Sunday, October 21, 2012

ARC Review - The Shattered Dark (McKenzie Lewis #2) - by Sandy Williams

McKenzie Lewis has a gift. It allows her access to a world few have seen, and even fewer can comprehend. It’s her secret. And it exists in the shadows… McKenzie was a normal college student, save for one little twist: she’s a shadow reader, someone who can both see the fae and track their movements between our world and the Realm. It’s a gift for which she has been called insane, one for which she has risked family and friends—and one that has now plunged her into a brutal civil war between the fae. With the reign of the king and his vicious general at an end, McKenzie hoped to live a more normal life while exploring her new relationship with Aren, the rebel fae who has captured her heart. But when her best friend, Paige, disappears McKenzie knows her wish is, for now, just a dream. McKenzie is the only one who can rescue her friend, but if she’s not careful, her decisions could cost the lives of everyone she’s tried so hard to save.

Release Date: October 30, 2012
Publisher: Ace
Genre: Urban fantasy, PNR, fae
Pages: 304
Purchase at: Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Special thanks to ACE for providing a review copy!

Sandy Williams has done it again.  The Shattered Dark is an action-packed tale filled with love, betrayal, rebellion and heartache.  It is an intense, well-written book that will have you shouting for more when you read the final page.  After reading this book, the upcoming third book in this series has become my "most anticipated book" of 2013.   

The Shattered Dark begins with the kidnapping of McKenzie's best friend, Paige.  McKenzie immediately begins the search for Paige and is convinced that the fae are responsible.  At the same time, a battle is waging between the "rebels" (Aren and Lena's group) and the "remnants" (those still loyal to the recently deposed king).  McKenzie is in the middle of this war because of her shadow reading abilities, and she is trying to take her relationship slow with Aren, even though in her heart, she seems to want nothing more than time with the sexy fae.

That's just like him, shrugging off the fact that people want to kill him, but I hate that he's a target.  I might be trying to take our relationship slow, but losing him would devastate me.

Without rehashing the plot, I can say that there are various plot lines that Williams weaves together effortlessly.  One thing I want to touch on are the relationships in this book.  There are many relationship focal points, and some of the relationships are not what we thought they were after the first book in this series.  The main relationship centers around Aren and McKenzie, although Kyol is present and plays an extremely important role in this book.  After The Shadow Reader, I think it's safe to say that Kyol's judgment does not always ring true.  There is a scene in The Shattered Dark where his judgment of former Court fae leads to major problems.  

The other obvious relationship in this book has developed into one of my favorite fictional couples.  Aren and McKenzie grow more as a couple, especially on McKenzie's side of things.  However, all is not smooth sailing, and the readers are faced with shocking ending in regards to these two.  Although Mackenzie spends a great deal of this book coming to terms with Aren's past, it is obvious what her feelings are by the end.

Aren pulls me gently toward him.  "You told me you wanted time.  I've given it to you, and I'll give you as long as you need, McKenzie.  I love you."  He tucks a lock of my hair behind my my ear.  "You're worth waiting a decade for."

Another significant plot point is McKenzie's struggle with her life as a shadow reader versus her desire to lead a normal human life.  At this point, I think it would be difficult for McKenzie to extract herself from the fae realm.  She has been in too deep for too long.  However, I think that she does need to find a balance between the two worlds so that she can grow a bit as a person.   

The character that shows the most development in The Shattered Dark is Aren.  Kyol isn't in this book quite as much as the last one, and McKenzie is still deciding what she really wants in her life.  We learn a lot more about Aren and his past, and how he's been spending all of his time making up for past sins.  Aren had a difficult past, without a lot of direction.  We see why he followed Thrain, what he did when he realized what type of fae Thrain was, and we see the man Aren is trying to become.  We see that Aren has a very strong sense of honor, as much or more so than Kyol.  

The ending of this book left my head spinning.  Decisions are made for McKenzie that she has absolutely no control over.  The ending broke my heart.  McKenzie sacrificed her well-being for her friends, and is rewarded with something that is a game changer, and something that she really doesn't want.  It will be interesting to see how this twist in the story is handled moving forward.  

Sandy Williams writes a brilliant story that I couldn't put down.  If you are a fan of fae, PNR, and expertly written fantasy worlds, you need to read this series now.  I'll be counting down the days until the next book in this series is released.

A million chaos clusters somersault in my stomach, and when he kisses me this time, I'm undone.  Nothing matters but him and us and this, the way he makes me feel like I'm everything to him.


Mariya said...

AHHHHHHHH! That second quote does sexy things to me! LOL

Krista said...

I really want to read this series!

Talk Supe said...

Yup, I think I would literally melt if someone says that to me.


Jamie said...

LOL! There were some better quotes that I left out for fear or spoiling too much. I can't wait to hear y'alls reaction to this book.

Krista - yes - Read this - such a good, well-written series!

Liesel K Hill said...

I'd actually never heard of that, but it sounds kind of fantastic! I'll TBR it! Thanks for the review! :D

Melliane said...

I really enjoyed this one as well, it was a great book and I loved the ideas. I'm so curious for the following events now. great review!

Van Pham said...

Awesome review, I can't wait till my copy comes home next week!

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