s attention. If I’m interpreting Williams’ correctly, “false bloods” are fae who violently rebel, “claiming to be the chosen progeny of the Tar Sidhe, the magically superior fae who ruled…before”. Tor’um, walkers, are fae who don’t have enough magic to fissure. “Most are born that way, some lose their magic later in life.” Chaos lusters, edarratae, are like miniature lightning bolts that flash along or from the skin, I think, when a fae is on earth or a human is in their world or when a human and fae touch. Fissures are a manipulation of the atmosphere to allow travel between earth and the Realm, the world of the fae. Court fae are the bad guys.
The Cover and Title
The cover is McKenzie in a cropped tank top and low-rise jeans and knee-high boots, standing in the floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the city and holding her sword. Just to be sure you don’t miss that this is a bit of fantasy, the sky is a lilac background for a bubble of fairyland.
I think it’s more that the title refers to McKenzie’s feelings at the end, and it’s The Shattered Dark that becomes her world.