Shadow Reader, The (Shadow Reader Novel)

The Shadow Reader - Sandy Williams Why is this not a 5 star or a 4 star book for me? I have put off writing this review for a week or so because I am confused as to why everyone I know on goodreads loved this book but me. In part, I think this may be a "Its not you, its me" kinda thing. I may be over my urban fantasy binge. Hey, it was a good ride. It started summer 2010 and lasted until now. When I hear about new titles or series in the paranormal, they just do not interest me -- with the exception of my favorite authors and series. So, my thoughts on this book should be put into that context -- that urban fantasy just does not have the same pull for me. Another issue for me that should help my feelings on this book be put into context -- for an urban fantasy book to thrill me, I need the main struggle to be something other than the romance. That is why I prefer UF over paranormal romance. And I know may of my goodreads friends can point out several paranormal romance series, historical romances, and contemporary romances that I love. Yes, I do enjoy a romance that is well done -- but my well done is this. I enjoy the angsty romance plot line too, but the true struggle/fight/confict for me needs to be about the world/story. And the characters and relationships in the book need to be three-dimensional with growth and progression. I did not see this in Shadow Reader. In my opinion, the main conflict in Shadow Reader is the romance. And that is fine, but I didn't buy into the characters feelings for the individual that made up the third part of the love triangle. Which poses a problem for me as a reader, if I don't believe in the romance, which is the main struggle of the book -- then the book falls flat for me. The romance with the guy who is the third leg of the triangle (I am trying to be vague and non-spoilerish) just was not believable for me. What I saw was an incredibly sexy guy that the lead character was attracted to and he was attracted to her as well to her. But when did they develop love? I did not see a relationship developing at all. I never felt or believed in the "who should she choose" storyline. I had strong opinions about who she should drop and then maybe move on in her life, but choosing someone else to fill the void of the person just dropped? Nah, Sandy Williams did not convince me. There was a side conflict to the storyline -- where should MacKenzie place her allegiance? The court or the rebels? Again, I thought this was not set up well nor was it done believably. MacKenzie places her allegiance with any one side based solely on emotion and relationships, not on critical evaluation. I know people do this in real life, but I find that downright scary. But whatever, my criticism of decisions aside I do not think the author convinced me as to who MacKenzie should be loyal too. So those were my problems. I liked the characters, I liked the world, and I really enjoyed the beginning. I do think this should be labeled paranormal romance or romance based urban fantasy though. Positives about the book: The world building is done very well and there are some interesting side characters. There is solid writing and some good action scenes. If readers are okay with the main conflict being about who will she choose, then I think this book will be a win for those readers. I think fans of Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh would enjoy this book/series. I am one of the few people in the urban fantasy reading world that is not a fan of the Guild Hunter series for the same reason Shadow Reader missed the mark for me.