Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sandy Williams - The Sharpest Blade

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.

Comment: This book was released last year, in December, and I had it pre ordered but only now I picked it up to read. I think one of the worst things of long time between releases is how you loose a bit of that drive when you are reading an installment and you like it. Time passed and this one was set for next month and then the next and so on until five months were gone. After that time I just grabbed and went with it.

The Sharpest Blade starts with Mackenzie living the life she wanted, at peace and without fae rushing her to places or putting her in danger. But she can't stop thinking about Aren or everyone she cares about in the Realm, so her life is divided between what she thinks she wants and the feelings telling what she is leaving behind and what she could be doing to help. Then she makes a decision one day and her fate is sealed from that on.

This is the third and last installment in the shadow reader trilogy by Sandy Williams. After a heartbreaking finale in the previous book, with something so unexpected, I was very curious to see how the author would lead the characters towards a HEA.
In a way, things ended well, because there is a HEA happening in the end, but honestly, I don't know if it was the author intention from the start or just needs due to conclude the trilogy and that was it, because it was really annoying how the death numbers pilled all the time. Too many people died here (and in all the trilogy) for this to be a world I feel like going back to. Yes, it's UF, and we should be glad there's even a HEA, but personally I think the violence results were over the top.

Mackenzie faces quite the dilemma but in the end, of course she follows her heart. This isn't a surprise. I felt invested in some characters and was thinking how will the author turn things around in a way that everyone could find happiness, or at least a satisfying ending...well, whether by killing them or just leaving them alone, things ended in quite the grey area... I'll try not to tell spoilers, but the most difficult problem, the one thing readers certainly wanted to see solved the most...well, that was left the way it was, and the characters have to life and deal with it, because, hey, life is unfair at times.
Then the whole royalty issue about the fae throne, well that was achieved more happily, in my opinion, but not before an epic battle and of course, the death of some innocent people and possible important characters to the future.

I think part of the fun of the end of a book is how the reader can be left alone to imagine future scenes, possibilities, it's a world of thoughts about what was read, about what could or should happen, it's dreaming about the after. In this case, I found that hard, or should I say, I found it hard to picture any happy things because I'd remember who died and how things wouldn't help someone and how unfair to the other and so on...tricky and not what I thought we'd get in the final story. I think closure is what's missing here.

The first book didn't seduced as much but I kept going. The second was better despite the end. And now I expected solutions, tricks to change what was in need of changing, but it didn't happen. Oh well...

In a way I'm glad this is over but at the same time I feel a bit bad it wasn't the kind of story we should have gotten. Maybe it's me that feels this way and other loved it, for sure. But I wanted things to be done more decisively and in a way that spoke of ore certainty to readers. I feel like I should be happier with this, but I'm afraid the story just didn't work for me as well as I wanted it to.
Grade: 5/10

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