The Shadow Reader is a really entertaining and fun read, it isn't perfect but I can't help but feel like it was a bit of a guilty pleasure.
McKenzie is a strong character, I loved her random funny moments and her persistence in trying to run away. I felt McKenzie being torn between the Court and the rebels, Kyol and Aren, was well written and convincing. I myself could not decide which side to take either. I understand some readers may disagree with McKenzie's choice at the end, but I think there was strong support for both sides: Kyol has been there for McKenzie for 10 years, she has loved him for nearly as long--but he has made her WAIT the 10 years just because of his damn "loyalty" to the king. Aren is a rebel and kidnapped McKenzie, even injured her at one point. BUT, he made sure she knew the fae language which the Court refused, he healed her repeatedly and wouldn't make her wait 10 years to even hear meaningful words.
It was definitely a back and forth issue for McKenzie and for me as a reader. It certainly kept me glued to the pages.
The worldbuilding was also fun and thorough without being overbearing. I felt like the world had more of a classic fantasy feel than a UF feel, but I had no complaints. The plot was also strong, both romantic and otherwise. I do, however, feel like McKenzie's gift was used sparingly.
One thing I was surprised the author did was have McKenzie choose not only Court vs Rebels but between Kyol and Aren by the end. I feel like this sets up the second book for further relationship and court drama indeed. I can't wait!