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Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy Review’

Description From Goodreads:
The Kingdom of Sieunes is rife with taverns, dirty streets, and clay pipe smoking citizens all toiling to feed their families and keep themselves in something little better than rags. With a foiled revolution just ten years prior still burning in the hearts of many, the royals enlist the aid of assassins to keep things in order. The townsfolk entertain themselves by dreaming of better times to come and regaling in stories of the undead said to walk the graveyards at night… and of Cameo the killer with corpse-like eyes…

Scarred and jaded Cameo is one of the most effective assassins in the employ of the Association, moving from one mission to the next as long as the alcohol keeps flowing. Her acceptance of the murder-for-hire lifestyle is thrown into doubt when she meets a local highwayman with a penchant for fine clothes and women, and then she begins to think about breaking with the company but no one ever breaks with the Association under good terms.

CAMEO THE ASSASSIN, by Dawn McCullough-White
Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Review: *** 3 Stars
The characters drew me into CAMEO THE ASSASSIN, and though I hated the ending, the novel was an entertaining read, and a nice break from physical perfection and honorable heroes.

Characters: **** 4 Stars
It was nice for once to have characters who aren’t physically perfect, or even very desirable. The author did a great job making me feel connected to these imperfect people and able to relate to their foibles.

Cameo is a coldly compassionate assassin, with dead gray eyes to match. She has a fairy tale monster reputation for living in graveyards and killing children who don’t go to bed, but she doesn’t kill indiscriminately…well, unless she’s paid to do so.  When she’s assigned to kill Black Opal, a notorious highwayman, she finds she can’t go through with it, and ends up alienating herself from the Association she works for in order to keep him alive. She’s an interesting mix of self-loathing, empathy, loneliness, warrior, and friend.

Black Opal, the apparent love interest, is a bit of an enigma. A dandy with a passion for fine coats and makeup, he is described both as pock-marked and handsome, and he has only one eye. While he is a womanizer, constantly picking up on ladies and whores alike, he has a soft spot for Cameo and becomes incredibly jealous any time she takes any interest, platonic or not, in another man.

Secondary characters include Bel (Opal’s partner in crime), Kyrian (a young acolyte who’s more than what he appears), and Wick (the leader of the Association and a witch capable of convincing everyone but Cameo that she’s a beautiful young temptress rather than an ugly old woman who smokes too much). Overall, a very well-rounded cast.

Plot: ** 2 Stars
The plot wasn’t terrible, but the ending killed it, no pun intended. There was a reasonably strong story arc with a good balance of action sequences and character development. However, it sometimes felt like the author was trying to build suspense by not telling the reader something that the character knows. For example, Cameo is given a task by her Master, but we’re not told what that task is until she’s practically done achieving it. Even given that, I probably wouldn’t have given the plot two stars, except that there was no ending. The book ends seconds after the climax, literally ending with an ellipsis and the word “End”. There are several plot points left open and no emotional release. I know the story continues in a trilogy, but each book should still be a complete novel.

Setting: ** 2 Stars
The story is set primarily on the road out of Lockenwood, in a quasi-eighteenth century world, but the characters just go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth…you get the idea. The description is limited, even when they visit taverns or inns along the way. I really wanted more sensory detail throughout the novel.

Romance: ** 2 Stars
Cameo and Black Opal are an odd pair. Arguably, neither is the ideal of beauty, and yet they are attracted to each other from the beginning. That being said, Opal is more concerned about his makeup and being desirable to everyone than he is about wooing Cameo (not that she would be easily wooed, but that’s beside the point). Meanwhile, Cameo is stuck in a loop of self-pity and can’t see that Opal likes her, despite his obvious jealousy when she’s around other men. Though they help each other through some rather horrific and violent events, they don’t actually come together in a romantic way until the last couple of pages.

Genre – Dark Adventure Fantasy: **** 4 Stars
CAMEO THE ASSASSIN is a pretty good representation of a Dark Fantasy novel, despite its flaws. There’s blood and violence, undead creatures, and two different graveyards. While I abhorred the ending of this first book, I imagine that the entire trilogy is probably a pretty decent story, and I may even give the second book, CAMEO AND THE HIGHWAYMAN, a chance.

Note: This review was requested by the author. The only compensation received was a free copy of the book.

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Description From Goodreads:
When shy and retiring Llandry Sanfaer discovers a mesmerising new gemstone, she suddenly becomes the most famous jeweller across the Seven Realms. Demand for the coveted stone escalates fast; when people begin dying for it, Llandry finds that she herself has become a target.

Lady Evastany Glostrum has her life in pristine order. Prestigious, powerful and wealthy, she is on the verge of crowning her successes with the perfect marriage. But when her closest friend is murdered for the jewellery she wears, Eva is drawn into the mystery surrounding the curious “istore” gem.

The emergence of the stone is causing chaos across the Seven. Gates between the worlds are opening at will, pulling hordes of creatures through from the shadowy Lower Realm and the glittering Uppers. As Eva works to discover the culprit behind the spreading disorder, Llandry must learn the truth about her precious istore stone — before she herself becomes a victim.

DRAYKON, by Charlotte E. English
Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Review: *** 3 Stars
At first, DRAYKON seemed a bit juvenile, with winged fairies living in trees and an insecure young protagonist, but after a few chapters, the book really grew on me. The world-building was unique, with three different planes of existence and multiple realms within the “middle” plane that aligned themselves with one or the other of the “upper” and “lower” planes. As the characters traveled through the world and the plot unfolded, the complexity and true depth of the story was revealed. However, while I enjoyed the story, and it was fun to read, nothing hooked me to the point of never letting go. It was like taking a stroll through a lovely park, rather than riding a fast and furious rollercoaster; enjoyable, but not thrilling.

Characters: *** 3 Stars
Llandry is an immature twenty-something, afraid of crowds and insecure in her own skin. A young jeweler, fame overwhelms her when she discovers a rare gemstone and uses it in her designs. As the story progresses, Llandry starts to take some risks and attempts to assert herself, to mixed results, but I enjoyed seeing her grow and develop.

Eva is almost an opposite to Llandry. She’s older, wiser, and confident in her abilities. She is also friends with Llandry’s mother and as their worlds collide, she provides a good foil for the younger woman.

Devary comes in to the story as a mystery, and stays that way. I’m not sure if he is a love interest, a babysitter, or just a friend of Llandry’s mother, but he does help bring Llandry out of hiding and into the world, literally and figuratively. I imagine more will come to light about him in later books, and I definitely wanted to know more about him and his role in Llandry’s world.

Plot: **** 4 Stars
DRAYKON moved along at a nice easy “goldilocks” pace; neither too fast nor too slow. The author does a great job of twisting together different plot lines until they finally meet toward the end of the novel, revealing a big “AHA!” moment.

My one complaint was the choice of the name of the jewel: an istore gem made me think of an Apple product, as in an ipod or an iphone, and I couldn’t get that out of my head for the whole story.

Setting: **** 4 Stars
DRAYKON seemed like a wonderful world, very well-drawn and easy to imagine, though fantastical. I loved the concept of the realms being aligned with the “upper” and “lower” planes, the upper being light, bright, and airy, and the lower being dark, shadowed, and chaotic.

Eva’s realm, Glour, is aligned with the lower realm, and exists in the dark. As a result, all of the people of Glour are extremely sensitive to the light and the environment has evolved to thrive in nighttime conditions.

Meanwhile, the Glinnish people are winged and live in perpetual daytime. The author did a great job incorporating the flying into the story, where danger can come from above and Llandry’s escapes had to be faster or higher than her pursuers.

Romance: * 1 Star
Llandry and Devary seemed to have a bit of a “thing” going on, but they never did anything about it. There was a nice scene at the end, when Llandry saves Devary’s life, but at that point it was too late to have a great romance. Perhaps in later books their relationship will deepen, but for this first book I wanted more from them both.

Genre – Adventure Fantasy: *** 3 Stars
DRAYKON is a fun, easy story to read, but lacks the extreme highs and lows of a great adventure. It’s a book that would be a great beach read, when you want to have something undemanding that you can put aside for a little while but quickly remember when you return.

Note: This review was requested by the author. The only compensation received was a free copy of the book.

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Description From Goodreads:

Ciela de Leon never wanted attention. It’s a pity no-one asked her.

Forced to begin her pilgrimage by the Temple of Life, she must become a water-seer or die trying. But when something precious is stolen from her, Ciela must fight alongside a group of terrifying mercenaries to get it back. Now everything she thought she knew about the world is thrown into doubt, and the questions just keep piling on. Who is Ezra Hawkins? What are the Children of Lightning plotting? How do waffles fit in to any of this? And if that wasn’t bad enough, she may just be falling in love with a mysterious warrior who knows far too much about life and death. There’s also the off chance that she’s destined to save the world.

In this exciting sequel to Wind-Scarred, Ciela must fight to discover the secrets hidden just beneath the surface, or be washed away by the tides of fate. Time is running out…

WATER-SEER, by Sky Luke Corbelli

Available on Amazon

Review: ***** 5 Stars
In this sequel to WIND-SCARRED, Sky Luke Corbelli delivers a thrilling tale of adventure, camaraderie, and even a little love. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, but the few complaints I had were fixed in WATER-SEER, making the sequel an even better novel. The plot was tight, the characters realistic, and the action intense as the story continues.

Characters: ***** 5 Stars
I loved Ciela de Leon! She’s a young healer out on her pilgrimage, taking sacred books to the Great Temple of Life in Silverfall. Ciela is confident in her healing skills and compassionate with the people around her, always willing to stop and lend a hand if someone is sick or injured. But when it comes to traveling on the road by herself, Ciela is less than thrilled, even intimidated by the path laid out before her. Even so, when the books are stolen from her, she throws herself into the chase, determined to reclaim them. Her moral strength and firm resolve, juxtaposed with her insecurity, made for a very interesting character.

I was also thrilled that we got to see more of Ezra, Sarah and Mat. The team continued to grow and evolve in this second installment, highlighting new and exciting facets of their personalities and expanded skill-sets.

Plot: **** 4 Stars
WATER-SEER was a much tighter novel than its predecessor. The plot stayed right on course, with some wonderful action sequences that kept me glued to my seat. Occurring entirely outside of Sanctuary, Ezra and his team are running from the Chancellor’s goons while seeking allies in the elemental groups. Meanwhile, Ciela joins their traveling party when their paths cross and they find themselves traveling in the same direction. There was more action, better integration of the science-fiction with the fantasy, and an overall better story arc with a fantastic twist near the end.

My only complaint was that the Epilogue closed on too much of a cliffhanger, literally stopping in the middle of a conversation, and it was unnecessary. Without the epilogue, the ending still would have been open-ended with many unanswered questions, but perhaps with a little less “what-the-…?” feeling.

Setting: ***** 5 Stars
The world outside of sanctuary is extremely well-developed and diverse. Each city that the group passes through is unique and vivid. I was easily able to imagine Silverfall with its flowing waters, and Theron with its impoverished people and tiered layout. I also loved the skystream, with its flying boats and pirates. Overall, really creative and fun!

Romance: **** 4 Stars
The relationship is slow to develop between Ciela and Matt, but it felt more realistic for its tempered pace. They seem to make a good couple, complementing each other’s skill sets and learning from one another. I particularly enjoyed it when Ciela was the hero, coming to Matt’s rescue, instead of the other way around.

Genre – Futuristic Fantasy: ***** 5 Stars
WATER-SEER does a great job picking up where Wind-Scarred left off, and it remains a unique cross-genre novel that does a great job bringing together both science-fiction and fantasy themes. WATER-SEER is a bit more on the fantasy side than WIND-SCARRED was, but it works since the story is set entirely outside of Sanctuary. Ezra and his team still have many of the advanced technologies at their disposal, even though they are slowly being forced to function entirely within the confines of the outside world.

Note: This review was requested by the author. The only compensation received was a free copy of the book.

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Description From Goodreads:
Hidden within Human society is an entrancing race of beings who look just like us. They are the Akataromai. Originating on Earth, they conceal themselves, blending within the Human population. Though they appear to be Human, mature Akataromai live for centuries and feed upon negative Human emotions. Angelina Quorra is an Akataromai, a Human-looking girl who might never die. But Angelina is unique among her people, absorbing pain as well as emotion and giving anyone who feeds her overwhelming pleasure. This is her story, told by the men who adore her. Her talent is called The Lustre, bringing her great fame, and great trouble.

THE LUSTRE, by Kate Policani
Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Review: ** 2 Stars
Kate Policani delivers an interesting twist on the “vampire”, but fails to deliver an interesting story. Told entirely from an external point of view, in passive voice, the characters and plot never resonated with me. I wanted to hear from Angelina, the actual protagonist, not just the secondary characters. The method of delivery detracted from the story itself, to the point that there almost wasn’t a story. It was like being in a conversation where the subject is sitting right next to you, and everyone is talking about her, around her, and over her, but no one is talking to her. Awkward.

Characters: ** 2 Stars
Angelina has the Lustre, an ability to not only take away negative human emotions, but to take away physical pain and replace it with orgasmic pleasure. Interesting to say the least. Yet somehow Angelina is vacant, almost empty of emotion herself. She just sails along, not really taking an active part in her own life. Instead, the men in her life are the active participants, likely due to the fact that they’re the ones telling her story, and they make her out to be a perfect angel, innocent and pure…boring.

Her husband, Luciano, seems nice enough, adopting her as his ward when she’s a preteen, and making sure that she doesn’t feel obligated to marry him when she comes of age (though that was the intention all along). However he’s as naive as a teenager despite being more than a hundred years old.

The villain, Jacque Trace, is greedy and selfish, but hardly evil. His actions are despicable, but he also tries to make Angelina happy, in his selfish way. I didn’t like the man, but neither did I hate him, and he wasn’t scary, malicious, or dangerous enough to engage me emotionally. Overall, he was…meh.

Plot: ** 2 Stars
The plot is unfortunately as vacant as Angelina herself. It was just one event after another, without a story arc that slowly builds to an exciting climax and then resolves to satisfying conclusion. There were a few exciting events, such as a killing and a kidnapping, but they fell flat because they were told in a passive voice.

Setting: ** 2 Stars
Like everything else, I wanted more from the setting. I needed a year or an era, a full five-sense description, just something more.

Romance: * 1 Stars
A twelve year old girl is taken from her parents to be a ward of a much older man, with the expectation that when she’s of age, she will marry him. While the author tried to make the match seem like love, it never felt right to me. There were verbal declarations of love, and Luciano was good to Angelina, but I never felt the fire, and with the initial set-up of their relationship, it always felt too easy, and a little bit wrong.

Genre – Contemporary Fantasy or Paranormal Romance: * 1 Stars
I’m actually not really sure how to classify The Lustre. It’s not traditional paranormal romance by any means, but there is romance, and it’s in a contemporary setting. The concept of the Akataromai was interesting and unique, but the story was bland, like saltine crackers. I want more action, more romance, more passion, and more pain in my fantasy.

Note: This review was requested by the author. The only compensation received was a free copy of the book.

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Description From Goodreads:

Months after moving to the mysterious city of Cognito, Silver is developing her gifts as a Mage, and learning how to live under new laws. Forced to give up her old life, she must now live in secret among the humans. She finally has hope of leading an ordinary life . . . until Logan Cross walks into it.

Their chance meeting leads her close to discovering the identity of the nameless Mage who once stole her light and discovered the unique power she possesses. That knowledge poses an unimaginable threat to Silver, fueling her search to find out who he is, before he finds her first.

Lives are at stake. Truths are revealed. And an unexpected passion ignites.

TWIST, by Dannika Dark

Available on Amazon

Review: **** 4 Stars

Dannika Dark does it again! TWIST was just as good as STERLING (Mageri Series: Book 1), with a new hero and love interest, ramped up action, and great plot advancement for the series arc.

WARNING: SOME MINOR SPOILERS. THEY WON’T RUIN THE STORY, BUT YOU’LL GET SOME INSIDE INFORMATION ALL THE SAME…

Characters: ***** 5 Stars

Once again, I fell in love with Silver and her entourage of protectors, but the new addition of Logan Cross was brilliant. First of all, he’s a Breed called a Chitah, and as you can imagine, he has some Cheetah-like qualities, including faint spots on his skin, a highly developed sense of smell, and a hunting instinct. His introduction as Silver’s kidnapper and a killer of Mage made for an interesting dynamic in their relationship, but Silver’s reliance on him felt more organic than her introductions to the men in STERLING. Logan is a bit of a wild-man, clearly not as civilized as the Mage, having never been human. He lives by his own set of rules, but his word, once given, will not be broken.

I was also glad to be reintroduced to Sunny, Silver’s best friend from her human life, and Knox, Adam’s friend and former mercenary. Together they add a nice side-plot to the story, and help round out Silver’s network of friends and supporters.

Plot: **** 4 Stars

As with STERLING, I felt the plot was complex and interesting, keeping me on my toes. However, there were a couple of plot points that felt forced, as if the author had to get from A to C, but didn’t quite know how to do it. For example, Silver was left alone at Justus’ house without any kind of protection while he and Simon traipse off on secret business. Given that there’s still a bad guy out there after Silver, I wouldn’t have expected him to just leave her all alone, and sure enough, something bad happens, and we’re introduced to Logan.

Setting: *** 3 Stars

Cognito doesn’t feel real to me, perhaps because Silver doesn’t get to spend a whole lot of time outside of Justus’ home, but I wanted more from the city. If it’s a Breed city, it should somehow be different and unique to the human cities. I needed more description and more integration of the city into the action when Silver was out and about.

Romance: **** 4 Stars

I really loved the introduction of Logan Cross into Silver’s life. He was a fantastic counterpoint to the other men; he’s more dangerous, yet he is also more considerate (in his way). I love the tension and heat between them, particularly since Logan comes into the story as an adversary, not a friend, and Silver fights with herself as she’s drawn to him. That being said, I was sad that Adam gave up so easily, and Simon simply didn’t do anything but flirt and give way. I wanted more tension between the men as they vied for Silver’s affection.

Genre – Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance: ***** 5 Stars

This story has a bit of everything, and it was nicely done. There’s club-hopping, detective work, chase scenes, kidnapping, violence, and even some mild S&M. There’s not a lot of sex, but in my opinion, that really worked as the tension built and relationships changed. I enjoyed every minute!


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*** BOOK GIVEAWAY ***   

Description From Goodreads:
Ezra Hawkins is going to change the world.

Although, honestly, there isn’t that much world left to change. After the Great War that nearly destroyed the Earth, mankind has been reduced to a single city: Sanctuary. Hidden from the ravages of the world, the last scions of humanity have eked out their existence through hard work and ingenuity, managing survival, maybe even a little happiness.

But Ezra Hawkins, last heir to the legacy of wormhole technology, will show them something that no human in over a thousand years has known: Hope.

This is a story of science against magic, of people who can bend the elements to their will and the shadowy forces that police them. And most of all, Wind-Scarred tells the tale of a young man desperate to learn the true nature of the past, and of a planet that has its own ideas about the future.

WIND-SCARRED, by Sky Corbelli
Available on Amazon

Review: **** 4 Stars
What a great start to a trilogy! I enjoyed Wind-Scarred immensely, though it did have a few hiccups, including a meandering plot and a romance that lacked finesse. But the overall story was good, the concept unique, and the characters incredibly well-developed. I’m looking forward to reading book 2, Water-Seer, now available on Amazon.

Characters: ***** 5 Stars
Ezra is brainy yet courageous, a scientist born into a family that controls the knowledge of wormhole technology. Swept into a secret society, Ezra handles himself with aplomb, but he’s still young, and a bit naive, especially in the ways of women. Galois “Gal” Doe arrives on scene as a party girl, but ultimately recruits Ezra to become an agent. She’s spunky and fun, and I wish we’d seen more of her throughout the story. The other characters, including Ezra’s “research team” each had their own personalities, which came through beautifully in the novel and added to the warmth and camaraderie in Ezra’s world.

Plot: *** 3 Stars
The author did a great job tying together science fiction and fantasy themes, creating a complex world with multiple moving parts, including layers of foreshadowing that carry through the entire novel and into book 2 (I hope, anyway!). Unfortunately, that’s also the story’s downfall, as the plot lacks focus. Some parts seemed to drag, while in others I wanted more detail. There were several sections that didn’t seem to be necessary to advance the story, leaving me feeling like I just had to get through them. However, the action, when it occurred, was well-drawn and kept me engaged, and the overall story was interesting and fun.

Setting: **** 4 Stars
I really liked the juxtaposition of the futuristic city with the rural anti-technology countryside. It made for a very unique story and helped pull through the dead periods of the plot.

Romance: ** 2 Stars
I loved the characters of Gal and Ezra, and they could have been a fun couple. Unfortunately, the romance was significantly under-developed. Gal and Ezra are thrown together, and for a very long time I thought that Gal was just toying with Ezra for some political, or even nefarious reason. She’s flirty and coy, but it felt, at best, like a surface infatuation, and the romance fell flat.

Genre – Futuristic Fantasy: ***** 5 Stars
WIND-SCARRED is a unique cross-genre novel that does a great job bringing together both science-fiction and fantasy themes. I loved the “elementals” and the conflict between the futuristic technology and the rural, almost medieval, outside world.

In honor of my return to the blog, I’ll be giving away one Kindle copy of Wind-Scarred.  To enter, leave a comment with your name and do one of the following by May 4, 2012:

  1. Sign up to follow Enter The Portal via email or your own WordPress blog (box at right).
  2. Follow Enter The Portal via Twitter (@entertheportal).

Make sure to indicate in the comment which way you’re following! One random winner will be selected from all entries and announced on the blog shortly after the comment deadline.

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Description From Goodreads:

There can only be one allegiance.
It’s her time to choose.

Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them, reading the shadows they leave behind. But some shadows lead to danger. Others lead to lies.

A Houston college student trying to finish her degree, McKenzie has been working for the fae king for years, tracking vicious rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret. For just as long, she’s been in love with Kyol, the king’s sword-master—and relationships between humans and fae are forbidden.

But any hope for a normal life is shattered when she’s captured by Aren, the fierce and uncompromising rebel leader. He teaches her the forbidden fae language and tells her dark truths about the Court, all to persuade her to turn against the king. Time is running out, and as the fight starts to claim human lives, McKenzie has no choice but to decide once and for all whom to trust and where she ultimately stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.

THE SHADOW READER, by Sandy Williams
Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Review: ***** 5 Stars
THE SHADOW READER is an inspiring interpretation of the fae in contemporary fantasy. Thoroughly enjoyable, the tale follows McKenzie Lewis as she is kidnapped from her college final exam and thrust into the middle of a fae war. She’s always been on the side of the fae King Atroth, but as she learns more about the rebels around her, she comes to discover that all may not be what it seems.

There were a couple of relatively minor world-building issues that stretched the limits of my ability to suspend disbelief, but despite that, I was carried away by this book and enjoyed every minute of the read.

Characters: ***** 5 Stars
I loved all of the characters in THE SHADOW READER. Each had a unique voice and brought together a deep, well-developed cast. Even the secondary characters enhanced the story, moving beyond mere placeholders to full characters in their own right.

Don’t let the girl on the cover deceive you, McKenzie Lewis is an average human college student, except for the fact that she can see fae magic and read the path of their fissures – portals from one world to another. Most notably, she does not carry a sword. However, that doesn’t mean she isn’t kick-ass in her own right, stubborn and brave, trying to do the right thing without being deceived by the devious fae around her. She is the best shadow reader in the world, able to track the fae to within yards of their location after they jump through a fissure, making her a valuable asset to the King and a high-value target to the rebels.

Kyol is King Atroth’s sword-master, a cold warrior that softens only around McKenzie and loves her despite the King’s restriction that fae and humans cannot have a relationship. He does everything in his power to protect McKenzie, keeping her as far from the front lines of the war as possible and hiding her from the rebels, but eventually they catch up to her.

Aren is the rebel leader who finally manages to capture the shadow reader, but instead of killing her as he should in this brutal war, Aren tries to persuade her to see their side and learn the truth of the King and Kyol’s actions.

Plot: ***** 5 Stars
The plot was really well developed, with several twists and turns as McKenzie discovers more about the war, its origins, and her place in it. I especially enjoyed McKenzie’s internal conflict as she finds herself both sympathizing with the rebel cause (and its charismatic leader) and loyal to Kyol and the King. I couldn’t put the book down!

Setting: **** 4 Stars
Some of the world building threw me for a loop, sending me slightly out of the story to consider whether I could really believe the set-up. For example, when on Earth, the fae visibly show “chaos lusters”, bright lightning bolts of magic that dance across their skin. Only humans with the sight can see this magic, but the magic can jump from fae to human and back, a pleasurable sensation, apparently. The chaos lusters move faster when the fae is agitated or in pain, but why would the environmental magic be affected by mood? Similarly, human technology hurts the fae and drains their magic, regardless of what it’s made of, but I never understood why that would happen. I guess I like an explanation, even for the unexplainable.

However, the worlds themselves were really well developed, with great detail in the political situation, the atmosphere, and the scenery. I was drawn in and captivated by the world, not wanting to put the book down despite the few moments of distraction.

Romance: ***** 5 Stars
The love triangle between McKenzie, Kyol, and Aren is fantastic, despite Kyol not actually being present for most of the story. McKenzie is rightfully hesitant to trust Aren, her kidnapper. But Aren is immediately attracted to her and wants to keep her alive and safe. He works hard to make her see the rebel point of view, and change her opinion of him in the process. Kyol, on the other hand, has secretly held McKenzie’s heart for ten years and does everything in his power to bring her back to safety. McKenzie can’t help but think about him and struggles against her growing attraction to Aren in part due to loyalty to Kyol. There’s plenty of sexual tension between McKenzie and her two suitors, as well as plain old regular tension, but even though McKenzie eventually does make a choice, the novel is kept PG and the window is left open for further tension in future books.

Genre – Contemporary Fantasy: ***** 5 Stars
A great combination of action, suspense, and adventure, with strong character development, makes this a great contemporary fantasy. For those that like a lot of heavy romance in their fantasy, this might not be a great pick for you, but the author brought something new and interesting to the genre with THE SHADOW READER. I look forward to the next installment!

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