I was looking forward to reading a novel that could keep me hooked from the beginning to the end and although I've read some really good books in the past two weeks, the first in my top 3 is Shadow Reader.
Well... it could also be the fact that I kind of missed reading about fey :D And I'm talking about V'lane kind of fey (almost impossible to find something as good as that, those who've read Fever series by Karen Marie Moning know what I mean), so let me tell you there's so much I loved about this book, that I don't even know where to start.
The action is spread on two worlds: The Realm and Earth. There's this "chaos lusters" thing I liked a lot: they are like energetic waves passing from fae to human and back every time they touch. They are also the way to tell apart a fae in the human world and a human in the Realm.
Since McKenzie Lewis was sixteen - ten years ago - she's reading the shadows for the Fae King. All she wishes is to have a normal human life, but she can't. Kyol, the King's sword-master - and her secret love since she began working for the Court - has done all he could to protect her from the repercussions of the war they are having with the Rebels. But that's not nearly enough for her: although she appreciates his loyalty to his people and his King and the commitment he has for all his duties she wants him to break just one rule - the one that denies any relationship between a human and a fey.
"I'm sorry, kaesha."
I catch my breath. Kaesha. It's a term of endearment he calls me only when we're alone. I don't think he knows he said it-there's no hitch in his stride as he leads me across the courtyard-but if his soldiers overhear, if they report back to the king . . .
That's why she thinks about retiring, about what would be like to forget all of this, to graduate and just have a normal, human life. And then all the hell breaks loose... She's captured by Aren, son of Jorreb, the false-blood who's determined to overthrow the king.
Aren's nothing like Kyol. He's a rebel, and this says it (almost) all. As much as she tries to hate him, she can't. As a prisoner of the rebels, she learns another side of the war and some truths about the Court - especially about Kyol - she would have never guessed. More than that, she meets fae and human couples, the very thing she always wanted for her and Kyol. Now she must choose with both her mind and her heart whose side she's on, and believe me, this isn't an easy one.
I blink a few times. I try not to let my mouth hang open, but she's kissing the guy and despite the sound of his name, he's not fae.
Kelia takes a tiny step back, but keeps her hands on the man's chest, touching him like he might not be real. Now that they're not lip-locked, I note his disheveled black hair and the sharp planes of his face. He's at least half Asian, but 100 percent human.
Kelia kisses him again, longer, more deeply this time, and a chaos luster flickers from her face to his, shimmying down his neck to disappear under the bloodstained collar of his shirt.
I felt sorry for McKenzie a lot, there are times you'd think she's losing everything, times when you'll probably question her choices, but I totally understand her. She's going through some critical situations that tear apart her already bruised soul.
"Go ahead," he snarls. "Lie to me. Tell me you don't still have feelings for him."
Edarratae flash over his face. The blue lightning seems to buzz with his fury. The only time I've ever seen him close to this angry was when I called the cops with the vigilante's cell phone, but after the initial blowup, he turned cold and indifferent. He's not indifferent now.
I shift my gaze to his chest, watch it rise and fall with his furious breaths. He's right: I'd be lying if I said I don't still have feelings for Kyol-I do-but I'm not doing this just to save him. I'm doing it to save Aren, too.
I sometimes wanted to feel sorry for Kyol too, but as much as I tried, I couldn't feel it hard enough. I can't shake away the idea that in all this "loyalty" thing there's a little bit of cravenness as well. Not that he doesn't love her, he does...but maybe not enough to betray his principles. He also uses "I'm sorry" too often, although he doesn't even try to make things work between them.
And then there's Aren, who tries to win her trust in every way he can - weather it's just because he wants her to read the shadows for the Rebels instead of for the King or there could be some strange feelings there too, she doesn't know yet. In fact, she doesn't even know how she passed from trying to hate him to not wanting to hurt him in such a short time.
"I know," Aren says. "But I wanted to apologize. I don't want Taltrayn to convince you I'm the bad guy."
At that, I give a short laugh. "You are the bad guy, Aren."
He frowns, and I realize he's taking my words the wrong way.
"What I mean is you're the . . . well, the rebel. Kyol's the good guy. He's made mistakes, yes, but he loves me."
He cocks his head to the side. His gaze makes my skin tingle. The step he takes toward me is hesitant, careful, and when his silver eyes peer down at me, I stop breathing. His lips are so close. I remember the way they felt pressed against mine. I remember his taste, the heat of his edarratae.
The smallest distance separates us when he whispers, "You don't think I'm in love with you?"
"I . . ."
"He's had ten years to make you fall in love with him. I haven't had ten weeks! Tell me how that's fair!"
I'd love to talk about this book all day long, but I have this rule I made for myself, which is not to spoil any of your reading pleasure and I'm afraid I already revealed too much. And there's this other thing I'm dealing with every time I write a review for a book I fall in love with, like no matter what I say won't make it justice. There are many things you'll enjoy in this story: plenty of romance but also a lot of action, fighting and war scenes, love-able characters and a heroine you won't forget. I want you to discover it all by yourselves. McKenzie is a master in finding routes to escape. The only thing I dislike about it is that I have to wait until October for the sequel. But I hope that soon an audio-book will be available or even better, the novel will catch the eye of a Romanian publisher and I'll re-read it in my native language. How cool would that be?
Happy reading!show more