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The Reader by Traci Chee
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The Reader (edition 2016)

by Traci Chee (Author)

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217953,683 (3.44)3
Member:amckie
Title:The Reader
Authors:Traci Chee (Author)
Info:G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (2016), 464 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:2016, .Fiction, .Young Adult, Fantasy

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The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold) by Traci Chee

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» See also 3 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I thought this book sounded very promising, a society where its citizens didn't read, but sadly, it never reached it's potential. "The Reader" started strongly but then various points of view were brought in, which made the story confusing, and many of these characters didn't enhance the story in any way - there were just too many of them.

Then there was the actual plot. It was painfully slow that I ended up just skimming the second-half of the book desperate to reach the end. Sefia spent far too much time aimlessly wandering around in the forest or sailing across the high seas.

The only reason I gave this book an extra star was because of Archer, the mute slave boy. He was such a gorgeous character - kind, sweet, forgiving and so beautifully innocent despite his past. It pained me that he wasn't given a story worthy of him. ( )
  HeatherLINC | May 29, 2017 |
I really liked acargile's review so I won't try to write one myself. They said it quite well... ( )
  JRlibrary | May 22, 2017 |
This book is an exciting addition to the YA literature. A young female, Sefia, is forced by circumstances to sharpen her survival skills. A magical book that was her father's, leads her on wondrous adventures, as she strives to find her kidnapped aunt. Buckle your swashes, people, there are assassins afoot. My thanks to the author and the Penguin First to Read program for a complimentary copy. ( )
  musichick52 | Mar 11, 2017 |
I'm thanking Putnam/Penguin for giving me a chance to read and review this title.

3.5 stars
Although this book wasn't exactly what I expected/wanted it to be, it certainly is a promising start to the series. Here’s why.

Traci Chee has created a wonderful, vivid world and filled it with colorful legends, mysteries, predictions and, of course, lots of magic. In this world most people don’t read, don’t know what books are and, thus, are used to rely on words. There’s no afterlife and your only hope is to be remembered - so you’ve got to turn your life into a good story for people to tell. And The Reader does offer enough material to create hundreds of fabulous stories.

We’ve got a secret Library, whose members hold and protect all the books in the realm. We’ve got a girl, Stefia, who loses her parents and finds herself with a hidden book, which makes her start a dangerous quest for answers. We’ve got a boy, Archer, captured and trained to kill with no remorse and regret, whose past is unknown and future is predicted. And there’re all kinds of fantasy goodies - unique kingdoms, magical gifts, relatable villains, powerful assassins and pirates of all sorts, from cunning and cruel to charming and brave.

And in the core of all this there’s a book. A book that holds past, present and future on its pages, weaving the threads of stories and creating a sophisticated multi-layered narration. You are drifting in the unknown, trying to figure out whether what you read has already happened or is going to happen or will never happen now that Sefia has read about it in her book. And sometimes you wonder whether at some point you’ll see your name on one of the pages and will read about yourself reading about yourself and so on.

Sounds unputdownable, right? Well, there’s a BUT. I was drawn into the story almost immediately but as soon as the initial excitement passed I found myself a bit bored. The writing style is wonderful, the book is easy and delightful to read, but the pace is too slow and tempered to my liking. I turned the pages longing for something to startle me, to sneak up on me and catch me off guard. And it’s a new kind of torture: seeing all those different magical things and mysteries that flow on the surface - and waiting, waiting and waiting.

Finally, I got what I wanted in the last 20% of the book. What an ending that is! Truths are revealed, masks are ripped off, loyalties are tried, blood is spilled and lips are kissed. There’s even an unexpected death of one of the main characters (main for me at least) which took me by surprise - and that, my friends, is a rare thing. All that waiting was generously compensated by a dramatic, breath-catching ending and a promise of a fantastic continuance of the Sea of Ink and Gold series.

Do read it. ( )
  vira_t | Dec 2, 2016 |
Traci Chee drops readers into an imaginative world filled with outlaws, magic and adventures on the high seas. In Kelanna, the world is flat, sailors explore the edges of the map and literacy is a dangerous secret. Ever since her parents were killed, protagonist Sefia has lived with her aunt Nin, gaining skills in picking locks and living off the forest. When Nin is kidnapped, Sefia is left to fend for herself. Armed with only a mysterious book from her parents, Sefia follows the clues leading her to Nin. She soon stumbles upon a mercenary army that steals boys and trains them to be killers. After rescuing their captive, she gains the company of the quiet Archer, a talented fighter with a horrific past.

As Sefia learns to read the powerful book she carries, the story of Captain Reed and his crew are interspersed throughout the novel. Tragedy, adventure, cannibalism at sea. At first, I found this story line dull, but it quickly grew more engaging, as the narration switched back and forth between Sefia and Reed.

In Chee's world, women can be captains, rulers, and assassins. It's refreshing to read a fantasy world that challenges gender roles, but it feels incomplete. Women can be captains, but their crew, even the women, are their "men." Women can be assassins, but they're still liable to fall in love with men. And, of course, Sefia and Archer — teenage girl and teenage boy — fall in love. Because that's how it always goes.

Like many fantasy novels, The Reader is long, and it's only the beginning. The novel is clearly only the first step into the drama of Kelanna, and so the story isn't resolved. Which feels a bit disappointing for a story that relies on its plot, rather than the internal drama of its characters, to maintain its momentum. Still, I'm curious what will happen to Sefia in the next installment, though I hope Book Two will do a better job of fleshing out its protagonist.

Note: I received an advance reader copy from the publisher. ( )
  csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
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Epigraph
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First words
Hello. If you're reading this, then maybe you know you ought to read everything. And maybe you know you ought to read deeply. Because there's witchery in these words and a spellwork in the spine. And once you know to look for signals in the smoke, for secrets in the sea, then you understand what it is to read. This is a book. You are the reader. Look closer, there's magic here.
Quotations
Once there was, and one day there will be. This is the beginning of every story.
But being smart was overrated. Being stupid and brave and curious? Now that's something stories are made of.
"It's the same with stories as it is with people," Meeks said, his brown eyes gleaming in the dwindling light of the sunset, "they get better as they get older. But not every story is remembered, and not all people grow old."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399176772, Hardcover)

A stunning debut set in a world where reading is forbidden, perfect for fans of Inkheart and Shadow and Bone

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

With overlapping stories of swashbuckling pirates and merciless assassins, The Reader is a brilliantly told adventure from an extraordinary new talent.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 31 Aug 2015 12:42:09 -0400)

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