Review: The Sharpest Blade by Sandy Williams (Shadow Reader #3)
December 31 2013
Mass Market Paperback
Received from publisher
Kick Ass Chick – McKenzie Lewis
From Goodreads –
Torn between two worlds.
Torn between two lives.
McKenzie Lewis’s ability to read the shadows has put her—and …those she loves—in harm’s way again and again. The violence must end, but will the cost of peace be more devastating than anyone ever imagined?
After ten years of turmoil, the life McKenzie has always longed for may finally be within her grasp. No one is swinging a sword at her head or asking her to track the fae, and she finally has a regular—albeit boring—job. But when a ruthless enemy strikes against her friends, McKenzie abandons her attempt at normalcy and rushes back to the Realm.
With the fae she loves and the fae she’s tied to pulling her in different directions, McKenzie must uncover the truth behind the war and accept the painful sacrifices that must be made to end it. Armed with dangerous secrets and with powerful allies at her side, her actions will either rip the Realm apart—or save it.
The Sharpest Blade is the third and final book in Sandy William’s The Shadow Reader series. (Once upon a time, Goodreads listed this as the McKenzie Lewis series (and I did doo). Don’t get confused – it’s the same series. I find the title The Shadow Reader series suits this better :))
I hope this doesn’t come across wrong because I don’t mean it to but in case, just remember that this is a compliment to the series and to this book. I opened this book and was pulled in immediately. Then before I knew it, it was finished. It’s not that this book reads quickly or easily as lots of stuff happens but it’s the sort of book that is smooth and that is written in such a way that the story doesn’t need prompting. What I mean is that is instead of experiencing ups and downs and lulls and peaks as with other books, this book (and the second book) just sort of happens. That is not to say that there aren’t exciting events in the books – there is tons of action and sweet romantic moments too – but it’s almost as though the story just tells itself. I’m sure Sandy did not feel that way while writing this book but it reads that way and that is very good.
Okay, now that I’ve confused you all a bit, let’s talk story.
Lena is the only fae who, by blood, deserves the throne. But she has yet to be named queen and is still being challenged for it by those called ‘false bloods’. This latest ‘threat’ to Lena is causing all sorts of trouble. Add to that a serum that makes humans able to see the fae and you’ve got one hell of a story. Those are the main storylines in this book but there is a very strong romantic sub-plot as well.
McKenzie is the main heroine in this series. She is human but has a special ability to not only see the fae but she can also read their shadows. (When they fissure, travel through the realms, she can see where they go. Very handy to those trying to find criminals and other shady characters in the Realm.) She is spunky but a little lost at the beginning of the series. In the last book, McKenzie ended up bonded to a boy. I won’t tell you which boy but let’s just say it added tons of confusion to McKenzie’s already befuddled heart. I liked how Sandy wrote the emotions traveling through the bond and how it also saved McKenzie’s butt more than once but I didn’t love how often this bond or the emotions traveling through it were mentioned. It was a bit much for me at times. But honestly, that is the only beef I had with this book – and it’s just a little one.
Speaking of boys, let’s talk Kyol and Aren. OMG could Sandy have written two more delicious men?! Yes, while reading this series I have wanted to smack both of them and in the same breath, I have wanted to smack a kiss on them. Sandy managed to write two characters that are well matched for our lead heroine and also managed to make it very difficult to come up with a decision on who is best made for her! Now before you roll your eyes because you are now seeing that this series involves a love triangle of sorts, let me explain a bit further.
From the very first book, McKenzie has been in love with Kyol. In fact, she’s been in love with him for ten year. Yes, ten. If you are not a fan of love triangles, don’t dismiss this series. Yes, there are multiple interests in these books but this is a love triangle done differently and it is done extremely well. I always liked how Sandy approached this in all the books. Since about the middle of the first book, McKenzie has known who she wanted and even though she has moments of doubt, she pretty much stays true to her heart through the entire series. Now whether or not she ends up with her heart’s desire is something you will have to read the book to find out. (As if I would tell you that ;))
By the end of The Sharpest Blade, McKenzie has not only finally earned that sword she carries on the book’s covers but she is now completely comfortable with herself and her life among the fae. I loved watching her transformation from the very first book. Kyol and Aren have also matured during this series and all for the better. Each metamorphosis matches the character which is important to me when reading urban fantasy. This genre is often about the main character and her closest allies becoming the people they were born to become and Sandy writes that theme beautifully in The Shadow Reader books and especially in this latest intallment.
The world in these books is nothing like I’ve read before. The details in the lands and also in the politics are incredible. If you like books that go into details of such a matter, definitely give this series a try.
I feel it would have been easy for Sandy to try to write more than three books in the series and even though I’m going to miss it, I’m glad she didn’t. This series is tight and feels complete. Sometimes authors try to add more books and it just ends up diluting the storylines and the characters. Here we have strong characters and a strong and exciting story that is wonderfully entertaining. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for other works by this author. Sandy has a wonderful voice and a vivid imagination – a great combination for an author.
As for The Sharpest Blade, it really does finish off the series beautifully and I’m sure I will be re-reading these books in the future.
Books in The Shadow Reader series –
The Shadow Reader
The Shattered Dark
The Sharpest Blade