The Sharpest Blade (Shadow Reader, #3) by Sandy Williams

The Sharpest Blade, Shadow Reader #3, Sandy WilliamsSynopsis: 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

Review: I read the first Shadow Reader novel a couple of years ago, but due to the supposed cliffhanger nature of the second book I decided to hold off on continuing the series until it was completed.  After a back-to-back read I don’t feel either novel was as strong as the original.

I do appreciate the world that Sandy Williams creates and how it intertwines and conflicts with the human world.  The fae culture is very developed and unique in this series.  I definitely wouldn’t say it’s a boring read because things are constantly happening, but I honestly didn’t feel as if I was on the edge of my seat waiting for what would happen either. I kind of figured out where things would go, it was just a matter of how the story would get there.

Most of the time I actually felt these books could be better suited to the young adult genre than the adult genre.  Part of that could be due to how immature McKenzie is sometimes along with the usual interrupted opportunities.  I am a big fan of good characterization (most of the time that keeps me engaged better than a plot will) and I felt like there was more to be desired when it comes to personality from these characters. I liked all of them more in the first book, but in the sequels there was more self-centered drama that I could have done without.

I felt like the love triangle was already settled in the first book, so I was annoyed with the perpetual reminders about why she chooses who she chooses.  The life bond situation served to annoy me more than entertain because it unnecessarily reinforced that idea.  That and its place in the story still didn’t make sense to me. She felt how she felt about that person before the bond, so why would she doubt her feelings now just because the feelings between both of them are connected? “Oh boo hoo, I’m connected to someone who loves me more than anything. Whatever shall I do?” Ultimately, I just really didn’t like the dynamics of the trio.

Though I have my gripes, I do think it’s a fairly solid trilogy overall.

*ARC Provided by the publisher.


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