Shattered Dark
by Sandy Williams
(Ace, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-1-93700-781-2
Let me preface this review by stating that my one-heart ratings are even fewer and farther between than my five-heart ratings. On top of that, I very much enjoyed The Shadow Reader, the first book in Sandy Williams series by the same name. In fact, the second book, Shattered Dark, started off in a very promising, at least three-heart manner. Things degraded swiftly from there.

Shattered Dark picks up several weeks after the end of book one, with the rebels swiftly losing what little hold they had over the kingdom of the fae, largely because the Council refuses to acknowledge their chosen leader as someone of proper descent. McKenzie is doing her usual thing, accompanying various fae to various places so she can scribble down where the rebels are hiding using her shadow reader abilities. Of course, all of this interferes greatly with McKenzie's new romance with the leader of the rebels, Aren, a man who she had been tracking for the former King until very recently.

In the midst of all of this, McKenzie still seems to think she's going to get a normal, human life together, and while she's applying for jobs, her best and only friend, Paige, disappears from McKenzie's own apartment. McKenzie makes several deals and several half-assed and dangerous attempts to locate her friend throughout the novel, but nothing ever seems terribly heartfelt about it, just as little feels heartfelt about her supposed feelings for poor Aren.

And there you have it, and yes, it is as boring as it sounds. Somewhere along the line, not too far into the book, Shattered Dark falls into a pile of dull pieces that I'm afraid many readers won't bother picking up. I still have hopes for the series, but McKenzie will have to develop some depth and commitment in the meantime, and Ms. Williams is going to have to pick up the pace or find a better editor.

--Sarrah Knight

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