The Reader by Traci Chee (Sea of Ink and Gold #1)
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books on September 13th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Once there was, and one day there will be. This is the beginning of every story.
Sefia lives her life on the run. After her father is viciously murdered, she flees to the forest with her aunt Nin, the only person left she can trust. They survive in the wilderness together, hunting and stealing what they need, forever looking over their shoulders for new threats. But when Nin is kidnapped, Sefia is suddenly on her own, with no way to know who’s taken Nin or where she is. Her only clue is a strange rectangular object that once belonged to her father left behind, something she comes to realize is a book.
Though reading is unheard of in Sefia’s world, she slowly learns, unearthing the book’s closely guarded secrets, which may be the key to Nin’s disappearance and discovering what really happened the day her father was killed. With no time to lose, and the unexpected help of swashbuckling pirates and an enigmatic stranger, Sefia sets out on a dangerous journey to rescue her aunt, using the book as her guide. In the end, she discovers what the book had been trying to tell her all along: Nothing is as it seems, and the end of her story is only the beginning.
The Reader by Traci Chee is the first book in a new fantasy series about a world where there are no books and no one can read. It follows Sefia on her journey to save her aunt who was kidnapped, with only a book she cannot read. On her journey, there are pirates, assassins, and other fantastical happenings. What Sefia learns is that this book holds the secrets to what lies ahead of her on this journey.
I was absolutely floored with this debut. The writing was beautiful and vivid. Chee knows exactly what to do to bring her story to life in the imaginations of the readers. Her writing flows seamlessly on the page and made for a wonderful reading experience.
There are a ton of characters in The Reader. I found it hard to keep up with all the names and placing them in my mind, but there was definitely one stand out character for me, Archer. He was such a precious little gem that I wanted to put in my pocket and protect forever. I’m not sure if he was actually mute or just chose not to speak, but we only see him through actions. Another testament to Chee’s writing: being able to make readers fall in love with a character that can’t express himself with words. Archer had such a troubling past which makes him both vulnerable and very deadly in the book. There is so much more that I want to learn about him!
The setting and world of The Reader was masterfully woven together. It has thievery, magic, and most importantly PIRATES! I have a soft spot for books with pirates. I don’t know what it is about them that attracts me so much, but I can’t help it. I loved the world and I can’t wait to explore it some more in the future sequels.
I highly recommend The Reader to everyone. It’s diverse, magical, and beautifully written!
Let me know what you guys thought of The Reader by Traci Chee! I would love to hear your opinions as well!
Until next time,
Traci Chee is an author of speculative fiction for teens. An all-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts, though she also dabbles at piano playing, egg painting, and hosting potluck game nights for family and friends. She studied literature and creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and earned a master of arts degree from San Francisco State University. Traci grew up in a small town with more cows than people, and now feels most at home in the mountains, scaling switchbacks and happening upon hidden highland lakes. She lives in California with her fast-fast dog. The Reader is her YA debut.