Review: The Reader by Traci Chee

the reader

Inner Cover Book Summary: “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 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, 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 was an amazing book.  I can honestly say I haven’t been this invested in a book before.  In fact, I was reading it late last night and had to keep my reactions quiet so as to not wake up my family; it was a hard feat.  I enjoyed almost everything about this book.

The main character, Sefia, is sixteen years old and is being hunted by the people who killed her father because of what she carries – a book.  Out of necessity, Sefia is tough; she knows how to fight and survive.  This is one of the reasons I liked her.  In addition, she teaches herself how to read and is so reverent of the book she carries.  I love when characters appreciate books.  The only other character I have seen like this is Aelin in The Throne of Glass series.

Her eventual companion, Archer, is so endearing.  He has been through hell and back and yet still finds it in himself to do anything it takes to protect Sefia, even if that means walking back into the hell from which he escaped.  He is loyal and sweet.  I look forward to seeing how he and Sefia progress together.

Traci Chee did a good job of addressing diversity.  I believe the character Haldon Lac is bisexual.  It seemed to me his character was interested in both men and women.  In addition to Lac, Captain Reed is OCD.  I connected deeply with him, having some OCD tendencies myself.

In The Reader, reading and words are treated with reverence, as I believe they should be.  Reading leads to knowledge; knowledge leads to power, power that can never be taken away from us.  The characters in the story realize this.  Indeed, the fundamental cause of the battles discussed in the book is the fight for this power.  The question we are left with at the end of the book is who will win?

One complaint I saw about this book was the multiple points-of-view.  Now I agree with this to a point.  There is one veiwpoint which turns out to be in the past; but the past character held the same position as one of the characters in a present day viewpoint.  It wasn’t until the end of the book I realized they were, in fact, two separate characters.  I would have liked those two viewpoints to have been distinguished as past and present.  Other than that, the viewpoints did not pose a problem.  I loved seeing how all of the viewpoints eventually blended together, and I do mean all of them.

I noticed a couple hidden messages throughout the book as I was reading.  I mentioned it on Twitter where Traci Chee herself proceeded to tell me there were 10+ hidden messages.  I only found two; if you find the others, drop me a comment.  It is driving me crazy that I only found two!

The Reader by Traci Chee was great!  Its cover is just as gorgeous as the story it contains.  I am glad I read it when I did.  I don’t have long to wait for the second book!


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